Sunday, 8 April 2018

Moon Knight [2016] #14 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 14, July 2017
In many ways it isn’t hard to see why “Marvel Worldwide” cancelled this series with Issue Fourteen of “Moon Knight”. For despite all the “New York Times bestselling” author’s supposed brilliance, Jeff Lemire’s screenplay for “Death And Birth” was as befuddling a drawn-out mess as Greg Smallwood’s illustration work was a visual triumph of story-boarding, and resultantly, there can surely be little doubt that the comic’s 24,283 strong audience were only purchasing the book simply for its excellent-looking artwork rather than the nostalgic narrative of a man who twenty-six months earlier had signed a two-year deal to work exclusively with the New York City-based publisher.

Indeed, the end of this ongoing title had apparently been on the cards for some time if the rumours are to be believed, and certainly provide some explanation as to why its Canadian author took to “Twitter” at the beginning of 2017, in order to clarify that as far as he was concerned this particular edition was only to be the creative team’s “last issue”, and that the “book [itself] is not being cancelled.” Whatever the reasoning, if this twenty-page periodical's atrociously padded-out story-line is anything to go by, then its cessation was arguably a blessing in disguise, especially when the Goodreads Choice Awards-nominee himself refers to his time penning the title as “a weird, sometimes terrifying fever dream.”

Admittedly, that’s not to say that this particular edition isn’t without its merits, as Marc Spector momentarily faces brief cameos from Jacob “Jack” Russell (“Werewolf By Night”), Raul Bushman, Stained Glass Scarlet, Black Spectre and his “good old friends Bobby and Billy and Doc Ammut.”; “You’ve been missing your treatments, Marc. I shudder to think what kind of trouble you’ve gotten yourself into. Well, no more… Today we begin a new session of aggressive therapy.”

But such fleeting, action-packed confrontations are quite noticeably contrived so as to simply inject an otherwise dialogue-heavy, wearisomely sedentary script with some desperately needed entertainment, and deplorably all except the jackal-headed nurses and crocodile-faced psychologist soon prove to be just illusionary phantoms conjured by Khonshu in the Moon God’s bid to delay his inevitable destruction at the hands of the ancient deity's former servant. In fact, without the bald, gorily-painted African mercenary, pulse-poundingly pencilled by Smallwood, attacking Doug Moench’s co-creation with a pair of fearsome blades, this publication’s frustratingly thin plot would actually have been forced to conclude significantly earlier than it does…

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
Writer: Jeff Lemire, Artist: Greg Smallwood, and Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire

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