In the last four installments of Moon Knight’s latest series, readers have ventured further into the damaged psyche of Marc Spector than ever before. In the past, fans of the character have witnessed his struggle with dissociative identity disorder (aka multiple personalities), but recently, Marc has attempted to find the line between Egyptian fantasy and crippling reality. After escaping from a mental institution/transcendent Egyptian prison, known simply as “the hospital,” Marc and his former lover, Marlene, found New York covered in sand and at the mercy of Seth the Usurper. On the final page of the last issue, Moon Knight #4, Marc – in the guise of Mr. Knight – and Marlene found themselves confronted by Moon Knight or at least someone dressed as Moon Knight. This week, The Source picked up a copy, analyzed the story, and is ready to give you our full Moon Knight #5 Review.
The Fantastic Styles:
Inevitably, the issue opens with the confrontation between Marc and the mysterious Moon Knight. Amidst rage and fatigue, Marc demands to know who or what this impostor is. Ambiguously, the other Moon Knight replies, “I’m you before you lost your mind. Stop struggling. Let me end this!” Sure of himself, Marc cries out, “I am not insane” as he stabs the fraud, but the impostor pushes him back and runs into the pyramid. In her own confusion, Marlene follows Moon Knight, running away from Marc.
Heroically, Marc pursues Moon Knight and Marlene, and the reader learns why there are so many names on the comic’s cover. Each time Marc opens a door inside the pyramid, he journeys into what appears to be another world. In a stroke of genius, each time Marc enters one of these new worlds another artist is showcasing their own work and style. Although Greg Smallwood has done a fantastic job illustrating Moon Knight’s story so far, the change in artist for each world is remarkably beautiful and an overall brilliant approach. The moon feels gritty and each rock has detail; the movie set is smooth with warm, inviting colors, and Jake Lockley’s streets are abundant with bright colors. After all, what facilitates change in environment more than a change in artist? For that alone, this comic deserves an automatic boost in its rating.
After visiting the worlds within the pyramid, each representative of one of Marc’s personalities, Marc finds Khonshu’s brother, Seth the Usurper, in chains. Last month in Moon Knight #4, Khonshu told Marc that Seth was the one responsible for the Egyptian takeover of New York, but with him taken prisoner, who could be responsible?
Atop the pyramid, Marc faces the false Moon Knight once again. Drained and exasperated, Marc does not attack his weakened foe; he simply asks, “Who are you? Who are you really?” With a slow pull of the iconic white mask, the wounded Moon Knight turns out to be the Egyptian god of the Moon, Marc’s guide, Khonshu. Despite Marc’s shock, Khonshu praises him for giving so much to the quest and being a loyal servant. However, Khonshu requests one more thing; as he gradually bleeds from the wound, he asks Marc for his body. Together, they admit that Marc’s mind is damaged. Khonshu knows he is tired of the games being played in his head and tells him of the peace he can attain by giving up his body. Yet, Marc does not listen. In an act of defiance for the friends he has lost along the way – Crawley, Frenchie, Gena, and Marlene – Marc jumps out of the pyramid, crashing down into the sand, presumably killing himself.
The Ending: What Could It All Mean?
With the turn of a page, we see Marc lying in bed, back in the smooth, warm art style from the movie set. He wakes up in a nice room with Marlene, who is calling him Steven. She reminds him they have to go shoot a movie scene in a pyramid later that day, and she needs him there with her because the director creeps her out. As she exits, Marc makes his way to the window and looks out over the vast, sand-free landscape of New York, leaving readers with more than a few questions:
How much of this journey was real? Was it a dream? Was it all in Marc’s head? Was any of it real? Is Marc dead? When did Steven takeover?
Personally, as the writer of this review, I’d say its all in Marc’s head. It has to be.
However, some of it should be left up to the reader’s own interpretation! An argument can easily be made for reality or at least partial reality. But in my view, the pyramid was a representation of Marc’s mind and the three personalities that make it up. In each world, he was another version of himself. On the moon, he was Khonshu/Moon Knight. On the set, he was Steven Grant. And in the streets, he was Jake Lockley. Ultimately, Khonshu wanted his body to be able to roam the Earth freely; by sending Marc on that journey through his mind, Khonshu wanted to make Marc give up, drive him crazy enough to quit.
But in the end, Khonshu pushed him too far, and he tried to kill himself. Whether that part was in his mind or not, it does not matter. If Marc killed himself in real life, Khonshu could bring him back to life; he has done it before. If Marc tried to kill himself in his mind, Khonshu could probably just laugh off the attempt and put him to sleep. But by waking up in that seemingly perfect world with Marlene, it appears, at least for now, that Khonshu won. Although he has given Marc the peace he promised, trapping his mind not in a mental institution but in a life with Marlene, we still cannot be sure what happened to his body. Hopefully next month or in a few more issues, readers can find the answers they seek.
Despite some of the slow moments in the last five issues, the “Welcome to New Egypt” storyline has been a fantastic way to kick off a new Moon Knight series. Like never before, Jeff Lemire has made the audience feel just as confused and conflicted as Marc Spector. Additionally, Greg Smallwood and Jordan Bellaire have kept the series visually intriguing, especially in this last issue with the addition of other artists and colorists.
Check back with The Source next month for our next review of Moon Knight #6 along with other reviews and breaking news!