Saturday, 20 August 2016

Moon Knight [2016] #5 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 5, October 2016
Despite adopting a somewhat innovative story-telling technique by having a variety of artists independently illustrate each different personality of the schizophrenic titular character’s shattered psyche as he “run(s) for his life through half-remembered histories”, this concluding instalment of “Welcome To New Egypt” must still have come as something of a bitter disappointment to many of its “Moonies” with its disconcertingly indeterminate finale. Indeed, having seemingly thrown himself to a bloody death from atop a giant pyramid rather than ‘hand-over’ his body to “a weak, dying” Khonshu, and subsequently woken as “mister producer man” Steven Grant, complete with loving actress Marlene, Jeff Lemire’s plot would frustratingly seem to suggest that the Canadian’s entire multi-issue run depicting Marc Spector’s flight from Ammut and her dog-headed sanatorium servants has all simply been a dream; “You should get dressed. We have an early call time, remember… We’re shooting the pyramid scene today.”    

Such a surprise ending certainly supports the occasional cartoonist’s pre-publication promise that “many things (within the comic) will be open to interpretation as the series begins”, and additionally helps develop the ongoing mental mysticism surrounding the mercenary who once “died in Egypt under a statue of the Moon God”. But implying that the Crescent Crusader, Jake Lockley and the Knight of the Moon, as well as the titular character’s other psychologically unstable identities, are mere bedtime delusions disheartening erodes the strong sense of edgy purpose which the Ontario-born author had, up until this edition, so successfully imbued his main protagonist with. It also disappointingly doesn’t contribute towards “making definite statements about Marc’s mental state” as Lemire had assured his audience his work would.

Exaggerating this fractural fiction is the creative team’s decision to utilise “incredible” guest artists Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla and James Stokoe on the book alongside title regular Greg Smallwood. Such contrastingly-styled incorporations, which range from the comical to the vividly colourful, undoubtedly instils the twenty-page periodical with an altogether different dynamism to its preceding publications. Yet the decision to craft such a visually-choppy magazine must, with hindsight, be as unsettling a decision for Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, as that of allowing his writer to apparently malign the forty-year relationship between Spector and Khonshu and portray the Egyptian deity sadistically betraying his ‘loyal’ agent…
Writer: Jeff Lemire, and Artists: Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla & James Stokoe

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