This weekend at Heroes Con, Marvel announced the re-launch of a new Moon Knight monthly—Vengeance of the Moon Knight. The current Moon Knight series will go on a short hiatus and re-launch with the new creative team of writer Gregg Hurwitz and artist Jerome Opena. Vengeance of the Moon Knight marks the return of Moon Knight to the heart of the Marvel Universe; as fans will recall, Moon Knight got into a little trouble with Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers—resulting in the “death” of the Marc Specter persona and the reassertion of Jake Lockley persona as the dominant personality. Lockley fled to Mexico to for a short time to escape his pursuers and recover from his near-death experience at the hands of the Dark Avengers. Now, Moon Knight is back in New York—and he’s looking to exact his pound of flesh straight from the man himself—Norman Osborn.
Newsarama contacted both Gregg Hurwitz and Jerome Opena to discuss their plans for Marvel’s favorite Fist of Khonshu.
Newsarama: Gregg, where does Vengeance of the Moon Knight pick-up in light of the current status of Moon Knight in his monthly series?
Gregg Hurwitz: When last we saw him, Moon Knight was put on the run by Osborn & Co. and he's been down in Mexico, biding his time. But he also came into a boatload of cash. So he's been stealthily making plans. And we're gonna learn about those plans when he explodes into the first issue.
NRAMA: How does this story tie-in to the Dark Reign over-arc that's going on in the Marvel Universe beyond the immediate premise?
GH: This Moon Knight will be more closely tied to the Marvel U, so he'll be confronting key players in the Dark Reign plot. And there are plenty of folks unhappy with his reappearance…
NRAMA: Gregg, how do you approach writing a character like Norman Osborn? What makes him standout as a top-tier villain in the Marvel Universe?
GH: For me, I love the cold-hearted bureaucrat. Norman's not a chest-beating villain or a mustache twirler; he's a guy whose moral compass is off, who makes one corrupt decision at a time. He covers his tracks, handles his business with a few words and a politician's smile. And that makes him all the more scary.
NRAMA: You're both connected to Frank Castle's neck of the woods in the Marvel Universe; how much of a departure is Moon Knight from your work with the Punisher?
Jerome Opena: So far, there hasn't been much of a departure. Going from one project to another always has an adjustment period, but I think both characters have enough similarities that it made going from one character to the next not too drastic of a leap.
GH: Both are tough street guys, obviously, but I think the biggest similarity is their sparseness of tone. These aren't guys interested in lots of banter—they're there to get a job done. And more often than not, they do. Moon Knight isn't as much of a cipher as Frank; he's a bit more...socialized (a scary commentary on Frank!), but there's still a lot of darkness beneath those vestments.
NRAMA: Jerome, what are some of the challenges to creating a unique sense of atmosphere for a character like Moon Knight? Is it harder than it looks?
JO: I think at this point in time I'm still trying to get a handle on the character. For myself, there's always an awkward phase at the beginning where I'm just trying to get comfortable with everything and as a result the look of the character or characters is ever evolving . The same can be said for the overall feel or the atmosphere of the book because I don't know if I necessarily have a specific thing in mind at the beginning. I prefer to kind of let everything happen organically and work itself out.
NRAMA: Gregg, what are some of the unique aspects of the Moon Knight character that draw you to the character?
GH: I love his continual search for identity—that's something I'm going to play with a lot in the character. We're going to see a Moon Knight that we've never seen before, and that means he has to catch up to himself in some ways—to hold strong when everyone's rooting for him to fall.
NRAMA: What sort of planning have the two of you put into this project? What can you both say about the collaborative effort?
JO: Working with Gregg has been great because just like with Rick, he gives me a lot of artistic freedom. That being said, I still want to keep it as close to the script as possible and hopefully satisfy what Gregg originally had in mind.
GH: I think of stuff and then Jerome makes me look more talented than I am. His art on this has been sick! I've heard it's illegal in three states.
NRAMA: Were the two of you fans of the character before this project? Do you have any connection to the various series involving the character?
GH: I read Moon Knight going to back when I was a kid, and then I've kept up on the Huston/Benson stuff, enjoying their modern spin.
JO: I've always liked the look of the character, but my only connection to Moon Knight came from an old beat up comic from the 70's that was given to me as a kid. That's about as far as it goes for me.
NRAMA: Between the two of you, what is your favorite moment of Vengeance of the Moon Knight so far?
GH: Issue one, page 13!
JO: Action scenes are always fun, but I would have to say that I really enjoy Moon Knight's interactions with Khonshu. Gregg's written several into this first issue and they're great!
NRAMA: Gregg, to close, now that Moon Knight has been “freed of his demons”, does that put pressure on you as a writer to come up with a new set of conflicts for the character? How does a schizophrenic ever escape his demons truly?
GH: Well, first of all, one never really gets freed of one's demons. They're always there, banging on the cellar door. That said—I am exploring some new conflicts. This is a bigger, badder, improved Moon Knight—can he maintain his new identity, and how long until he fails?