When a high-stakes rescue mission goes awry, the night’s greatest detective finds himself in the target of an elaborate set-up in Moon Knight #8. Terrorists have taken hostages atop One World Trade Center and all eyes are on Detective Flint of the NYPD, who sends his best man to monitor the situation. But as Moon Knight scales the tower to make his way inside, who is Flint talking to? Marc Spector? Jack Lockley? Mr. Grant? And just what do these different personalities want, as this dramatic case reaches its bloody end on TV and phone screens across the city?
Told from the viewpoints of numerous cameras, artist Smallwood brings Moon Knight’s rescue mission to the page in the form of screens. Every panel represents different mediums of communication, from security feeds to smart phone videos, live news footage to Spector’s own network of scarab drones. This novel use of page and panel design is not only an example of Wood and Smallwood’s investigation of graphic narrative, but it also raises intriguing questions about the nature of surveillance in the 21st century.
Does the constant scrutiny and observation of the digital age make modern life any less dangerous? Are masked vigilantes, the supposed heroes of the Marvel Universe, subject to the same surveillance as the average civilian? Does seeing the gritty, violent details of vigilantism change our perspective of it? This issue offers no answers, only questions, making the most of its visual conceit for twenty-two pages and drawing the reader into its engrossing world of images. Colorist Bellaire cleverly layers film grain, texture and the distorted palettes of low-quality footage to affect a truly immersive reading experience.
As Spector becomes more and more unpredictable, asking to be addressed by the names of his other identities, it becomes clear that he’s not the only man on the case. This is one of the most intriguing aspects of the issue. With each action and costume change comes a different personality with a specific goal, as Wood examines the real depths of Spector’s erratic mental state to show each identity at work. In the end it’s this instability that does him in, asking for Flint to reach out to his psychiatrist, the same psychiatrist whose revenge scheme he foiled in the last issue. As one of Spector’s alternate personalities kills the terrorist on camera, his psychiatrist warns the police of the threat he poses to himself and others, turning the attention of law enforcement on Moon Knight himself.
Full of intriguing questions, Moon Knight #8 teases the reader with something more than a simple done-in-one caper. Something strange is indeed brewing in New York City, opening up to a possible new arc as Spector must deal with the consequences of this betrayal. Just how this plays out remains to be seen, but I have ample reason to put my faith in this dynamic creative team.