Review: Moon Knight Annual #1 Sends Marc Spector Through Time

The Acts of Evil story arc has been unleashed upon the heroes in the Marvel Universe. It actually doesn’t really involve a full “comic book event” but instead focuses on heroes having to fight foes they haven’t crossed paths with before–similar to 1990 Marvel event Acts of Vengeance except there’s not a group of villains pushing for the different battles. It’s a more logical approach to storytelling and makes sense that the heroes would eventually find themselves fighting other bad guys beyond their usual rogues gallery in the shared comic universe they reside in.

Moon Knight’s annual pairs him up with an unexpected wrongdoer–Kang the Conqueror.

At first, this seems like a pretty bizarre match up. Kang is a time traveling conqueror or various civilizations with advanced weapons and technology at his disposal. Moon Knight is a former mercenary, reborn via an Egyptian lunar god, who later developed schizophrenia after juggling too many different aliases while fighting crime. Throughout the story, written by Cullen Bunn, we see this is a perfect pairing.

Given Kang’s past as Rama-Tut, it would seem he could have a more obvious connection to Moon Knight or Khonshu. Bunn doesn’t necessarily go this route. While the story does begin in Egypt during 2500 B.C. with a conflict against Khonshu’s followers, and even the essence of Khonshu, it’s all done during his Kang persona.

Kang manages to rewrite history after coming into contact with three sacred totems. Because of the unpredictable and unstable nature time travel, the conflict in the past caused the totems to scatter across time. Kang is able to manipulate the timestream due to his contact with the totems. In the present, Marc Spector continues fighting as Moon Knight in a strange world he feels is not his world. With a little help, Moon Knight is set upon a mission to locate the totems in different eras before Kang can regain possession of them.

The art by Ibrahim Moustafa and Matt Horak mixed with Mike Spicer’s colors fit the story nicely. Moon Knight is a character that visually works best in dark scenes. Here, Moon Knight does find himself in different times and places, but even the vibrant and brighter scenes don’t come across as too glossy. There’s a kind of sheen with the muted colors that really compliments the vibe of the story.

You don’t really associate time travel with Moon Knight. Bunn’s story makes it feel almost natural. Along the way, we discover Marc Spector wasn’t the first to serve as Khonshu’s avatar in the mortal realm. This might seem like common sense, but it’s really cool to see the different Moon Knights across time. The idea of others having taken on the mantle of Moon Knight adds more layers to Khonshu’s history, and makes Marc feel like more than just some dude who dresses up in a white outfit to fight bad guys.

It’s no secret how deeply I care about Moon Knight. Bunn, Moustafa, Horak, and Spicer have delivered a different kind of Moon Knight story. Given some of Bunn’s past work, he could have easily given us a dark or macabre story. Instead, he wrote big adventure while adding to Khonshu’s past. This shows it is possible to tell different kinds of stories with a character with success.

There is a deep hunger for more adventures and this annual satisfies the need for the time being. We may not have seen the usual deep focus on Marc Spector and his struggle over the various identities he’s acquired since becoming Khonshu’s avatar, but Bunn does write an intriguing story while adding a little more to the overall mythos of the character. Let’s hope we can see more Moon Knight stories written by Bunn or someone of equal calibre.

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