Written by Joel T. Lewis
Issue 12 of Moon Knight marks the triumphant return of Moon Knight’s alter-egos. Seconds away from being eviscerated at the request of an angry mob in the Othervoid, Marc Spector is rescued by a crescent moon dart thrown by a familiar face: Moon Knight. The bizarre plane of the Othervoid allows Spector’s identities to come to his aid, as Moon Knight steps up to duke it out with the bloodthirsty guards, Steve Grant rescues Anput, and Captain Marc Spector appears with his starfighter to fly them all to safety. After their poignant parting in issue 9, their reunion with Spector is timely and heart-warming as Moon Knight asks, “Did you really think that we ever left?” This reunion is important because it reminds us that Marc is not alone in his fight, and his alternate personalities acknowledge their role as an internal support system and not as an external distraction. Bidding them fond farewell, Spector returns Anubis’ wife to him and frees Crawley. Anubis then fulfills his promise to ferry them back to where this all began.
On the origin side of this issue, Lemire treats us to a snapshot of Marc the Mercenary, following Spector and DuChamp on a snatch-and-grab operation in Saudi Arabia. This portion of the Spector origin story almost reads like a James Bond cold-open; showcasing a hero who keeps his cool and adapts to complications in the middle of an operation. Spector and Frenchie have been hired to extract a heroin dealer known as the Wolf and deliver him to persons unknown. I’m not sure what Marvel are planning for after Jeff Lemire leaves Moon Knight (holding back tears), but this issue made me think that a team-up series depicting the mercenary exploits of Spector and DuChamp could be a lot of fun (Maybe they could call it Marc Spector: Mercenary in honor of the second Moon Knight series). Something that really made these panels standout, especially next to the topsy-turvy Othervoid pages, was the use of color. I have given a lot of credit to everyone who has been a part of this series, but I have neglected one of the most important team members who has made these beautiful issues vibrant and complex: colorist Jordie Bellaire.
When a comic’s title character has a white suit as his signature costume you wouldn’t expect a colorist’s job to be that involved. But in this series we’ve seen Bellaire’s skill as she’s adapted to multiple artist's styles, colorful settings, and unique characters. Her contributions really make the panels pop whether they take place in the asylum, on the sands of New Egypt, or within the Othervoid. In this issue Bellaire shines as Spector infiltrates the Wolf’s secret backroom operation. The blue tint of these panels sets up a great cooling contrast to the desert warmth of the panels before and harkens back to the techno-noir style of Francesco Francavilla earlier in the series. It’s a true testament to Bellaire’s skill as a colorist for a panel to convey temperature so effectively and she’s done a wonderful job on this series. When I praise these flashback panels, I am of course neglecting to mention the incredible work Bellaire has done to bring the bizarre Othervoid to life. The wash of galactic starlight which characterizes every frame of this unique setting is breathtaking and Bellaire is responsible for bringing those panels into the light.
Throughout this series there have been several subtle touches that reference the spirit of the Moon Knight mythos. One that came to light in this issue was the way Marc Spector feels about his mercenary work. In the 1980 Moon Knight origin story it is made very clear that while Marc Spector commits violent acts as a mercenary, he does not take pleasure in making people suffer. He is a military operative first and in the first issue of the 1980’s series when he discovers that he’s been made to fight for the wrong side, he refuses to continue. Sure, he operates outside the law but he is not a malicious man and he has drawn a line in the sand he will not cross. Jeff Lemire’s Marc Spector holds the same stance. When we see Marc in the bare-knuckle boxing ring last issue he holds back from killing his opponent despite the bloodlust of the crowd.
Also, when confronted by the heroin dealer the Wolf about being a mercenary, Spector responds by reminding his captive that while he may be a mercenary at least he doesn’t destroy lives like the Wolf does. I’ve always found this component of Spector’s past to be very important. Though in many ways Moon Knight’s vigilantism was a way of making up for the violence of his mercenary past, Spector was never evil or vicious despite operating in a moral grey area. This is why he is redeemable and ultimately forgiven by Marlene in the original origin and it’s very wise of Lemire to establish that common thread in this issue. Next month we get to sink our teeth into one of the most ruthless villains in comics and Moon Knight’s arch-nemesis: Raoul Bushman. Until next time, Geek On!
--This article has been updated to correct and earlier mistake where artist Jordie Bellaire was incorrectly referred to as a male, when it fact Jordie is a woman. Our apologies to Jordie for this mistake.--