4.17.2008

Can Marvel sucessfully revive two 80s "hits" today? (Part One)

by Dan

Moon Knight Vol. 2: Midnight Sun - The second volume of Marvel' s Moon Knight relaunch is just as disappointing as the first. If I'm to believe my friend Jon, Charlie Huston is a capable novelist, but that simply does not translate to the comic page. There are several impossible to follow conversations in attempts to be spooky, dark and brooding. There is an unfortunate overuse of scene jumps from panel to panel in attempts to show simultaneous action. There is an unfortunate overuse of time jumps in attempts to make the story interesting? mysterious? just plain confusing? The actual story being told is pretty basic although no character involved seems to have any real motivation to do what they're doing, other than to reset everything to (or as close to) the old status quo as possible. There's no reason that needed to take 13 issues, so far.

The original series artist was David Finch, who makes it through the first three issues of this seven issue (plus an annual!) collection. I've never been a big Finch fan. He does some great splash pages, but other than that I find his line work way too busy and his panel layout to have very poor flow. Nothing different in this collection. The same is true of Mico Suayan who is very successful at keeping the style of the book similar to Finch's. Of course, I don't think that's a good thing. Particularly in the attempts to make what should be very simple 8 or 9 panel pages of conversation into "widescreen" format. The only thing it succeeds at is making the reader dizzy. Even when Tomm Coker, whose work I really enjoy, comes in to play clean-up for issue number 13 the panel layouts and storytelling are sub-par, convincing me there's a big problem in the scripting.

Duane Swierczynski (writer of the new Cable series) and Jefte Palo team up to give us the first Moon Knight Annual. The story is smart and witty and the art was average, but I finished it in under five minutes. So, while it was a nice endcap to this collection, I can only imagine the disappointment of comic buyers who shelled out the $3.99 cover price for an annual and get a five minute read. I miss big thick, 30-minute read annuals.

I've always been a big fan of Moon Knight and the sizeable cast of secondary characters, which Huston admirably tries to utilize, but this new series has been a misfire from the first issue. D+

5 comments:

Betsy said...

I wonder if Moon Knight is a character that just comes across as dated.

Dan said...

He shouldn't be. I mean, he's basically Marvel's Batman, only crazier. Who doesn't want to read an even crazier Batman book?

The General said...

I miss the big dense Annuals too. Back when I first started collecting X-men, it seemed like their annuals (and the new Mutant ones) were just massive epics. I'm thinking about the Asgards War stuff, and the Mojoverse stuff. There was about a half dozen annuals from that period that I loved... and since then, bleh!

(Oh, and nice first post!)

Bill Ritter said...

I'll concur with Jon's assessment of Charlie Houston, novelist. He's quite good.

I love the Moench/Sienkevich Moon Knight. Prior and subsequent executions have not enamored me. When Moon Knight went supernatural, I found it lost the essential conceit for the character -- the uncertainty with how insane the man actually was. Adding the mythology took away from the madness, offered an explanation and higher force.

Houston reinforced this mythology too much, and worked too hard to establish external tensions. I think he could have made a far more powerful story with "A wealthy man wore a costume until he lost his mind. That's the good news."

Chris Ware said...

I think the problem with this title is that it references the previous series WAAAY to heavily, leaving new readers, like myself, wondering what in the hell is going on. The artwork hasn't helped, with a lot of the characters looking very similar. Then there are the whole issues full of talking heads and Marc Spector arguing with what is either actually Konshu or a hallucination. Either way, I'm about to drop this book.