Top of the Pile: Moon Knight, Alien, X Lives/X Deaths of Wolverine

One of my goals this summer is to get back to reading comic books every day, while simultaneously branching out into new titles. This is independent of my summer reading list but the intent is the same: take a few minutes each day to do something I love.

Moon Knight

Coming off of the the Moon Knight series on Disney+, I found myself itching for more of the white-shrouded vigilante. I got it with Warren Ellis’ 2014 run on the title. By design, his time with Moon Knight only lasted six issues, but they’re six solid issues. The intro blurb for each issue sums things up nicely:

Mercenary Marc Spector died in Egypt, under a statue of the ancient deity Khonshu. He returned to life in the shadow of the moon god and wore his aspect to fight crime for his own redemption. He went completely insane and disappeared.

This is what happened next.

Each issue is a stand alone story featuring Moon Knight taking on some criminal or – in one case – a would-be supervillain. There are references to what came before (which I’m unfamiliar with, given I’ve never read Moon Knight before) but you don’t need to know it to enjoy the run. I would, however, recommend watching the Marvel series first, as it’s an easy way to get caught up on some of the key aspects of the Moon Knight mythos.

The art is striking and the writing is tight; it’s worth picking up (or reading in Marvel Unlimited) if you have the chance.

Alien (Marvel)

One of the stranger twists of the Fox/Disney merger is that the House of Mouse now owns the signature horror franchises Alien and Predator. Unlike Fox-owned X-Men, these violent films with often morally questionable characters are not kid friendly.

It’s unclear what’s going to happen with either franchise going forward on the cinematic front, but when it comes to comic books, Marvel’s taken its first steps into re-spawning the Alien franchise.

Alien and Predator were long the providence of Dark Horse Comics, which published some of the signature books in the series (including the excellent, nightmareish black-and-white Aliens: Book One). I felt a psychic disconnect when I opened up the first issue of the new Marvel Alien series in the Marvel Unlimited app – it felt so strange to see the Marvel logo where the Dark Horse one should be.

Getting past that, the actual title was pretty good. Horror is hard in comic book form; jump scares aren’t a thing, so you’re relying on story and art to create the necessary foreboding and dread. Its first 6 issues – titled “Bloodlines” – accomplishes both, as we’re introduced to Gabriel Cruz. He’s a retired security officer for Weyland-Yutani who’s the sole survivor of an xenomorph attack years earlier. He’s trying to reconcile with his estranged son, but that reconciliation soon involves a new alien threat.

X Lives and X Deaths of Wolverine

X Lives and X Deaths of Wolverine is a follow-up to Marvel’s Inferno. In that limited series, Moria MacTaggert – missing since House of X/Powers of X – is revealed to be conspiring to save mutantdom by erasing their powers. Moria’s own mutant power is to die and be resurrected, rebooting the timeline with her. Having lived so many lives, and having seen all the ways that mutantdom has been crushed, she finds her alternative the most humane.

However, her secret is revealed and instead of being able to go ahead with her plan, she’s forced on the run after Mystique and her wife – the recently-resurrected Destiny – use Forge’s notorious X-gene eliminating gun to strip Moria of her powers.

Whoa … that was a lot. While Inferno didn’t live up the potential of its demon-spawn-filled namesake, it did successfully setup the next major X-arc.

X Lives and X Deaths of Wolverine consists of two limited run titles – X Lives of Wolverine and X Deaths of Wolverine. In the first, Wolverine is sent backwards to time into the consciousness of his former selves to prevent the death of Professor Xavier. In the second, a techno-organic, Phalanx-infused Wolverine stalks through time on his own mission to find Moria MacTaggert and prevent the rise of robots capable of exterminating mutant kind.

I’m enjoying it. There are echoes of Days of Future Past here (how could there not?) and lots of connections to Wolverine’s long history. With a worthwhile read for X-Men fans in general, and Wolverine fans in particular.

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