By Marc Strom
You should always try to stay out of Bullseye's way.
The villain—and current member of Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts team—has a couple of new targets in his crosshairs as he hunts down Songbird in THUNDERBOLTS #127 and Marc Spector in MOON KNIGHT #25, both issues on sale December 17.
Brand-new THUNDERBOLTS writer Andy Diggle explains that Songbird's recent actions caused her to fall across Bullseye's bad side…or, more accurately, Norman Osborn's.
"At the end of Warren Ellis' run, Songbird blackmailed Norman, forcing him to let her carry out humanitarian missions," Diggle recaps. "So she's made a moral compromise, convincing herself it's worth staying on the team because 'the ends justify the means.'
"But like a battered wife, she's been making excuses for the monster that's controlling her, and in THUNDERBOLTS # 127 she's forced to face the consequences of that terrible mistake. Because Norman Osborn isn't the kind of guy who takes kindly to being blackmailed. He's more the kind of guy who'd, say, send Bullseye to murder you in cold blood. As Songbird discovers the hard way."
Placing Bullseye and Songbird against one another, however, can only lead to pain for one of the founding Thunderbolts.
"Songbird's one of the longest-serving Thunderbolts and, after the events of issue #126, the last remaining team member with anything resembling a conscience," the writer points out. "Bullseye, on the other hand, is a sociopathic mass-murderer and one of the baddest bad-asses in the entire Marvel Universe. Once he's let off the leash to take out Songbird, you can't help but fear for her."
Diggle also offers up his own interpretation of just what makes the deadly assassin tick in the first place, and he says it ain't pretty.
"Bullseye is a different kind of crazy to Norman Osborn, but both of them are driven by monstrously overblown egos," Diggle analyzes. "Norman thinks he's the hero of his own story, but Bullseye doesn't care about being a hero. He's much more nihilistic. He's a pure sociopath, completely lacking conscience, remorse or human empathy. For Bullseye, it's all about proving to the world that he's the best there is at what he does. And what he does is murder."
And that talent won't go to waste, as Diggle promises that "Norman has plans for Bullseye. Big plans. But they must remain secret...for now!"
The writer would offer up one last hint as to the Thunderbolts' future, however.
"Change is coming. The events of SECRET INVASION #8 drop a bombshell into the Thunderbolts' world. But sometimes, even monsters deserve one last shot at redemption."
Meanwhile, Mike Benson, MOON KNIGHT writer extraordinaire, tells us he had several reasons for choosing to end the current "Death of Marc Spector" story arc with a grueling battle between Moon Knight and Bullseye.
"I've always been a sucker for Bullseye," the writer confesses. "He has all the characteristics that make up a killer villain and he was clearly a worthy opponent for the Moon Man. I thought about Venom for a beat, but it seemed a little one-sided. Venom picks up cars and kicks through buildings. Radioactive Man would've been cool, but it didn't have the charge I was looking for. Swordsman was in the running too, but I really enjoyed having him be curbed by Moon Knight. [And] Moonstone and Songbird never felt satisfying to me."
But on a more fundamental level, Benson saw Bullseye as not that different from Moon Knight.
"Bullseye is quite similar to the White Knight: Neither have superpowers, both are bat s--- crazy," Benson explains. "And they are both natural born killers. The idea of them going mano-a-mano seemed like the way to go."
As for why he chose to pit Moon Knight against the Thunderbolts in a story with such significant repercussions for the Fist of Khonshu's future, Benson says they proved to be the right villains at the right time.
"Maybe it's my lack of imagination, but if there's one thing Moon Knight is sorely missing is a strong rogues gallery," Benson opines. "I'm hopefully creating a few heavy hitters, however, aside from some of the obvious choices—Jack Russell, Morpheus and a few others—there wasn't anyone I was really excited about using at this moment in time for Spector. I love the Profile, and he'll be showing up again, but the Thunderbolts seemed like a perfect fit, especially [considering] where Moon Knight was in his arc. It was like a lob and I really wanted to take the pitch. I'm glad I did."
In the most recent issues of MOON KNIGHT, Spector seems to have reconnected with a number of his supporting cast members who have set out to help him in his battle against the Thunderbolts, including his former pilot and confidante, Frenchie, and on-again-off-again lover Marlene. And according to Benson, no matter how "The Death of Marc Spector" ends, fans shouldn't expect those characters to leave the spotlight any time soon.
"I've said this many times before, but for the most part MOON KNIGHT is a team book, and whoever will be in the Moon Knight costume is going to rely heavily on this network of people," Benson teases. "They understand Moon Knight and what he represents. When all is said, this is a dysfunctional family that will come together and have each others' backs."
While Benson remained tight-lipped on just how the chips would fall in the upcoming conclusion, he would offer up a few hints as to what the future holds in store for Moon Knight.
"The next arc is a slight recalibration," the writer promises. "So much has happened that my editor, Axel Alonso, and I thought it would be fun to get Moony out of dodge. Namely, it made sense and gave the character a chance to start over somewhere fresh. Typically, I wouldn't take Moon Knight, who is such an urban character away from the big apple, but the way we constructed the new arc felt right and satisfying.
"It's sort of a Spaghetti Western, featuring a cast of South of the Border miscreants, the Punisher and a new character I'm very excited about, who'll be making his debut in this arc. I guess you could call him a super hero, but his methods are, like Frank Castle's, eyebrow-raising. Suffice it to say, Moon Knight and the Punisher are going to wander into his sandbox or, better put, killing field, and it's going to get very hairy. I'm excited."
With all these changes in store for the character, Benson tells us of an upcoming creative shift as well.
"On, and Jefte Palo is jumping on board [as artist], and he is such an amazing talent. I know he's going to make us all look good."
Get twice your fill of Bullseye on December 17 by picking up both THUNDERBOLTS #127 and MOON KNIGHT #25.
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