As "Black Lives Matter" is being chanted around the world, come see Marvel publish a comic book where a chained Black Panther gets whipped!
In this issue, there are a significant number of increasingly impractical conceptual mountains to climb. The mooring of this tale in any kind of continuity makes it nearly impossible to enjoy it as its premises become more and more ridiculous with every turning page.
Let's start with the premise: the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu, has empowered the moneyed mental patient Marc Spector to (checks notes) take Mjolnir from Thor, beat the magic off of Doctor Strange, and stole the fire from Ghost Rider. Yes, every word of that is ridiculous given the known powers of the Moon Knight, but the argument here is that he is empowered by a god … who was … well, let's just go to the footage. Sandy, please roll that clip!
What you see here is Khonshu, after he has "seen the devil's visions too … and they have left him … unwell." Whimpering and crying in the corner, the old kingdom's god of the moon cringed in the face of a demonic threat … only to rally and empower Marc freaking Spector enough to take on multiple pantheons.
If you know anything about ancient Egyptian spirituality, in the popular worship of the Kemetic people of the Nile Valley, Khonshu was replaced in prominence by an older, more powerful god called Tehuti ("Thoth" to the Greeks, who struggled with the language's refusal to use vowels) for a multiplicity of reasons. Still, you, gentle reader, are asked to believe that at best, a third-tier Egyptian god could level up to take down the All-Father and all manner of power out of his relative weight class. That's already crazy.
Then you get to the tone-deafness. At one point, white-clad supplicants of Khonshu have the Black Panther in chains and talk about using "floggers tipped with jagged moonstones," which might remind students of the history of some unpleasant moments. One could charitably believe that since this was solicited in February for sale in May, the script must have been done sometime in 2019 but given the weeks of sustained protests against racial injustice that are still happening around the world, forging ahead and publishing a comic book where white-clad people chain and threaten to whip a Black man would be tone-deaf at best and criminally negligent at worst. That's the way the House of Akira Yoshida rolls, apparently.
Let's not even get into the good old fashioned ideas of heroes fighting villains and not other purported heroes. Guh, how tedious.
With these dazzlingly dissonant ideas dancing around, it's hard to appreciate even the skillful visual work from Javier Garron, Jason Keith, and Cory Petit, depicting a broken-down goth vision of ancient Egypt in Manhattan. Masterful craft in execution, alas, can't save the abysmally insipid and culturally insensitive concepts at play here.
Perhaps we should consider a #DefundTheAvengers discussion, as this is not the direction things should be going. RATING: NO. JUST … NO.
(W) Jason Aaron (A) Javi Garron (CA) Matteo Scalera
THE AGE OF KHONSHU!
An empowered, godlike Moon Knight has just saved the world from fiery ruin. Now an army of mummies and moon priests begins to reshape the world in the image of ancient Egypt. But where does that leave the Avengers? Broken, imprisoned, or on the run in the moonlit streets of New Thebes City.
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at http://bit.ly/combatshaman.