Saturday, 28 April 2018

Moon Knight #190 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 190, February 2018
Disappointingly depicting “Marc’s good relationship with his other [split] personalities” badly fracturing having only just established how the different personas successfully collaborate together in this story-arc’s previous editions, Max Bemis’ narrative for Issue One Hundred And Ninety of “Moon Knight” is arguably as choppy as the titular character’s mental stability. For although this 22,064 copy-selling comic contains some intriguing flashbacks through time in order to illustrate Amon Ra’s continuous conflict with the various Fists of Khonshu, it also debatably includes some truly disappointing interpretations of supporting cast members Marlene Alraune, Jake Lockley, and notorious nemesis Raul Bushman.

Indeed, the New York-born author’s version of the savage Burundan mercenary who “once ruled an entire African nation” where “men literally bowed before me” is almost unrecognisable from the sadistic, cold-blooded killer who slaughtered “archaeologist Peter Alraune [simply] to find an Egyptian pharaoh's tomb”, and is instead replaced by an overweight drug-dealing thug who freely admits before a packed warehouse of his criminal peers that “Marc Spector… scares the c%$p out of me.” Hardly the sort of long-term maniacal antagonist Doug Moench probably had in mind as his co-creation’s arch-enemy when he originally penned Bushman leaving the defeated “rabbi's wayward son” to “die in the sub-zero temperatures of the desert night” back in November 1980.

Just as bewildering is this comic’s bizarre plot twist that over the past five years, Moon Knight’s female confidante has been having a relationship with his cab driving persona, and resultantly has an infant daughter. Such a scenario sadly smacks of sensationalism, as if the “primary lyricist of the band Say Anything” was desperate to make a quick, indelible mark upon the history of “the masked crime-fighter” and simply didn’t care that historically Marlene had actually become so “increasingly distressed” by the super-hero’s “schizophrenia” that she eventually “moved out of his Long Island mansion.”

Quite possibly just as bemused by Bemis’ erratic scribblings as doubtless the majority of this book’s audience were, Jacen Burrows’ pencilling lacks any semblance of animated life for much of this twenty-page periodical. True, the Savannah College of Art and Design graduate imbues plenty of sense-shattering action into any panels which depict the Fist of Khonshu fending off “a random attack by disabled gentlemen.” But this “dark” sequence is perhaps understandably short-lived, and leaves the American artist to subsequently rather woodenly sketch a seemingly endless series of dialogue-heavy discussions.

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
Writer and Arti: Max Bemis, Artist: Jacen Burrows, and Inker: Guillermo Ortego


  1. Interesting read, and reassures me that I am not missing out.

    It is sad to hear how Marvel has depicted Moon Knight post the Huston run. I didn't read the Bendis stuff but the premise as described turned me cold despite being a Bendis fan, ad the constant changes and tweaking of the character and how his mental health problems are depicted suggest to me that Marvel have insufficient faith in the core concept.

    Did Marvel or the writer themselves use the term 'schizophrenia' to describe multiple personality disorder? (I picked up on your use of quotation marks). If so, that kind of sums up the problem that they do not understand the core principles of the disorder and therefore arguably key aspect of the character.

    1. Thanks Leon. This was a very poor issue sadly, and especially frustrating as the previous two had been so good, imho. I've bought/reviewed every issue of "Moon Knight" since Warren Ellis took over the pen in March 2014, and had thought Bemis was about to take it back towards those heights - sadly not.

      The quote actually comes from the Marvel Wiki on Marlene, which describes her history with Marc: "Spector seemingly overcame his schizophrenia and still later, gave up his Moon Knight career. "