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Why 2016 Will be Moon Knight's Most Important Year in Decades

by skell on March 28, 2016


Moon Knight has been trying to climb the rungs to the A-List since Brian Michael Bendis did his run on the character back in 2011 - the series only lasted 12 issues and there were mixed opinions about the quality. Personally, I found it to be a lot of fun and well-suited to my tastes. The series ends with Marc Spector adding an Iron Man personality to his jumbled mess of an identity. It appeared Marvel did not know what to do with Moon Knight for a few years and just let him stay in a coma. All of this was very unfocused but it seems now that Marvel has finally put together a plan for the fist of Khonshu.

 
 
With the relaunch from superstar writer Warren Ellis and spectacular art from Declan Shalvey, 2014 saw the rebirth of the iconic hero - one which finally could sustain a reader base. It comes as no surprise that Moon Knight Volume 1: From the Dead has attained widespread acclaim which set the character on a collision course with the A-List. The series lasted 17 issues and is about to be relaunched with a new #1 in April.
 
 
Currently, Moon Knight, I would hazard, is still sincerely a B-Lister with famous ambition. He was last seen in Extraordinary X-Men #8 as a.... horseman of the apocalypse? He's not even a mutant...why....
  

 
Let's turn our direction away from the 2014 run for a brief moment, but we will work back to it in a meaningful way. Jeff Lemire signed a exclusivity contract with Marvel which makes him only allowed to work on Marvel comics. And Dark Horse. And Image. And Valiant. And other publishers just so long as they are not DC, it would appear. Lemire is a huge talent and he is currently writing the All-New Hawkeye and Extraordinary X-Men titles. This makes the horsemen of the apocalypse situation start to make sense since Lemire was recently confirmed as writer for the new Moon Knight series launching in April, 2016.
 
Jeff Lemire is known, right now, for taking previously relaunched characters and thrusting them into the limelight. Don't believe that? Take a look at Animal Man and Swamp Thing. Those are two characters which had very little publication time from DC in the years leading up to the New 52. Lemire took the task head on and created a mini-event for the two series called "Rotworld." Lemire also wrote Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE before moving over to Justice League Dark. Mostly well-received, these characters have horror elements attached to them and dive into mystical realms with regularity. It should be mentioned that Lemire revitalized both Superboy and Green Arrow. Green Arrow then went to be a headlining character in both Justice League of America and Justice League United. 
 
Three questions come from his pairing: Why get Jeff Lemire to write Moon Knight? Why should Moon Knight be connected to a crossover event like Apocalypse Wars? What does this mean for Moon Knight's future?
 
Moon Knight has a strong tie to horror comics and  an impressive connection to mystical realms. After appearing first in Werewolf-By-Night #32, Marvel sought to explain away Marc Spector's shady affi
liations as a mercenary and make him the Fist of Khonshu. With horror and supernatural attributes checked, it seems only right that Jeff Lemire should take the mantle. Although, his mystical and horror elements have only been in the peripherial, as of late, so that Moon Knight could be revitalized as a hero for the people, it should be mentioned that his newest relaunch will be focusing on his mental illness - bringing him back to his roots. Lemire and Moon Knight seem like a match made in heaven. 
 
So now to the one of the more confusing topics at hand, why should Moon Knight be in Extraordinary X-Men #8 as a one of the four horsemen? Well, that is an excellent question. Apocalypse has extremely strong ties to Egypt. Since Lemire is writing both series it should probably make sense that he is going to lay some of the groundwork for his upcoming series in his current series. This is also a very smart way for Lemire to test the waters, so to speak, to see how fans will handle the character in a larger plot. Moon Knight has always been more of a villain-of-the-week type hero than one with an overarching plot which has implications on his future. Will Moon Knight retake the mantle as the Fist of Khonshu? Probably. Here's why.
 
In Moon Knight's 2014 series, Cullen Bunn was given the duties as writer. While we didn't get to see Moon Knight punch Cthulu in the face, we did get to see some of the more supernatural elements return to the character while remaining grounded. So that begets the question: What does all this mean for Moon Knight's future? 
 
On January 5th, 2015 Cullen Bunn said in a ComicBookResources AMA that he had pitched a relaunch of the Nightstalkers team. "...a NIGHTSTALKERS team with MK, Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night, Blade, Jennifer Kale, and Hellstrom." Lemire has taken characters, which have not been used in years, from obscurity and thrown them onto center stage before. Right now, Cullen Bunn is writing the Uncanny X-Men book so the two are likely collaborating on some level. Chances are, if Moon Knight is given the chance to shine with his new found popularity and if Marvel liked Bunn's Nightstalkers idea, then we are in the midst of seeing a Moon Knight fans have been dying to see for over a decade.
 
If you are not aware of the Nightstalkers team, it was a book launched in 1992 featuring Blade, Frank Drake, and Hannibal King. It was a largely vampiric-themed book and continued threads from Tomb of Dracula. In today's horror landscape, Marvel is missing out on beaucoup bucks by not having any horror-centric books. Lemire was able to give that to DC with his Justice League Dark, apart from other books, and it sold well. This Nightstalkers idea would also give Marvel a chance to bring Blade back! Blade could be a very successful character but writer's have problems giving him compelling stories. After all, any Blade stories that a writer has could be very easily adapted to a Deadpool story and make more money. But the problem isn't just Blade. Marvel also needs something to do with another one of their heroes they're trying to catapult to the A-List - Ghost Rider.
 
In the past few years Marvel has tried to make fans care about Ghost Rider again but it became difficult after Thunderbolts fell apart and... well, that thing with Nic Cage happened. The great thing about adding Ghost Rider to a potential team (that isn't Thunderbolts) is that he brings a slew of compelling villains which require supernatural heroes to fight them.  Jessica Kale has strong ties to Man-Thing which is pretty much exactly up Jeff Lemire's alley after his successful Swamp Thing run. If Marvel runs with the Nightstalker's idea, it could be the most successful thing to happen to Moon Knight in a long, long time. 
 
Jeff Lemire's Moon Knight launches on April 13, 2016 and hopefully it will explore all of these threads. If it is me reading the signs, now is the most exciting time to be a Moon Knight fan. I will continue to read Extraordinary X-Men hoping that we see what Lemire has planned for him, and why Moon Knight would be affiliated with Egypt in an X-Men title. 
 
 
 
 
 

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