Friday, February 4, 2011

Moon Knight Teaser – Comic Character Mash Ups

Looking at this image for the Bendis/Maleev Moon Knight relaunch, coming to shelves everywhere this May, made me think it looked pretty damn enticing. But I’m intrigued purely by thinking of Moon Knight drawn by Alex Maleev. This teaser, in itself, is actually mildly confusing. While it probably doesn’t actually represent any story beats from the new series it got me to thinking how comics are often sold on mash ups like this. Hit the jump to see some other teases that have mashed comic characters together to maximise the amount of awesome they can fit on one page, and one body.

First, let’s look at the image.

That’s one cool image, but there’s only so much Spidey/Wolvie saturation we can deal with. Moon Knight is a Secret Avenger so he deals with neither of these characters and he’s never been on the main or New Avengers to which these characters belong. He does work with Steve Rogers on the SA but he’s not Cap there and he only uses an energy shield.

Is Bendis saying we can drop all his Avengers titles and just buy this one? It's all we'll need.
Is Moon Knight actually going to have some adamantium claws and don a web-shooter? I doubt it. Will he hoverglide on Cap’s shield like he’s the Green Goblin? Maybe…but probably not. So does this teaser give us any indication of what’s to come…I don’t think so. I don’t see how, though maybe these mentioned characters will have cameos, but making them a part of Moon Knight himself is a strange way to show that.

But, who cares? Does it look cool? Is it pure awesome? Don’t you just love it anyway?

Most people will answer yes. Because we love to see a good mash up. It’s more than just one character we love, it’s a stack we love all walking around at the one time. It does have an appeal. But I think it’s played out by now.

One of the earliest examples I can think of is the Super Skrull in the Fantastic Four. This shape changer had the attributes of the Fantastic Four, and to higher levels. He was the ultimate adversary for this group and it was a great idea. No surprise it came from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Crossing the mythos of one series and character into another is always going to be interesting. I think of Batman as a man who has been exposed to using Kryptonite and offered a Green Lantern. It’s that sort of idea people want to see.

Brubaker dropped a monumental scene in Daredevil when the imposter Devil of Hell’s Kitchen turned out to be an old friend of Matt Murdock’s. That reveal was a moment that simply looked amazing, and it was a good story beat as well.

Then there’s just flat out doing it as fanfic, as we saw in the Amalgam line of comics. I think these covers speak for themselves. They actually were pretty damn cool, I still have a few.

Bendis used the Super Skrull theorem and dialled it up to 11 in Secret Invasion. Here, the challenge was thrown out to create the best mash ups for the Skrulls to embody and the fun of many of the splash pages was in looking for which collaborations these Skrulls were using. It was like a Where’s Waldo? exercise in nerd trivia.

To my mind, there’s no doubt it worked. It was one of the most fun aspects of that whole event. I still think Jason Aaron got the best one with his Super Skrull in Black Panther, check it out for proof.

But I’m noticing a trend that Bendis likes to play to the fanlad sensibility of being enamoured with mashed up characters. Secret Invasion obviously did it for him. He also used the Venom Wolvie teaser for New Avengers – a moment that never actually occurred in the comic, if memory serves. But it looked cool, and it was in absolutely every comic.

Bendis’ last arc on New Avengers saw Wolverine absorb a bunch of other powers to defeat the big bad. It was a moment that was so insanely cool that it had to be ruined on the cover of the issue where it barely took place.

Are you seeing a pattern yet? Now we have this Moon Knight teaser. How many times can Bendis put a bunch of his favourite characters into the one body?

How long until he’s basically just creating his scripts in Photoshop and turning out this sort of stuff?


Nah, he wouldn't do that. It's become abundantly clear he just likes to use Wolverine for these mash ups, or at least his claws. Like being indestructible, having claws, being hairy, and still getting the girl isn't enough for one man.

This Moon Knight teaser image is something, I'll give it that. I’m interested to know who will be picking up Moon Knight in May. I’m on the fence, so far. I'm sure the $3.99 is only for the first issue but having dirged through the Spider-Woman series I just don't have an automatic add for this creative team anymore. Even Scarlet, which I thought started really strong, has slipped a little. I don't think it's trash, yet, but it's not amazing me like that debut did.

If you have any suggestions of who Bendis will amalgamate next, or ones he’s done before and I missed, then drop us a line in the comments.

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Stephen Waniak said...

Jason Aaron's Black Panther story was the single best tale to come out of Secret Invasion.

I'm a huge Amalgam junkie. I have a good number of those issues, and the two DC trades. For some reason, though, the Marvel trades seem to be tough to find, and are sadly out of my price range.

Stephen Waniak said...

Also, let's not forget this fantastic sorta-mashup:

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Thanks, Stephen - I had never seen that before. I didn't think mash ups were all that awesome, but that pic single handedly changed my mind. Wow.

Zdenko said...

That Wolverin/Venom mash-up occured during the Venom Bomb issues of New Avengers. Wolverine was shown with the simbiote that was oozing over him, his healing factor fighting it and all that.

Michael said...

I read that particular New Avengers issue a couple of months ago. It was part of a pseudo crossover with Mighty Avengers where New York came under a Venom symbiote attack and most of our heroes were briefly venomized.

I think the only ones that were unscathed were Luke Cage (because of his steel skin) and Iron Man (because of his armor). Logan was briefly effected, but his healing factor soon got rid of the symbiote.

Stephen Waniak said...

@Ryan: Yep, that was from one of the first issues of Rick Remender's Punisher series. Shortly after, Frank did some freaky damage with that helmet and a pizza. Mr. Remender doing what he does best.

Logan said...

@ Ryan If you wanted to see it, heres the Moment of the Week from Punisher #5 (The issue where we see mashup Frank being awesome)

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