By: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors), and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: Moon Knight versus Count Nefaria, head to head, one last time.

The Review:  All good things must come to an end and, sadly, it has come all too soon for Bendis and Maleev’s Moon Knight.  Thankfully, however, reading this issue, it’s clear that this was exactly the ending that the creators always intended; this isn’t at all a rushed, slapped together conclusion necessitated by a sudden cancellation.  Instead, the issue is excellently paced, covers all the bases, and ties up any and all loose ends very nicely.  All the plot elements that Bendis introduced in his run get some level of satisfying closure, from the current state of Marc’s current “Avengers” personalities to the status of his television show.

Much of Bendis’ run has seen Moon Knight bumbling about, only semi-competently, playing Avenger.  As the run has progressed, we’ve see him become more and more the professional superhero we know him to be.  This issue, fittingly, feels like the crux of that; as he goes one on one with Nefaria in a police station, Moon Knight feels at his most superheroic.  Furthermore, throughout the issue, he also retains that human aspect, that vulnerability that Bendis has so focused on.

I imagine that a lot will be made of the Avengers calvary coming to Moon Knight’s aid this month.  While some readers may feel that this weakens Moon Knight by making him reliant on others, I actually felt that it was a very good move by Bendis.  By having the Avengers turn up, it emphasizes the fact that Moon Knight really is an Avenger, and by extension,  a top-level superhero.  The Avengers showing up and reminding Moon Knight that they’re his pals was a feel-good moment.  It legitimized Moon Knight as a superhero and more than some crazy dude who’s only an Avenger in his own head, as has been the tone for much of the series.  He may be crazy, but he’s not completely off-base.  Moreover, it shatters any conceptions about his isolation; as a superhero, he achieves a level of acceptance here.  Sure, Thor helps out against Nefaria, but in doing so, it makes Moon Knight a real part of the superhero community and a guy who plays with the big boys.  It’s a great moment.

Interestingly, Bendis also uses this issue to segue into the much speculated upon Age of Ultron.  I’m really not sure what to make of that, but it was at least mildly interesting.  Honestly, I enjoyed the last page more for Marc’s final line, which got a laugh out of me.  Really, as far as going into the future, while the nods to Age of Ultron are nice enough, I sort of lamented the series cancellation.  Even if Bendis and Maleev were always going to leave after this issue, they Moon Knight in a great place for someone else to pick up.

Maleev’s artwork is, as expected, brilliant.  The action scenes are intense and the mood and scenery are evocative.  If you’ve ever read a Maleev comic, you know what to expect, and he doesn’t disappoint.

If there’s one regrettable aspect of this issue, it’s that Bendis didn’t get a chance to make use of the “Echo personality” locked into Marc’s head after last issue.  That device had, and has, HUGE potential, tied as it is to Marc’s guilt over her death.  Sadly, it’s not made of any use here and, because the series has been canceled, it may never be explored.

Conclusion:  A rock solid conclusion to a series that saw Bendis and Maleev at their best.

Grade: B+

– Alex Evans