Marc Spector is back — or, at least he will be, once we meet his new nemesis first.
Dr. Emmett doesn’t treat Marc Spector anymore, but she can’t seem to get away from weirdos who need a little Egyptian mythology to set them straight. Can she help the maligned Patient 86 in Moon Knight #188? Is it good?
Who is Patient 86, and why did he burn all those people in his troop? HOW did he burn them, when he was naked and tied up? Who or what GOD did he see in the flames???
Dr. Emmett sure has a strange way of treating her psychiatric patients. Substitute one delusion for another! That won’t result in catastrophic consequences at all. If Moon Knight is the avatar of Khonshu, what will Amun-Ra do when he returns to Earth? It might involve fire and retribution.
Moon Knight #188 is a difficult issue to unravel. Someone familiar with writer Max Bemis’ more humorous works like Foolkiller and Worst X-Man Ever will be waiting for the jokes as the mystery slowly unfolds. There are some early on, which deceptively distract from the fact that this is really a horror story.
And it takes its sweet time getting anywhere. The only appearance by the titular hero in Moon Knight #188 is in a dream sequence; the entire issue really just exists to establish the new villain. Which is fine, as the descriptive transformation crystallizes his motivations better than simple exposition would, but it makes this “prologue” feel more like a #0 issue, and not the official start of a big, branded relaunch.
The art by Jacen Burrows is very similar to that of Bemis’ previous collaborators, heightening the disconnect for those expecting laughs. He’s able to conjure some nice gore, though, reminiscent of Clean Room‘s Jon Davis-Hunt, when he gets the chance. The colors of Mat Lopes again evoke a typical Bemis book, not exactly the best match for a story that grows increasingly dark with each page turn.
Moon Knight #188 is a bit of a conundrum, much like the character himself. Bemis does his best to create a slowly unfurling tale of terror, but the first two thirds end up more plodding than suspenseful. And trying to unite all takes on Marc Spector’s psyche, through Emmett’s internal monologue, may be biting off more than anyone can chew. Still, now that all the cards are on the table and Moon Knight has a terrifying and powerful new adversary, one with a (real or imagined) personal connection, there’s a lot of potential moving forward. It’s too bad that getting to that point feels more like homework than plot development.