Moon Knight #195
Writer: Max Bemis
Artist: Paul Davidson
Colorist: Mat Lopes
College professor Maurice and his students (artiste Julie, "romantic nihilist" Ty, misanthropic skeptic Samantha, and lanky lurker Peter) are part of a niche club known as The Collective. Their goal is to have others join their group, thinking that they could do more as a group-think than they could do as individual entities. But after Maurice calls in a favor from a cousin who works at an A.I.M. secret science base, the group has grown closer than ever before. In a horrific manner of speaking. And now, they want everyone to join in the fun, by slurping up as many people as they can.
We've all wanted somewhere where we fit in. I think, even in the hearts of those who would rather be anywhere but around people, there's some part that wants to be a part of something bigger and better than themselves. To belong to something. Most of the time, people mainly want to feel like they aren't alone. And that feeling drives some to places they wouldn't ordinarily have thought possible. Some folks join a fan community, others go and join a religious group, and yet others attend protest rallies for their favorite causes. Maurice and his Collective decided to try and link their minds together via crazy ball of super-science. And then things take a turn for the Lovecraftian.
Paul Davidson's art brings an almost punk-esque look to a story of wanting to fit in and how horribly it can go wrong when it starts hurting others. The differences in the beginning of the "Collective" showed varied personalities and body types, along with styles of dress that were unique to each individual. He also gives the distinct personalities of Marc Spector distinct looks: Steve Grant is well dressed, Marc himself looks pretty normal, Jake Lockley looks like a 1930's cabbie and Khonshu is a bird skull atop a human body wearing fisherman's clothes. It makes more sense in context. The amorphous blob that the collective transformed into is a mutated, murderous mashup of faces, body parts, bones and hanging skin. It reminds me of the game Inside where a similar creature is encountered near the end.
Each of the individual members of the Collective begin as pretty pathetic people from the outside. You have someone who (allegedly) got a kind word from a celebrity about their art and has taken it to heart, even if they themselves haven't produced anything of note since. Another, and I quote, "never washed [his] jeans after a conquest," considering his jeans to be a "sexual totem." Another just seemed like a run-of-the-mill misanthrope. And the last was a generic creeper type. Maurice himself explains he's done all he can do as himself, but hopes to do more as a hive-minded person. It makes sense in a twisted way that these folks would want to be a part of something bigger.
I'm looking forward to see where the story goes from here, it's got an interesting hook, good artwork and a hellishly psychedelic final page. Even a couple of jabs thrown in at Moon Knight's expense. ("Probably waiting for the Avengers or a real superhero to try and put us down.") It's worth at least a look to see if it can attract the horror fan in you. Although, despite my hints at Lovecraft, neither the author himself nor his works are mentioned in this issue.