Sunday, 16 October 2016

Moon Knight, Volume 1: Lunatic Review (Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood)

Everyone knows Marc Spector is that crazy superhero Moon Knight – or do they? What if Moon Knight has been a delusion only existing in Marc’s troubled mind and he’s been locked up in the loony bin the entire time?

For such a little-known character, Moon Knight has had some surprisingly great books these last couple years from the likes of Warren Ellis (who kicked off the Moon Knight renaissance with a new version of the character, Mr Knight), Brian Wood and (to a lesser extent) Cullen Bunn. It’s Jeff Lemire’s turn to pick up the title and he’s joined by returning artist Greg Smallwood, who previously drew Brian Wood’s Moon Knight. And their first arc is just ok. 

I really like the mind-fuckery of the setup, that Moon Knight might just be a complete nutter’s daydream to escape his miserable existence – Lemire does well in playing up that angle as long as he can and part of me wishes it really was just that. Problem is this is an unsustainable approach and you know it’s only a matter of time before it’s revealed that Marc’s once again being messed around with by someone. It’s a foregone conclusion and all you’re really waiting for is the predictable penny to drop. 

Meanwhile Marc fights Egyptian mummies/animal-headed guards (or are they?) and runs towards a pyramid (or is it?) for answers. It’s not the most interesting direction to take the premise and feels a little repetitive at times. And the ending is very abrupt and anticlimactic. Rather than a satisfying finale to this book, it’s all about setting up the next book which is a bit disappointing. I also didn’t like the Egyptian Gods-as-aliens stuff which is just conspiracy nut-level garbage. 

Greg Smallwood’s art is really cool, especially the granular look of the scenes between Marc and Khonshu, heightening their unreality. And speaking of unreality, several artists cameo on the last chapter to highlight Marc’s tenuous grip on sanity. James Stokoe’s pages are bloody fantastic – Marvel, more from this guy, please!! – as are Francesco Francavilla’s, particularly those colours. 

There’s some good stuff in Lunatic but some of the execution and material is lacking - it’s not a slam dunk like Ellis or Wood’s books but it’s worth checking out for fans. And though it’s kinda average, compared to the rest of Marvel’s woeful current range, Moon Knight is actually one of their better titles!

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