Marc Spector is a weird dude, he’s got a lot of different personalities wrapped up in one brain. Each and every writer that approaches the hero has the difficult task of redefining him and his world. Writer and musician Max Bemis and artist Jacen Burrows are the latest set of creators up to bat on Spector–will they be able to find a unique entry point to the frayed mind of the man influenced by Khonshu?
Written by Max Bemis
Illustrated by Jacen Burrows
Colored by Mat Lopes
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
The path of the Sun King gets closer to Moon Knight. But Marc’s got problems of his own. A man known as The Truth is driving people to suicide…Thank goodness Marc’s got his personalities under control. He DOES have them under control, right…?
“Moon Knight” #189 lovingly continues the trend of writer Max Bemis venturing into strange, uncharted territory. The second chapter of his run in the series finally hints at where the plot is going and throws the lead character into the fold. Getting a story that feels so personal and dark is something admirable. Throughout this issue, Bemis starts to explore his take on Marc Spector’s fractured personalities. Bemis compartmentalizes the different personalities, showing they are all split up and go in different directions. When we first meet Jake Lockley, he is in the book specifically to kick some ass. Moments like these are fantastic, but I wonder if Bemis’ writing is too on-the-nose as Jake virtually addresses the audience to say what he is doing and how great he is. Immediately following this moment he does make moves that are horrifically violent, but the obvious nature is still something I wonder about going forward with the story.
The book features narration from Khonshu which goes over extremely well. In the beloved Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire run, readers didn’t quite get into the mind of Khonshu in the same way. This new run is more overt in the references to the God who seems to have a stronger personality and state of mind. Whenever the character shows up in the main plot, he illustrates to the readers Moon Knight is not just a color-inverted Batman, but a tortured, insane vigilante. Attempting to find a middle ground for Marc Spector who has clear mental problems seems to be a through the line of the book something I hope Bemis will go into a great detail in future issues without being so obvious about the personality changes going forward.
I don’t think it is possible to write a Moon Knight story with a completely sunny disposition, but this chapter gets as close as possible to while still containing sequences where people are burned alive. It is for this reason the story really takes on a life of its own and displays a bevy of versatility in tone when Spector turns into robin hood entrepreneur-type, Steven Grant. The comic has an insanely wide and free-flowing heart in these sequences which depict Grant as a hero spreading his wealth to feed the poor. Out of all the different tones and directions for Moon Knight, this is territory I have never seen broken with the hero after years of reading the Marc Spector stories. I really hope Bemis finds time to continue to diversify the tone but gives a chance for more Steven Grant while still finding the time to retain the focus on the huge upcoming battle between Moon Knight and the Sun King. This book has a lot to do with a compressed amount of time.
Somehow, artist, Jacen Burrows finds a way to match Max Bemis’ intense enthusiasm by drawing characters with big facial expressions enveloping readers into the story. In nearly every panel of the book, the background characters have a bold facial expression. Lots of the surrounding detail is omitted, unfortunately. While looking at everything Burrows’ brings to the book is enthralling, the creator lacks the definitions to make the environments or surroundings as enticing as they potentially could be. However, when a scene like a boardroom meeting with Steven Grant carries the same splendor as a big fight sequence towards the end of the comic, I start thinking Burrows is one of the best choices for the book. When the narrative shows off the finer points Grant makes, his expressions and movements seem more refined than ever. The big fight sequences later on in the story have a great sense of choreography making the issue feel fluid there are a couple of nice visual elements making each personality in the story stand out.Continued below
“Moon Knight” #189 is a more conventional installment in the run, but still introduces enough unique elements to the series making the entry interesting all the way through. The new villain the series introduces is captivating and seems dangerous along with the insane antics of the Sun King, whose bright disposition shatters the conventional villain stereotypes. Even with a more linear, hero-vs-villain setup, I still think this story has potential to continue to emanate weirdness and still be endearing.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Moon Knight” #189 redefines Marc Spector and his personalities while pitting Spector against a captivating new villain.