Trying to Make a Star out of Moon Knight
Disney+ recently continued its series of live-action Marvel Comics super-hero mini-series with Moon Knight. He’s not a character a lot of people know but he’s one I got into many years ago. The first episode was a little questionable so I waited until the second one aired before making an opinion about it.I was introduced to back when he was briefly tied to the Defenders in the 70’s, but his first appearance goes back to Werewolf by Night when he was introduced as a silver-wielding werewolf hunter. He only had brief appearances until he got his series in 1980. This is when his full origin was explained in detail and I got really interested in the character. I remember the first issue showing him as a mercenary working with Bushman (who becomes one of his big enemies), being left for dead, and finding the statue of Khonshu whose cape he took. Back in the US, Marc became a crime fighter using the aliases of Steven Grant (a wealthy socialite) and Jake Lockley (a cabbie) to get information from various circles. In the 200s, the writers made a couple changes. The cape and tights outfit was sometimes replaces by a white suit, tie, and a mask and they turned these aliases into actual identities, explaining that the connection with Khonshu caused problems with Marc’s brain and gave him a form of dissociative identity disorder. And this is where we are while walking into the new series.
Instead of starting with Marc, we are first introduced to Steven Grant. The thing is that this Steven isn’t a rich socialite. He is an awkward British guy who works in a museum gift shop. Other than the name, there’s nothing in common between him and the Steven Grant from the comic book. Steven seem to be having a sleepwalking issue and cuffs his leg to the bed at night. At one point during the episode, he findets there is a gap in time where he can’t account for two days. The “sleepwalking” is presumably when Marc is taking over and doing Moon Knight stuff so it is curious that he never had any lost of time before other than maybe while he slept. He is also just starting to hear the voices of Khonshu and Marc. So far, we don’t know which identity is the real one or how this all started, but the fact that Steven is the primary identity over Marc is a big difference. We also see that when Steven is finally able to manifest Moon Knight, he has the suit and tie version of the costume. (This may be good as I can see Steven running into the reasons for Edna Mode’s “no cape” rule if he had Marc’s version.) The part of the first episode when Steven wakes up in the desert with the scarab and (presumably) Marc controls his body to keep Arthur from getting the object is a bit odd. If Marc can do that then, why doesn’t he do it more often, especially since he has to fight to get Steven to give up control. There are still too many questions regarding how all this works.
Another oddity is Layla El-Faouly who is Marc’s wife on the show. This again calls into question who is the real identity since Marc must have had a whole life before. Layla is a character totally created for the show and seems to be replacing Marlene from the comic books. I’m not sure what to expect from her yet. I’m also assuming that if Marlene has been erased, so has Frenchie, the guy who handled Marc’s tech. They were the main team early on. There honestly seems to be very little from the comic book in this show. There’s not a whole lot to explain Khonshu or how he even became connected so far either.
From the point of someone who had never heard of Moon Knight before this show, it might be interesting if a bit cringy at times. If you know the character from the comics, it leaves you pretty confused as to what’s going on because it’s hard to see this as the same character beyond a few minor points. It’s almost like if someone said, “There’s this guy named Bruce Wayne who’s parents are killed and he becomes a super-hero named Batman. Here’s a picture of him. Run with it.” You wouldn’t get too much of the real Batman feel there and I’m not getting the character I was looking forward to seeing in live action either. I really hope things get better on this soon but I’m not really expecting it to. There’s only 6 episodes total so that leaves only 4 to go. I’m not sure why this one is so short. Hawkeye was only 6 episodes but he’s an established character. You didn’t need the extra time to build things up which could definitely be used here. I’ll obviously watch until the end but I do have to say I’m a bit disappointed and don’t have high hopes for the show.