Monday, 26 January 2015

Moon Knight #4 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 4, September 2014
Distinctly disturbing and ultimately quite viciously violent, writer Warren Ellis quite literally takes any reader of “Sleep” on a journey which is both wonderfully wild and yet creepily charismatic. Indeed towards the end of this book even the appearance of Lewis Carroll’s Absolem (the blue caterpillar) would not seem out of place as Marc Spector conducts an investigation into a sinister spore-infested study of some hapless “somnological subjects.” 

Initially the English author’s story is humorously absurd, with a thoroughly bored fast-food cashier, fake eye-patch and plastic Viking horned helmet wearily worn, serving Doctor Skelton an ‘Odinburger’ and robotically enquiring of him “Wouldst thou like Odinfries with that?” However once the good sleep researcher takes his place within the comfortable rear passenger seat of Mister Knight’s limousine, things start getting eerily spooky very very quickly; especially once the pair arrive at the downtown university laboratory and the crime-fighter conducts a brief exploration of its meagre facilities.

Up until this point though despite there being some disquietingly distressing moments, such as a description of a patient eating their own fingers in their sleep, Ellis’ interrogation of the Doctor by Spector is still reasonably standard “Moon Knight” analytical stuff. Perhaps made all the more ‘hum drum’ by the muted blue-blacks, browns and greys chosen by colorist Jordie Bellaire.

But once the masked vigilante falls asleep on the premises both the writing and without doubt Declan Shalvey’s artwork, really ramp up a notch or two. Plateaus of towering mushrooms, fungus formations, mould-mountains and other eukaryotic organisms dominate a human skull-shaped planetary sphere… and are all sumptuously detailed by the Irish artist and captivatingly coloured by Bellaire. There’s even a clever transformation scene as Mister Knight finds himself falling in the dreamscape and thus adopts his Fist of Khonsu persona, complete with flowing cape and cowl, in order to glide down safely to the fungoid infested floor. 

A fortuitous choice, as the super-hero swiftly finds himself having to cut a swathe through a world of sprouting hands, grotesque geysers and ghoulish purple faces. Marvellous stuff, which makes Spector’s sudden waking and subsequent subjugation of Skelton even more stark and shocking, as the reader is snatched away from a multi-hued wonderland and swiftly made to confront the dank rat-infested fungal-infected corpse of the doctor’s first “off the books” patient.
Writer: Warren Ellis, Artist: Declan Shalvey, and Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire

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