Good morning, Loyal Mockers! It’s time to travel down to Mockumendation Arena (sponsored by the Ames Avenue 7-11 in Providence) to take in the latest battle in everyone’s favorite podcast segment! This week Andy has sent in ‘The Navigator’, a 2017 album from the unfortunately named indie band Hurray for the Riff Raff. Eric has countered with an obscure Marvel super hero title named Moon Knight (specifically the first five issues of the 2016 run of the comic). Hurray for the Riff Raff vs. Moon Knight! Finally, this great pop culture argument will be decided!!
MOON KNIGHT ISSUE 1: So the premise of this comic is mercenary Marc Spector dies underneath a statue of Khonshu, an Egyptian moon god. Thankfully for him, Khonshu’s spirit grants him another life he and he now fights crime at night when he isn’t questioning his own sanity. This series opens with Marc Spector in a nut house straight from the 1950’s as bad-ass guards Billy and Bobby give him shock treatments throughout the first issue.
AWARD FOR BEST DRAWN HOSPITAL PSYCHOLOGIST WHO MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE THE HEAD OF AN ALLIGATOR: Goes to artist Greg Smallwood, whose rendition of shrink, Dr. Emmit (or Ammut??) almost made me consider taking the issue up to the bathroom…
COOL CHARACTER: I have a feeling we will be hearing more from fellow patient Bertrand Crawley. This old coot was instantly likeable as he tells Marc that the hospital is not as it appears…
BEST PART OF ISSUE ONE: When Marc puts on his Moon Knight mask and is able to see the true faces of the hospital workers (Billy and Bobby are bad dogs and most of the nurses are jackals without chainsaws)…but is he actually seeing this or is he insane?? Did he actually see a New York City covered in sand during his failed escape attempt or is it all in his troubled mind?? Let’s read on…
MOON KNIGHT ISSUE 2
MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES: As if this comic isn’t already confusing, it turns out that our hero Marc Spector is also NYC cabbie Jake Lockley and movie producer Steve Grant…seems like a lot for a nutball to keep straight!
STARGATE CROSSOVER: Can’t help but think with the Egyptian connection of these two titles that a crossover with Richard Dean Anderson and crew should be in order!
FAMILIAR FACES: Marc is noticing some people that he recognizes in the hospital and I have to think these are characters that were introduced in previous Moon Knight series. Clever way for writer Jeff Lemire to introduce Frenchy, Gena and Marlena to a new audience
KHONSHU APPEARS: Marc hears the internal exposition dumps of Khonshu throughout the issue as he explains they are in the “othervoid” while rival god Seth has taken control of Earth (duh)…
THE GREAT ESCAPE: With help from his friends, Moon Knight makes his way out of the hospital and into what appears to be the NYC subway system. Instead of commuters exiting the trains though the issue ends with mummies rampaging towards our heroes!!
MOON KNIGHT ISSUE 3
“LET YOUR MADNESS GUIDE YOU”: Khonshu’s advice before Moon Knight kicks some mummy ass in his fancy white suit to begin this issue.
WOULD YOU SLEEP WITH SOMEONE WITH A CROCODILE HEAD: The true face of hottie shrink Dr. Emmit raises interesting questions. She actually turns out to be Ammut, the Soul Eater and a quick Wikipedia search reveals the real Ammut was part crocodile, part lion and part hippo!
ANUBIS: We lose our first member of the group as old coot Crawley sacrifices his soul to Anubis so the others can be given safe passage through the Othervoid…I’m sure this old man has turned back up in the series at some point. In a slightly un-related story, my old coot of a friend Bob ‘The Hurricane’ Mayes once played drums in a band called Anubis.
ESCAPE BACK TO NEW YORK: The Gang (Marc, Gena, Frenchie and a long unconscious Marlena) finally make it back to NYC and it looks like Marc’s sandy visions from the first issue! Damn you, God Seth!!
MOON KNIGHT ISSUE 4
TOUGH BREAK FOR FRENCHIE: Damn, the guy gets written out after only three issues as Sobek, The God of Crocodiles (among other things) munches on his neck!
SETH THE USURPER??: Why doesn’t this guy get an ancient Egyptian name like everyone else? This was actually confusing to me for a few issues and it also makes me think of Seth McFarlane, which I don’t like…
GENA’S DINER: Hey there is Gena’s diner!! Where the hell did that come from in the middle of the NYC Sandstorm of 2016? They should have had Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel make a cameo in this issue. Gena decides to stay at the diner and wait for her sons Raymond and Richard. Thanks, way to help out a friend who got you back from the othervoid.
MARLENA AWAKENS: Artist must have been tired of always drawing someone having to carry this comatose character around…turns out she used to have hot sex with Steve Grant (remember that is one of Moon Knight’s other personalities).
INTERESTING POSSIBILITIES: So could Steve Grant, Jake Lockley, Marc Spector and Moon Knight all be banging different chicks and none of them get in trouble for it??
BIG PYRAMID: As Moon Knight and Marlena ascend to try and take care of Seth the Usurper their progress is interrupted by…Moon Knight?? Is Marc crazy after all?? I can’t believe I have to wait a whole month to find out!!
MOON KNIGHT ISSUE 5
MIND BENDER: What with the multiple personalities and characters questioning themselves and each other this comic does make you wonder what the heck is going on a lot of the time. This last issue goes all in on that conceit as we jump from Marc Spector to Jake Lockley to Steve Grant over the course of a few pages.
SETH SWITCHEROO: So it turns out this supposed usurper has been held captive by Khonshu the whole time! Should have figured with a name like that…
KHONSHU KONFRONTATION: So it was Khonshu who was manipulating all this shit and buried NYC in sand? And now he wants Marc to give up full control of his body? Slightly confusing to me but I’ll roll with it. Marc ends up hurling himself off the pyramid to avoid Khonshu takeover and…wakes up as Steve Grant with Marlena by his side!
-The last issue almost raises more questions than it answered but still a solid overall read with some great, expansive illustrations. Let’s get this guy a Netflix series!!
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF “THE NAVIGATOR”: Sixth studio record from this indie-folk, ramshackle, americana outfit that is primarily Puerto Rican songwriter Alynda Segarra. This is the first album that I heard from this outfit and it instantly grabbed me with its easy going, accessible melodies and simmering intensity. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Andy Mocker is both the author of this article and the author of this mockumendation).
(1) Entrance | According to Wikipedia, Segarra has a love of doo-wop and that is evident on this call and response opener…
(2) Living In The City | Great acoustic guitar lick opens up the album proper…Segarro grew up in the Bronx and according to this song it was hard living in the city…This title also would have made a good name for the album if she didn’t come up with The Navigator …
(3) Hungry Ghost | Propulsive track that is not about Pac-Man
(4) Life To Save | “I still got a life to save, life’s funny that way”…all of these songs have tiny lyrical bits that will get stuck in your head after only a few listens…this run of 4-5 songs to start the album is one of the best of the year (I can hear my brother Eric chortle with disagreement from here)
(5) Nothing’s Going To Change That Girl | Segarra calls in the string section to add some ennui on this plaintive track that turns into an old fashioned Puerto Rican hoe-down by the end
(6) The Navigator | This sounds like it should be in a 60’s spy movie as we have more sweeping strings and some 1950’s guitar stylings…”Oh where will all my people go? The navigator wants to know”…Maybe Segarra is the Moses of all Bronx born Puerto Ricans?
(7) Halfway There | Short and sweet acoustic offering with a title that helps the listener know how much longer the album is
(8) Rican Beach | “They left us to die on Rican Beach”…did she foreshadow the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria on her native homeland?? I will say the album gets a bit more challenging in this section–much like Moon Knight, you start to question all perceptions when you hear Rican Beach after a couple cups of coffee
(9) Fourteen Floors | Piano ballad that I have been singing along with all year long…”When I woke up it was all gone, they took it while I was asleep”…
(10) Settle | Another doo-wop/indie ramshackle hybrid and even I will allow that this album might be dragging a bit to the finish line
(11) Pa’lante | They probably sing this with pride down in the Bronx as we get a rousing call to arms!! “To my mother and my father, I say Pa’lante”…As best as I can tell ‘Pa’lante’ means keep going or moving forward…We have some Brian Wilson DNA in this one as the music changes course a few times in the course of this six minute track
(12) Finale | An unnecessary callback to the first track–seems like the sweeping and emotional Pa’lante would have been the better album closer
FINAL VERDICT: I love the first five songs so much that I am willing to overlook the dip in quality towards the end (and even those songs aren’t terrible). Will Jamie Mocker will be so forgiving when he renders his judgment in Episode Seventy-Eight of The Mockers Podcast? I guess you’ll have to listen! Thanks for reading and this is Andy Mocker signing off from Mockumendation Arena.