By Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla, James Stokoe, and Jordie Bellaire
There is never any doubt that a Moon Knight book is going to be trippy, meaning there is some mental gymnastics involved in understanding it, but this book takes the mind games to new heights. Lemire and Smallwood have taken us on a ride over the past four issues. Every page leaving us wondering if Marc Spector really is crazy or if the staff at the mental healthy facility real, and wondering if they are in New York City or some crazy new Egyptian city. Moon Knight #5 takes it up a notch, really packs a punch, puts the volume on loud, and leaves you feeling confused yet excited as you put the book down.
This book cannot be talked about without mentioning the art, the real showstopper of this book. Moon Knight #5 really gets what makes Moon Knight such a great relatable character. Marc is dealing with self-doubt, anxiety, and identity issues, and compartmentalization of feelings. This is literally all the things that come along with growing up. On top of that, he has a case of split personality. The split personality thing really has never been done in such an explicit way with a varied array of talented artists. Sure, Lemire is crafting a masterpiece here, but the artwork from Smallwood, Torres, Francavilla, Stokoe, and Bellaire, is just short of a revelation. We are following Moon Knight as he attempts to figure out who he is, who the imposter Moon Knight is, all while trying to avoid being recaptured by the orderlies from the mental health faculty. As he looks for answers, things get more complicated for Marc Spector. As he gets closer to the answers he is looking for, he has a big choice to make that could change Moon Knight forever.
The art is this book is just plain crazy; crazy good that is! Lemire, Smallwood, and Bellaire welcomed some guest artists in this action like Torres, Francavilla, and Stokoe. The book takes twists and turns as Spector falls deeper into either madness or clarity with Smallwood picking up where we left off last issue we suddenly turn a page and we are transported to the moon with art from Stokoe. The art changes throughout the issue as the personalities of Moon Knight changes from Marc Spector, our hero on this current journey, shifts to other personalities from the past like Jake Lockley and Steven Grant. The guest artists all have clearly distinct styles that help to create a sense of schizophrenic chaos as you turn each page. Going crazy has never looked this good.
The art from Stokoe is a great contrast to the opening pages from Smallwood’s stylized panels of clear lines, and bright pops of colors. Stokoe takes us to a gritty scene on the moon with a pack of wolves (maybe wolves maybe something far more sinister) that are chasing our Moon Knight. The wolf things are drawn with great detail, with snarling teeth and sharp claws, they are terrifyingly delightful.
Then we get the wonderful delight of Francavilla’s art for a good three pages that is full of color, dark lines, that has a pulp-comic feel. His style is so fun, and provides another great contrast against the gritty horror style of Stokoe we previously viewed. We then get pulled back to some more Smallwood art that delivers some devastating blows using his smart panel layouts that keep your eyes moving seamlessly across each page. You almost miss some of the beautiful details in Smallwood’s panels; the colors and the attention to detail in the background are tremendous. Finally, we are entrenched in the style of Torres as we find another reality for Moon Knight, new art style. Torres provide a more simple, stylized approach that befits the situation and also creates a sense of calm after a completely crazy journey of a book.
Plain and simple, buy this book. Okay, if you want to see some talented people show off and put together a gorgeous book that offers a variety of art styles and a great story this book is it. Honestly, this is great comic story telling and it pours out of every page. Lemire knows what he is doing and this book he truly put his trust in the art team to tell the majority of the story from the lines, colors, and panel layouts and it pays off. Moon Knight #5 is setting us up for some big things for Marc Spector and pals, so it is highly advisable to get on board so you can tell your friends that you liked Moon Knight before it was cool.