Contents: Moon Knight #11 (September 1981) to #30 (April 1983)
Key Creator Credits: Doug Moench, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alan Zelenetz, Greg LaRocque, Steven Grant, and others
Key First Appearances: Morpheus, Detective Flint, Stained Glass Scarlet, Black Spectre
Story Continues From: Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1
Story Continues In: Essential Moon Knight Vol. 3
Overview: He’s back! Moon Knight returns in his second Essential volume, reprinting the stories from his first ongoing series.
During this run of issues, the Moon Knight titled transitioned into a direct market only title, meaning that fans could only find the book at comic book retailers and not on the spinner rack at your local convenience store. The direct market status came with some benefits to the discerning readers. The comics were ad-free and were eventually upgraded to a better paper quality. In addition, Marvel could start to tell somewhat more mature stories in this format.
Most of the stories are one-and-done, but there are the occasional multi-part stories. We are introduced to a pair of foes that would be regulars in Moon Knight’s rogues gallery – Morpheus and Scarlet. I think the development of the supporting characters in the book helps enhance the title character.
The best stories are found towards the end of the book, and the end of artist Bill Sienkiewicz’s run on the title. In particular, issue #26 with the “Hit It” story works on multiple levels, striking a powerful blow at the reader.
What makes this Essential?: These are really good issues, and they translate well into the black & white format. As I mentioned before, I’ve never been a fan of Moon Knight. To me, he seemed to just be Marvel’s version of Batman, albeit with multiple personalities.
But I read an interesting theory in the preparation of this review that made me rethink my position. As seen in this volume, some cover art is done by Frank Miller, who was bringing his legendary run on Daredevil to a conclusion in this time frame. Soon after, Miller started doing some work for DC, including Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. Now, the Batman that most people think of when we hear the character’s name most often is the Frank Miller-influenced Batman that came out of those two stories. And since Miller worked on Moon Knight before he worked on Batman, you could (maybe) make the case that Batman is actually DC’s version of Moon Knight. It may be a stretch, but it’s an idea I want to think some more about.
Anyway, buy this book, whether it is for the character, the Doug Moench stories, or the beautiful Bill Sienkiewicz artwork.
If you like this volume, try: Daredevil: Love and War from the 1980s Marvel Graphic Novel line. This is an incredible Daredevil story from Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz that often gets overlooked. The Kingpin has kidnapped a psychiatrist in hopes of helping his wife Vanessa recover. Daredevil must stop the Kingpin and rescue the psychiatrist, as well as the psychiatrist’s wife, who is being held by a psychotic killer on behalf of the Kingpin. This is a beautiful book that is best viewed as the Marvel Graphic Novel, in order to get the proper scaling for the pages. I’ve been on record that I was NOT a Sienkiewicz fan when he took over the art on New Mutants. I hated his work and only stayed with the book because I actually had a mail subscription to the title. But Love and War was 180-degree turn for me in my opinions of Sienkiewicz. I suddenly got his art and thought it was incredible. Please check out this story however you can find it.