Moon Knight #194
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Ty Templeton
Colorist: Keiren Smith
Letterer: Cory Petit
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Having recently defeated the forces of the Sun King, Bushman, and the Truth, in Moon Knight #194 Marc Spector is kicking back with Frenchie and talking about the events in life that shaped him into the man he is today. Taking a trip down memory lane, we see Marc as a young Jewish boy who is trying to fit in with and understand the older Jewish men around him. His father has an uncomfortable and vague conversation with Marc to somewhat explain the Holocaust, and soon thereafter, Marc discovers a dark secret in the basement of a well-liked rabbi.
And my goodness, the comic takes an incredibly dark turn after that discovery. Before that point, the book paces along nicely but without too many notable occurrences: we see a young Marc trying to understand the self-deprecating Jewish jokes the older men are so fond of, as well as trying to get a handle on the darker times of Jewish history. But then when he gets down to that basement, you just feel your stomach drop.
Those of you looking for Moon Knight in a Moon Knight #194 won’t get much other than maybe two panels. Those of you looking for an action-packed comic won’t get a whole lot until the very end. After all, this is a new story arc under the banner of “Origin.” And if you’re looking for a light read, maybe you should pick something else up.
But the story in this one is nonetheless a powerful anecdote of Moon Knight trying to reconcile his Jewish heritage and how that might pertain to his family—including his recently discovered daughter. The scene where the young Marc Spector is given the details of the Holocaust, while we see the present-day Marc spending time with his family is especially affecting.
The other powerful aspect of this book are the discussions and portrayals of mental health issues. We get the idea that Marc’s father suffers from PTSD without any kind of diagnosis or treatment. Marc tries to help his daughter make sense of his dissociative identity disorder in a kid-friendly but frank manner. We also get glimpses that the horrific discovery might be part of why Moon Knight has so many personalities.
The artwork in this book has a great classic feel that manages to make the lighthearted scenes feel safe and the grizzly scenes extremely discomforting. I also really enjoyed the cameo of Moon Knight in a Torah scene.
Verdict: Buy it.
Moon Knight #194 may be a little word-heavy, but it’s still a powerful narrative for an origin story. I’m looking forward to seeing if this dark past event will come up later to haunt our present-day Moon Knight.