So, the problem with my last few weeks is that, between being sick and being overworked and being host to the start of a family invasion of San Francisco (Anyone here who has a problem with people from the west coast of Scotland, your frustration level is potentially going to rise over the next few weeks; My dad is already in town, soon to be followed by both of my sisters and their respective spouses and children. I’m very, very sorry), I am completely behind in the world of comics. The most recent thing that I’ve read was the new Scott Pilgrim – which I loved, albeit with a few reservations, not least of which is that it felt like an ending. As much as I enjoyed it, I’m not sure that I came away from it wanting to know where the story is going to go next, or even feeling as if there’s that much suspense about whether everything will work out for our now-seemingly-invincible eponymous hero – which is a couple of weeks old… which means that reviewing what I’ve been reading lately would be very dull for all of you kids who have probably already heard what the shocking ending of Wednesday’s Civil War #2 is. I was going to give the whole reviewing thing a pass this weekend. And then Joe Quesada gave me the ultimate straight line, while talking about the new Moon Knight series at this week’s Wizard World Philadelphia.
“If you think it's been bad for the first two issues, it gets worse."
Oh, Joe. Having read the second issue, I’m not sure that’s even possible.
Ignoring David Finch’s overly-rendered but completely undynamic art – which, if nothing else, has improved from his Avengers Disassembled days when he couldn’t lay out a page to save his life – the book’s real problem lies with Charlie Huston’s writing, which seems to personify so many current superhero comic trends as to make me think that it’s actually a very subtle parody of mainstream comics these days: Decompression? Check out the one page that consists of twelve wordless panels where three things happen: a character licks his lips, the same character takes three steps forward, and a MoonKnightarang flies through the air. It doesn’t hit anything, of course – that happens on the next page. Terribly written captions that make Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman seem like poetry? How about this (spread across nine different captions in nine panels): “Blame God. And ask, how much more he wants. How many battles? How much blood till it’s enough? Disarm him. You only need a minute. But you hate him so much. Don’t you? And you’ve wanted this for so long,” Terribly written dialogue that read like Brian Bendis as played by Chris Claremont? Try this excerpt from a monologue towards the end of the issue: “I myself once worshipped at the altar of Dionysius. But then, who would know this better than the man who rescued me from my former abasements of self? That cowed avenger who bore such a striking resemblance to this stony-faced specter. If you will forgive me the play on words. Could it be that this unveiling forebodes the return of the Lunar Legionnaire?” Don’t worry, it’s not all about the technical aspects; there is also the hyperviolence that people seem to be concerned about in some of DC’s superhero books recently, as the flashback fight between Moon Knight and some unnamed bad guy ends with the “Lunar Legionnaire” hacking the bad guy’s face off and holding it up to the sky, triumphant.
Apparently, according to the Newsarama article linked above, this Moon Knight series is a “water cooler” book. Unless the talk around the water cooler is “Boy, did you see how bad that book is?”, then I’m completely lost. I couldn’t see anything to enjoy in the second issue at all. There was no joy, no excitement, no anything beyond the desperation to make Moon Knight something other than a kind of goofy Batman rip-off. If I say that the only thing that the book has going for it at all is that it stops Wolverine: Origins from being Marvel’s worst book, then that pretty much gives you an idea of just how Bowel-Shakingly Ass it is.
God, I can’t wait to read some good books again. What would you recommend, dear readers?