BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@The Comic Blog
Moon Knight delivered a dramatic and heartfelt turn for the better in the latest episode, and it dropped Bushman’s name for what could be a season finale boss battle. [CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD]
When Marvel turns down the volume on the slapstick comedy, they can produce some dramatic moments. After four questionable episodes, “Asylum” was a welcome change of pace. Once again, we didn’t get to see Moon Knight except for a moment in a flashback. This entry was filled with more drama than we’ve seen from the show so far, and it gave Oscar Isaac a chance to show off his acting skills.
The main objective for this episode was to dissect Marc Spector, the man and not the superhero. The big question was finally answered: who is real, Marc or Steven Grant? The revelation that Marc created Steven as a means of escaping his abusive mother shed light on why Steven had such a ridiculous accent. What we discovered was that Marc had a younger brother, who, in a nice callback to the first episode, just so happened to draw a goldfish with only one fin. The two came across as inseparable, and they enjoyed going on adventures, pretending to be their favorite movie character with an over-the-top British accent, Dr. Steven Grant.
One day, the pair goes on an adventure. Although it was raining, Marc pushed his brother to forge ahead, and that was where things took the wrong turn. They were warned not to go to the caves when it was raining, and the two were caught in a flood. Marc’s brother drowned, and their mother blamed him. The painful loss of her son triggered what appeared to be her mental degression, a trait that would be passed onto Marc. He spent his childhood being tormented by a mother who hated and beat him. We see the passing of sad birthdays and Marc’s father desperately trying to hold the family together. To escape his painful childhood, Marc created a separate personality, Steven Grant.
This all took place within the context of the Ancient Egyptian afterlife. Taweret, the hippo god, explained that everyone sees the underworld differently. Marc happened to imagine it as the psychiatric ward of a hospital. Once Marc and Steven pass through a set of doors, they discover they are on Taweret’s magical ship that’s sailing across the desert of the Duat. As she charts a course for Osiris’ gate, she must weigh Marc and Steven’s hearts to see if they balance the scales of righteousness. Since the scales won’t stop shifting, Marc was forced to reveal all his secrets to Steven, including how he came into Khonshu’s service.
For once, I actually cared about Steven. With the Mr. Bean act taking a break for an episode, he delivers a heartbreaking death scene. After Taweret informed them that the Duat will claim their souls as the scales are still not balanced, Steven inadvertently sacrifices himself. He falls overboard, and his body turns to sand. That balances the scales, as Marc is now one soul in one body.
As the ending credits roll, Marc has been welcomed to eternal paradise, but we all know that won’t last. For one, he wants to protect Layla, who is still under threat from Arthur Harrow and his mercenaries. Second, he must atone for the death of her father, which he was implicit in causing.
That brings us to one new character mentioned from the episode: Bushman. When Marc and Steven take an Inception-esque trip through Marc’s memories, they stumble on an important memory. They see the aftermath after Layla’s father, an archaeologist, and his crew were murdered. Before we see a dying Marc at the foot of Khonshu’s statue, we learn that Bushman was behind the ordeal and the one who shot Marc, thus triggering the events that created Moon Knight. That will have collectors on the hunt for these issues.
WHO IS BUSHMAN?
In the comics, Raul Bushman is an African native, hailing from the country of Burunda. He came from a family of farmers, but he sought revenge when white entrepreneurs forced his entire tribe off their own land. Bushman channeled his anger into a career as a ruthless mercenary who would take virtually any job. Just to show his commitment to terror, he got a creepy tattoo on his face just to appear more menacing. That’s going above and beyond right there.
On his path of violence, he began working with Marc Spector. At one point, Bushman’s crew shot Marc’s brother, Randal, though Marc was unaware. Eventually, Bushman and his mercenaries go to Egypt where an archaeologist and his daughter, Marlene, have discovered an ancient treasure. Like any good pirate, Bushman kills the doctor and steals his gold. When Marc got between Bushman and Marlene, the two came to blows, and Bushman shot Marc. Like the events in Moon Knight, Marc is near death when Khonshu makes him a fateful offer. Thus, the Fist of Khonshu is born.
As Moon Knight, Marc defeats Bushman and rescues Marlene. The villain would resurface years later as a drug lord in Harlem, New York, and would wage war on Moon Knight.
MOON KNIGHT, VOL. 1, #1
Being this 1980 issue detailed Moon Knight’s origins, it is no surprise that Bushman made his debut in these pages. With Bushman having been name-dropped in the show, it will give buyers another reason to put this issue in their collections. Since it’s Moon Knight’s first solo series and the first appearance of Khonshu, the prices were already elevated.
The graded 9.8 has sold for as much as $1,200 this year, though values have been steadily declining since the Disney+ premiere. Two weeks ago, it was staying in the $900+ category. This week, the only two sales have each been under $600. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you are a Moon Knight fan and want a piece of the action, be patient, and you could find a good deal is waiting.
THE LAST LAP
Five episodes in, and Moon Knight is making the final turn around the track. As the series races to its conclusion, it appears that after two episodes, we will finally get to see a fully-costumed, proper Moon Knight in the sixth episode. Odds are, Bushman will arrive for a boss battle with virtually no build at all before MK moves on to the showdown with Harrow. Either that, or Marvel will save Bushman for the next season when a superpowered Layla hunts him down for the murder of her father.
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.