Friday, April 17, 2015


Script: Doug Moench | Art: Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod
Colors: Steve Oliff | Editor: Rick Marschall

The Plot: (story 1) Steven Grant pays a visit to his friend Jason, an amateur astronomer, at Jason’s estate on the night of a total lunar eclipse. But as they prepare to view the eclipse, Grant catches sight of three hoods approaching the house. He excuses himself, changes to Moon Knight, and finds one of the thugs, incapacitating him, but is unable to locate the others. After a fruitless search, Moon Knight is knocked unconscious by a lumbering behemoth during the full eclipse. Eventually he comes around and returns to Jason’s home as Steven Grant.

(story 2) Bruce Banner has traveled to upstate New York to keep the Hulk away from populated areas on the night of the total lunar eclipse. But Banner unknowingly wanders into the grounds of an estate, where he comes across three men preparing to rob it. The men chase Banner into the woods but he transforms into the Hulk and takes two of them out. The third escapes and Hulk goes looking for him but instead, at the height of the full eclipse, he runs into a caped figure and slaps him unconscious, then walks on, pleased to see the moon returning to normal.

Continuity Notes: Grant notes that Marlene was unable to come to Jason’s because “…she's free to live her own life” and goes on to imply that she's on a date. Up to now we always saw Marlene lounging about in Grant’s bedroom, dressed and otherwise, and they were clearly a couple. But based on these thoughts, apparently they have what’s sometimes called an “open relationship”.

It's once again noted that Moon Knight’s strength ebbs and flows with the phases of the moon. At the height of the eclipse, he is no stronger than a normal man.
Banner recalls that he used to change into the Hulk when there was a full moon, as seen in the earliest issues of his comic book series.

Though obviously not acknowledged by either character, since they're completely unable to see each other when they cross paths, this is the second time Moon Knight and the Hulk have met, following DEFENDERS 48 – 51.
My Thoughts: This is certainly the most creative concept for a story we've yet seen starring Moon Knight, and it's a great idea for this character in particular, tied as he is to the moon. The story could have been told with Moon Knight and most any other Marvel star, but since this is a backup feature in the Hulk's magazine, and since Moench is the regular writer of both the lead Hulk story and the backup every month, the Hulk becomes the logical choice, and it works well enough.

If I have a single issue with "An Eclipse, Waxing" and its companion, it's that Moench does not write the Hulk well. I've never read the lead features from the magazines, since I only own the Moon Knight material in reprint format, but I'm curious if this is how Moench presented the jade giant regularly. In any case, it's certainly not the version of the Hulk I'm familiar with, straddling a line between his dumb and smart personas. He's somewhat childlike, in that he doesn't understand where the moon went and initially thinks the three hoodlums stole it, but that childish persona doesn't usually speak like this version of the Hulk, who, while referring to himself in the third person as normal, has a much better grasp on grammar and uses far more complete sentences than any iteration of the dumb Hulk I've ever seen.

But the above is really only a minor blemish on an otherwise novel story from Moench. The artwork serves his concept well too, with Bob McLeod proving himself a brilliant match for Bill Sienkiewicz's moody pencils. Their Moon Knight is great as usual, and their Hulk is absolutely, perfectly on-model with the seventies iteration of the character. The beautiful night-time colors from Steve Oliffe are lovely as well, completing a wonderful artistic package.

These stories may not reside in the (admittedly small) pantheon of The Greatest Moon Knight Stories Ever Told, but they're clever and fun, and that's really all that matters in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment