Whilst Max Bemis undoubtedly lived up to his pre-print promise of having some “very weird” plans for this series with his script for Issue One Hundred And Ninety Three of “Moon Knight”, this sixth and final instalment to the lead singer’s “Crazy Runs In The Family” story-arc arguably fails quite miserably in its aim to create an “ultimate nemesis” for the titular character with its portrayal of the Sun King as being little more than a plain, unbalanced madman whose only as powerful as his confidence in Amon Ra is strong. In fact, far from being “the Joker to his Batman”, or even a plausible “ultimate bad guy who’s his polar opposite in pretty much every way”, Patient 86 ultimately must have struck the majority of this comic’s 20,383 readers as merely yet another disappointing addition to the Fist of Khonshu’s frustratingly impotent Rogues Gallery; “Never trust a madman to do a mercenary’s job.”
Just as perplexing as the primary lyricist’s underwhelming main antagonist, who despite his formidable fire-starter super-power is ultimately bested by a bare-chested Marc Spector in a ritualistic fist-fight, is just why the silver-shrouded crime-fighter is even participating in the brutally sadistic ceremony anyway. True, Marlene is being held a prisoner on Isla Ra, and her deranged captor does seemingly plan to “hunt down your daughter after I strip off your flesh.” But none of that explains why, having beaten Bushman and an entire boat-load of criminals within an inch of their lives, the former U.S. Marine suddenly surrenders himself to being systematically brutalised and tortured once he arrives on the tropical island. Surely it would have made far more sense for Moon Knight to have stealthily infiltrated the despot’s small collection of huts and rescued his lover that way..?
Instead however, Bemis would have his audience believe Spector agrees to being repeatedly sliced, mutilated and bloodied just in order to say a touchingly sentimental farewell to Diatrice’s mother, before engaging Amon Ra’s host inside a fiery circle of night-time combat. Such unconvincingly abnormal behaviour, especially in one who as a hardened mercenary has already experienced death and been “returned to life”, is then made all the worse by the American author suggesting Marc’s ordinarily unconquerable will can be despairingly broken just because he loses a tooth and some hair during his clash with the bearded pyro-maniacal psychopath.
Quite possibly the only successful element to this disconcertingly contrived conclusion, is Jacen Burrows’ pencilling. It is quite clear from the quality of the San Diego-born illustrator’s bone-cracking pugilistic panels just why he has been one of Max’s “favourite artists for years and years” and reminds him “of artists like Steve Dillion”. Yet even the Sequential Art degree-holder seemingly struggles when drawing the “faint firings” of Moon Knight’s synapses, especially a less than flattering portrait of Diatrice which is supposedly meant to inspire Moon Knight to defeat his opponent with “the power of crazy!”