Moon Knight #5 Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist: Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, & James Stokoe Colors: Jordie Bellaire, Michael Garland, Francesco Francavilla, & James Stokoe Letters: Cory Petit Publisher: Marvel
One of the most daunting tasks when it comes to reading comics is the simple act of starting, particularly where to start. Many of these characters have been around for over half a century with a rich history. Fortunately, many of them have a straight forward origin that are well-known amongst the general public. Not only that, aside from a few tweaks, they’ve largely stayed the same. Marc Spector, the street fighting Moon Knight however has had a gallery of different origins and takes on the character’s tone that beginning to read, let alone write the character, and understand his complex background is a challenge that can turn people off. Writer Jeff Lemire has taken that and flipped it on its head, as he’s used that to create a stellar psychological thriller, mystery, horror story.
Whats happened thus far, Marc Spector woke up in an insane asylum and his whole history comes into question to both himself and readers. Is Khonshu, the Egyptian Moon God who gave him his powers real? Or is it all in his head, a figment of his imagination? Is he truly insane? Or are there other forces in a puppeteer chair? Are all those stories of Moon Knight’s heroic tales the imagination of a mental patient? Does this explain the constant reboots, revisions, and alterations of the character?
Well Marc doesn’t buy into what the doctors are subscribing as he and a group of other patients enact an escape effort. Numerous obstacles stand in their way, and the last issue left off with only Marc and Marlene left standing. Marlene starts to remember Marc but as a man named Steven Grant. Then Marc is confronted with both the greatest and unlikely of foes…Moon Knight. It’s follow-up here in issue five gives us the conclusion to Lemire’s first story arc, “Welcome to New Egypt”.
Without a doubt, this series greatest asset is that it’s a genuinely solid mystery. Every time you think you have it all figured out, Lemire throws in another twist and catches you off guard. Each issue left off on a cliff-hanger and issue five is no exception. If anything, the story arcs closing chapter is more ambiguous than any of those leading up to it. Don’t think though that this is a comic entirely delved into deep thought. There are some fast paced action scenes, it’s just that the challenges facing Marc are as much a psychological battle as they are a physical battle, arguably more. Lemire is able to use that to create a tense and suspenseful pace to this comic and it’s a roller coaster of a ride throughout.
One of the problems that this series had from its opening issue was that the hospital staff was too cartoonish. They came off as too over the top and more subtlety would have been appreciated. Thankfully Lemire toned them down a bit and while they still are a tough grape to swallow at times, they don’t distract away from the story.
This issue has an abundance of artist and colorist contributing. Artist Greg Smallwood and colorist Jordie Bellaire visualize the majority of the book and deliver another stellar job. Together they create a dark, grim, and sour tone that really emphasize an uneasy atmosphere. Smallwood brings some well detailed pencil work and the page layouts really add to the pacing and mystery of the book. The guest artists are brought in to create other worldly settings that are called for when the chase scene develops. The different artist work perfectly as the change in visually style only add to Marc’s reaction when he enters a jarring change of scenery.
Moon Knight #5 has a very ambiguous ending and anything less might have been disappointing, considering the story that it “concludes”? It provides more thrills and turns to keep the mystery intriguing and the moments between Marc and Moon Knight are engaging. The art team deliver some brilliant visuals that only add to the quality of the writing. Thankfully, this is one of the series that isn’t being cancelled with the upcoming Marvel NOW imprint.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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