Written by Joel T. Lewis
In this issue we get a more intimate look at the lunar dystopia of Captain Marc Spector brought to life in previous issues by artist James Stokoe. We catch up with Spector as he pilots his starship Moon Knight One against a legion of space werewolves who have taken over the earth and driven what remains of humanity to a lone outpost on the moon. This is humanity’s final stand. As Spector and the sinister General Lupinar trade passes above the surface of the moon, artist Stokoe throws silvery crescent moon fighters at the swarm of red predator ships that have come to end mankind. The panels are spectacular with the pale shimmering surface of the moon clashing against the black cloud of empty space while fighters dart and blaze deadly fire at each other.
Then as Lupinar and Spector play out one final deadly game of chicken Marc struggles to focus as he slips into the reality of cab-driver Jake Lockley for a moment, then back to the moon, then back again. Stokoe’s visual style collides with Francesco Francavilla’s as Spector speeds toward Lupinar on the moon and Lockley’s cab smashes into an oncoming car on the mean streets of New York. The next page shows us Spector’s ejector seat cushioning his landing on the surface of the moon and Lockley thrown from the crumbling mess of his cab. This page is particularly striking because of the similar color pallet that bleeds through both artists’ panels. The orange and yellow of the two crashes smooth over what could’ve been a jarring transition between the neon streets of New York and the cold rocky surface of the moon. Spector emerges from the tangled wreck of Moon Knight 1 and calls to his co-pilot Frenchie. Hearing no response, Marc turns to survey the wreckage.
Frenchie is dead for the second time this series (issue 4) but that is not the most unsettling thing we discover as we turn the page. Spector is still on the moon but this is not the moon or Captain Spector as drawn by James Stokoe. Instead of his wrecked Starfighter, Marc sees Jake Lockley’s cab smoking from the crash. As Marc discovers Frenchie’s fate Francavilla takes over for Stokoe, depicting both the cab from Lockley’s reality and Captain Spector, spacesuit and all. This transition indicates an important shift in the story. In my last recap I outlined the brilliance of using three artists (four if you include Greg Smallwood, and you should always include Greg Smallwood) to separate Moon Knight’s personas and their corresponding realities. By giving each identity a distinct visual style we are able to distinguish who’s doing what while also experiencing how jarring it must be for Moon Knight to constantly shift between these realities. Lockley’s cab and his artist’s (Francavilla) appearance on the moon shows how thin the divisions between Moon Knight’s identities have become. Events, characters, and the artists that draw them are bleeding into each other and the reader slowly starts to appreciates how damaged Moon Knight’s psyche really is.
Luckily this particular madness abates after just one page and Lockley and his cab are back where they belong and are drawn by the correct artist. Shaken from the crash and his shifting identity Lockley shuffles towards the familiar neon lights of Gena’s Diner. Then we’re back on the moon with Spector as he watches the barrier protecting the moon base shatter. Spector rushes to attack the wolf responsible: General Lupinar. Stokoe’s panels leap off the page as they trade blows and beams of energy. Marc stands dumbfounded as he watches a horde of bloodthirsty space wolves pour into the last outpost of humanity. Numb with shock, Spector is defeated by Lupinar who bites his neck inviting him to turn and join the dominant species.
We then shift back to Lockley who’s reeling from this latest switch. Shaking off his vision of the moon battle as a concussion-induced hallucination he finally makes it to the door of Gena’s diner. As the entry bell tinkles, Lockley senses that something’s gone horribly wrong, and he’s right. Gena’s is a blood bath and Jake has only enough time to call her name before sirens blare and a police officer with a bullhorn arrives. The cop calls him Marc Spector and informs him that he’s under arrest. Spector is spiraling out of control again but Lemire continues to deliver a spiral so unique and fresh that all I can do is enjoy the ride and patiently wait for the next installment. Until next time, Geek On!