Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Moon Knight- Countdown To Dark

MOON KNIGHT: COUNTDOWN TO DARK (Marvel, 2010; Hardcover)
Collects selections from Hulk Magazine Nos. 11-15, 17, 18, 20, 21 and Marvel Preview No. 21 (cover dates February, 1979- May, 1980).
This is probably as close to a Moon Knight Masterworks as we're going to get. The Marvel Premiere Classic line gets it right, though. Nice paper and sewn binding in a hardcover format at a lower price point than the Masterworks line, albeit with a lower page count. Moon Knight is, at best, a strictly third tier character in terms of popularity. I have always had a soft spot for him, what with his schizophrenia/ multiple personality disorder and 'more Batman than Batman' attitude during this era. Moon Knight was a regular back-up feature in the full color Hulk Magazine, and the artwork for those issues was originally airbrushed. I have no idea if these are all scans or insanely complicated color reconstruction jobs. Most of the pages look excellent, although there a few "fuzzy" looking, probably scanned pages scattered throughout the book. Most people probably wouldn't notice, but my uber-anal-retentive, OCD-laden eyes can pick them out.
Writer Doug Moench does some really neat scene changes that were pretty groundbreaking at the time but have since become commonplace. He didn't do as many caption/ third party narratives as most writers did back then. He used dialogue shifts to change scenes, i.e. someone would be talking and the scene would shift with someone finishing the line, but moving the other scene forward. Bill Sienkiewicz is a fan favorite artist, but not one of my mine. His work devolved into a scratchy mess as he went along, but here he does his best Neal Adams riffs to much success. It's a shame that he had to drastically alter his style a few years later.
This is a great read for those unfamiliar with the character. These issues were collected in black and white (along with his early Werewolf By Night appearances) in Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1. Either way, you can't go wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting -- not knowing much about Hulk Magazine, I had assumed that it was a black-and-white magazine like Marvel's horror titles, and that the stories in this volume were originally published in B&W as a result. The fact that they look so good in the first Essential Moon Knight trade, which I have, only made me feel even more secure in that belief. But from what you're saying, it sounds like that's not right at all, and I'm now very curious to check out this hardcover and see how the stories stack up against the B&W versions in the Essential.

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