Moon Knight Vol. 1: Lunatic (Review)

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a comic book (graphic novel?) before, either here on the blog or anywhere else, cause in all honesty, I haven’t really ever read them. I own A Game of Thrones Graphic Novel and a couple 007 comics, but I’ve never got around to reading them.

But after seeing the Moon Knight trailer, and coming up with a couple (ok 9) things I hope they do in the Moon Knight show, I wanted to give it a shot and see what all the fuss was about. So here we are.

The first Moon Knight related thing I was able to find was Moon Knight Volume 1: Lunatic, by Jeff Lemire. As an introduction to the character, I’m not really sure this was a good starting place for me. It seems that Lemire’s work assumes that you’re not just familiar with the character, but you have read the previous iterations of the comic before. Purportedly, (from the description on Goodreads) this volume should:

“. . . [call] everything you know about Moon Knight into question.”

But I didn’t really know anything about Moon Knight to begin with, so I felt like I was catching up most of the time. As such, it’s a little hard to judge whether or not the story was well crafted or not, or even satisfying to read. I can say that in general, it may have tried to do too much, and relied too heavily on the reader’s knowledge of previous iterations of the story, often at the cost of coherency.

I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that the main thrust of the plot is Marc Spector’s attempt to escape from a mental ward, and he has several companions who help him do so. Each appear to have a long history of working with Marc, if only he (and they) can remember it. You are given bits and pieces of that history in flashes, but unfortunately the reader is often still wondering who the heck these characters are.

I did enjoy the depictions of ‘New Egypt’, a kind of post-apocalyptic version of New York which is covered in broken down buildings, sand, and pyramids. It was also fun to see some my favorites from Egyptian mythology show up. I thought the Emmet/Ammut wordplay was fun, and that Ammit — traditionally depicted as a mix between crocodile, hippopotamus, and lion, who supposedly would devour your heart if your judgement went badly, and your heart weighed more than the feather of Ma’at — was an interesting choice of villain. Also fun to see Anubis although I’m not entirely sure what if any symbolism we’re supposed to take from his actions.

Finally, I’m definitely intrigued by the role Khonshu, Seth (who I believe is supposed to be Ancient Egyptian god Set) and the other gods play in this world. It was a bit Ancient Aliens for my tastes, but I’m willing to keep an open mind and see what comes of it.

Worth it?

The short answer to this question I suppose, is yes. Although, I believe that this one will probably be more enjoyable to long-time fans of the character, and if you’re new like me, then maybe look into trying to find some of the older iterations first to give yourself a baseline.

For what it’s worth, I’ve requested volume two.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this so far. Has anyone reading been a long-time fan of this character? Did all the references make sense to you? How’d you feel about the end? What did you Egyptophiles think? Any history or mythology you were hoping would make an appearance? Please leave your answers in the comments. Looking forward to chatting about this one!

See you next time!

April Newsletter Fiction Preview: Farewell To Rusalka

It’s February. Just a little over one year since I started posting again on this blog, and I think that year has gone pretty well. However, I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking a little bit this February, with really only one post (my hopes and dreams for Moon Knight!) to show for 18 days of this 2nd month.

Well I’m here to tell you, that I actually HAVEN’T been slacking . . . I’ve been writing. Beginning on February 7th and lasting until February 12th, I participated in a challenge put on by Jami Attenberg called #mini1000 (check my progress on my #mini1000 thread on twitter). Essentially, you write 1,000 words every day for 6 days, and then congratulate yourself post about it on twitter to keep yourself accountable, and encourage others.

I only managed a despicable 3,000 (ish) words, but it was more or less a grand ole time and really kicked me into gear to get a new piece started which I’ve been wanting to work on for a while.

I spent the next 5 days finishing the piece (another 3,000 ish words) and attempting a revision. I’ll be sending it to my writing group later today for critique and I’ll hopefully have some feedback by the first day of March. I’ll attempt another revision during that time, and hopefully have an polished and beautiful story completed by April 1st for my newsletter subscribers.

So what have I been working on? Well I’ll tell you. This piece is about a young boy (Ivan) in medieval Russia, living atop the infamous Russian stove without a care in the world. Then a priest comes to town and begins converting both the boy and the other villagers to the Orthodox faith. The town prepares to celebrate the annual Provody Rusalok, the “Farewell to Rusalka”, when the boy discovers the murder of the church’s Deacon and begins investigating.

In this excerpt, Ivan has followed a procession into the forest near town, and witnesses a ritual, in hopes of discovering the killer’s identity. Hope you enjoy this excerpt from Farewell to Rusalka

My attempt at getting an AI to generate Rusalka in a forest

Farewell To Rusalka (Excerpt)

Ivan found a wreath hung upon a spruce at the threshold of the wood. He’d followed scattered bits of clothing, loaves of rye, wormwood and bundled parsley — left out to appease the Rusalki — past the fields where the procession had marched in years past, and towards the river just beyond. The very heart of the Rusalka’s domain.

 Why the procession would leave the fields in favor of the river, he couldn’t guess, but he was certain it did not bode well for Roza or his village.  

Ivan crossed himself and entered the wood anyway. The thick foliage seemed to cover any evidence of the procession’s passing, and he prayed quietly that the path he walked was correct. But he need not have worried for soon he heard the discordant clang of birchwood against cookware, and just beneath it, the glorious harmonies of women singing:

I will lead the Rusalki

Into the green rye;

There in the green rye

The rusalki were sitting . . .

Their song, meant for the open fields, sounded uncanny and strange echoing off the trees near the river.

 Men and boys had never been a part of the “Rusalka’s Farewell”. They stayed back in the village to look after any who had disobeyed the week’s prohibitions and tried to work during the holiday. Under father Andrey’s supervision, Ivan assumed that there would be quite a bit of praying and prostration to accompany the ritual dances and consumption of healing herbs.

So when Ivan finally arrived at a small copse of trees looking directly unto the riverbank , what he saw stopped him in his tracks. Women of all ages stood ankle deep in the river’s water, singing or dancing as their mood suited them. They formed a large circle which touched both banks. Each wore a white dress and wreaths of flowers and wormwood, which they would cast into the water at intervals.

In the center, where the water was deepest, Roza had waded out up to her waist. She wore white like the rest, but as the one chosen to represent the Rusalka, she had also been painted with silvery-blue scales like a fish. Her long blond hair looked almost green above the water, and hung loose around her shoulders unlike the single tight braids of other girls her age.

She turned briefly towards him, and Ivan could see that she was blind-folded, but then someone stepped forward inside the ring and jeered at her, commanding her to return to where she came. Roza turned toward the sound, but obviously could not see exactly from where it had come. She stepped towards the girl who laughed and scampered back into the ring, just as a woman holding an icon stepped forward with another insult. Roza tried to change direction but stumbled slightly on the river’s pebbled bed.

Somewhere, amongst it all, lurked the true Rusalka, and while Roza might be the most vulnerable, Ivan could not help but wonder if the spirit would use the circle’s focus on her as the distraction it needed to attack someone else.

The women continued stepping forward to slight, or fading back into the ring laughing. With each new abuse, Roza became more and more disoriented.         

Ivan shouted for them to stop, though it seemed no one could hear him over the cacophony of frying pans and heckling.

Roza seemed to hear though, and as she whipped around to face him a stone finally came loose under her feet and she pitched forward into the water.

The singing, chanting, and impromptu percussion stopped and the murky waters where she’d gone under rippled outward even as the silence did the same. All were quiet, searching for Roza in the depths and wondering what would happen next. Moments passed in an eternity, Ivan holding in his breath as if he too had been dragged under the surface.

Finally, when Ivan could not stand to wonder any longer, and made to rush forward and dive into the river himself in search of Roza, she appeared, shooting up out of the water as well as any Rusalka could, her blindfold hanging loose around her neck. She grabbed the nearest person —  a young girl — from behind, embracing her. The girl shrieked with laughter as Roza tickled the nape of her neck and then released her to hide behind her mother’s skirts.

Roza feinted as if she might follow, but then dove into the water in the other direction reappearing near another girl, slightly older, who fled laughing. Roza could not keep a smile from her lips as she gave chase.

All of the women, young and old, participated in the fun, splashing Roza to keep her away and throwing their wreaths down at her feet as she came after them. Ivan watched them for almost an hour before settling on the ground near the base of a tree, finally letting the tension release from his shoulders and chest.

The Rusalka — if there even was such a thing — seemed to have been sated. There would be no further death in Veliky Ustyug this week.

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Farewell to Rusalka. Please let me know what you think in the comments (I hope I didn’t spoil it). And if you’d like to get the full, polished and amazing (hopefully), version of this story on April 1st, please consider signing up for my newsletter.

I use it (each quarter) to share a little bit of myself that doesn’t get shared here on the blog, and also try to pack it with other things like new short fiction I’ve written.

Thanks for your time and I hope to see you around again sometime.

9 Things About Ancient Egypt I Hope We See In Marvel’s #MoonKnight

Love This poster!

So, I’ve finally watched the trailer for the next addition to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Moon Knight, and let me tell you . . .

I’m . . . so . . . stoked!

Until now, I had only seen the teaser put out on Disney+ Day back in November (2021), and I’ll admit that I completely misunderstood what it was going to be, and given that a million other trailers that were released that day, I was not really all that enthusiastic for it. I was looking ahead to Hawke Eye, What If? Season 2, Loki Season 2, and maybe Marvel Zombies as I’d just watched What If? Season 1 and the zombies in that had seemed a bit of a wacky kind of thing, not a full series.

Anyway, I had never heard of Mark Spector, Steven Grant, Jake Lockely, or any of the various alter-egos the Moon Knight is purported to contain.

Now that there’s a full trailer, there is still a lot we don’t know, but I’m much, much, more excited about this show for primarily one reason:

It incorporates Ancient Egyptian mythology and iconography into its very premise.

I’ve been building up quite a fascination for Ancient Egypt, and all things related to it, so I’m excited to see what aspects of this ancient culture they will include, and what role in the story it will take.

If you haven’t yet watched the trailer, please watch the Moon Knight trailer now. Also, shout out to Erik Voss and his break down video which inspired me to do something similar but with a more Ancient Egyptian vein instead of comic books.

Below (and probably why you clicked this link) is the 9 things that I hope they’ll include in the series:


Not really a question of IF, but a question of HOW they will represent this Ancient Egyptian deity. One thing that I noticed straight away, was Khonshu’s — in the MCU it’s spelt with a second H in the mix — large beak and undead-mummy vibe. Khonsu (according to wikipedia) is often depicted as a human mummy with a child’s sidelock, but sometimes shown as a falcon akin to Horus.

His name means “Traveler”, and is usually given epithets of “Embracer”, “Pathfinder”, and “Defender”. Defender feels like a superhero term, but the character in the trailer does not seem to do much embracing. Like Horus, he is thought of as a protector (often from animals) and a healer.

Interestingly, the trailer seems to give us almost the opposite of this unless protection and healing involves a healthy dose of horror and beating things up in a bathroom. But the Moon Knight seems to have many natures, and we haven’t been given the full picture yet so perhaps we’ll see these more beneficent natures later on.

The Rest of the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon

Because why not? We actually have heard some references to other Ancient Egyptian deities in other MCU films such as The Black Panther (specifically Bast and Sekhmet). Also, The Eternals each had names of Greek gods, goddesses, and heroes (and some other ancient cultures though I didn’t catch any Ancient Egyptian ones), so perhaps something like that will come into play.

There is apparently some precedence for this in the comics with the Heliopitans which all have their own mythology separate from those we know from ancient history (aka IRL). mentions Khonsu, Anubis, Osiris, and Ra as likely candidates. Here’s who I’m hoping to see:

Bastet (Bast) An Ancient Egyptian cat goddess associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and fertility, but also a warrior. She is sometimes known as “eye of the moon” (fitting for this show). She’s already been mentioned and seems to be pretty much a total badass.

Sekhmet – Also a cat goddess, often said to be a another aspect of Bastet, only much more violent. Known as a warrior she is thought to be so ruthless, and brutal, that her name is invoked in medical texts to indicate disease. One myth I know of her is that she supposedly took such pleasure in the taste of blood, that she scourged Egypt and was so powerful that none of the other gods could do anything about it. Eventually, she was tricked into drinking beer by the god Ra, and only once she was good and wasted could they bring her to yield. Frightening but also hilarious.

Thoth – The Ancient Egyptian god of wisdom, writing, hieroglyphs, and the arts. He was the first moon deity I’d ever heard of. There’s a myth that Thoth became the moon by gambling. Doesn’t seem very wise, but apparently it worked out for him. There’s all sorts of legends of Thoth traveling to other worlds (or perhaps universes) to gain wisdom. I think this could fit nicely into Marvel’s multiverse and give Khonsu some competition as a god of the moon.

Sobek – A crocodile god, associated with both the dangers of, and protection from, the Nile. Of all the gods he’s represented as having the most animalistic qualities, militaristic, and viscous. But some scholars read his name as being derived from an Ancient Egyptian verb to unite. There’s several crocodiles in the Moon Knight trailer (one as a display in the museum and one on the phone screen), so it will be interesting to see how they represent this very dualistic figure.

Anubis – A jackal god responsible for leading souls to the afterlife. I’ll talk more about this later but he is very important to an Ancient Egyptian’s conception of divine order, justice, and judgement. Regardless of all that weighty importance, I think he’ll always be one of my favorites because who doesn’t love dogs? If only there were a whole city devoted to them . . .

Anyway, it seems likely this god will be of importance in Moon Knight considering we see this god, or perhaps a minion or aspect of him, in the trailer. We’ll see!

Honestly, everyone else too. There’s so many interesting gods and goddesses in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon, that this could probably be the whole post, but I’ll move on to the next thing.


Don’t worry I had to google it as well. Apparently, oneiromancy is a form of divination upon dreams and also uses dreams to predict the future. The best way to receive divine revelation was through dreaming or “incubating” dreams. Ancient Egyptians had special sanctuaries in which they used “dream beds” in hope of receiving advice or comfort from the gods. Also, there are mentions of using drugs to induce the dreams and revelations.

Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any other MCU characters or shows that have had any type of fortune telling (maybe Dr. Strange?), or predicting the future, but I think this could be a very likely aspect of Moon Knight. After all, one of the titular lines of this trailer is: “I can’t Tell the Difference Between Life and Dreams.”

Plus, seeing that strange set-up he has around his bed with the crazy ring of sand (side note: rings were used in Ancient Egyptian magic for protection), it wouldn’t be hard to think it a modern take of the “dream beds” mentioned above. If the Moon Knight can predict the future, he might not be able to change it. I could see that exacerbating, if not downright causing the madness we see him dealing with in the trailer.

Ma’at and Isfet (divine order vs chaos)

I think it’s pretty hard to get remotely deep or philosophical in relationship to Ancient Egypt without first understanding the concept of Ma’at (order), and it’s opposite Isfet (chaos). Obviously, this is much more complicated than I’m making it, but the main gloss is that for Ancient Egyptians, order was more than making sure all your laundry was folded, and your books where shelved according to author name instead of spine color. It was truth and divinity. It was a stable kingdom, dependable crops, and everyone in their rightful place.

Isfet was the opposite of this. Upheaval, famine, and staring at your bookshelf for hours looking for that one reference you need but never bothered to file correctly. It was Chaos (with a capital C). Akin to evil.

Interesting that one of the main lines that we hear during this trailer is “There is chaos in you . . . Embrace the chaos.”

A Soul With Many Parts

Unlike our western conception of the soul — a single immortal essence tethered to a body of mundane flesh and blood — Ancient Egyptians conceived of the soul as having multiple parts. While we might practice mindfulness, or cross-fit, or whatever else during life, it seemed more important to the Ancient Egyptians to take care of themselves after death. They thought of the soul in parts as:

  • Khet or the “physical body”
  • Sah or the “spiritual body”
  • Ren or the “name, identity”
  • Ba or the “personality”
  • Ka or the “double”
  • Ib or the “heart”
  • Shut or the “shadow”
  • Sekhem or the “power, form”

(I swear not all my knowledge comes from wikipedia, but this reference to the soul does)

Wouldn’t it be interesting if each of these parts of the soul were taken to the extreme and each represented by a different personality altogether. Considering the dark vibe we get from the Moon Knight trailer, it seems that perhaps the Shut or “shadow” might be of particular interest, but I hope that they also focus on the Ka (double) and Ba (personality) as these are common things we see referenced in ancient texts.

Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead is probably one of the things that Ancient Egypt is most famous for. It’s a group of funerary texts (mostly prayers and spells and such) which would guide a soul from this life into the next. Eric Voss notices that there is a puzzle of the Book of the Dead in the giftshop where Steven Grant(?) — one of Moon Knight’s alters — works, and I hope that this is not just a throwaway, but that Moon Knight may have his own kind of journey into the underworld . . .

Weighing of the Heart, Anubis + Amitt, and the 42 Negative Confessions

So, for most Ancient Egyptians, the weighing of one’s heart is more or less the quintessential moment of eternity. You come up to the court of gods, with every sin, careless act, and good deed you’ve ever done sitting in your heart, and that heart is weighed against the feather of Ma’at (mentioned earlier). Osiris is the primary judge of this moment and Anubis is working the scales . . .

If your heart does not weigh the same as Ma’at’s feather . . .

You’re fed to the demon Amitt, a horrifying mix of crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus.

If it seems like a lot of pressure, it’s because it is! Ancient Egyptian souls would come before this council (I should mention that a TON of other gods are present at this moment but for the brevity of this already long article, and my general narrative purposes they were not included), and recite the 42 Negative Confessions, and if any are found to be false? Well the scales shift and Ammit’s jaws open wider.

These confessions are written as phrases like:

  • I have not uttered lies
  • I have not stolen
  • I have not attacked any man
  • I am not a man of violence
  • I have not commanded to kill

Given the gritty-type hero we’re presented with in the trailer, how many of these confessions could he actually utter in truth? I’m sensing a bit of a redemption arc in progress . . .

Significance of Ancient Egyptian Colors

White was a color of purity among the ancients of Egypt, sacred and simple. Most often the color of linen clothing, I imagine it was hard to keep any cloth or clothing the pure white that we can get with Tide and modern laundry machines. Of course this signals a kind of privilege to any who wore it openly.

I imagine that the Moon Knight’s white costume has less to do with privilege and more to do with being sacred, and apparently:

I wear it so they’ll see me coming. So they’ll know who it is. Cause when they see white it doesn’t matter how good a target I am their hands shake so bad they couldn’t hit the moon.

Moon Knight Trailer Breakdown! Easter eggs & Details You Missed! by Erik Voss @ New Rockstars

In any case, this coloring is significant in terms of ancient mythology so . . . I hope they use it.

It seems like they do have some knowledge of Ancient Egyptian color symbolism (maybe not Khonsu-ously) because they clothe the apparent villain of the series, Arthur Harrow, in red . . . the color of desher . . . or Chaos! I’m picking up what you’re putting down Marvel. I see you.

Egyptian Numerology: 2, 3, and 9

So, admittedly 2 does not seem to mean much on its own.

But think of the dual contexts it could have applied to Ancient Egypt. For example, the whole of Egypt was known as the Two Lands. The Pharaoh wore a dual crown of Upper, and Lower Egypt (also the symbols of upper and lower kingdoms were White and Red. Might have something to do with the color symbolism mentioned above).

Two separate things that were also one.

Suddenly Order and Chaos inside the Moon Knight seem less like opposites, and more like two parts of a single whole.

The Ancient Egyptians used the number 3 as the symbol for anything that existed in plural. So far, Moon Knight has exhibited three personalities . . .


The inclusion of the number 9 is just for me. In Ancient Egypt, nine is three threes, or ALL of something. Mostly this was used to talk about enemies. But I used it here to number the amount of Ancient Egyptian themes, icons, and essences I hope The Moon Knight takes into account when creating what already appears to be an awesome show.

I can’t wait to find out when the show premiers March 30th.

Thank you for reading all of this. What are your favorite Ancient Egyptian myths and legends? What would you most like to see from Disney’s upcoming release? Let me know in the comments and thank you again for reading. See you next week!