When we last saw Moon Knight, it was in a 1999 four-issue mini by Doug Moench that attempted to revive the character, but it didn’t really catch on. In fact, it didn’t catch on at all. The era of Doug Moench’s Moon Knight was over. And so, it seemed, was the character.
Until 2006. Joe Quesada had been relaunching the Marvel brand after the disastrous 1990s by hiring novelists and indie comic creators like Brian Michael Bendis and Garth Ennis to reinvent the idea of comic books. One such writer was mystery author Charlie Huston, who, in 2006 took Moon Knight back to his roots and created a new vision for the character—along with up-and-coming artist David Finch.
Near as I can tell, Huston was the guy who invented the idea (shown above) that Moon Knight wears white because he wants to be seen. It’s the first time we really see him using fear as a weapon.
The book starts with Marc Spector crippled from a battle, strung out on painkillers, and, ironically, being twelve-stepped by Crawley. It presents an interesting comparison of God (Koshnu) to alcohol—not the first time the comparison has been made, but certainly a rare look at drug addiction in comics. And in the obligatory “crawl up from the bottom,” Spector rejects the moon god as his source of power….
Yes, the story concept borrowed heavily from the “Broken Bat” story in Batman, where Bane breaks Batman’s back, but Huston’s tale is much darker. The art is dark, the mood is dark, and the book is terribly bloody and frightening.
Along the way, Huston reinvents Moon Knight’s pilot, Frenchie, as a homosexual, uses Spector’s past as a mercenary to explain his need to pursue violence as “fun,” and gives us one of the most evil portrayals of Taskmaster ever.
Overall, Huston and Finch’s Moon Knight is very different—but also very similar—to Moench and Sienkiewicz’s defining take on the character. What’s most important is that Huston is the first writer since Moench created Moon Knight to have a distinctive and compelling voice, and to make the character his own. In fact, “The Bottom” as a story rivals many of Moench’s own classic Moon Knight tales.
A most excellent return!