It's a weird thing to say about a fictional character, but it's true: it's a good time to be Moon Knight.
He's starring in the ongoing title Vengeance of the Moon Knight, is a member of the new Secret Avengers roster, and looks to play a major role in the upcoming Marvel Comics street-level superhero soiree Shadowland. Such a major role, in fact, that he's anchoring his own three-issue tie-in series set for August, Shadowland: Moon Knight, written by Vengeance of the Moon Knight scribe Gregg Hurwitz and penciled by recent Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth artist Bong Dazo.
Given that Hurwitz is writing both books, it's easy to wonder why the story couldn't simply be told in three Shadowland-branded issues of the current ongoing. Hurwitz tells that Shadowland—and Moon Knight's part in it—is a big enough deal to justify the separate series.
"VoMK focuses on big events in the life and work of our favorite vigilante," Hurwitz writes via e-mail. "And while he certainly crosses paths with Marvel's worst and finest, Shadowland is really the culmination of what we've been doing with Moon Knight—it's his feet-first entry into the thick of Marvel happenings!"
The star of Shadowland, clearly, is Daredevil, whose actions as new leader of ninja assassins The Hand and construction of the namesake Shadowland prison drive the plot of the crossover. Hurwitz confirms that Moon Knight is one of the next most important characters in the event, as hinted at by the promotional teaser revealed last month depicting the former Mark Spector in the middle of a skirmish with Ghost Rider.
"MK will be involved in some of the key conflicts, fights, and reveals of Shadowland," Hurwitz writes. "He's at the center of the event with a few others."
Life's been alright for Moon Knight lately, and not just because he's in a lot of comics. In recent Vengeance issues, he's stepped away from his violent tendencies and managed to become a more traditional hero, with his Jake Lockley personality dominant—he's even under the leadership of former Captain America Steve Rogers in Secret Avengers. But as its name suggests, Shadowland is a dark place, bound to test Moon Knight's new outlook.
"This story will play with themes of darkness for MK—can he keep to the standard he set in 'Shock and Awe'? Let's just say that the temptations to the dark side—toward violence—are stronger in S-land than they've ever been for our boy," Hurwitz writes.
Specifically, the series will see the return of The Profile, a villain introduced in the previous Moon Knight ongoing in 2006 by Charlie Huston and David Finch. The Profile manages to track down a second avatar of Khonshu (the Egyptian god that's the source of Moon Knight's powers), which generally suggests bad news for the protagonist.
"He's taken a very personal interesting in MK since 'Shock and Awe' (since it's hard to profile MK—after all, which MK is one profiling at any time?)," Hurwitz writes, adding that The Profile is one of his favorite characters. "MK poses for him the ultimate challenge. And the Profile has finally gotten traction on his profile of MK—what makes the man tick. And his only interest is in using that profile to inflict maximum damage. Fun, huh?"
There's someone else in Moon Knight's Shadowland sights: Daredevil himself. Being that Moon Knight has recently redeemed himself from a bit of darkness, he's looking to do the same for Matt Murdock—but, as Hurwitz shares, "characters can't always stick to their goals."
"I don't want to give away the nature of how and why they meet," Hurwitz writes of the inevitable Moon Knight-Daredevil confrontation in Shadowland: Moon Knight, "but let's just say that they're trains heading for a collision course."
The bulk of Hurwitz's bibliography are crime novels and MAX titles—this is his first participation in a bona fide comic book crossover.
"It's been fun and very cool," he writes. "A great opportunity to work with some of the other talents at Marvel."
He's also pleased to be working with Dazo, praising the artist for his "wonderful character work." Marvel Comics Executive Editor Axel Alonso shares that he feels Dazo is uniquely equipped to illustrate a Moon Knight title.
"Moon Knight is the kind of book that really takes off when you’ve got an artist who lays down a lot of detail—like David Finch or, more recently, Juan Jose Rhyp," Alonso writes via e-mail. "Bong is just that kind of artist. He never takes a panel off, so to speak."
This increased visibility of Moon Knight suggests that the character, 35 years old this summer and with several canceled titles in his wake, might finally be ascending from a somewhat obscure cult favorite to a Deadpool-style breakout character. Alonso thinks he's got a shot.
"We sure hope so! We’ve been building to this for some time," Alonso writes. "Moon Knight has finally garnered some acceptance amongst his peers, the question is, can he maintain it?"More on Shadowland: