Marvel’s vigilante is undertaking the ultimate head-trip.
It’s no secret we’re huge fans around here of Marvel Comic’s Moon Knight ongoing series. We’ve already covered the character extensively, but the current arc from powerhouse scribe Jeff Lemire just might be the best one ever published. That’s no small feat for a book that has featured a dynamite run from the likes of Warren Freakin’ Ellis.
Yet Lemire’s take on the character (soon available in TPB format) has been truly inspired and featured more puzzling twists than all of M. Night Shayamalan’s movies placed in a blender. It’s an effort that has left many fans scratching their heads, but after the events of the latest issue we finally have solid indication of a satisfying and pivotal conclusion to the mystery surrounding Marc Spector.
“It won’t just be weirdness and mystery for the sake of it. There is a plan and there will be definite answers.” – Jeff Lemire
When Lemire’s run debuted back in April it was clear the book would be a sharp departure from earlier stories. Marc Spector suddenly found himself a patient in an oppressive mental institution and led to believe that all of his exploits as the vigilante Moon Knight were vivid delusions. With no recollection of how he arrived at the facility, or why people he knows are also being held against their will, Marc must unravel the mystery of his circumstances. Desperate to free himself and others, Marc struggles to piece together his fractured psyche and connection to the Egyptian god Khonshu. The stage is set for a riveting psycho-noir tale, but the rabbit hole quickly deepens to an abyss.
When ancient Egypt pops up smack-dab in the middle of New York City we are thrust into an every growing state of confusion. What follows is a perplexing series of snippets in the lives of Marc Spector’s numerous split personalities, each with their own conflict to resolve – be it cabbie Jack Lockley in a murder mystery or a sci-fi manga-inspired version of Marc fighting Space Werewolves on the moon. It’s been a head-scratching story leaving readers to wonder just what the hell is going on. Much like Marc, it becomes nearly impossible to determine what, if any, of the things we see are real.
But don’t think for a second that Lemire is just throwing things at the wall. In an interview with CBR earlier this year he touched on his methodology for the series. “I will say that there is a definite plan. Many things will be open to interpretation as the series begins, but as it progresses I will be answering these questions and making definite statements about Marc’s mental state,” said Lemire. “So it won’t just be weirdness and mystery for the sake of it. There is a plan and there will be definite answers.”
Those answers may lay in Marc Spector’s past. Lemire’s work is clearly influenced by previous Moon Knight stories. Some characters and events referenced here trace all the way back to the original run by Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. It’s a medley of Moon Knight’s greatest hits, pureed into satisfying yet curious concoction. But just what exactly is it leading to?
SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Moon Knight #8 Vol. 6
The answer was teased in last month’s Moon Knight #8. Marc’s various personalities (who in a turn of brilliance were all illustrated by different artists) pulled themselves from their respective worlds and greeted by none other than Marc Spector himself. Yes, it seems that Marc is the designer of his own mental machinations. It’s a development that provides more questions than answers. What’s (relatively) clear is that Marc is attempting to become greater than the sum of his parts, perhaps consolidating his personalities into something, or someone, new and more powerful.
This presents the opportunity to streamline Moon Knight’s characteristically confusing alter ego(s). Moon Knight would be best served by combining the best aspects of his character into a singular entity, making him a more focused and effective hero. The character’s revitalization orchestrated by Warren Ellis in 2014 leaves little room for multiple iterations of Marc Spector’s psyche. This is Lemire’s chance to solidify this Moon Knight as the definitive version. The one thing Moon Knight has lacked over his entire publication history is definition – be that of his origin, powers, or sanity. If the character is to enter the greater pop culture lexicon, which he most certainly appears poised to do, he must be boiled down to his essence.
Of course, we shouldn’t expect his other personalities to go quietly into the night. Moon Knight #9 hits shelves December 7th and teases a battle between his personalities to determine who will reign supreme. The arc wraps up with Moon Knight #10, so we’ll soon have a conclusion to one of the weirdest and most original stories ever published by Marvel. Whatever the outcome, Moon Knight will emerge a stronger character and ready to take is rightful place at the forefront of the Marvel Universe.