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Underrated: Vengeance Of The Moon Knight: Shock And Awe

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: the multi-part crossover event Vengeance Of The Moon Knight: Shock And Awe.

I was actually going to write about a totally different book for today’s column, but when I was recording a podcast yesterday, I spend the best part of an hour and a half playing with a Moon Knight figure from Marvel Legends, which then led me to checking what Moon Knight books I owned. Not many, if I’m honest. My options were either this, the sequel or Midnight Son because I don’t have the Warren Ellis run in trade and I was too lazy to dig through my comic boxes to find it (even if I know exactly where it is).

This is the same image on the trade’s cover, and
I didn’t realize it wasn’t until it was already uploaded…

So, Vengeance Of The Moon Knight: Shock And Awe was the book that I ended up grabbing.

I remember really enjoying it the first time I read the series, ten or eleven issues set right at the end of the Dark Reign era of Marvel Comics which found Norman Osborn as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the “official” Avengers being made up of a group of villains in disguise (Bullseye as Hawkeye, Mac Gargan’s Venom as Spider-Man, Daken as Wolverine and a few others I can’t remember off the top of my head). This sits in the background of this story, with Moon Knight’s antics being set to a backdrop of billboards and advertisements for the villains heroes. The real conflict in the book comes, as with so many great stories featuring Moon Knight, from whether he can control his dissociative identity disorder or if his bloodlust will rear it’s ugly head once again.

The book opens with Jake Lockley in control as Moon Knight, gently letting his comrades and friends know that Marc Spector is gone. Moon Knight’s reputation for excessive violence in his vigilante activities is played to great effect in this book – both by the supporting characters being surprised that there’s no blood on his white costume, and be his constant refusal to maim and kill, which adds to his internal struggle as the primary antagonist shows up in the book.

You don’t need to have read a lot of Moon Knight comics in the past to enjoy this book, nor its subtle dig at Batman’s willingness to use excessive force when facing off against multiple criminals, because this is a self contained story about a man looking for redemption on the biggest stage possible for his previous actions.

This isn’t one of the defining runs in Moon Knight’s history, but it is a lot of fun – and that’s why it’s a great candidate for today’s Underrated column. Check it out if you ever get a chance.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.