MOON KNIGHT #15 (1982)

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This was the first “direct market” issue, which means it was sold only at specialty comic book stores. It signaled a new era for comic books: Gone would be the drug store spinning rack, and the future would be in higher prices, better quality paper and, for the most part, better quality comic books.

However, it also heralded the beginning of speculators: People who would buy comics for investments rather than pleasure. Eventually, this would lead to variant covers; dealers overbuying #1 issues and keeping a hidden stock in the back, which they’d pull out a few weeks later and sell at inflated prices; and Todd MacFarlane basically being a dick and saying “people will buy anything I draw so give me my own Spider-Man title and let me cram tons of shit into it and prove what idiots my fans are.”

But I get ahead of myself.

Moon Knight was good to the direct market, and the direct market was good to Moon Knight: Without this niche market, the book would have been cancelled.

As for the story: This issue starts out strong: There is an assassination of a crime boss, and we as readers only see a silhouette of the killer—and he looks a lot like Moon Knight, in that his head is oddly shaped (like a hood) and he’s got a big cape.

It continues strong, too, as we are gradually introduced to who the real killer is (we all know it’s not really Moon Knight).  He calls himself Xenos, and he has a horrifying rat-like head.

But from there, the book gets silly.  Xenos is just a guy in a mask, and he uses real, live rats to try to kill Moon Knight, who simply rolls his body on the ground to crush them.  And then, in the end, Xenos gets his toe stuck in a rat trap, which enable Moon Knight to find him in the dark and defeat him.

Why would a guy who loves rats have a rat trap in his own hideout?

It’s too bad, because this story had a lot of potential.

Creators: Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz
Grade: C-
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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