One of the benefits (I don’t solely have them for this purpose) of having a friend who, some would say, I have been a bit of a bad influence on (Though I fail to see how introducing someone to the vast culture that is comic books is a bad thing, it could have been drugs (Not that I take drugs or deal them)) by introducing him to comic books is that he collects titles that I don’t. One of the series that I helped introduce him to is the latest volume of Moon Knight written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Greg Smallwood. I myself wasn’t too keen on title but, having now read the first 5 issues (Which were leant to me by the same good friend), I must say it is enthralling.
For those who don’t know who Marc Spector, Moon Knight, is I shall summarise briefly (As I myself am not overly familiar). He’s an expert detective well skilled in several combat disciplines. The lunar cycle also affects him, increasing his endurance, strength and agility accordingly. In addition, he is motivated by the belief that he is embodiment of the Egyptian God of Vengeance and the Moon, Khonshu. Whilst out of costume, he adopts one of three alter egos that help his work and also aid him in dealing with his own personal demons. An fascinating character, to say the least.
‘Welcome to New Egypt’ sees Spector trapped in a psychiatric ward. He’s been admitted to the ward due to his dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder. He senses that something is going on and tries to escape several times, revealing to him that New York is currently covered in sand as a result of Set. Whilst all this is going on, he is being spoken to by Khonshu, his master, who encourages him to escape. When his fellow patients are revealed to be old friends of his, a more concerted escape attempt is made and the group manage to escape the ward but at the cost of several lives along the way. The group slowly whittles down to just Moon Knight and his lover, Marlene, who arrive at the pyramid, the one who Khonshu says is responsible for bringing about the chaos in New York, where they are confronted by another Moon Knight who takes Marlene into the pyramid. Spector follows where he finds Set imprisoned. Confused, he carries on where he finds Khonshu sat at a throne in the Pyramid. He praises Marc for his efforts in escaping and, as a final act for his master, demands that he offers up his body to be the vessel for a dying Khonshu. Marc refuses and jumps off the Pyramid, landing in a bloody heap on the floor. He awakes to find himself in bed, everything apparently normal.
I must say my summary doesn’t really do it justice. In my opinion, this arc could stand easily on it’s own as an excellent mini series. It addresses a mental disorder responsibly in a way that raises awareness in a powerful and meaningful way. Alongside that is an interesting Egyptian tone which makes for very compelling characters. Having all the key Moon Knight supporting cast was also very helpful for a Moon Knight beginner such as myself. Lemire does a brilliant job at putting together an enthralling story which I just couldn’t stop reading.
The art was also superb and I mean that with the utmost sincerity. Greg Smallwood was not familiar to me prior to reading this but boy does his work accompany the arc so wonderfully that I will not likely forget him. The detail is exquisite and it just works on every level. The cover art parallels that of the interior art with a wonderful set of covers with a similar to style to those of Doctor Strange.
Overall, there is something incredibly engaging about this arc, so much so that I feel a touch disappointed that I myself don’t collect this book. All I can say is that if you are looking for something a little different to the likes of the Avengers and Spider-man, this arc alone is worth a read because it is simply so compelling. If you have any thoughts or questions please leave them in the comments.