Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Greg Smallwood, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 6, 2016
If you aren’t completely clear on Moon Knight’s history, don’t feel bad because it’s pretty complicated. Marc Spector died in Egypt, was resurrected by the Moon God Khonshu, and became a hero. He usually has 3 or 4 different personalities at any given time, but uses his Moon Knight and Mr. Knight personas to combat crime in New York City (imagine that, another hero operating in NYC).
Up to this point in the series, Marc Spector and his friends have been patients at the Retrograde Sanitarium, a mental hospital with some torturous doctors and nurses. Dr. Emmut tells Marc that he has been a patient there his whole life, that there is a Moon Knight out there that isn’t him, and that he needs to let go of his delusions. Khonshu steps in and shows Marc that the hospital is actually a prison, Dr. Emmut is actually the evil Ammut, and that Khonshu’s brother Seth The Usurper is invading our reality to take it over. I know that sounds complicated and pretty out there, but Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood pull it off brilliantly. They keep you guessing on what is real and what isn’t, and really show the insanity of Marc Spector. The first three issues are very cinematic in the plotting and the pacing of Marc’s visions and his escape attempts. So did #4 live up to the high bar set by the first three issues? Let’s find out.
The issue starts out with our group of Marc—I mean Mr. Knight—and his old friends Frenchie, Gena, and Marlene emerging into a very sandy and pyramid-filled New York City. Sand is falling from the sky and filling the streets. When a cop strolls up and tells them they need to get inside during the “rainstorm,” Mr. Knight begins to question himself and the sand starts to turn to rain. This is another moment where Lemire shows Marc’s insanity and makes the reader question what’s real and what’s a delusion.
Mr. Knight punches the cop, who is revealed to be another crocodile-headed enemy, this one named Sobek. Sobek kills Frenchie, who was once Marc’s best friend and pilot of the Moon Copter. This was an emotional moment for anyone who knows much of Moon Knight’s history, but to a first-time reader might not have meant much. It does snap Gena out of it, and she finally notices the sand.
They run into Gena’s diner and eat a nice meal filled with some backstory for Gena I didn’t care about too much. It does lead to Khonshu showing up and talking to Marc again, and this is the one part of the book I didn’t really like. Khonshu has been helpful and supportive of Marc up to this point, but here he comes off as an ass. He has good reason to be given the circumstances, and it plays into the fact that Khonshu is toxic for Marc, but it just seemed off compared to how he’s been portrayed the rest of the series.
Finally Marlene wakes up and tells Mr. Knight that they need to keep going towards the big pyramid. Gena elects to stay behind with her diner, which is probably good because I’ve liked her so far this series and I don’t want to see her meet the same fate as Frenchie.
We get a pretty touching moment between Marc and Marlene when they leave and start reminiscing on their time as a couple. We see some throwback scenes of Moon Knight in action and Marlene reveals that she’s still in love with Marc. Just as things are getting real, Marc gets hit in the face with a moon dart. Turn the page to see who threw it and we see… Moon Knight??
This is a great cliffhanger that gets me really excited to see how this “Welcome to New Egypt” story arc ends. I mean, how could you not be excited about a Moon Knight vs. Mr. Knight battle?! Jeff Lemire has put on a clinic on how to write a story about someone as insane as Marc Spector. I’m not sure how many more issues he’s going to stay on or if it’s just for this opening arc, but boy do I hope he’s on this series for a long time.
Greg Smallwood’s art isn’t complicated by a lot of extra lines. He has a simplistic art style that contrasts with the complexity of the story, and it really works. I think he and Lemire play really well off of each other, so I hope to see them working together for a while.
After how much I loved the first three issues, this one took a step back, but it was a miniscule step. There were some awesome moments, but the stuff in between those moments was a little dull. The cliffhanger brought it back up for me, and I can’t wait for #5.