Moon Knight #7–13 by Charlie Huston and David Finch/Mico Suayan/Tomm Coker, plus Annual #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Jefte Paolo
Although I didn’t completely enjoy the first collection of Huston’s take on Moon Knight, it didn’t mean I wouldn’t read any more of the stories. Now that Huston has set up the new status quo (Moon Knight is back in the game, and Khonshu is talking to him in the form of Bushwacker, whom he killed in the first story), there is room to play around a bit with the character and integrate with the Marvel universe. This happens because these issues take place in the middle of Civil War, and nearly every comic book Marvel published had to crossover with it.
Huston maintains the noir feel with gritty realism – Spector’s knees are constantly popping loudly, causing him agony the morning after a night patrol – and Moon Knight gets a new pilot for his copter (a former soldier who was in Iraq). Huston plays with Civil War by having Captain America pay Moon Knight a visit – not to recruit him, but to tell Spector that he doesn’t like his style, and that he should stop being a psycho (the scene has a nice slice of dark humour, with Bushwacker constantly pleading with Moon Knight to kill Captain America, if just to shut him up).
Meanwhile, someone is killing people just to get Moon Knight’s attention; this someone is Midnight, a super-powered robot man, who comes to Moon Knight’s home to attack him. Midnight is the son of the Midnight Man, a former enemy of Moon Knight, but Midnight initially wanted to be Moon Knight’s sidekick.
Back in the Marvel universe, Moon Knight meets the Punisher, who is out punishing the wicked. More dark humour from Khonshu: ‘See how he flies his lord’s banner… How he appeases his master’s appetite. Unlike some other I could mention.’ There is tension because the Punisher killed Spector’s brother, and a discussion of methods, and there is an interesting aside from Spector’s former soldier pilot, who talks about how the army guys are big fans of the Punisher.
Building up the supporting characters, Huston brings back the Profile from the earlier issues in his run, with Moon Knight beating him up to get information, such as the location of Midnight – but the Profile can also see how crazy Spector actually is in his devotion to Khonshu (which helps to separate him from Batman: DC will never admit how crazy Bruce Wayne actually is …).
Civil War pops up again when Tony Stark pays a visit – Moon Knight was an Avenger at one point in his career. Stark also doesn’t want Spector on his side, because he is too damaged, and we get some amusing meta-dialogue about Civil War – Tony: ‘How’d he look?’ Spector: ‘He’s Captain America. He looked like a ####ing hero. You, you just look like an ###hole.’
Huston really hits his stride in the last issue with Coker on art duties, with a story mixing noir and superheroes, as we see victims of Moon Knight’s vigilantism, and Spector visits a SHIELD office for a psychiatric evaluation, in keeping with new regulations. However, the Profile provides him with details about the psychiatrist, and Spector pretends to be Khonshu and subjugates the psychiatrist and gets his superhero license, giving us some insights into Spector and his history.
The final story is an odd little tale, almost Rashomon-like, with Moon Knight playing a cameo role in a tale of women and revenge on a seducer, which seems slightly out of sync with the Huston arc, but isn’t too bad.
Huston seems to have found his feet with the character in this story arc and, after the more muscular Finch artwork and the competent if unspectacular Suayan, also found the perfect complimentary artist in Coker (who channels Scott Hampton’s work from his time on Moon Knight), bringing the correct sensibility to the atmosphere that Huston has created for Moon Knight. A definite improvement on the first trade.