So around 2 months ago I took a look at Avengers #18, a tie-in comic to Marvels War of the Realms event which didn't feature the Avengers at all. That issue instead focused on formerly introducing the newest version of the Squadron Supreme (of America). I took a look at that issue for 2 reasons: I wanted to talk about a tie-in book done right and I just really, really liked it. Now that the comic book industry is slowly, but surely, starting back up again I wanted to use the opportunity to look at a newer book and that I could kill two birds with one stone. Write a One-Shot about a relatively recent book and get to talk about the Avengers proper this time. Turns out though, this book has once again not the Avengers themselves as its focus, but the (anti-)hero Moon Knight instead. Oh well.
Let´s dive in.
The plot of the issue is rather simple and straightforward: it chronicles Moon Knight's journey in stealing the powers of many magic-based superheroes of the Marvel Universe. He starts with challenging Danny Rand AKA Iron Fist for the power of the Iron Fist. Danny is reluctant to fight him, thinking he might have another 'episode' as Moon Knight is known to have mental problems, and Moon Knight uses this to his advantage and takes the Iron Fist away from him. He sucker-punches Dr Strange, steals Ghost Rider's car and even manages to get his hands on Mjolnir. He fails to get the powers of the Black Panther though but decides that it'll have to do. What is his goal? Well, that the one thing you're going to have to read for yourself.
First off, I like to talk about the way the issue is structured. The book jumps right into the thick of things without really explaining what is going on. You're given pieces of the puzzle, enough to get a general idea but you're going to have to wait for future issues to get the full context. Starting your story like that creates intrigue, the reader keeps reading because they want to see how it all fits together. Jason Aaron does that all rather well here, though I do think the story feels a little disjointed and it isn't a truly satisfying read.
How are the other aspects of the book? How's the art, humour and how are the characters themselves? Pretty good, if not a bit standard. The art is typical for this run, the same as it was with issue 18. It aims for realism while having bright, colours and showing just the right amount of detail in the costumes, background etc. The art is at its best at the beginning of the book during the Iron Fist fight. It makes an attempt for the fight to be more than just kicks and punches, to show Martial Arts and it does so pretty well. Showing the names of each of the moves is a bit too much for me though. When it comes to humour, the book is pretty mixed. Aaron has tried to match the book's tone to that of the movies, where humour is an integral part of the formula, but he has always struggled with this. There isn't a lot of humour in this issue in particular, but what is there feels forced or is unintentionally corny.
|Yeah... See what I mean with forced and/or unintentionally corny moments?|
The character work has always been one of the better aspects of this current Avengers run, in my opinion at least, and that isn't much different here. I don't personally have a lot of experience with Moon Knight, but from what I do know about the character his appearance here seems faithful. The inner-dialogue also helps in understanding the character and building some sympathy for him and I do appreciate the book cycling through different versions of his costume. It's not only a fun easter-egg and visually stunning, but I feel there's more to it than that. The book also continues to use what I like to call the 'TV Justice League' approach of not featuring every member of the team in every issue and it works well here. The Avengers, although their appearances are brief, are effective and well handled.
So with all that said, it the issue any good? Yes, it is. It might not put its focus on the Avengers and may feel a bit disjointed, but it's well written, has good art and sets up an intriguing story arc. Would I recommend it? Again, yes, but only if you're interested in what you read here, have been reading this Avenger run already or are a fan of Moon Knight. If you're because you want to read about the Avengers, I would check out another book. Maybe pick an issue from earlier in this run.