Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Well, Marc, I don't quite know what to say anymore... I had thought we were making some progress these past weeks, but now you say you remember nothing of that? I... I just don't know what to believe anymore."
"Doctor Emmet, please... I don't know what to believe, either. All I know is I woke up this morning in this place, and I have no idea how I got here. I remember bits and pieces of different lives... before this... Moon Knight the vigilante, Jake Lockley the cab driver, Steven Grant the millionaire... I need you to tell me... Which of those really happened? Which one was really me?"
"<SIGH> Marc... none of those were really you. None of it really happened. It is all an elaborate delusion. Fantasies you created to cope with the truth."
"No... I don't believe that. I know Moon Knight was real. At least that. I know Khonshu was real."
"Marc... we have had this conversation dozens of time... you want the truth? Well, here it is... There is a Moon Knight, Marc. But you are not him. You've been in this institution since you were twelve years old."
Maybe... though presumably unlikely...
However, Marc is certainly experiencing rapidly changing perceptions of reality whilst seemingly trapped in a mental hospital populated by old cast favourites like Bertrand Crawley, Jean-Paul Duchamp a.k.a. Frenchie, Marlene Alraune and Stained Glass Scarlet. Oh, and Khonshu, we mustn't forget Khonshu... The staff aren't a particularly sympathetic bunch, either, with their penchant for a truncheon beat-down and electroshock charge-up. Then there is the mysterious Doctor Emmet who Marc becomes convinced is Ammut, the God of Judgement and eternal foe of Egyptian God Khonshu... As I say, maybe...
All I know for certain after the first five issues of Jeff Lemire's baffle-worthy take on the moon-faced mentalist is that I am as utterly puzzled and perplexed as Marc. Particularly after issue #5 where guest artist James Stokoe takes us for a quick trip to the moon to fight werewolves in spaceships.
But luckily for us, Khonshu, if it really is Khonshu of course, is able to explain to Marc exactly what is going on, or perhaps tell him a huge pack of whoppers, which either way sounds exactly like the weirdest episode of X-Files ever. Or perhaps Marc is subconsciously using the illusion of Khonshu to construct an ever more implausible explanation to justify his whirlamagig carousel of hallucinations. I honestly have no idea, but this is certainly one of the very few stand-out Marvel titles at the moment in terms of writing, which I personally think is suddenly at its absolute nadir in my living memory following another interminable round of unnecessary reboots post-SECRET WARS.
Marvel do try and let the odd person do something a bit different and more sophisticated in story-telling terms like Lemire is doing here, I will give them that, such as the recent VISION VOL 1: LITTLE WORSE THAN A MAN S/C and VISION VOL 2: LITTLE BETTER THAN A BEAST S/C penned by Tom King, but frequently these left-field yarns struggle to resonate with sufficient fanboys to maintain an audience and get promptly cancelled, as the Vision just has, sadly.
Consequently I'll personally be surprised if this incarnation of Moon Knight runs more than 12 issues, which is supervillain-level criminal frankly, but hey ho, as long as Lemire gets chance to explain to me what the hell is actually going on, I'll be happy with our little dance in the moonlight.
Main artist Greg Smallwood (who has a bit of form with Moon Knight, illustrating part of the recent Brian Wood run) is a real talent too, he had me at the very first page of nocturnal ambiguity with Marc stood outside a huge temple hearing the voice of Khonshu beckoning him in. I really like his broad linework, use of shading as an illustrative instrument and some very clever page layouts with lack of defined panels and stark white backgrounds. It all adds very nicely to the discombobulated feel.
Finally, most appropriate sub-title for a Marvel title ever? Unless, that is, the next trade of All Nonsense, All Dreadful Avengers is subtitled Complete And Utter Shite...