Moon Knight Unwrapped: FINAL EPISODE!! (Ep.6) – Gods And Monsters

Yes, I 3D printed my own Ammit Statue . . . Probs gonna do Khonshu next lol

Ugh, I can’t believe it’s finally over. I’m not crying. Shut up! You’re crying.

Jk, jk but in all seriousness, WHAT AN EPISODE!! We’ll get to everything in a minute, but if you are now experiencing a little bit of a void in your life (or even just your Wednesday nights) please go ahead and check out my list of 9 Books You (En)need to Read Now that #MoonKnight is Over. You (hopefully) won’t be disappointed.

Many of the books on this list, I’ve reviewed on the blog, and most of the others I’ve at least read, so I had some idea of what I was doing when composing the list. I’ll assuredly fill in any reviews I’ve missed so if you’re interested in reading those before you try them yourself, well just hang around by clicking the subscribe link. I’ll eventually make it through them all.

Also, if you wanted to see my thoughts on any of the previous Moon Knight episodes, I’ve gathered them all under the Moon Knight unwrapped tag. And if you’re interested in any of the comics, please check out my Moon Knight comics tag as well.

Ok. that’s enough of that, let’s talk about Gods and Monsters!!

This episode was HUGE!!

So mostly I wrote that heading because there were so many things happened during the episode, but maybe also a little bit because there were GIANT GODS fighting in Cairo’s skyline which was totally awesome. Anyway, there was so much to love in this episode, but in order to keep this post an unreasonable length (as opposed to super unreasonable) I think I’ll just give my favorite part.

So here’s that:

Are you an Egyptian Super Hero? I am.

Love, love, loved this line. I loved this line, but also Layla’s (May Calamawy’s) entire performance this episode. Everyone gives credit to Oscar Isaac (and rightfully so) for switching between the roles of Steven and Marc at the drop of a hat, but the switching being done here between Tawaret and Layla was no less impressive. And also quite a good deal more hilarious.

Then of course, Layla’s super suit, complete with bullet proof scarab wings, was just incredible. Both Steven/Marc teaming up with Layla to fight Harrow was just . . . chef’s kiss . . .

Moon Knight Unwrapped Final Wrap Up (lol)

So it turns out I wasn’t terribly good and predicting much throughout this show. But it was fun to try.

Most recently, after Episode 5 – Asylum, I guessed that Harrow and Moon Knight would fight (but missed Layla completely), that Khonshu would be freed, and that Steven would return. None of these are really that impressive considering these were things that needed to happen in order to resolve the season (although I guess they could have thrown us for a loop and left Steven dead which would have made me cry).

Episode 4 – The Tomb, was also great, but I’m not sure how much I really guessed things or whether or not they were kind of inevitable. Seems like my Overvoid comment was more or less wrong, but we did learn something about death in the MCU which was cool. Jake DID make an appearance, but it’s unclear whether or not any of the other Gods besides Khonshu made it out alive. Assumedly the Ennead’s avatars were the ones who died fighting Harrow so they might still be alive (although they sucked so maybe that’s not great), but for anyone else who was entombed in Ushabti, it’s hard to say.

After Episode 3 – The Friendly Type, I said I didn’t really think the MCU was turned back 2,000 years, or if it had, it was only briefly and that Marvel didn’t just retcon itself again. Also, I didn’t feel that Steven/Marc was journeying through the Ancient Egyptian Underworld. He does this a bit towards the end of the series, but he does not start the series doing so and didn’t seem to be during episode 3.

After Episode 2 – Summon the Suit, I did not have much in the way of predictions, but I did enjoy trying to read hieroglyphs on the scarab and search for (coptic) translations to the jackal summoning ritual. The Ancient Egyptian parts of the soul seemed a relevant topic, but I’m not sure a clear connection was ever presented by the show.

All the way back after Episode 1 – The Goldfish Problem I thought that perhaps Hathor was Sekhmet, but this was never really proven, and ultimately probably does not matter much even if it was true. But we did eventually get a full translation of the scarab.

And now that it’s over? Well I’m hoping it isn’t over.

Oscar Isaac has been quoted as saying the show was a limited run, and maybe he really believes that, but I’m hoping that these six episodes will not be our only taste of Moon Knight. There are still so many questions to be answered, like WHAT HAS JAKE BEEN DOING THIS WHOLE TIME?

I think if we get a second season, I’m sure it will delve into that, but I hope that isn’t all that it is. I hope that we get to see more of Layla as the Scarlet Scarab, and Marc and Steven bro-ing out and saving the world. I still have a whole list of 9 things I wanted to see from Moon Knight, and many of them I still do (like more Ancient Egyptian Gods).

Hopefully we’ll get that chance.

The End is Only the Beginning

As oft quoted in The Mummy: “The end is only the beginning.” So it is with Moon Knight. Just because the show is over, doesn’t mean we can’t continue to speculate, and discuss what happened. I know there are new comics coming out soon, and I’m sure I’ll be rewatching at some point.

But for now, what were your favorite parts of the show? What would you like to see in a season 2? Let’s keep the discussion going. Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Bye for now!

9 Books You (En)Need to read now that #MoonKnight is Over

Oh wow. WHAT A FINALE!! I’ll of course be doing another post next Wednesday as part of my Moon Knight Unwrapped series, to unwind and unpack everything that we saw last night, but in the meantime, if you’re wondering what will fill this hole in your heart (and evenings), I’ve come up with nine comics and books you can read to fill the void. Enjoy!

Moon Knight Volume 1: Lunatic

So it may not seem very original (and pretty obvious) to start a list of books you should read after a show, with the comic that the show is based off of, but I’m still going to do it. Were you surprised to find Steven/Marc in an asylum? THIS is the comic that came from. I was a little confused in my reading of Lunatic, but if you’ve watched the show, you should be in good shape. Honestly don’t stop after Lunatic. Read Vol 2: Reincarnations, and Vol 3: Birth and Death. You won’t be disappointed.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

I know it’s not, but this feels like the Ur text when it comes to books involving split personalities. Plenty of action, plenty of swearing, plenty of just downright crazy. It even got a movie of its own though I don’t think it will come to Disney+ any time soon. It has a few good actors and actresses in it. You may have heard of them . . . Ya know . . . Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter.

In all seriousness, if you haven’t read this book, give it a read. I’m sure it was responsible for so much angsty nonsense during my adolescence, but I don’t regret it for second.

The Essential Moon Knight Volume 1. by Doug Moench

Admittedly, The Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1 did not get my best review, but I still think it’s an important read for a few reasons. First, I just like seeing the history of things, and it was worth any cringing along the way just to see how this incredible character got his start (in a werewolf comic of all places with NO mention of Egyptian Gods anywhere). I genuinely believe that if you read this, it will help you appreciate the show even more, even if it’s just a look at how far we’ve come.

The Buried Pyramid by Jane Lindskold

This book is pretty much what revitalized my love for Ancient Egypt all the way back in 2011. It’s more or less what it says on the tin. An orphan raised on the frontier, goes to Egypt with her uncle who is an archeologist. They’re to investigate and find the location of a legendary tomb. Of course they’re not the only people with this idea in mind and so now a game is afoot. I seem to remember some interactions with actual Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses. I think this was the first place I learned of the goodest half-croc-half-hippo-half-lion, the devourer of souls, Ammit.

Definitely check it out.

Moon Knight Volume 1: From the Dead

This volume was by another Moon Knight writer, just before the Lemire issues I mentioned up above. It is definitely different then those issues, and also the show. In my review of Moon Knight Vol 1: From the Dead I note how amazing the art style is, and how different Moon Knight the character is. We see a lot of MK in Steven’s suit although the suits aren’t distinctive to personalities. We also see a pretty badass (I think) samurai inspired MK suit which was totally dope. Anyway, Moon Knight is much more violent than I was used to, and it was interesting to try and reconcile such violence with the mythological Ancient Egyptian god Khonsu, who Khonshu is based on. (I’ll give you a hint, it’s based off something known as The Cannibal Hymn)

Anyway, check it out and read my review for all the deets.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

This one just looks so cool. Ancient Egyptian gods waking up and having evil on the brain (I wonder where we’ve seen that recently?). Two estranged siblings coming together, bonding over adventure and the fate of the world (I assume). Plus Riordan has a pretty proven track record. You may have heard of one of his other books, The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians). Actually I think Red Pyramid is in the same series. Anyway, you can expect a review of this to come soon. Might as well give it a shot!

Easy Go by Michael Chrichton

This book is unlike any Michael Chrichton book I’ve ever read. Originally published as The Last Tomb (which is more on-brand for this post) under Chrichton’s pseudonym, John Lange (speaking of alternate identities), it has a similar premise to a lot of tomb raiding stories we know and love. Find the tomb get the treasure, don’t let anyone else do those things. Certainly, this book is a bit dated, feeling like an old pulp novel (which I’m not really about), but if you like these sorts of adventures, I’m sure Easy Go will be the right stop.

Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazney

This book is just bananas. Set in a future where both men and machines had grown technologically sophisticated enough that some number (283 to be precise) of entities have become immortal, and whether through technology or supernatural powers, are like unto gods. Hence we have characters named Osiris, Anubis, Horus etc. which for all intents and purposes, are the gods their names evoke.

And those are the normal parts. Next we get Temporal Fugue, which in this case is essentially time travel but with the added complexity of probability and martial arts. And from there move on to all sorts of nonsense involving complicated family relationships.

In a word, it’s a blast. Highly recommend. I just couldn’t put Creatures of Light and Darkness down.

Narmer and the God-Beast by JD Weber (shameless!)

Ok. So a bit shameless here, but I’m going to recommend this short story (which I wrote) anyway. It involves my two favorite things, Ancient Egypt and Dinosaurs. Really what’s not to love? If you’re looking for more of a pitch, it’s about a young boy, Narmer, lying bloodied in the Nile, who is about to let himself be killed by a crocodile. He soon realizes that the croc is not coming for him, but a defenseless God-Beast drinking nearby. Narmer fights the croc thereby saving the God-Beast, but he still must contend with his older brother Bahek, who’s cruelty and abuse is what put him in the river in the first place.

I won’t spoil anymore of the story, but if this has piqued your interest, please consider purchasing Narmer and the God-Beast on amazon.

We did it!

Well that’s the whole list. 9 titles to keep that spark after finishing Moon Knight. I’d love to know your thoughts on the list I’ve created. Are there any obvious ones I missed? Any not so obvious? Have you read any of these before.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thank you!

Moon Knight Unwrapped: Ep. 5 – Asylum

Only one . . . more . . . episode . . . to go . . .

I can hardly stand it. But it’s not quite time to talk about that yet. It’s time to talk about Episode 5 – Asylum.

Eeek!

Ok. Really quickly, if you If you’re interested in catching up on any of my previous posts about this show, please check out my Moon Knight Unwrapped tag. I have some posts about Moon Knight Comics too, or you can just check out my a general list of Moon Knight posts as well.

Finally, I should probably start this episode with a bit of a content warning. The episode depicts: sibling death, parental violence (physical and psychological), loss, grief, PTSD, death of a main character.

Ok. Deep breath. Here we go.

This episode was such a heavy hitter in so many respects, and there were so many choices here that I just absolutely loved.

First, let’s talk about the the . . . Ancient Egyptian-ness of this episode. Of course, as usual, Roxanne Bicker does an amazing job talking about the history behind this episode in her „Moon Knight“ – Die altägyptischen Hintergründe erklärt, Teil 9 (google translate is our friend).

The part I was probably most excited to see, was the barque of the Sun God, Ra, on which Marc/Steven are traveling through the Duat. Tawaret, a goddess of Motherhood and Childbirth, is not typically responsible for escorting souls through the afterlife, and it’s obvious from the very start that she is uncomfortable in her new role. There’s a ton of speculation that she is filling in for Ra because so many of the other Gods are imprisoned in the Ushabti, as Khonshu was at the end of Moon Knight Episode 3 – The Friendly Type.

I think this is probably true, but I have also been wondering if there isn’t a second meaning as well (there is a duality to everything in this show). Revealed in this episode, is Marc’s abuse at the hands of his mother, after his brother Randall (RoRo!) passes away. My theory is that Tawaret’s appearance — being a goddess of Motherhood — is another attempt of Marc’s mind to cope with being dead and perhaps a yearning for a positive motherly influence, only it’s influenced by Steven’s fascination with Ancient Egypt.

Of course, I hoped for/predicted the scales of Anubis back before the show was released, and I was not disappointed in their depiction within this episode. I though the porcelain hearts, seemingly made of a similar material to the canopic jars Ancient Egyptians used to store their organs for the afterlife was a really neat, and probably less gruesome way to depict this essential part of Ancient Egyptian epistemology: Judgement.

Finally, since this post is already going pretty long and there’s still the predictions and theories to go through, I’ll end by saying my final favorite shot, was of the Khonshu-like bird skeleton we see before entering the flooded cave. So much to unpack there certainly, but I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’ve landed on a good explanation of what it implies. Perhaps that Khonshu has been with Steven for longer than we realized? Either as a part of his psyche, or active in his life as a god like we see later? Maybe that really was just a dead bird which Marc has projected onto the form of Khonshu and mythologized over time . . . Perhaps Khonshu isn’t real at all and Marc received super powers some other way . . . and his mind is trying to cope . . . I don’t know.

Anyway, RIP Steven (omg I think I actually cried). I hope, as they say in The Mummy that “Death is only the beginning” and that we see you again soon.

Predictions

Steven will return?

This is more or less what happens towards the end of the Lemire comics. In the final book, Moon Knight Volume 3: Birth and Death, we see much of what we saw in this episode (#5) with a flashback to the first time Marc imagines Steven (although it doesn’t have anything to do with any British archeologists, or child beating thankfully). We also see some of his time in Afghanistan, and how he meets Duchamp (Frenchie), and his origin with Bushman (VERY briefly brushed over in this episode which is probably good).

Finally we see Khonshu’s tomb and the creation of the figure Moon Knight, which we saw in this episode as well. The third story we get in that series is Spector’s return to the asylum, and his eventual fight with Khonshu. In order to return to the asylum he must find Anubis’ wife (Anpu) and ALL of his alters return to help him escape a kind of weird Ancient Egyptian inspired alien planet before he faces Khonshu “alone” (the implication being that Marc IS all of his identities and so he can call upon any of their traits and powers even without having to manifest them).

Khonshu Freed (along with other gods)

Another logical assumption we can make, is that our (my?) beloved Khonshu will be freed from his stone Ushabti this episode, and possibly so would the other gods. I think this would be amazing as it would open up so many possibilities within the MCU! Also I just want to see the Ancient Egyptian pantheon running around (you can see which gods specifically I’m excited for in 9 Things About Ancient Egypt I Hope We See In Marvel’s #MoonKnight) because that would be dope as hell.

Harrow vs Moon Knight Fight . . .

Again, not much of a prediction considering we’ve seen footage of the two fighting in trailers that we have yet to see in the show (although I suppose sometimes trailer footage doesn’t make it into the show always). However, what they’re fighting about and why is the much more interesting question. From the souls we saw falling into the Duat, it seems clear that Ammit has been freed from her ushabti and is wreaking havoc on the world above.

It seems reasonable to assume that there will be some way to imprison her again, and that Harrow will be fighting to stop that process from happening. In ancient times, Ushabti could be made of many materials, but many were created from a kind of glazed earthenware known as Egyptian Faience. In Moon Knight, it seems the figures are made from stone, and created using a ritual performed by the Ennead. Perhaps this divine group has seen the error of their ways, and led by Hathor/Sekhmet, is attempting to complete this ritual and imprison Ammit once again. Maybe they’re down a member and need a recently freed Khonshu to step in an help? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Moon Knight will return in . . .

I just can’t abide that this show will only be a one season as Oscar Isaac has claimed or that we won’t see Moon Knight again in the MCU. Right now, I have pretty little interest in the Midnight Sons theory as aside from the Netflix Daredevil show, I don’t think we’ve really had any compelling versions of these characters (Punisher, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Blade) in the MCU as of yet. In Moon Knight Essentials Vol 1 we saw MK team up with Spiderman, Hulk, and a few others which could be great (I’m always up for more Spiderman!!).

And of course there’s always this Moon Knight series/season finale tweet to read too much into.

The Wait is Almost Over

Welp, that’s all I have so far. Soooo looking forward to tonight’s episode. There’s only one more to go! I’m sure I’ll be back next week with another of these posts, but in the mean time, help me wait with a little speculation of your own. Which theories did you like the best? What didn’t I mention (probably a lot).

Please leave your thoughts in the comments. Can’t wait to catch up with everyone on this! See you next time.

How did I miss this? A Dead Djinn in Cairo (Review)

I don’t think it’s too hard to guess why this one piqued my interest, it does after all, take place in Egypt, and I’m obsessed. I’ve always heard great things about this author, and (semi) recently I enjoyed P. Djeli Clark’s Ring Shout, so this was pretty much a no brainer.

Of course, the next question of “why now?” should also make a good bit of sense considering a novel set in this universe (known fittingly as the A Dead Djinn Universe), A Master of Djinn, is a finalist for the Hugo Award. I figured I should probably read up on the previous installments so I won’t miss any context when reading the novel.

Why I hadn’t jumped into this world before however, is a question I am completely baffled at, as it proved to be completely the thing I like and am always trying to search out and find new instances of. That it’s been out since 2016(!!) and I hadn’t read it and blogged about it is more than a little frustrating, but here we are. Doing it now.

I’m actually wondering if I did pick this up earlier, but bounced off of it because the setting wasn’t ‘ancient’ enough, meaning it wasn’t Assassin’s Creed Origins (although wikipedia tells me that game didn’t exist yet). When this came out, I probably wasn’t really into anything that felt like ‘steampunk’ either, though I hope I have since rid myself of such snobbery. Anyway, I probably read a few pages, saw no references to Ancient Egyptian Gods, and having no background in Islamic Mythology, did not care much about Djinn or Marid, and went on to something else.

Long story short, I should have read a few more pages. I should have read THE WHOLE THING!!

A Dead Djinn in Cairo DOES eventually reveal some cults to Ancient Egyptian gods, the goddess Hathor being of particular note, as I don’t feel like she’s often showcased in fiction (episodes of Disney’s Moon Knight aside). And thanks to my adventures in Daevabad, I do have a bit more context when it comes to Islamic Djinn, Ifrit, and Marid. Also, there are Angels.

All of the elements I’ve mentioned above are mixed together in a veritable soup of religions and alternate history which Clark never allows to become overwhelming. A lot of the Arabic words (like janbiya) and customs were new to me, but it was wonderful to read a story set so firmly within this point of view. The story never seems to fall prey to the type of exoticism we’ve seen in the past (the story even nods to this with the main character’s English suits which she wears because it’s exotic).

Finally, the main character, Fatma, is fun and provocative (within the context of the story). Clark weaves a tight, fast-paced, tale which never allows us to simply marinate in this crazy magical steampunk alternate Cairo, as much as we might like to. There’s murders to solve, and patriarchies to shoot holes in.

So . . . Read?

Yup! I really enjoyed this one, and am greatly looking forward to the next installment, The Haunting of Tram 015, and then A master of Djinn when I get there. Probably the parts that resonated with me the most, were the complexity of world building and grounding of the reader in that POV. I also enjoy a good mystery as much as anyone, especially when it involves magic, the supernatural, and mechanical beings. What’s not to love?

Well that’s the end of the review. Has anyone read this story yet? What did y’all think? What are you most excited about for the next installment. More Djinn? Marid? These mysterious Angels?

Please let me know in the comments. See you next time!

Moon Knight Unwrapped: 4 – The Tomb

I can’t believe we’re already two thirds through this amazing show, but dem’s the breaks, so let’s talk about this episode while we can, and get ready for the fifth(!) episode to air tonight. If you’re interested in catching up on any of my previous posts about this show, please check out my Moon Knight Unwrapped tag. Might be fun to see what theories I’ve had come true, and which were a bust.

Anyway, Episode 4: The Tomb was definitely my favorite episode so far. We went full Indiana Jones in this episode, finally raiding the tomb of Ammit, and having to solve some puzzles along the way which we could only do by knowing a thing or two about Ancient Egyptian history and mythology.

— Spoilers from here on —

The clue they have to decipher is the Udjat Eye (or Eye of Horus), which allows Steven and Layla to figure out which way to go in Ammit’s mazelike tomb. I really enjoyed the inclusion of this motif as it is one of the most prominent icons of Ancient Egyptian mythology and culture. It is often used as a macguffin of sorts with characters having to find an amulet engraved with this symbol, or in some cases the literal eye of poor Horus. But here it is just a key which allows them to unravel the latest puzzle.

Unfortunately, as Roxane Bicker points out, a bit of creative license was used in Moon Knight as well, but I still thought it was cool.

One of the episode’s major reveals, was who exactly was buried in Ammit’s tomb (and therefore presumably their original avatar). It turns out to be Alexander the Great! Again, Bicker can catch you up on the important background info relevant to Moon Knight.

I’ll admit, this was a complete surprise for me, and honestly not a particularly rewarding one. Alexander the great is a hugely important figure, but not a particularly Egyptian one. Also, with all the hints and clues this show leaves lying around to tease viewers about what future episodes may hold, I don’t feel that this was foreshadowed at allllll. Which doesn’t seem fair.

Anyway, I still enjoyed raiding the tomb with Steven and Layla (I forgot to gush about the creepy Heka priests!), and the burial chamber itself was completely amazing, and exactly the type of thing that I have been wanting from this show (or any show) for the previous three episodes up until this point. So, I refuse to be upset hahah.

I guess the next big reveal which needs to be discussed is Marc getting shot, and “falling” into an insane asylum, where he’s clearly been staying for quite some time. This entire sequence gave me Jeff Lemire vibes, specifically his first book, Moon Knight Vol 1: Lunatic.

In these issues of the comic, Marc is trapped inside an insane asylum and must fight his way out with some help from established characters from previous comics, who are also committed. In the comic version, Marc’s therapist is Ammit, who Marc sees as both a normal woman, and the crocodile headed demon depending on how shaky his mental state is. She is not the main villain of the three book run, and Marc ends up facing off against Khonshu by the end.

I really hope that this not what happens in these next two episodes as I’ve somewhat grown to like our bossy, yelling, tantrum-throwing moon god . . . but we’ll have to wait and see.

Last but not least, we see Tawaret in the final shot of the show. She says “Hi!” in the cutest possible voice, and hilariously, Marc and Steven (finally separated) scream in fright.

I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to make of this ending. I recognized Tawaret (who was properly foreshadowed in the first episode), as a hippo goddess associated with pregnancy and motherhood, but I’ve got next to nothing on what her role will be in Moon Knight. I guess we’ll have to see.

Theories . . .

Not a ton for you in theory land this time around even though we got tons of reveals and new information over which to speculate. I would definitely check out New Rockstar’s Episode 4 Easter Egg Break Down for anything you missed and a couple great theories coming out of there. For me though, I’m thinking about

Jake Lockley Appearance?

I really want to have some fresh original take on this, like “Steven’s third identity (still encased in that third tomb) is so-and-so, not Jake.” But unfortunately, I just don’t know who else it could be. Jake Lockley is just sooo prevalent in the comics, so I think it almost has to be him. However, so far none of the identities we’ve seen in the show have been very similar to what we saw in the comic. If it is “Jake”, I don’t think it will be like any Jake we’ve seen yet. Given the blackouts we witnessed in Episode 3, I’m assuming that he will be much more violent and scary than anything we’ve seen yet. Whatever it is, they better hurry up!

The Asylum is the ‘Overvoid’ which is why we saw Tawaret

I’m really hoping that the asylum is not Marc/Steven/Whoever’s true reality, and that he’s actually been sent to the “Overvoid” which seems to be the place where all the Gods hang out. Perhaps the reason it looks like an asylum, is because mortal minds cannot handle so much of the divine (or alien) in one place and so they hallucinate a reality they can believe. Since our MC has DID, perhaps an asylum is something it can make sense of. Whether the Overvoid is a heavenly Field of Reeds, or the hellish Duat, we will have to wait and find out . . .

The Climax of this show will involve Steven/Marc Freeing the entombed Gods from their Ushabti

As much as I really enjoyed this episode, one thing kind of bothered me. As soon as they got inside the tomb, Steven/Marc and Layla were so completely focused on finding Ammit’s Ushabti and preventing Harrow from getting it, that they completely forgot about Khonshu! In episode 3, right as Khonshu is crumbling to dust, he tells Steven to make sure Marc saves him . . . they did NOT do that AT ALL.

So, my prediction is that this objective is still on the table, and that once we’re out of the asylum/overvoid, we’ll head back over to Giza and start bustin gods out of statues. My hope is that in order to finally get to Khonshu, they’ll have to bust out many of the other gods we see thereby releasing them as players in the larger MCU. From promo posters, we can see Khonshu, Anubis and his scales, and (hopefully) Sobek.

We’ll just have to wait and see . . .

The End . . .

Well, that’s all I have for you this round. What does everyone thing. Will we get to see more Ancient Egyptian Gods Running around in the MCU? Which are you hoping to see the most? What other thoughts and theories do you have about this episode?

Please leave em in the comments. See you next time!

Moon Knight Unwrapped: Ep 3 – The Friendly Type

It’s Wednesday morning, so that means it’s time for another review / theory discussion of Moon Knight!

Before we get into the meat of things however, I just wanted to point out that if you’re wanting to catch up with any of my previous episode reviews, you can just click the Moon Knight Unwrapped tag, and it should list them all as they’re posted.

Also I’ve been reviewing Moon Knight comics intermittently. The latest one was Warren Ellis’s Moon Knight Vol 1: From the Dead. I had a great time researching some history for this one, trying to reconcile Khonshu’s epithet of “The One Who Lives on Hearts”, with his nature as a healer in the Bentresh Stella.

Finally, if you’re like me, the coolest draw of this show is the ways in which it interacts with Egyptian history and myth. There’s all kinds of other books, movies and shows that do this as well, and so if you’re just into Ancient Egyptian stuff like me, please check out my Ancient Egypt tag (right now a lot Moon Knight stuff will be floating to the top, but I’m thinking of making it separate).

Ok, onto the review . . .

Spoilers from here on

Of course, another great episode. We learned so much, both about our characters, and about our setting. It was so great to be able to see a modern Cairo in this episode. I’ve been wanting to travel there for quite some time, and this just reinforces that desire.

I have a few favorite parts of the episode, but I think the most interesting part was certainly the ‘trial’ inside the Pyramid of Giza. Now, as Roxane Bicker explains in her post, „Moon Knight“ – Die altägyptischen Hintergründe erklärt, Teil 5 (god bless google translate), Khufu’s pyramid does not have such a massive room inside it. But given just how cool this scene is, and how amazing the room looks, I’m willing to more than overlook it because . . .

FINALLY we get to meet some other Ancient Egyptian Gods! We meet Hathor, Tefnut, Horus, Osiris, and Isis. That is exactly zero of the gods I hoped/predicted we’d see, but we’ve only met five of the possible nine that make up the Ennead so perhaps there is hope yet (none of the others I predicted are in the historical Ennead, but the show seems to be taking liberties with that as well).

I have hope, based on the statuary that we do find in the tomb, that we’ll meet Sobek, and Thoth at least, and possibly Sekhmet (because Hathor).

My next favorite scene was definitely when Mark and Layla go to visit Mogart. I had never heard of the El-Mermah games before so that was definitely an interesting glimpse into Arabian culture. I’m definitely interested in learning more about this when I get the chance. Also, makes for a pretty awesome and violent fight scene.

I think those were the main scenes that stood out to me. Obviously, Khonshu causing an eclipse and moving the night sky back 2,000 years were amazing bits of special effects, and possibly have huge implications for the show and MCU, but I still enjoyed some of these ‘less epic’ scenes a little more.

Anyway, that’s all I have for reviewing, let’s move on to the theories!

Theories . . .

Marc is already dead and journeying through the underworld?

One theory that I saw online, is that Marc is already dead, and that we are watching Marc’s journey through the Ancient Egyptian Underworld. I do kind of like this theory, as it makes a very good arc for the six episodes. Ammit (who is the big bad of the series), is a very prominent figure at the Weighing of the Heart, when an Ancient Egyptian’s soul was thought to be judged by the Court of Gods. It kind of has a certain sense to it.

However, that judgement is just one aspect of the Ancient Egyptian journey through the underworld, known as the Duat. A little research reveals the Duat to be a complete terrain, with lakes (of fire), mountains, fields etc. Also, the journey requires one to cross Twelve Underworld Gates guarded by Gate Deities. This seems like a task that would take more than six episodes (unless we’re flying through two gates an episode) and considering we’re only just starting to see all the players on the board, I don’t think this theory is gonna pan out.

Khonshu just took Earth back 2,000 years?

This theory was put forth in the New Rockstar’s Moon Knight Episode 3 Easter Egg Breakdown, and then expanded on in the How Khonshu Moved the Sky episode. This would effectively retcon the entire MCU AGAIN! For like the third or forth time in Phase 4 alone. Personally, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. Why would Marvel/Disney would want to do this as it invalidates like 23+ movies and shows? They want you to HAVE TO WATCH all of them to understand what’s happening next so retconning them doesn’t really make sense, even if they have written themselves into plot corners (which I haven’t really felt like they have).

But I also have another reason for thinking this theory is false. Upon second watching of the episode, I noticed that Steven is complaining about how painful turning time back is, and he encourages Layla to hurry up and take the pictures with her tablet because he isn’t sure how much longer he can hold it. This makes me think that yes, they turned back time to the night the star chart was made, but that it is kind of like winding up a spring, eventually it unwinds (when Khonshu gets turned into a tiny statue), and I believe they go back to the present, even though we are not shown the sky while this is happening (Steven is too busy fainting).

Just my theory

That’s all folks!

And that’s all I’ve got this time around. Thank you all for reading. I enjoyed this episode just as much as the last two, and I’m really looking forward to watching the 4th episode later tonight.

How did you enjoy the episode? What was your favorite part? Have any theories? Did Khonshu retcon the MCU? Is Marc already dead?

Leave your thoughts in the comments. I’m excited to talk about this one!

Moon Knight Vol 1: From the Dead (Review)

Happy Friday everyone! We’ve got another comic book review this week, and because I’m obsessed, it’s another Moon Knight review. If you’re just getting caught up, I’ve been reviewing Moon Knight comics in preparation for the Moon Knight show on Disney+.

So far I’ve managed to read through the 3 books by Jeff Lemire, and a Moon Knight “Essentials” volume, and then of course I’m blogging about the show each week as the episodes come out in my Moon Knight Unwrapped series. It’s a lot of fun, and honestly I’m a little amazed I’m not sick of it yet.

Anyway, THIS week’s review is about Moon Knight Volume 1: From the Dead by Warren Ellis. It came out in 2014, before the Lemire books I read just before this.

In some ways, I felt like this take on the character deviated the most from anything that I’ve seen so far. First, there were lots of references to other marvel properties like Spiderman, Wolverine, and S.H.I.E.L.D. and a lot of allusions to past events which I assume are part of the Moon Knight cannon which I haven’t come across yet (I probably should not be reading these in reverse chronological order hahah). It was not as off-putting as I felt some of the allusions in Lunatic were because Ellis seems to have a more straightforward writing style (when it comes to dialogue at least). Things aren’t referenced so much as explained, and I never really felt all that confused although sometimes I did wish I had experienced them first hand.

I found the artwork in these volumes to be the most enjoyable of anything I’ve read so far. A lot more use of color, and many of the environments were quite surreal. It was great!

However, I also felt that this book was perhaps the most simplistic version of the character I’ve seen yet. Each story focuses almost solely on Mr. Knight, usually punching his way through a slew of enemies. YouTuber Matt Draper does an interesting analysis in Moon Knight – Burdened by and Unknown God, and manages to show the complexity of the Spector/Khonshu relationship as a metaphor for the unknowable nature of religions and their followers . . .

Perhaps this develops, or is more apparent in the books that follow, but to me, it seemed like Ellis rejected some of Moon Knight’s most interesting characteristics, his personalities, and the series’ other characters. Only at the end do we get any idea of where Jean Paul Duchamp (‘Frenchie’) and Marlene are (no mention of Crawley that I noted), and while it is hinted that there was a falling out, but we do not understand why. Ellis’ Moon Knight is a violent loner and that just wasn’t as interesting to me.

Wasn’t Khonsu a healer?

Finally, the violence of these issues actually inspired me to do a bit of research into the Ancient Egyptian God of the Moon Khonsu, because I just couldn’t reconcile this violent portrayal with a deity that in history was seen as a protector and healer.

In From the Dead, Ellis names five aspects of the god which Moon Knight supposedly embodies. They are: Pathfinder, Embracer, Defender, Watcher of Overnight Travelers, and The One Who Lives On Hearts.

Embracer, and Defender, seem to match up with a healing moon deity apparent in the Bentresh Stella, who’s statue healed Ramses’ sister in law. Watcher of Overnight Travelers, and Pathfinder is also quite understandable when we consider:

“. . . which is that it derives from the verb khenes which means “to cross over or traverse”. Khonsu therefore means “the wanderer” or “he who traverses [the sky]” “

https://talesfromthetwolands.org/2020/06/11/khonsu/

But what of this last epithet, The One Who Lives On Hearts?

Well it turns out, Khonsu is represented as being violent and blood thirsty in two sources, the first being the “Cannibal Hymn” from the Pyramid texts, which describe a deceased Wenis/Unas killing and eating gods for sustenance with Khonsu’s help:

It is Wenis who eats men and lives on Gods
Lord of porters who dispatches messages.
It is “Grasper-of-Horns” who is in Khonsu who lassoes them for Wenis

Faulkner, R.O. The “Cannibal Hymn” from the Pyramid Texts, The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology v10 no2 1924 pgs 97-103

But it is spell 258 in the Coffin Texts, which identify the moon deity as “Khonsu who lives on hearts“.

I suppose that it should not come as a surprise to learn that this god of the moon was not only benevolent but sometimes malevolent too. After all, most things in Ancient Egyptian epistemology have a duality.

Read this one?

Despite my disappointment, I would still recommend this one. It’s straightforward in it’s approach, and while I was dubious of such a violent representation of the moon deity bearing up to any historical scrutiny, it seems that the evidence is there and that Khonsu had a violent side after all.

I plan to continue on with the next books in this run. We’ll see how things develop!

Has anyone read these already? What were your thoughts? Enjoy this different take on the character? Please leave your thoughts in the comments! See you next week!

Moon Knight Unwrapped – Ep2: Summon the Suit (review + theories)

Well, it’s Wednesday morning again, and I’m gearing up for watching another awesome episode of Moon Knight when I get home from work, but first I thought I’d do what I always do here, and review Moon Knight Episode 2: Summon the Suit and then spout off any theories I’ve managed to come up with. As it’s been essentially a full week since this episode came out, many people on the internet have already done a lot of amazing analysis, so there will be a lot of linking, and hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a meaningful idea of my own. We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you haven’t already read my review of Moon Knight Episode 1: The Gold Fish Problem, I’d love it if you checked that out first! Also, I’ve been talking a lot about Moon Knight on this blog, so you can check out my reviews of various “essential” MK collections, and individual runs on the character (right now I’ve only covered Jeff Lemire, but at least one collection of Warren Ellis’ issues should be up Friday). Also, if you haven’t watched episode two yet, go watch it! From this point forward, spoilers abound . . .

Great, on to the Review!

Long story short, I’m still just as fascinated with this show as I was last week. I don’t suspect this will change as it seems like they’re really busting out all the stops for it. There seems to be sooo much going on that even a second watch doesn’t feel like enough to really soak it all in.

I think what I’ve been enjoying the most, is that they’ve injected quite a bit of humor into the dialogue and in this most recent episode, it took on a much more physical form. I’m thinking particularly of Mr. Knight’s/Steven’s fight with the jackal. Crushing his head on that poll, sticking the landing, and then falling over. It’s like if one of the three stooges became a super hero.

I’m also really enjoying how much Stephen and Harrow parallel each other as any good hero and villain should. They’re both vegan, they both were Khonshu’s Avatar, and they both serve deities who seem to have taken the judgement of mortals into their own hands, and use violence to enact their sentences. However, as Steven points out, with crucial differences. I just loved when Steven flips Harrow/Ammit’s logic on its head.

I think the show does a good job of balancing its horror influences, with its humor, and typical super hero action. Again Khonshu was legitimately terrifying while he chases Steven through the storage locker. It’s interesting how the god is framed almost more like a petulant child when Harrow is around to ground Steven. It seemed a weird change up, but then seeing how domineering the god is with Marc, it feels like Khonshu’s character is determined by Marc/Steven’s perception in real time.

When Steven is scared of losing his mind, the god is shown like the great evil of a horror film. Marc seemingly feels guilty (probably about the deaths by his hand / people he failed to save, at the dig site, and so Khonshu becomes the type of god who would collect a debt. At the end of the episode, we see mark drinking heavily, and perhaps I’m reading into it, but it almost seems like he’s coping with some kind of PTSD (which would totally make sense if he was a mercenary).

We got the answer to a LOT of questions in this episode, for instance:

  • Who is Marc Spector? – He’s a mercenary, who’s done bad things at a tomb in Egypt. He has a wife, and it’s him who has been dragging Steven along on these blacked out adventures.
  • Who is Layla (who called him so many times)? – Marc’s wife, a total badass who knows her Egyptology (I was totally cringing at Steven trying to mansplain) and can fight like Sydney Bristo. She seems to know about Marc’s powers and the Scarab so they must have been very close . . . I’m guessing she also knows about Khonshu although I’m not sure if that is explicit.
  • “So you guys are talking again?” – Steven’s mom may/may not be real, but Marc’s mother seems to be alive and on bad terms with her little boy.
  • Who is Khonshu? – An Egyptian god who seeks justice through punishing evil doers. He’s got a bad ass enforcer/avatar called the Fist of Khonshu, aka the Moon Knight
  • What’s with the Scarab? – The Scarab is (at this point) a compass which points to Ammit’s Ushabti and tomb (where ushabti are usually buried).
  • What’s Harrow’s motivation? – Get the scarab, use it to find Ammit’s tomb, resurrect the ugly crocodile/lion/hippo monster and bring peace to the galaxy. Also, probably to get back at Khonshu for whatever reason they are no longer god/avatar.

Which has me a tad nervous for the pacing of this show. From what comics I’ve read, there isn’t a ton more backstory to reveal, and so the adventure must be a lot of new material moving forward.

However, we did get some new mysteries to ponder as well, such as:

  • Why was Khonshu banished / not liked by the other gods?
  • What debt must Marc repay? Just that Khonshu brought him back? Or is there something else he’s trying to atone for?
  • Why do Marc and Layla want the Scarab? Obviously now they want it to prevent Harrow from raising Ammit, but it seemed like they had another reason before they new about Harrow? Maybe I’m just reading into things

Finally, I’m just dying to see how Crawley’s role is going to expand as the season goes on. He’s a very prominent character in the comics which is only just given little bit parts so far in the show. Looking at you statue dude.

Theories . . .

This is the part where I’ll probably do a of linking to other’s analysis but hopefully you’ll still learn something new, and maybe I’ll think of an original thought. Let’s get to it:

More on the Scarab Translation:

Last week, I pointed to Roxane Bicker’s “Moon Knight“ – Der goldene Skarabäus for the translation. Since then, it seems like multiple channels are translating the scarab. The subreddit r/AncientEgyptian has translated the scarab, and then of course, New Rockstars has a scarab translation too with input from Egyptologists Dr. Dan Potter, and Ken Griffin. They write:

O Khepri, amid his boat, primeval one,
whose corporeality is infinity/eternity,
may you rescue Osiris Amenhotep, true of voice.

They also mention that this text is very similar to a passage from The Book of the Dead. I think I’ve mentioned the god Khepri in previous posts and of course Osiris . . . Honestly I’m not sure just what to make of this but perhaps it could mean literally someone needs to be rescued. Also I’ve seen ‘true of voice’ often translated as ‘justified’ so perhaps, if this is referring to Marc/Steven, perhaps it could mean that he is ‘justified’ and won’t be punished.

Also to consider:

“The function of the heart scarab was to bind the heart to silence while it was being weighed in the underworld to ensure that the heart did not bear false witness against the deceased”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_scarab

If it is a heart scarab perhaps it will offer Moon Knight some protection in a climactic final judgement (battle).

Jackal Summoning Translation:

As if knowing Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs was not enough, apparently we should also brush up on our Coptic. Again, r/AncientEgyptian comes to our rescue with a translation of Harrow’s speech as he summons the jackal. The first bit seems to be simply “Awaken, awaken, awaken”. A little anticlimactic, but I’m sure the rest of the translation will come soon . . .

Did Egyptian Gods have Avatars?

In “Moon Knight“ – Die altägyptischen Hintergründe erklärt, Teil 4, Bicker more or less tells us no. Pharaohs were considered conduits to the divine, and a kind of divinity in their own right, but avatars as we think of them (and how they seem to be displayed in the show) are a Hindu concept and not Ancient Egyptian.

Aspects of the soul and Steven’s Ka

Hieroglyph for Ka

In 9 Things About Ancient Egypt I Hope We See In Marvel’s #MoonKnight, I talk about how Ancient Egyptians conceived the soul as having many aspects. In Summon the Suit, I believe we’ve revealed yet another aspect of our main character’s soul in Mr. Knight. The Ka is often thought of as a “double”, but we can also see the out stretched arms of the glyph for Ka as representing a part of the soul offering divine protection which survives the body after death. It’s interesting that Marc seems to have this divine protection in Moon Knight after he dies in Khonshu’s tomb. I believe Steven ‘dies’ after smashing his head against that lamp poll and his Ka, Mr. Knight, survives to protect him.

Probably reading into this part of things too much, but I still feel that the show is using each the main character’s identities to represent aspects of the ancient egyptian soul, although my working theory seems to be pretty thin. We’ll see as time goes on.

That’s all I got . . .

Yup! We’ve reached the end of the road so far. I’m definitely looking forward to next week’s episode. I hope you’ll join me for another edition of Moon Knight Unwrapped.

But if you’re still here now, what was your favorite part of the episode? Any thoughts on all the craziness we’ve seen so far? Anyone know coptic?

Leave your answers in the comments. I’m super hype to talk about this!

Moon Knight Unwrapped: The Goldfish Problem (Review + Theories)

Welcome. Welcome. FINALLY we get to talk about the first episode of the Moon Knight TV show!

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever to write this post, and I’m both sad and happy to say that it’s going nothing like I expected.

My original intent for these posts was to watch the show Wednesday night, sleep on it, and then type up a recap the next day. I felt uniquely qualified to handle such a task because I’ve written a lot of reviews on this blog about Ancient Egypt in fiction, studied the culture and history as research for my own fiction (of which only a short story, Narmer and the God-Beast, is completed), and even taken a few lessons in how to read hieroglyphs. In preparation for this show, I’ve been trying to catch up on Moon Knight comics (see my review of Essential Moon Knight Vol 1, and Jeff Lemire’s Vol 1: Lunatic, Vol 2: Reincarnations, and Vol 3: Birth and Death) and I’ve had a great time doing so, but I’ll admit that my main interest still continues to be the Ancient Egyptian aspects of the story (although multiple personalities is also pretty damn skippy. Sorry my alter ego who thinks he’s Mickey Avalon is showing through).

But this is not a recap . . .

Correct! No! Whichever! After only one episode, I’m realizing that there is just TOO MUCH for me to be able to (on the timeline I had hoped) figure everything out and get it written down. I have a job, and other writing projects, and there are tons of other people who are terribly more qualified than me (both in knowledge of Marvel, and in Egyptology) who have taken up the torch . . .

So, I’m retooling the purpose of these posts. They will probably be similar to other posts I’ve written here, where I’ll talk about what I liked and didn’t like about the show. Gonna try to get these finished for Tuesday or Wednesday mornings, so any one reading it can check it out before starting the new episode.

Finally, if you haven’t watched The Gold Fish Problem, and aren’t planning on it before reading my post, Leah Schnelbach has written a pretty thorough recap in A Meet Cute with Ammit in Moon Knight’s Pilot “The Goldfish Problem” and of course Eric Voss has already done a Moon Knight Easter Egg Break Down for New Rockstars.

Anyway, enough housekeeping, let’s get to the review!

Wow! Just wow!

If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed almost every facet (of which there are many) of this first episode. The introduction was unique (not many shows start with the villain), and shocking (who puts glass in their sandals?!) and hooked me from the very beginning.

Then we see the strange sleeping routine of Steven Grant, and I’m hooked again! Dribble out a little Ancient Egyptian history; more hooks. Begin suggesting some inconsistencies in the point of view through small details, and then wham! Literally knock our (and Steven’s) jaw off with a globe trotting blackout, and some strange omniscient voice calling our MC an idiot (rude!). And then don’t let up . . .

Now, I won’t just keep listing plot points (because, after all, this ISN’T a recap), but there was a (cupcake) truck full of mysteries presented to us throughout course of the episode, and a staggering amount of details to hold in one (splitting) brain. Yet somehow, that was wonderful!

As I mentioned earlier, most of the details I was concerned with were related to how these personas tie in, and are effected by Ancient Egypt and its history and mythology. In this respect, Moon Knight certainly did not disappoint. We had references to many ancient Egyptian Gods, some of which I expected to see (check out 9 Ancient Egyptian Things I hope to see in Marvel’s Moon Knight for deets), but several (like Hathor) I did not.

And I just got the feeling that these gods were going to be so much more than just references and setting. Obviously Khonsu was to play a large role, but the inclusion of Ammit (and some creative license taken with her mythology) as well other gods, which are seemingly VERY active in mankind’s affairs is the type of treatment I’ve wanted to see this pantheon receive for a ages.

And there’s hieroglyphs everywhere, which obviously I tried (and failed) to translate. But still, what a trip. I can’t wait to see what is revealed through their inclusion as the show progresses (hopefully it won’t spoil anything).

Needless to say, I’m super excited for episode 2 and I can’t wait to hunt down and search for all the other little secrets this show has in store . . .

Theories . . .

So, this part of the post is probably going to contain a lot of links, but I think in the end, it will be worth it. In tracking them down, I feel like I’ve learned so much I didn’t understand before.

Theory 1: Werewolf by Night!

Definitely one of the most suspenseful scenes comes when Steven is leaving the museum and thinks that he hears a dog somewhere among the exhibits. Despite his better judgement, he pursues it and is attacked by some crazy, vaguely canine creature from which he’s eventually saved by his alter, the titular Moon Knight.

Me watching the first episode lol

Now many seem to believe that this dog is either the god Anubis himself, or some kind of minion of the same. Even given all of the creative license the show takes with Ammit, I just don’t buy this connection. We see Anubis in Lemire’s Vol 1: Lunatic, in which he helps Marc to escape an asylum (although there is a cost). Later, in Vol 3: Birth and Death, Anubis helps Marc reenter the asylum after Marc saves his wife Anput. I don’t believe Anubis was ever represented in ancient Egyptian myth as malevolent although his role in guiding the dead and ultimately working the scales of Ma’at at a soul’s judgement probably did not endear him to many mortals. Still I’m not convinced.

Of course, Anubis was not the only jackal-head deity in the Egyptian pantheon. Wepwawet, or the “Opener of the Ways”, could be a likely candidate. He has a more wolf-like appearance then Anubis, and as a war deity, was often invoked before battle to scout and provide generals with critical information for victory.

Finally, as Ethan Hawke said in the featurette, “Every aspect of this show has a duality.” Perhaps this creature may also be serving a dual purpose in the first episode. Not only could it serve as a new addition to the gods represented in the Moon Knight cannon, but also as an homage to the original comic Moon Knight appeared in, Werewolf by Night, in which he hunts a werewolf named Jack Russel (lolz).

Hathor = Sekhmet

Another interesting cause for speculation, is the addition of Hathor into the Ennead which was a group of nine gods worshipped at Heliopolis (for an great piece about Moon Knight’s use of the Ennead and a lot of other ancient Egyptian iconography, please check out Roxane Bicker’s “Moon Knight“ – Die altägyptischen Hintergründe erklärt, Teil 1. She’s amazing! It’s in German but google translate seemed to have no trouble).

I think this actually has more to do with Marvel lore, than ancient Egyptian myth. Marvel has a group of Egyptian inspired gods called the Heliopolitans. You’ll notice that Hathor is not counted among their number here either. However, the lion goddess Sekhmet is. In ancient Egyptian mythology, it would seem that Hathor and Sekhmet are somewhat similar, or maybe interchangeable (wikipedia says “Ra sends the goddess Hathor, in the form of Sekhmet . . .).

Marvel’s own wiki, also seems to keep a Hathor/Sekhmet duality (there it is again!) with the lion goddess being born as Hathor, and then becoming Sekhmet because of blood lust.

There’s some math here but, I think in the logic is something like:

Ennead = gods worshiped at Heliopolis = Heliopolitans

Sekhmet is a Heliopolitan

Hathor = Sekhmet (because of blood lust)

Therefore Hathor = Heliopolitan = god worshipped at Heliopolis = Part of the Ennead

Scarab text might somehow refer to Akhenaten . . .

For this, I’m just blatantly using the ideas of the aforementioned Roxane Bicker and Michelle (TardisInATeacup). I tried to work out the hieroglyphs etched into that gleaming macguffin, but ultimately I was only able to get almost through the first line:

Not bad?

However, Roxane translated the whole thing in her post “Moon Knight“ – Der goldene Skarabäus (the last post in this series “Moon Knight“ – Die altägyptischen Hintergründe erklärt, Teil 3 is also great).

Essentially we get:

“O Chepri on the heart,

his bark, the one wrapped around the neck,

his eternity for your Ba,

Osiris Amenhotep the justified”

There’s a lot to think about here. Khepri is another god who in real life would have been worshipped Heliopolis, and later Thebes. His name invokes ‘transformation’. The Ba is one of the aspects of the soul, even as Steven has many aspects of his personality. Osiris is usually the name given to the deceased, in this case Amenhotep?

And then this last nugget:

Conclusions . . .

While I think we’ve discussed a lot here, I’m not sure I’ve actually managed to ‘unwrap’ completely, any of Moon Knight’s mysteries. In any case, I’m anxious for episode 2, and I’m sure the answers to these questions will only bring us more questions. And this is somehow wonderful.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! What burning questions are you trying to get answered. What aspects of ancient Egyptian art, myth or culture are you hoping to see in this series! Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Essential #MoonKnight Vol. 1: So 70’s it Hurts

We’re about 19 days from the release of Disney and Marvel’s Moon Knight live action TV show, and I’ve been on a bit of a comics binge trying to get ready for the premier. After watching the initial Moon Knight trailer in February, I was pretty much the living embodiment of that heart-eyes emoji for several reasons, the least of which being that it just looks awesome, and the most of which being that I’m pretty much obsessed with anything even remotely relating to Ancient Egypt.

Since seeing that first glimpse, I’ve written about nine Ancient Egyptian things I hope we see in the show, and was intrigued but confused by Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight Vol. 1: Lunatic.

On the day I’m writing this, a new Moon Knight featurette trailer dropped and we got a couple more awesome looking movie posters of Moon Knight, Mr. Knight, and Steven Grant. I got chills during the featurette when Ethan Hawke says “Every aspect of this show has a duality”, not only for it’s implications for the main character, but because duality was a central part of Ancient Egyptian epistemology and worldview. Hopefully that’s a clue that they’re considering at least one thing from my list!

Anyway, I’ve digressed. This post is a review of Essential Moon Knight Volume 1, not a gush about the newest Marvel trailer (although it is a bit that too).

Essentially, this book is exactly what I should have read before jumping into Lunatic (mentioned above). It gives the reader a ‘greatest hits’ of Moon Knight comics, starting with the character’s first appearance in Werewolf-By-Night back in 1975, and moving up through MK’s own premiere run starting in November of 1980 (the last of this run we see in this book is #10 Too Many Midnights in August of 1981).

I suppose there are two ways to review this book (speaking of duality), one being to review its merits as a “greatest hits” type publication, and the other, to review the stories within.

As a Greatest Hits?

Since I don’t have much history with this character, I can’t really review its merits as an encapsulation of Moon Knight the comic since I’m not sure which issues I would have included as I’ve only read the few displayed here. I’ll say that I was sad that each of the issues were in black-and-white. It made the lettering hard to read in many places and some of the artwork was pretty difficult to make out with only two colors.

The second bummer was that without any kind of forward, or afterword, there was no context for these issues, historically or culturally (within Marvel comics history, and the larger world). One issue of Hulk magazine, printed just before Moon Knight was about to get his own run, had a letter from Ralph Macchio about his work on issues featuring MK up to that point. Even though it was a wall of nearly unreadable text (and this was a comic book after all), I found myself wishing this kind of commentary had been sprinkled throughout.

But this book did what it said it would do, and gave the reader 26 Moon Knight comics to read and enjoy and so I can’t really knock it too much.

And the Stories Themselves?

In all honesty, they were not the droids I was looking for, and I think I would not have read them had I not been so intrigued by the upcoming show. Very little of what I had seen in the trailers, and limited Wikipedia pages I’ve read (trying to avoid spoilers) seemed apparent at first in the comics shown here.

For instance, Moon Knight’s “origin story” in Werewolf-By-Night is to be given a suitcase containing his iconic costume by a committee of nefarious financiers and told to hunt a werewolf (who’s name is Jack Russell lol). It isn’t until the 1980 Moon Knight issue #1 that we even get the connection to Khonshu (based off the Ancient Egyptian god Khonsu) and when it does arrive, it is relatively shallow and maybe a bit appropriative. Up until that point, MK’s moon powers were thought to stem from a werewolf bite he supposedly sustained during his first appearance (which I totally missed). Seeing them finagle the Khonshu storyline in later on but keep the werewolf fight and several other pieces of MK’s past was interesting in its own right.

The other issues read more like a spy story (thank you 70’s) with the MC being a caped crusader instead of a tuxedoed agent (although MK’s alt Steven Grant wears plenty of tuxedos throughout). They’re focused on mystery and intrigue, cool gadgets (a glider cape, cowl mic and a truncheon that, when doubling as “nunchaku”, a grappling hook, and billy-club, seems to have as many personas as the Moon Knight), and exotic looking vehicles (crescent moon shaped helicopter?).

And lastly, the always beautiful Marlene, who never seems to be wearing much, and always puts up with the MC’s shit no matter how rude or self-centered it comes off (the MC’s alt Jake Lockley in particular seems to have it out for her).

Now I think it is important to point out that 47 years have passed since the first iteration of this character (woah) and so clearly a lot has changed since then. It will be interesting to see which changes the show will make (one big one already is Steven Grant being a low level museum employee, and not a millionaire), and which elements (particularly the villains) they’ll keep.

Some things I hope they do keep are Moon Knight’s supporting cast. Crawley and Gena in particular were always a welcome presence. And obviously any crossovers with other MCU characters will also be a delight. In this volume MK and SPIDERMAN!! face off against each other, and then team up to take on Cyclone. I would LOVE to see that team up sometime in the future.

Read this one then?

If you’re interested in the history of Moon Knight in general and don’t mind some outdated cultural mores then I would say go for it. Despite the seemingly negative review I’ve given, I actually did enjoy getting to know the infancy (and growing pains) of this character. It certainly has expanded my horizons.

I don’t think that I’ll be able to procure Volume 2 before the show premieres on Disney Plus, but I will probably still give it a shot as I’m curious how the Moon Knight I’ve seen in this volume progressed to the Moon Knight we’ll be watching on March 30th.

Has anyone else read this book? What are your thoughts? Any Moon Knight fans out there who’ve been with the comic this long? What are you most excited for in the new show?

Leave your answers in the comments, and I’ll see you all next time!