SCRIPT: J. M. DeMatteis
PENCILS: Ron Garney
INKS: Tom Palmer
COVER: Bill Sienkiewicz
Continuing from last issue, we find New York City is plagued by a spree of firebombs. Scarlet has written a letter to the Daily Bugle claiming that she is purifying the city with fire in the name of . Which, of course, begs the question of why firebombs when in the previous two issues she was able to summon fire? And where are all the other NYC superheroes? Spidey WORKS at the Daily Bugle, right? BUT I DIGRESS!
We see that Scarlet is plagued by a vision of a man and a woman dancing around a campfire, with lots of extremely pretentious and wordy mental monologuing about the ecstasy of burning and ancient priestesses which makes no sense at all, but at this point, I'm just sort of rolling with things. All I know is that if I were actually subscribing to this series in 1991, I probably would have cancelled it around #28. BUT THERE I GO AGAIN!
Moon Knight is busy saving people from burning buildings on his own because I guess he's the only superhero noticing dozens of buildings blowing up in New York City. He encounters a group of Scarlet's disciples setting a bomb. . .because I guess she's lost her magical fire powers since last issue. . .he fights them, but the group of four young girls beat the superhero martial arts master unconscious. Probably not Moon Knight's finest moment.
When he wakes up from his beating at the hands of teenage girls, Moon Knight starts having visions of the same thing that's been tormenting Scarlet. . .but thankfully minus about half of the cribbed William Blake internal anguish she was having. This somehow tells him exactly where Scarlet is, because, well, just because?
We switch scenes to the hospital where Moon Knight's friend Mr. Crawley has been recovering from Scarlet's attack in the first issue of this merry mess. Scarlet is standing over the bed with a lit match (Her fire powers once again mysteriously absent in the exact issue where she would have been using them the most) and muttering to herself about .
SURPRISE, CRAZY LADY! Moon Knight jumps up out of the bed, where he'd been hiding, and grabs her. He demands to know just what the is going on with her. . .exactly the same thing I demand! She tells him that it's too late for love and. . .blasts him with her friggin' fire powers that have been absent until now! The whole hospital goes up in flame due to her plot-specific moment of fire rage.
Scarlet makes her escape while Moon Knight saves people from the hospital. She waits for him to get done and find her by dancing in the rain and lightning on top of the Brooklyn Bridge while having visions of an ancient priestess dancing around a campfire. . .visions that Moon Knight is also having back at the hospital. Once again, they somehow tell Moon Knight were to go.
Moon Knight confronts Scarlet on the bridge again (hopefully this time standing away from the edge) and they start talking about past lives, reincarnation, and how there's no salvation for her. Scarlet begs Moon Knight to kill her because she doesn't deserve to live, any more than this comic deserves a decent review.
Moon Knight calms her down a bit, but then she pulls the old surprise knife again! Moonie ain't falling for that game a second time, seeing as he's still got stitches from the last time she pulled a sticker on him. He grabs her hand and tells her to stop acting crazy. . .he's just a man and he can't save her soul, and he sure isn't going to let her stab him again.
Scarlet sees a vision of flames in the water below and decides it's time to finally end this rotten story by jumping off the bridge. Moon Knight dives in after her, but comes up empty. He looks for her all night, before saying a prayer for her soul and giving up.
Thank it's over. I've read reviews of this series that bag on Chuck Dixon as the worst writer of the whole run. I heartily disagree. Dixon may have been a bit basic, but at least he was consistent and his stories were actually readable. In the course of Longbox Junkin' you can believe I've read some pretty bad stories. This was one of the worst that I've read in quite a while.
The writer was so far in his own headspace that he forgot he was writing for other people. There might have been a point to this story DeMatteis was trying to make, but I can't see it. Hopefully, this is a low point for this series, because I've still got a LOT of issues to go.
Overall, the finish to this story was all over the place. Scarlet's flame powers come and go as needed by the story. Moon Knight gets the Khonshu pounded out of him by teenage girls. Buildings are exploding in New York City and Moon Knight is the only superhero on the job. DeMatteis doubles down on the pretentious William Blake-infused inner monologue with each issue. Summed up: This was a hard story to get through. I feel like I've accomplished something by actually reading every word of it.
Talk about contrast. This batch of Marc Spector: Moon Knight issues is a study in contrast. Two good issues, three "okay" issues, and a solid FIVE bad issues. We go from straightforward two-fisted superhero action to overwrought internal drama.
Look. . .I've read good stuff by J.M. DeMatteis. Captain America, The Defenders, Weird War Tales, even : Apocalypse (No, really. . .it's pretty good. Check it out). This is not good. I'm not sure where his head was when he was writing this, but the decisions made here and the inconsistency of the whole story where DeMatteis is normally a lot tighter make me wonder if he was going through something that was distracting him from his work. This is so bad that I don't know what to make of it.
Whatever was going on with DeMatteis when he wrote the stinker of a story that makes up half of this batch of Marc Spector: Moon Knight, it made getting through the back half of these issues a hard row to hoe.
The first half was pretty good. Yeah, Dixon was coasting along toward his finish line, but at least his last issues were decent, with the Spidey/Moon Knight/Punisher teamup showing some really good writing.
The filler issue between Dixon and DeMatteis was a bit of a clunker, but I highly suspect that it was actually a leftover unused "Acts of Vengeance" story that was dusted off and thrown in on short notice.
SO. . .here we are, halfway through. Thirty more issues to go. What happens next? Let's find out!
Up Next. . .
More Marc Spector: Moon Knight!
Issues 31-40, heading down the back half of the series.
Will it get any better? I sure hope so!
Be there or be square.