For those who are not familiar with the masked multiple, Moon Knight was born Marc Spector – a decidedly rebellious youth who led a particularly violent career as a C.I.A. operative and mercenary.
He soon grew disillusioned with his malicious life and – after a lengthy altercation involving the Egyptian god Khonshu – chose to don the tights and cape of Moon Knight to attain redemption for his past transgressions.
To aid his newfound sense of benevolence, he developed two additional identities – those of Jake Lockley, a New York City cab driver and Steven Grant, a big city millionaire.
In “Down South,” Lockley takes the wheel as his host seeks anonymity in Mexico after the events covered in the “Civil War” and Spector’s apparent “death.”
But let’s face it: it isn’t easy to hide out when you’re recognizable, built like a linebacker and have a tequila worm as a foul-mouthed anti-Jiminy Cricket. Needless to say, where the Knight roams, trouble follows.
Mike Benson weaves a gritty, though thoroughly amusing tale as Lockley seems to almost unwittingly play “Grand Theft Auto” with the sheer numbers of bounty hunters on his tail, with a particularly evocative scene involving three joining the rest as he passes them by.
Along the way, he encounters various nameless baddies and some familiar faces as well, including the Punisher.
His stalwart armed companions are two Luchador brothers who pride themselves on their impeccable fighting prowess and even more impressive technological assimilation. They plan to facebook Lockley soon. He has no idea what that means.
Collecting “Moon Knight” no. 26-30, this trade is a fast-paced, fun and ultimately too-quick a read. Where certain writers are remarkably wordy, Benson has no such qualms – some pages contain as little as five words.
Honestly, the entire paperback can easily be finished in under half an hour – considerably less of the reader is focused.
But, it is engaging, particularly due to the charming and borderline sociopathic banter between the mercenary brothers, with lines like, “oh yeah. That’s the kind of girl you could settle down with, raise some puppies,” in sincere response to an admittedly attractive female target out-smarting him during the fight. They also discuss the musical significance of Huey Lewis.
Jefte Palo’s art – while not particularly brilliant – does not detract from the story and does its job well.
Overall, while “Down South” is certainly worth a read, its distinct economy of words makes it the graphic novel equivalent of the first “Spider-man” game for the Playstation 2 – a rental.
Too bad those don’t exist in the publishing industry.
Library? What’s that? Is that also on facebook?