|MOON KNIGHT No. 14, June 2015|
In some ways it is rather hard to understand why this particular instalment of “Moon Knight” saw the title’s popularity plummet to one hundred and thirty-fifth in the April 2015 "Diamond Comic Distributors" Comic Book Sales Figures chart. For despite being just the second story scripted for the series by Bram Stoker Award-nominee Cullen Bunn, “Old Gods’ Favors” contains all of the narrative elements which made the masked vigilante’s earlier adventures (as penned by Warren Ellis) so well-liked.
In fact deed in many ways it’s hard not to imagine this twenty-page tale of man-eating dogs attacking New York’s wealthiest citizenry as having come from the mind of the Essex-born sociocultural commentator. Especially as Bunn begins the magazine with grizzled Detective Flint (once again) examining the mutilated remains of a murder victim alongside the three-piece suited Mister Knight and grumbling about just how “kind of weird” his investigative consultant is.
The alumni of Missouri State University also provides this magazine’s readers with one of the super-hero’s sternest tests yet, as a semi-padded Fist of Khonshu battles a pack of wild frenzied hounds within the confinement of a plush well-to-do restaurant. The subsequent battle is both brutal and bloody, and rarely has Marc Spector been shown to be so close to defeat. Indeed if the savagely mauled Moon God’s agent wasn’t armed with some sort of canine repellent gas, the mercenary would almost certainly have been torn to shreds.
Bunn’s lack-lustre conclusion to such a wonderfully intriguing thrill-ride does however prove to be a bitter disappointment and occurs so abruptly that it arguably suggests “The Damned” co-creator simply ran out of ideas towards the end of the comic. Certainly the American author’s decision to have nothing more than a jealous oafish lout mastermind so vicious a scheme comes as a dissatisfying shock. Particularly when the base-ball capped thug reveals he wanted to knock the wealthy “off their high horses” simply because he’s resentful as to “what makes rich scum so special”.
Equally as disheartening as the writing’s sudden decline, has to be this periodical’s deteriorating artwork. Ron Ackins’ drawings, whilst somewhat stylistically different to his predecessors’ pencilling, is competent enough and definitely helps tell a very feral savage story. Unfortunately though the self-taught illustrator apparently became “the victim of deadlines” and required the assistance of Steve Sanders to ensure that this book’s last few pages were completed on time. Sadly the final result is jarringly poor, despite presumably the efforts of inker Tom Palmer and colorist Dan Brown to create some sense of unification to the two artist’s incompatible styles.
|Writer: Cullen Bunn, Artist: Ron Ackins, and Ink: Tom Palmer|