01st Nov2022

‘Moon Knight Annual #1’

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jed Mackay | Art by Federico Sabbatini | Published by Marvel Comics

I must be honest; I’ve not been keeping up with Moon Knight in his own book at the moment. Only so many hours in the day after all. I love the character, though, and when I saw this Annual it grabbed my attention for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was just Halloween, and Moon Knight is the perfect character for this time of year. Secondly, it guest stars Werewolf by Night, an even more suitable character for this time of year. Lastly, I liked the symmetry.

These two characters have a history that goes way back, 50 years in fact, all the way to Werewolf by Night #32 in 1972. Over the years a real love/hate relationship has blossomed, mainly in the various Moon Knight books. Nice to see writer Jed MacKay and Editor Tom Brevoort love their history.

Current situation, Moon Knight runs his Midnight Mission in a local New York neighbourhood which is under his protection. He has his own Scooby gang now, Reese (a vampire), and Hunter’s Moon, a fellow Fist of Khonshu. Today his mission has a very special visitor – Marlene, the mother of his daughter. She’s not here just to pay a social call (to either Jake, Steven, or Marc, both parts of his split personality remember), but to ask Marc to kill someone. Odd enough request, but the target? Jack Russell, Werewolf by Night. The reason? Jack’s kidnapped Moon Knight’s daughter. Not a good idea.

So why would Jack do such a thing? Probably because Khonshu is not well liked by the werewolf fraternity, and Marc/Jake is his enforcer, so two and two were put together. Jack is, of course, no ordinary werewolf. He has read the Darkhold and not gone mad, quite the achievement, and is now King of All Wolves after defeating all challengers. Including wendigo’s, which is pretty badass. He thinks he can free his kind from bondage to Khonshu, and Moon Knight’s daughter can help. Jack is using the words of a prophecy that the child of a Fist of Khonshu can kill Khonshu. Even odder, no Fist of Khonshu has ever had children because they can’t. Marc/Jake/Steven are the one exception. Maybe there’s something in this after all.

Jack, though, has two Fists of Khonshu coming after him, Moon Knight, and Hunter’s Moon. They make short work of two of the werewolves before Moon Knight goes to find Jack. What he doesn’t realise is that his team aren’t as rock solid as he thought. While back at the office Marlene tells Reese some home truths about her ex, Khonshu is telling Hunter’s Moon to kill the girl. He’s not the most enlightened of gods, after all, and is all about self-preservation. He’s not prepared to take the risk. Hunter, to his credit, stalls, though to defy his god causes him huge distress. So, we conflict all over the place, Moon Knight vs. Werewolf by Night (physical), Marlene against Reese (mental), and Khonshu against Hunter’s Moon (psychological).

Then…nothing. A great set up from MacKay ends up something of a damp squib. The fight peters out, Marlene and Reese agree to disagree, and Hunter’s Moon disobeys his god to save the girl. All a little too pat. Even the epilogue feels a little tacked on. A disappointing ending to what started out as a promising story.

Creatively, this was a very nice book. MacKay wrote two thirds of a good story, nice dialogue, and characterization throughout. The art and colouring were very good, the layouts and linework perfect for the book, and the moody colours adding to the tone nicely. For a standalone annual, good work.
Although slightly disappointing overall, the good outweighs the bad on balance, and sets up some nice future plot threads. Essential, no.

Worth reading, yes.

Moon Knight’s rarely not worth reading after all.

***½  3.5/5


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