Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artists: Ibrahim Moustafa, Matt Horak
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Philip Tan, Rain Beredo
Variant Cover Artists: Pasqual Ferry with Chris Sotomayor, John Tyler Christopher
Publisher: Marvel Comics
One of the many aspects of Moon Knight that makes his character so appealing is his struggle with multiple personalities. In Moon Knight Annual #1 (part of Marvel’s “Acts of Evil” annual run), Cullen Bunn and co. give us their own twist on many different versions of Moon Knight via a time-hopping adventure to stop Kang the Conqueror.
During an ancient ceremony, the priests of Khonshu (Moon Knight’s frenemy of a divine protector) seek to protect three artifacts that give one complete control over the time stream. Their ceremony is interrupted by Kang the Conqueror, who wants to mold the time stream into his own image. Unfortunately for Kang, Khonshu and his priests are able to corrupt Kang’s plans, and now, Moon Knight is tasked to travel through time to gather the three artifacts before they fall back into Kang’s control.
So let’s get a TL;DR version of this review out there right now: This issue is a lot of fun. Bunn creates a world that pits Moon Knight against Kang in a Samurai Jack vs. Aku fashion with a time-hopping, Chrono Trigger-esque twist. As mentioned above, we get to meet all kinds of different Moon Knights who are on the same mission to protect time throughout the centuries. Did you know you needed a Wild West Moon Knight with a southern drawl? How about one who takes out Nazis without mercy? If you didn’t yet, you know now.
In addition to the fun ride we get in this perfectly-paced one-shot, we get to see Moon Knight struggle with a very real and very human decision at the end. And while the end result might be somewhat predictable, not everything is sunshine and roses. I don’t know if we’ll see Marc Spector still be haunted by the consequences of his actions in upcoming issues, but regardless, it is a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t feel like a neatly tied-up happy ending.
Moustafa, Horak, and Spicer’s artwork and coloring are how I wish every Marvel book was drawn. It has a classic, penciled, hand-drawn quality with soft and vintage-feeling colors that, along with the story, remind us why we love comicbooks for being — well — comicbook-y. The action flows extremely well and you never feel lost while traveling through rips in time with Moon Knight.
Moon Knight Annual #1 is a wild ride through time that is not only fun but also presents us with a moral what-would-you-do-in-this-situation quandary that makes this the perfect one-shot issue.