Hurwitz's Moon Knight Rises Over "Shadowland"

Moon Knight and Daredevil both patrol the mean streets of the Marvel Universe's New York City, meting out rough justice to any law breakers that cross their paths. Lately, however, their styles of crime fighting have changed. Daredevil, who used to have a strong compunction against killing, as of late has become much more aggressive and angry in his war against crime, even going so far as to take command of the ninja assassin cult known as the Hand in an attempt to turn them into his own anti-crime army. Meanwhile, the typically much more violent Moon Knight is moving in the opposite direction. The split-personality superhero recently arranged for his old secret identity of Marc Spector to "die" and adopted a new persona who desperately wants to be a hero, Jake Lockley. He also appears to have finally gained control of his tormentor Khonshu, a spectral being that is either the Egyptian God of Vengeance or a figment of Moon Knight's deluded imagination. The end result is that Moon Knight is actively attempting to be a hero instead of savagely assaulting his foes, which doesn't suit Daredevil's plans at all. In the three issue "Shadowland: Moon Knight" miniseries, which begins in August, Daredevil places a Machiavellian scheme in motion with designs to bring down the title character. CBR News spoke with writer Gregg Hurwitz about the series, which picks up elements from his "Vengeance of the Moon Knight" series and plays an integral role in Marvel's overall "Shadowland" saga, which begins in July.

"Shadowland" will involve most of Marvel Comics' street level characters and Hurwitz is happy to have Moon Knight be part of it. "We were searching for ways to get these characters to match up and come together, because a lot of these guys are not your logical team players and they're not your logical choices to build a big plot around," Hurwitz told CBR News. " That's because there are a lot of different personalities and a lot of different heroes. So there's a lot going on, but finally, everything just came into alignment. We all got on the same page and plugged everything in and figured out how everyone could have a piece of the action and all be part of this larger, grander tapestry."

Hurwitz has an affinity for gritty, harboiled tales, both in and out of comics. In addition to his work on "Vengeance of the Moon Knight," the writer has also penned tales featuring the Punisher and Foolkiller as well as being the author of several best selling prose crime novels. Hurwitz told CBR that he found "Shadowland" to be a highly compelling storyline that afforded him his first opportunity to write Matt Murdock's costumed alter ego. "Daredevil is a character in my wheelhouse, and the fact that he's sort of the villain of this story makes him even more in my wheelhouse [Laughs]," the writer said. "I like writing characters that are darker, grittier and dirtier. And this is the dirtiest we've ever seen Daredevil. So that was really appealing to me."

In "Shadowland: Moon Knight," Daredevil's plot against the title character is not a vendetta; it's a strategic maneuver. "Daredevil has a very specific plan in mind for Jake and for Moon Knight," Hurwitz remarked. "He's going to make use of him in a way that's very particular and protective of his own power and machinations. So he's got a role in mind for Moon Knight that's quite specific."

In order to get Moon Knight to bend to his will, Daredevil plans on attacking him in a very personal fashion. "This is going to be a story that really cuts to the heart of Moon Knight. There's a character called the Profile, and he's fascinated by Moon Knight. He's taken sort of an extracurricular interest in him. He knows something is off with Jake and he is the key to this puzzle," Hurwitz remarked. "So Daredevil and the Profile are going to work together and try to figure out a comprehensive plan on how to get and destroy Moon Knight."

"Moon Knight" fans know that the Profile and Marc Spector/Jake Lockley have been running afoul of each other for a couple of years now, and at the end of "Shock and Awe", the opening arc of the current "Vengeance of the Moon Knight" series, the shady psychoanalyzer uncovered some of Moon Knight's biggest secrets. "The Profile is a brilliant, on-the-spot psychologist who can profile anyone he looks at, and his professional interest is piqued by Moon Knight in a way that it's never been for any other person he's encountered. So he's interested in finding out what makes Moon Knight tick, even if no one is paying him to do so. At the end of 'Shock and Awe', he goes to Egypt and uncovers things about Moon Knight that nobody has ever known. He puts together the fact that there is a god called Khonshu. He understands that Jake/Marc is supposedly an avatar of Khonshu and he starts to zero in on the psychology surrounding Moon Knight," Hurwitz explained. "Then, all of a sudden in this series, Daredevil is pulling him in to make use of that knowledge in the most devastating way possible."

That "devastating way" involves introducing Moon Knight to what appears to be another avatar of Khonshu, though Hurwitz wasn't able to reveal much about this character out of fear of spoiling things. "Let's just say that it is Moon Knight's worst nightmare incarnate," the writer revealed. "And that doesn't just mean in terms of bad-assness. It means in terms of his psychology and his emotions. This avatar represents the greatest threat imaginable to Moon Knight, Jake Lockley and Marc Spector."

During the course of "Shock and Awe," Moon Knight confronted another individual that put him in physical and emotional danger; his old foe and former mercenary partner, Raoul Bushman. It was a dark, action packed and psychological tale, and "Shadowland: Moon Knight" promises to feature a similar tone.

"There are certain things ingrained in Jake Lockley's personality and they're digging at his greatest spots of vulnerability and that's what this story pick ups. In 'Vengeance,' we just wrapped a two part arc featuring Deadpool that played with the theme of Moon Knight trying to keep the madness at bay. In the second part of that story we saw the lengths Jake can go to in order to control that, so there was some darkness there but it was more of a fun story," Hurwitz said. "This is a return to some serious business. It's not just his psychology or his points of vulnerability, which reach back to his childhood. We'll also ask the question of, 'How long can Moon Knight continue to act in this above board fashion? Is there some point where he'll break or snap?" Those are the central questions of our 'Shadowland' series."

Artist Bong Dazo is primarily known for his work drawing the humorous title "Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth", so many readers might be surprised to learn that he's bringing to life a dark, cerebral tale like "Shadowland: Moon Knight." Hurwitz believes that once fans see Dazo's work, they'll agree that he's the perfect choice for the series due to his ability to convey and depict another important element of the story - the scale. "The main drive on this event is to make it as big as possible. Bong is really able to handle the scope that we're dealing with," Hurwitz stated. "There is going to be a lot of big, sweeping visuals to go with the size of this story."

When "Shadowland: Moon Knight" begins in August, Hurwitz's "Vengeance of the Moon Knight" series will go on hiatus, and where the character goes afterwards will be determined by this big and very important story. "Out of all the stories I've written for 'Vengeance,' this is going to be the most personal for Jake Lockley. It digs into him in a way that we haven't seen and it leaves him in a comprehensively different place," Hurwitz revealed. "A lot of the supporting characters and elements of 'Vengeance' are picked up in this story, so it's an essential Moon Knight tale. It's not just a straight tie-in book, but it will be connected to the main "Shadowland" story in a very important way. It's also going to be very reader friendly. So a lot of things are going to be recapped, but not in a way that makes it laborious if you've been following Moon Knight all along."

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