Moon Knight's Wolf Bites

To celebrate Werewolf By Night's return to Marc Spector's world, we run down three can't miss showdowns with writer Mike Benson riding shotgun.

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By Kiel Phegley

MOON KNIGHT #20

The moon in the Marvel Universe is about to get full, and that means a full slate of trouble for Moon Knight. Hitting stands this week, MOON KNIGHT #20 features the return of the off kilter hero's longstanding sparring partner Jack Russell – AKA the Werewolf By Night. But while the pair have spent time working together in the past, writer Mike Benson promises that this double-sized installment of the series will feature the warrior on wolf action fans are hoping for.

MOON KNIGHT #20 Interior Art

"When I first came onto MOON KNIGHT I had in the back of my head bringing in Jack Russell, but wasn't sure how that would work," Benson says. "When Charlie [Huston] and I learned that Mike Deodato Jr. was coming on for an issue, we knew this had to be the one. And yes, I really wanted them to go toe to toe, so we constructed this very off-beat story that I'm actually very really pleased with how it turned out. We wanted a hardcore showdown between Russell and Moon Knight in a different environment – a place where they could battle each other and wouldn't feel forced. And in addition to this we wanted to tell a good old fashion crime story."

MOON KNIGHT #20 Interior Art

And with the aforementioned Deodato drawing the solo story, Benson promises a much more beastly take on the '70s Marvel staple that is Werewolf By Night. "Well, this is a very different Jack Russell. Much bigger, much more fierce, a lot closer to the werewolf in 'An American Werewolf in London' than the old werewolf films. A more contemporary Jack Russell." With the fallout of the series last arc (meaning that Moon Knight is now the most wanted man on the Initiative's hit list), Russell's arrival can only complicate the hero's life.

MOON KNIGHT #20 Interior Art

This happens especially with the story arc launching in issue #21 called "The Death of Marc Spector" of which Benson swears, "It's not a gimmick. We're trying to mix things up a bit so Moon Knight can begin being a part of the much larger Marvel Universe, and at the same to be the fringe character he is." To prepare fans for the fateful reunion of Knight and Wolf, here are our top three installments from the history of Moonie/Werewolf showdowns you should check out to get pumped for the rematch.

MOON KNIGHT #20 Interior Art

3. MARC SPECTOR: MOON KNIGHT #52-53 If there was any way to ratchet up the radical quotient in this crossover that saw Russell tearing through Spector's family mansion while on a mission to take down a gang of supernatural monsters called The Hellbent, it was a guest appearance by the X-Men's Gambit. It was the '90s, y'all…and it was awesome. However, the story loses a little punch due to the fact that the majority of The Hellbent were taken out by one of their own. 2. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32 – 33

MOON KNIGHT #20 Interior Art

In Moon Knight's first appearance (and Benson's first comic to boot), the renegade hero is introduced not as the shell-shocked mercenary fans have grown to love, but as an all-silver werewolf slayer. Designed to serve as Russell's arch nemesis and exact opposite, Moon Knight spent most of his introductory tale stalking the star of the book before realizing that the men who hired him were mega corrupt. In other words, another take on comics favorite story of "good guys meet, fight, become friends and take down the bad guys." Still, the seeds were sown for many a supernatural crime tale to come.

MOON KNIGHT #20 Interior Art

1. MOON NIGHT VOL. 1 #29 – 30 Three words: Bill. Sienkiewicz. Werewolf! On the legendary artist's swansong with Moon Knight co-creator and writer Doug Moench, the pair delivered one of their most memorable, most violent stories ever. When Russell is being tracked by agents of the Morning Star, a satanic cult with a jones for drinking werewolf blood, the wild beast gets unleashed like readers had never before seen. But while Sienkiewicz was amping up "Werewolf By Night" to all new levels of howling fury, Moench's script focusing on post-hypnotic suggestion allowed Russell greater control of his powers. This added a new wrinkle to both the character's history and the werewolf legend as a whole.

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