Moon Knight #188
Written by: Max Bemis
Pencils by: Jacen Burrows
Colors by: Mat Lopes
What You Need to Know:
First that Moon Knight dates as long back as 1980 and is a man named Marc Spector who comes in contact with an ancient artifact from a long lost civilization. This artifact being an extension of an Egyptian god named Khonsu(God of the Moon) who grants him abilities only accessible to him at night becoming most powerful under the grace of the full moon and who also lives on inside of him. These powers coming at the cost of his sanity and typical if not always battling with his multiple personalities. Last we saw him he had finally gained control of all of them now on with the series at hand if nothing about that run down sold you on this character leave now because it only gets weirder from here. First and foremost MOON KNIGHT DIDN’T GET CANCELLED YES! For those of you who don’t know Moon Knight is one of my favorite Marvel superheroes/characters and is probably one of my favorite superheroes period. The guy is just so unique and interesting it always makes for an immersive experience. Another thing you should know is Lemire recently had a run that somewhat changed the status quo for the character in some areas furthering exploring ideas that had been touched before but never gone into as much depth Lemire brought to it as he really tackled the identity complex of the man more so and an interesting psychedelic character study is more so what we got from his run then just a generic straight up superhero comic. Lemire’s run was phenomenal and took the character in directions that had never been done before I do plan on reviewing it someday as it put Marc more so under the scrutiny of a microscope. Moon Knight stories have always been more so dark and gritty but Lemire took such a grounded and real approach and ultimately gave us a series that studies a broken and damaged man and more so goes into the psychological aspect of what having something like that inside of you would do to a man as opposed to the ideal superhero angle it was incredibly ambitious and one of the most unique and different series I’ve ever read. Delivering a truly fascinating and at times horrific yet always engrossing series. Truly riveting and thrilling and oh so worth investing your time in so imagine my joy upon finding out this is a continuation.
What You’ll Find Out:
See when Lemire left Marvel I had just assumed Moon Knight would either get cancelled or just relaunched but instead this picks up directly where his run left off however still managing to act as a perfect jumping on point for those who didn’t read his run. Feeling like at heart a true sequel. Now you remember all that stuff I told you about Spector? Well forget it remove it from your mind well maybe not all of it. Because this issue has nothing to do with him other than the impact and effect that he has had on others and his “legacy” if you will. This issue actually focuses on Dr. Emmet who was carried over and a regular over in Lemire’s run acting as Mark’s psychiatrist there and acting as Patient #83’s here. She made for an interesting supporting character in that run and makes for an interesting protagonist in this one. Giving off kind of a “What a Wonderful Life” vibe by showing how her life has been since Mark left it and how she’s been going on and what she’s been doing with herself. Truth is to fill the void that Mark left she spends her time catering to another one of her patient’s who has no name or alias. Nothing on record and the most he knows is that he served in the army the rest from there is a mystery. I don’t want to reveal too much from there the rest of the story plays out very cause and effect and goes down it’s natural path of progression.
What Just Happened? Something’s shouldn’t be meddled with, tampered with, or attempted to be controlled. This issue plays with the decade old Frankenstein story of Man plays God. It inevitably works out for no one and actions must have an equal reaction. Hence why I said earlier “cause and effect”. Mark Spector is Moon Knight and since Emmett knows this or at least she thinks he believes himself to be a Moon god of sorts she figures a similar tactic may work the same on a different candidate. Word for caution it doesn’t. Now just because this series isn’t written by Lemire doesn’t mean it can’t still retain the essence of his series and that it does it’s tonally off putting, disturbing and can certainly be uncomfortable at times, somewhat gory definitely bloody but never quite gets to the grotesque levels his run got to at least not yet. However it makes up for it by asking similar questions that his run did and it works here just as well only big difference is the protagonist here isn’t mentally incompetent and a reliable source. It still has a mentally unhinged character and asks the same psychological questions. Unhinged is the key here I’d say Spector leans more towards unbalanced but anyways. By keeping the tone themes and questions in the same vein as Lemire you get the start to a series that has the same potential to be just as interesting, intelligent, multilayered, and complex as Lemire’s.
What’s particularly great about this is how well it acts as a continuation to Lemire’s story. The transitions between writers is so seamless it never feels like Max is trying to be Lemire or copy him it just feels as if he’s continuing his story the way he would’ve have wanted to. This feels like a natural progression for where the story would have logically gone next. It’s always a challenge when your new writer on someone else’s series/story. Some fall into the trap of not trying hard enough to stay true to the same original or vein of what made the predecessors work so great and end up being jarring transitions and former husks of what they used to be some feeling like there is no way they could even take place in the same universe(thank you for that one Schumacher). Some feel as if the writer is trying to hard to be faithful and true yet the the experience offered and given never feels authentic and never quite lives up to it’s potential. Luckily the one here does while revisiting concepts, themes, ideas, story elements, and tone not necessarily copying and pasting the same exact story. Being different enough to allow it to be it’s own unique, condensed, isolated, stand alone story but also having enough here to the beginning of a satisfying continuation to Lemire’s legendary run. More importantly after Lemire’s run ended the way it ended I needed a reason to justify continuing it and this series justifies itself perfectly. The artwork is superb here and the series is already showing tons of promise, potential, and opportunities. This new direction is just as bold and ambitious as the run that spawned it. Truly making for a great companion piece thus far Max Bemis is worthy to take up Lemire’s mantle and I’m sure Lemire can rest easy knowing that his series is in good hands. Lemire would be proud.
An incredibly bold and ambitious direction for this series to take I hope these risks inevitably pay off and I look forward to what Bemis has in store for us in the near future.