SCRIPT: Chuck Dixon
PENCILS: Sal Velluto
INKS: Tom Palmer
COVER: Jackson Guice
Picking up from last issue, Punisher coldly treating Midnight as a casualty that should never have been in the fight causes a fight between him and Moon Knight. Spider-Man intervenes and they all reluctantly team up to track down the Secret Empire after Punisher fills them in on exactly who they are up against.
IN THE MEANTIME. . .at the hidden Secret Empire base, we see that Midnight is not actually dead, and the Secret Empire has some sort of plan for him which requires he be transferred to another location.
Back with the heroes, Spidey, Punisher, and Moon Knight use a tracker in Moon Knight's stolen costume to follow the Secret Empire to a junkyard. The trail seems to go cold until Secret Empire gunmen begin popping out of secret hatches everywhere! As the heroes fight their way inside the hidden base, Frenchie strafes them from above in an attack helicopter, but he is shot down. . .again.
Inside the base, the Secret Empire leadership realizes that they've bitten off more than they can chew and retreat, taking the unconscious Midnight with them and leaving the one who brought the trouble down on them by going after "Moon Knight" in the first place behind to cover their escape.
Moon Knight catches the Secret Empire commander left behind and comes close to killing him as he tries to get information on what happened to Midnight, but Punisher steps in at the last minute, gaining the needed information and then killing the Secret Empire commander despite promising not to, and showing Moon Knight and Spider-Man just how different he is from them.
To be continued. . .
Despite most of this issue being a pretty typical and honestly forgettable comic book running fight scene as the heroes punch and shoot their way into the hidden Secret Empire base, I enjoyed it quite a bit. . .but not for the fighting. There's actually quite a bit of meat on the bone when it comes to dialogue and interaction between the three characters.
Dixon does a great job with the Punisher here. . .once again stealing the show even though he's a guest in someone else's comic. His jabs at Spider-Man and Moon Knight wearing masks and trying to be the hero are great, and his bluntly telling Spider-Man that they aren't a team OR friends was probably the best part of the comic! You can definitely tell why Dixon was tapped out of Moon Knight in just a few more issues by Marvel to take on writing the Punisher.
Overall, this is a pretty typical and forgettable comic book punch-fest, but under that surface layer of "meh", there's a lot to like here in the dialogue between the three characters. . .especially if you're a Punisher fan like myself. There's also some great character moments with Moon Knight as well, especially when he almost kills the Secret Empire commander at the end and he questions what he might have done if Punisher hadn't stepped in to do the hard thing. Is he REALLY the hero he wants to be?
Dixon does a great job digging into these characters in what's honestly a pretty small space between fight scenes. I really like the way he plays Moon Knight, Spider-Man, and Punisher off of each other and am looking forward to see how this ends.
And there you have it. . .issues #11 - #20 of Marc Spector: Moon Knight.
Overall, writer Chuck Dixon continues straight down the character path he established in the very first issue. . .fast-paced, two-fisted adventure without the psychological or supernatural trappings normally found in Moon Knight stories. It might be a little basic for readers coming into Moon Knight from other series runs, but for MY money I say that this would be a great introduction for readers coming in cold on the character for the first time. Start with the basics and move on to the deeper stuff.
I've read reviews of the collected editions of this series (there are basically NO reviews of the individual issues beyond the first few to be found, so Longbox Junk notches that one again) and Dixon is sort of bagged on for his writing here. He is generally regarded as one of the worst Moon Knight writers on this series. . .but in MY extremely humble opinion, that's just sour grapes from fans wanting their deep, dark Moon Knight. This stripped-down version is actually sort of refreshing, and yes, I AM a big fan of those deeper stories too.
Of this particular batch of issues, it's interesting to see that most of them (8 out of the 10) actually focus more on Marc Spector than on Moon Knight, which I can see as Dixon trying to set Moon Knight apart from being "Marvel's Batman" by showing that Marc Spector is just as interesting a character as Moon Knight. I don't think the execution of the idea came off as great as it COULD have, but I can appreciate the effort.
All in all, despite some sag in the middle coming from storylines being extended to four issues instead of the snappy two or three issue stories the series started off with, as well as some art problems that (to be fair) got corrected pretty quickly, this was another batch of good, solid superhero action.
Up Next. . .
We're one third of the way through the series!
Wait. . .ONE THIRD? That's it? Jeez, I DID bite off a chunk this time.
BUT I AIN'T A QUITTER, SON!
Marc Spector: Moon Knight, Part three! Issues 21 - 30!
Chuck Dixon leaves Moonie for Punisher after #24. . .what happens then?
Be there or be square!