BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
The debut of Mr. Knight in Moon Knight’s latest episode has collectors making moves for Secret Avengers #19 and 2014’s Moon Knight #1.
This week’s edition of Moon Knight was a lot of talk with a sprinkle of comedic action.
First and foremost, Steven kept being annoyingly fake British, and the showrunners are intent on reminding us that he is fairly useless. Twice he was rescued from Harrow’s henchmen by Layla, and we learn that she is Marc’s wife. Apparently, she was not aware that her husband was afflicted with dissociative identity disorder. On one hand, Layla is fully aware of Khonshu, Moon Knight, and all the magic involved there. How could she not know her husband had severe mental health issues?
Following Marvel’s Disney+ tradition, Moon Knight is slated for a brief six-episode season. Whether or not there will be a season two remains to be seen, but it seems that everything but WandaVision gets a follow up. With only six chapters to tell the story, the filmmakers crammed a lot of exposition into Episode Two, and it slowed the action quite a bit.
Between Steven “Mr. Bean” Grant’s trouble with museum security and his attempts at convincing Layla that he is not Marc Spector, that was nearly half the episode. The slowest moment for the show came when Steven is abducted and taken to Arthur Harrow. Ethan Hawke is proving to be the highlight of the series so far. His underlying menace as Harrow feels genuine, and it makes his scenes that much more provocative. That is increasingly necessary when you have long-winded expositions like what we saw in Episode Two.
We have all seen this in one fashion or another. The rough, emotionless goons drag the hero to the villain’s altar. When the character is most vulnerable, the antagonist flips the script and showers him/her with empathy and kindness. The first example that comes to mind is Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazis kidnap Marion and force her to change clothes. She is taken to Belloq, who “kills her with kindness” only to stand by as she is thrown into the snake pit with Indiana Jones.
A similar scene plays out in Moon Knight. Harrow’s agents abduct Steven in handcuffs and take him to the cult leader. Just when it looks like Harrow is going to inflict some horrible punishment on our hero, Arthur has the cuffs removed and treats Steven to a meal. He explains how Ammut has reformed what was once a dangerous neighborhood into Sesame Street. The intriguing part is when he reveals that he was Khonshu’s previous avatar, which steers the character completely away from his roots. Arthur Harrow from the comics is more of a mad scientist who turns people into zombies, more or less. This version hints at being closer to Hunter’s Moon.
Slow and a bit heavy handed though it may have been, the lengthy exposition gave us insight into Harrow’s character and the logic behind his Ammut worship. It does feel like this move was stolen from the Doctor Strange playbook, and the similarities between Kaecilius/Dormammu and Harrow/Ammut is unmistakable. You’d think by now everyone in the MCU would have learned not to trust soul-consuming godlike beings from alternate dimensions.
Where the episode lost me was in Mr. Knight’s big reveal. I understand that Moon Knight is played for laughs in his comics. I also realize Marvel Studios sees the MCU as one universal-sized joke. When Steven summons the costume and it appears as the white business suit, Marvel couldn’t help itself. They went full slapstick comedy. This wasn’t Mr. Knight so much as it was the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz but with every stereotypical British slang thrown in for good measure. It went full cartoon at this moment, and I found myself losing interest. The saving grace was Marc taking control as the traditional Moon Knight.
This is a Marvel show, and with that comes the collecting fallout. What issues will get the boost from this week’s Moon Knight? Step and inside as we take a look at the current market.
SECRET AVENGERS #19
The first time we see Moon Knight’s white business suit is in Secret Avengers #19. While overseas, Black Widow and Sharon Carter run into trouble during a meeting with the leader of a drug cartel (imagine running into trouble in a drug lord’s lair). They meet Steven Grant, who helps them escape when he reveals himself to be Moon Knight. That’s also when we see the white business suit, though he does not refer to himself as Mr. Knight.
Nevertheless, this has been a hot issue that will only get hotter thanks to this week’s episode.
Ever since Mr. Knight was seen in the Moon Knight promotional materials, this issue has been on fire. Two years ago, only one graded 9.8 traded hands online, and it brought $26, which is less than the cost of having it slabbed. Last year, there was mild interest when two 9.8s were sold online for an average of $148. Then came 2022, and Secret Avengers #19 has soared to new heights with 10 sales. On February 12, it sold for a record $300. The most recent sale was for $240 on April 5.
MOON KNIGHT #1 (2014)
Although the white MK business suit was revealed in Secret Avengers #19, it wasn’t until the 2014 edition of Moon Knight #1 that Marc Spector unveiled the true Mr. Knight. There’s not a vast difference between Mr. Knight and Moon Knight. However, where MK is the alter ego of Marc Spector, the former boxer, Marine, and mercenary, Mr. Knight is Steven Grant’s costumed persona. Keep in mind that the Marvel-616 Steven Grant is a rich playboy along the lines of Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne. When he puts on the costume and becomes Mr. Knight, he relies more on cunning and intellect than Moon Knight’s raw fighting skill. Like Steven Grant, the Mr. Knight we see in the show is not the same as the one from the comics. Mr. Knight provided a bit more of the slapstick comedy that Marvel Studios loves dearly and was no match for the invisible jackyl in the episode.
The 2014 Moon Knight #1 has been on an even greater trajectory than Secret Avengers #19. Already this year, the standard cover for the 9.8 has averaged over $300 for the past year. Although it hasn’t matched last year’s record $500 sale, it has brought as much as $430. What’s more is that it has not sold for less than $321 since mid-February.
2099: MANIFEST DESTINY
One of the more intriguing moments from the episode was the hint that Layla could be the future Fist of Khonshu. The Moon God threatens Marc with recruiting her as his next avatar if Marc Spector rejects the ancient god, and it leads to many theories. Before the season ends, could we see Layla in the Moon Knight costume? Marvel enjoys throwing a wrench into things, and they especially like defying the “damsel in distress” cliche. Making Layla a better Moon Knight, even if only for one episode, would accomplish that goal and test the waters for a female-led MK season in the future.
In the comics, the only Moon Knight in the Earth-616 universe we have seen has been Marc Spector. However, there was a female Moon Knight under the 2099 brand. This version of the character protects Attilan, the Inhumans’ former home on the moon. She doesn’t have many appearances, but she did make it to Earth, where she used her soul sword to rid Doctor Strange of a demon that possessed his body.
The graded 9.8 has been getting more attention as of late. Last year, one sold for $131 on December 7 before the second sale of the year netted just $50. This year, there’s been only a single sale, and it was for $240 on January 27. Meanwhile, the raw copies have been selling anywhere from $50-$72 in the past month.
MOON KNIGHT #1 (2016)
While we didn’t meet Dr. Emmet in this week’s episode, the Easter egg was there. After Steven was implicated in destroying the museum bathroom, the head security guard offered to make a psychiatrist appointment for the would-be Mr. Knight. Fans of the 2016 Moon Knight series will recognize this as the precursor for Dr. Emmet.
In the comics, the woman who would begin as Moon Knight’s psychiatrist would evolve into a cultist. What was once a doctor would become a monster when Dr. Emmet is possessed by the Ancient Egyptian goddess, Ammut, who has already been established as Khonshu’s antagonist. Her real turning point was when she met the mysterious Patient 86. He would later burn himself while proclaiming to be the Sun God, Ra. Emmet would suffer severe burns in that altercation, and she would become one of the renamed Sun King’s followers.
Again, here is another issue that has broken records this year. In 2020, it had an FMV of $71 before nearly doubling to $139 a year later. So far in 2022, it has risen into the $200 range with a record high of $225 on January 27.
WAITING FOR AMMUT
Overall, Moon Knight’s second episode revealed more about the mystery of Khonshu, Ammut, and the gods’ avatars. The bigger picture is that it planted the seeds for several things to come, like Marc Spector’s origin, Dr. Emmet, and Layla possibly assuming the Moon Knight mantle. There’s also Arthur Harrow to consider and what his time as the Fist of Khonshu could mean to the series. Could we see him transform from cult leader to an evil version of Moon Knight? That would fit Marvel Studios’ other films and shows to set up for a final battle by the end of the season.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.