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by Arpad Okay. Marc Spector is a mess. The Fist of Khonshu was always crazy, but now he’s hospitalized. But that hospital, though. Too many beatings. Too many reminders of the past from which he’s supposed to be recovering. Can we believe what we see when our guide is doped to the gills and fairly nuts to begin with? Moon Knight is a mystery, finding stark black lines encased within a thick white fog. You can’t really trust Marc. But you can see where he’s coming from.

You’re supposed to be looking for clues, anyway. A great deal of Moon Knight‘s truth is hinted at only through symbolism (which is perfect for a mystic superhero). That white gauze covering everything is terribly important to Spector. The gowns worn by everyone on the ward, the uniforms of the orderlies, white on white is Spector’s look, stolen from him. White is Marc’s identity, diffused all around him. Red is doubt. Red is the key to his recovery, but it is also the lock that binds him. It can make something innocuous like a carpet look menacing. That’s magic.

Moon Knight is unorthodox for a superhero book. No costumes, just a lot of catatonic normal folks in stolen pajamas. Very few fist fights. What it boasts is gorgeous, vivid artwork that enlivens a powerful cast of players. Do you enjoy how much of a mess Clint Barton is? Moon Knight is a beautiful wreck. And Spector is hardly the book’s only charismatic madman. Bertrand Crawley is a delightfully cryptic bad influence and Khonshu the grumpy god is as close as anyone gets to being endearing. Even the panels can recede into the fog in Moon Knight, but the faces are clear and constant and alive.

And then there’s the paranoia. Moon Knight is a psychological thriller, possibly a gargantuan work of supernatural espionage, possibly the unshakable fantasy of a damaged mind. Standing on the hospital roof without shoes, a torn up sheet wrapped around his head, Spector sees the moon and tells it, “this is the only real thing I’ve felt in so long.” Given the choice between the sterile truth of reality and the hero fantasy he lives in his dreams, Spector does what he does best. He fights the world.

Marvel Comics / $4.99

Written by Jeff Lemire.

Art by Greg Smallwood.

Colors by Jordie Bellaire.

Letters by Cory Petit.

7 out of 10

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