BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@The Comic Blog
As Moon Knight is in danger of repeating the Book of Boba Fett’s most glaring problem, the show hints at a new hero and a possible Kang connection.
Before we venture into the key issues, we need to address Moon Knight’s fourth episode, “The Tomb,” which was a throwback to classic monster movies.
It would seem the Moon Knight creative team is enamored with the bumbling comedy of Steven Grant. Four episodes into the first season, and Steven has taken up far more screen time than Marc, who is by far the more interesting personality.
Overall, we’ve seen relatively little of Moon Knight in a show titled Moon Knight. Sure, Marc Spector counts as the superhero, since he’s the primary alter ego for the Fist of Khonshu, but it’s like seeing all Peter Parker and no Spider-Man. The costume counts for something. Actually, we haven’t seen nearly as much Marc as most fans would like.
In “The Tomb,” the show manages to forget about Moon Knight entirely, as the episode was more of a take on a “Curse of the Mummy” type of film, which I enjoyed for what it was. With Khonshu imprisoned in paperweight form, it leaves Steven/Marc vulnerable. Without the Moon God’s protection, there is no magical healing or superpowers of any kind. Unfortunately for the viewers, that also means no Moon Knight.
REPEATING BOBA FETT’S BIGGEST MISTAKE
In some respects, Moon Knight seems to have taken its storytelling structure from the same school of thought as The Book of Boba Fett. That’s not a compliment.
BOBF had seven episodes total, and the filmmakers insisted on giving us as little full-costumed Boba Fett as possible. There would be teases here and there with Boba wearing his helmet or having a short fight scene. It was enough to remind us of why we fell in love with the character in the first place. Just when it would appear the old ass-kicking Boba Fett was going to come out and play, he’d take off his helmet and say something corny.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re getting a lot of that with Moon Knight. Marc takes control just long enough to get Steven out of trouble and give us hope that the much more interesting character will get the spotlight. Then our hopes and dreams of an exciting, action-packed Moon Knight are ripped away by less-funny Mr. Bean.
Just past the midway point for BOBF, the title character went virtually MIA for two episodes. The story shifted its focus to the Mandalorian, whom we were all happy to see. If BOBF had done its job properly, we would have missed Boba, but we didn’t, and that speaks volumes. Then he reappeared for the flat final episode.
Even the worst Moon Knight episode so far has still be more entertaining than BOBF. Having an entire chapter of Moon Knight without Moon Knight and too much Steven was a bitter reminder of one of BOBF’s biggest failures, of which there were many: forgetting why viewers were watching in the first place. Who wouldn’t have enjoyed a fight scene between Moon Knight and the murderous Mummy of Episode Four? It would have been a great mix of superheroes and horror, and I can get onboard with that.
Someone - probably more than one (cough cough, Kevin Feige) - adores Steven Grant. From the beginning, he was inserted into the story to be the comic relief and to keep the show from being too intense for the Disney executives. He is the classic, dorky sidekick who’s only real purpose is to make the hero look all the more dashing and amazing. Only, Moon Knight has taken the hapless comic relief and made him the star.
Marvel does appreciate a goofy, cliche sidekick. There’s Darcy, who pulled off the feat in the first two Thor movies and in WandaVision. Don’t forget the charming Luis from Ant-Man. They serve their comedic purposes well enough, but don’t feature them over the star attraction.
Making Steven the star of Moon Knight would be like having Darcy star in Thor. Sure, it is funny for a few minutes, but eventually we want to see the title character. That’s not what we’re getting in Moon Knight, and the show is suffering because of it.
MUMMY MEETS MOON KNIGHT
On the plus side, “The Tomb” was a fun adventure in timeless horror. The entire mummy scene in the lost tomb of Alexander the Great, no less, had all the standard tropes we’re used to seeing. The animated corpse of some cursed soul is disemboweling people and chasing his would-be victims through the catacombs. It’s more of a boss battle than furthering the story as Layla and Steven must defeat the mummy to proceed into Alexander’s chamber. Considering this was on Disney+, the filmmakers pushed the PG-13 envelope with lots of suggested gore, and I salute them for that.
The episode’s closing moments were intriguing enough, though it ended on the wrong foot. After Harrow shoots Marc twice in the chest, he wakes up in a blindingly white psychiatric hospital. For a moment, the show attempts to convince the audience that it was all a delusion, which makes sense for Moon Knight. We are led to believe that Steven is a movie character, Layla is a fellow patient, and Arthur Harrow is Marc’s doctor. It appeared that all the superheroic adventures were fictitious until Marc stumbles upon a sarcophagus that held Steven. As the two try to escape the hospital, they run across a second sarcophagus that is rattling and shaking, but they widely ignore it. We can assume that one held the mysterious third personality that many believe is Jake Lockley.
Then things take a turn for the silly. At the end of a corridor, Marc and Steven meet an anthropomorphic hippopotamus dressed in Ancient Egyptian attire. She smiles and waves, and it sends Marc and Steven into hysterics. Obviously, this was meant for laughs, but their reactions didn’t make sense. Here you have two characters who work for a certifiable god, been in the presence of the Ennead, worn a magic costume that gives them superpowers, fought jackals and even an undead mummy, yet a talking hippo evokes terrified screams. This should be just another day at the office. Le sigh.
Speaking of that hippo woman, who is she? She is the Ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility, Taweret. While Moon Knight is loosely based in Egyptian mythology, there are no ties to her in the comics.
All that being said, the mental institution setting could be the real turning point for the series. Could it be that the reason Moon Knight has not mentioned any other heroes or events from the larger MCU is because it’s all happening in Marc’s head? The fun part about a character like MK is that is a possibility. I don’t necessarily see that happening, but it would be a clever way to bring it all together full circle. My guess is that Episode Five will continue the hospital setting, leaving us wondering if any of this has been real. By the sixth and final chapter of the season, the truth will be revealed, and we will see Marc and Steven working cooperatively as Moon Knight in full costume.
THE KANG GANG
While Taweret may not have comic connections, there are still plenty of issues to discuss. Let’s explore that and see how some of the more famous Moon Knight keys are performing in the secondary market.
FANTASTIC FOUR #19
There’s a theory making the rounds on social media that MK is hiding Kang Easter eggs in plain sight. These wouldn’t be just any Kang references or anything obvious. Being the setting is in Egypt and much of the backstory is connected to the ancient mythology, some fans are seeing a relation with Rama-Tut.
Longtime Marvel readers know Rama-Tut as an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh who runs afoul of the Fantastic Four when they are hurled through time. Remember this issue was written in the 1960s, so Rama-Tut had a definite Adam West Batman villain vibe. He would be defeated by Marvel’s first family, but the character did not fade into obscurity. Instead, he was revealed to be Kang the Conqueror, also known as Nathaniel Richards from the distant future.
As “The Tomb” opens, we see Khonshu’s miniature form being placed on a shelf among several other statues. We can assume these are other imprisoned gods and deities. Although Kang is not a god, he very much has godlike powers. That is leading to the speculation that one of the statues is, in fact, Rama-Tut, who is being punished for tampering with the fabric of time and attempting to rule Ancient Egypt.
Thanks to the Rama-Tut rumors, FF #19 is seeing an increase in sales. After spiking last year due to Kang’s appearance in Loki, this issue has cooled significantly. However, this week saw a graded 6.5 sell for $1,317. On April 11, a 6.0 sold for $1,250, while a 4.5 brought $597 on Tuesday.
Anytime someone makes a movie or television series that deals with mummies and Ancient Egyptian gods, there are numerous scarabs. Otherwise known as a type of beetle, we saw plenty of scarab references throughout Episode Four. What theorists have noticed is that Layla is constantly flanked by some sort of beetle. That is leading to the theory that she will get superpowers of her own and become the Scarlet Scarab.
In what is clearly a play on DC’s Blue Beetle, the Scarlet Scarab first appeared in 1982’s Thor #326. His backstory was that in the 1940s, Adbul Faoul discovered the magical Ruby Scarab, which gave him godlike powers. He used his powers to fight against the British rule over Egypt, which put him at odds with the Invaders.
It would seem that something is brewing with Layla and all those scarab references, and she could become an avatar herself, possibly even Khonshu’s. That should make Thor #326 a bit more interesting. Only yesterday, the first graded copy of 2022 sold online when a 9.6 brought $70. If you want to keep your investment even lower, head to eBay, where you can find raw copies for around $10.
WHERE IS KHONSHU WHEN WE NEED HIM?
Whether it’s Kang or more Moon Knight, this show needs a jolt. Changing the setting and leaving the audience to question Marc’s sanity (as if we didn’t already) does add an extra layer to this casserole, but we need Khonshu. “The Tomb” seemed to provide a platform for Layla and showcase her as possibly the better avatar. She isn’t a bad character, but she’s not Moon Knight. I doubt many MK fans will want to see anyone but Marc Spector in the cape and cowl, but then again, this show seems intent on not giving fans what they want.
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.