Beware; light spoilers for MOON KNIGHT #188 are abound!

The preview for MOON KNIGHT #188 promised the introduction of a new, terrible nemesis for our titular hero. So, fortunately, this issue didn’t fail to substantiate that claim. Writer Max Bemis takes the reigns on this story arc, presenting a unique narrative form that will certainly enthrall readers. So Bemis presents this installment as a primarily introspective piece. With this, we come to understand the perspective of the narrator, psychiatrist Dr. Emmett. She has a history with Marc Spector. Or, as most fans know him, Moon Knight. However, though he doesn’t make a genuine appearance in this issue, Moon Knight’s presence still looms large as his newest nemesis is born.

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MOON KNIGHT #188 page 7. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

What Marc Spector Left Behind

MOON KNIGHT #188 commences with the introduction of Dr. Emmett’s newest patient. Just like Dr. Emmett, we are unaware of his true name. His only identification is Patient 86. He maintains a fascination with fire and is believed to have committed a plethora of murders. Despite his horrific crimes, Dr. Emmett maintains staunch hope that she can help him. She has identified his need for medication, but Emmett also believes that more can be done.

Moon Knight- One of Marvel’s Most Underrated Characters

Dr. Emmett has previously treated Marc Spector. So, she’s aware of his inner demons as well as his role as Moon Knight. Therefore, she begins to make a connection between Spector and Patient 86. Emmett even goes as far as telling Patient 86 the story of Moon Knight’s origins, which are intertwined with the lore of Egyptian gods. Patient 86 expresses a fascination with her tales, believing he can truly find reformation in the work of the gods. Unfortunately, Spector and Patient 86 are distinct individuals who perceive their destinies in completely different manners.

The introspective nature of this issue’s narrative is most definitely its highlight. Dr. Emmett is a rich character who’s totally captivated by her work and the patients she has helped. She appears to genuinely want to help her patients, but it seems as though her work has taken over her life. So Emmett struggles to enjoy the simple things, from a party amongst friends to a good night’s sleep. Thus, presenting the narrative of MOON KNIGHT #188 through Dr. Emmett’s eyes allows readers to parallel her immersion into the development of the sinister Patient 86.

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MOON KNIGHT #188 page 11. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Many Hues of MOON KNIGHT #188

Artist Jacen Burrows presents some beautiful panels that exemplify the ominous tone of this issue’s narrative. Perhaps the most beautiful sequence is the one depicted below. Dr. Emmett finds herself in a foreboding dream that depicts Patient 86 as Moon Knight himself. The imagery of that sequence maintains a minimalist appearance that suggests the inevitability of something terrible, either within or without Emmett’s dreams. Colorist Mat Lopes provides some beautiful tones in this sequence, as well as in the rest of the issue. The color contrast of these panels, particularly between the red and white hues, is quite eye-catching.

So it’s worth noting that Lopes’ color palette varies throughout the issue. The warm, vibrant tones that he exhibits in the sequence where Dr. Emmett explores a museum, seeking a cure for Patient 86, parallel Emmett’s own hopeful sentiments. With this, the illustrations of Burrows are exceptionally concise throughout the issue, supporting the composed nature of Emmett. However, the final pages of MOON KNIGHT #188 exhibit a truly terrifying event.

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MOON KNIGHT #188 page 16. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

As a result, the illustrations appear more chaotic. There’s no more stability in the world of Dr. Emmett as she serves witness to the birth of something truly evil. So, as Bemis’ narrative descends into a disarray, so does the imagery that exemplifies the rise of darkness.

What Lies Beyond

MOON KNIGHT #188 presents a worthy introduction to the next challenge for our titular hero. Now, a question arises: how will the famous Moon Knight fare against a villain who has left a path of death in his wake? Under the capable hands of Matt Bemis and Jacen Burrows, it seems as though a strong story arc is in store for this series. All we have to do is wait and guess what will become of this daunting threat.

MOON KNIGHT #188 by Max Bemis, Jacen Burrows, & Mat Lopes
MOON KNIGHT #188 offers a wonderfully engaging look into the birth of a villain, which proves to be both compelling and horrifying.
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