Sunday, 3 June 2018

Moon Knight #194 - Marvel Comics

MOON KNIGHT No. 194, June 2018
Disconcertingly billed as being “the true origin of Marc Spector”, this particularly darkly-themed twenty-page periodical must have proved something of a troubling read for a significant portion of its 23,097-strong audience by exploring the titular character’s desire to be someone else simply “because then I wouldn’t be Jewish.” Of course, this rather worrying anti-sematic statement against Judaism is eventually explained away as being little more than an adverse reaction to a young boy’s entanglement with a disguised, mass-murdering Nazi war criminal, rather than Max Bemis irresponsibly warping Moon Knight into being inexplicably discriminatory against his religious upbringing.

Yet even so, there is such a lengthy delay in this comic’s narrative until the true motivator behind such a prejudicial stance is exposed, that for quite a while it genuinely appears that the lead singer’s attempt to pen a “dark, Coen brothers-type comedy” has badly missed it mark... A situation which frankly is not helped either by Ty Templeton pencilling a pair of ‘disturbing’ panels depicting the former West Coast Avenger giving the thumbs up as Moses destroys the original ten commandments and then ridiculously perching atop a tower block’s gargoyle wearing an instantly recognisable Jewish high-crowned hat…

Ultimately however, the primary composer’s script for Issue One Hundred And Ninety Four of “Moon Knight” does make it clear that the Fist of Khonshu seemingly blames his “dissociative identity disorder” upon his devotion to Judaism because it brought him into contact with “Uncle Yitz”, an apparently friendly, well-educated and caring rabbi who eventually reveals himself to actually be part of a cabal who went on to create “the Red Skull”, as well as “clone Hitler into the Hate-Monger.” This horrific, sadistically bloody encounter beneath the supposedly safe synagogue has an understandably detrimental effect upon the boy’s mental health, and coupled with his father’s own psychological issues, actually provides a pretty sound rationale as to why the ex-mercenary’s “brain… found a wacky way to deal with being scared.”

Indeed, as pointed out by Jake Thomas in this publication’s Letters Page, Bemis’ “last few pages… [provide] a real gut punch” as Spector shockingly discovers the elderly teacher of Torah torturing a nearly-dead boy “hanging from the ceiling” in Ernst’s secret dungeon, and realises that he will be next if he doesn’t somehow escape the vile serial killer’s clutches immediately. Admittedly, Templeton’s storyboarding for this sequence is arguably not quite the “absolutely stellar job” which this book’s editor seems to think it is, but the Canadian cartoonist’s attention to gore splatters, dripping droplets and numerous bladed instruments of pain, genuinely imbues the entire catacomb with an unhealthy atmosphere of barbarous savagery, pain and anguish; “none of this should frighten you more than what we accomplished together as a nation, less than a century ago.”

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
Writer: Max Bemis, Artist: Ty Templeton, and Colorist: Keiren Smith

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