West Coast Avengers, Vol. 2, Issue 29 (February 1988)
WEST COAST CREDITS!
Writer: Steve Englehart
Layouts: Al Milgrom
Finished art: Mike Machlan
WEST COAST SUMMARY!
Having escaped from the West Coast Avengers, the Human Taurus looks to create a new Zodiac Cartel, starting with the Shroud. But the Moon Knight is hot on his trail for breaking his Oath to the Moon. That’s right! He broke the Oath to the Moon! This is fucking serious!
WEST COAST THOUGHTS!
This issue is pretty much one long chase scene with the Moon Knight versus Taurus.
The issue starts off with Taurus meeting with the Shroud as he wants to rebuild the Zodiac Cartel. The Shroud can keep doing what he’s doing in Los Angeles, and all he’s got to do is change his name to Pisces. Luckily for the four Shroud fans out there, he likes his name just the way it is. At the end of the second page, Moon Knight appears and kicks off the issue’s epic chase.
Devoting an entire issue to Moon Knight was a smart choice for Englehart because this gives us a chance to figure out just who this guy is and what his place is on the team. To be honest, I’ve never been able to wrap my head around Moon Knight as a character, and I’m confident I’m not alone on this, which is probably why he’s never managed to carry his own book for too long (I have high hopes for Brian Michael Bendis’ interpretation of the character!).
That said, considering that Englehart is the Master of Exposition, I’m surprised how he lets the action tell us who Moon Knight is rather than interrupting every page with an unnecessary flashback. In fact, the amount of restraint on display here is pretty shocking. I even had to double-check if Englehart actually wrote the issue.
The team appears in the middle of the issue when Shroud contacts them to let them know what Moon Knight is up to. Hawkeye is annoyed that Moon Knight is approaching this solo rather than with the team. By the time they catch up with him at the end of the issue, the chase has come to an end with Taurus trapped in a plane that’s about to crash and Moon Knight needing to be rescued by Iron Man.
Moon Knight is immediately put on probationary status for not only failing to work with the team, but for “looking like” he was trying to kill Taurus. But this last part divides the team as Moon Knight, Mockingbird and Tigra believe that times have changed and that killing might be necessary in this “crueler world”, while Pym, Hawkeye and Iron Man believe in the original ideals founded by the Avengers.
The issue ends with Moon Knight wondering why Mockingbird would be on his side with the final panel revealing the Phantom Rider standing on a mountainside watching the quinjet fly by.
WEST BOAST OR ROAST?
Boast. This might be the best issue of the entire run so far. A huge leap forward.
WEST COAST SCENE (OF THE WEEK)!
This is not the God Squad, people!
Previously on West Coast Wednesdays…