Review: MOON KNIGHT #11

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Greg Smallwood, Jordie Bellaire
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 21, 2015

Brian Wood is in his element with this month’s issue of Moon Knight. Given my experience of his work through his first mini-series, Channel Zero, as well as the long-running DMZ, I often think of him as a very political writer. As such, that Moon Knight was being taken in a political direction with his run didn’t surprise me. I was unsure about that move, but the reveal that Khonshu had abandoned him in favor of his psychiatrist got me excited about what was to come. While I was frustrated by the lack of forward motion in the last issue, in Moon Knight #11 I finally got what I was waiting for.

After the events at the United Nations, Marc Spector has been taken to a secure facility similar to Guantanamo Bay but explicitly not Guantanamo. It’s not clear who is keeping him hostage or why, but this is less interesting than Spector’s ongoing dialogue with Khonshu while he is imprisoned. Marc raises some interesting questions about his psychiatrist’s ulterior motives that imply there is something even bigger going on here than we all realized. I’m truly fascinated by Khonshu’s imperfections. I love fallible gods as a concept and the direction of newest twist seems to be exploiting precisely that idea.

And, of course, Brian Wood being Brian Wood, we get a chilling depiction of what it is could be like to be imprisoned somewhere like Guantanamo Bay. Spector’s prison is, I suspect, much cleaner and generally more humane than its real counterpart, but is still unapologetic about its complete disregard for civil rights. The prison is frightening precisely because it’s something we all know is happening at this very moment. It’s a reminder of the absolute power of the government in a place where you might not have been looking for it.

I also particularly enjoyed the art in this issue. Right from the very beginning, Greg Smallwood sets up a very interesting organization of the panels, giving us both backstory and the present scene all in one. Stylistically, I was reminded of David Aja’s use of small blocks of space in Hawkeye. Your eye is constantly moving and reworking the information. It’s a great way to make the monotony of solitary confinement in an all-white prison much more exciting.

My only, very small gripe is that I think more could be made of the white page versus white prison dynamic. There’s one panel that capitalizes on this, but because Moon Knight has become known for being All White Everything, I wanted more panels that really took advantage of that concept. It seems like a missed opportunity to play with the limits of page, panel, and color—or lack thereof.

Still, the colors stand out more in this issue, precisely because of the white setting, and red features pretty heavily. In the opening scenes, Jordie Bellaire colors all the physical violence endured by Spector in a glaring red, while the more psychological violations have regular colors. Violence is actually frequently demarcated with red in throughout the entire issue, and yet conflated with the sleep cycles in the prison. I don’t doubt that’s intentional—nor do I think it’s a coincidence that the first appearance of Khonshu is done in red as well. He’s a different god when separated from Marc and the potential for violence is clear.

After Moon Knight #11, I am more than ready to see how the creative team plays out this ending. I’m incredibly curious about what Marc Spector seems to know that we and Khonshu don’t. What’s more, I’m fascinated by the very thought of Moon Knight being abandoned by Khonshu in the first place. This run has definitely been up and down for me, but this issue represents a very solid up. I have high hopes for the end of the Wood/Smallwood run and look forward to a great finish.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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