Steven Grant and Marc Spector are back. Yep, the second episode of Moon Knight is already here! Just like its predecessor it’s full of strange accents, high-action, a ton of deep cut comics nods, and hidden references. As always we’re here to guide you through the mystery of Moon Knight like Layla helping Steven find himself via cellphone.
Giving Up “Steven”
After the museum/art gallery fires him, Steven has to give up his name tag. It’s a big metaphorical moment as a sign of the character giving up a part of his Steven personality. Perhaps it even hints that Steven might soon be gone altogether. That would make a lot of sense as this is clearly an episode about the journey to rediscovering Marc. We also learn that in the MCU, this National Gallery/ British Museum hybrid goes by the name National Art Gallery (lol).
A Hint of Recognition
We met Moon Knight’s sometime ally Crawley in the first episode. In the comics he’s a homeless man who helps Moon Knight source info and solve crimes. From the first episode we know the show has reimagined him as a living statue. All of that is to say, last week Crawley acted as if Steven wasn’t there when he spoke to him. But here when Steven hugs him we see Crawley react looking towards the man who might be his friend.
It’s Number 43, Innit?
With Steven jobless and on the hunt for the truth, he begins to look for the storage unit that Marc kept all his secrets in. When he finally finds it, the locker number is #43. The only Moon Knight comic to get to those lofty heights is Marc Spector: Moon Knight #43. This issue actually focuses on a very relevant topic to the series: doppelgangers. In the Infinity War tie-in titled “Multiple Maniacs,” Marc battles against multiple evil duplicates of heroes including Black Knight, Daredevil, and Darkhawk among others.
Don’t Forget to Scan the QR Code
If you want to catch up on your Moon Knight comics, good news. Marvel gives you a free issue of a relevant comic thanks to hidden QR codes. In the first episode the code appears in Steven’s workplace, the mishmash museum called the National Art Gallery. In the second episode, it appears at the entrance to his storage locker. In both cases it redirects users to marvel.com/moonknightcomics where you can read free issues related to Moon Knight.
Thanks to Marc Spector’s passport we learn that the show is going with his comics-accurate origin. In the comics, a big part of his back story is that Marc is from Chicago. We see that’s the case here according to the document, listing his birthplace as Illinois. We also learn his birthday, and it turns out Marc was born on 03/09/1987. Khonshu has really aged him.
Khonshu, I Presume
We get our first proper look at Khonshu here, played in a terrifying duel performance by actor Karim El Hakim in an imposing physical role and F. Murray Abraham as the booming voice of the Moon God. It looks like the show has taken directly from Declan Shalvey’s iconic Khonshu design, which is another great nod to an influential Moon Knight arc.
MARC SPECTOR IS MARRIED?!
While he was never married in the comics, the reveal about Marc and Layla’s marriage leans into something we suspected last episode: that Layla is likely at least a partly reimagined version of Marlene Alraune. In the comics, Marlene was Marc’s lover, crime-fighting partner, and eventually mother of his child. We learn that Marc sought a divorce to protect Layla. Of course, lonely Steven Grant isn’t eager to let one of the few women to actually speak to him go so easily. We don’t get many more hints on whether Layla has a connection to the Scarlet Scarab this week, but the fact that she’s an adventurer like Marc means we still think that’s the case.
Last week we had a lot of fun looking at Steven’s shelves. This week his hangout with Layla introduces us to a different side of him. Some of the titles we see include Bad Laws, The Man in the Ice, Intervention, Oxford [Dictionary?], and Leonardo. This keeps up his classical interests, but there’s a romantic side to Steven too as he and Layla bond over Marceline Desbordes-Valmore’s poetry collection Les Pleurs. Specifically, they recite the poem Les Séparés to each other about two heartbroken lovers.
More Info About that Precious (McGuffin) Scarab
As they’re reunited and reintroduced in Steven’s apartment, Layla reveals that she and Marc Spector worked and fought alongside each other to find the scarab that Harrow wants so much. She’s understandably infuriated that Marc has hidden it from her, and thinks this is the reason for his disappearance and “performance” as Steven. In a likely misguided choice, Steven quickly asks Layla to take the scarab away, explaining he doesn’t want anything to do with it. We later learn that the scarab can reveal the location of Ammit’s tomb, which is why Harrow wants it so badly.
File #: 1975
While looking at Marc Spector’s casefile we see he’s #1975, which is a nod to the year he first debuted in Werewolf by Night #32. There’s also a nod to Nick Pepin, who is the show’s Production & Development Manager and has worked on multiple MCU properties.
“He’s From the Yucatan”
As Arthur Harrow shows Steven around his London commune—wow, this man is international!—he introduces someone and says, “He’s from the Yucatan.” This is a direct reference to Harrow’s singular comic book appearance in Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu #2. That issue focuses on Harrow doing evil Nazi experiments in, you guessed it, the Yucatan.
The Previous Avatar
According to Arthur Harrow, he was Khonshu’s previous avatar. Whether this is true is yet to be seen. In the comics, this wasn’t the case but there have been multiple Moon Knights throughout time before Marc Spector. So there’s precedent for this little bit of history even if Arthur is not canonically a part of it.
Mr. Knight, I Presume
Although it’s a big change from his comic origin, we meet Mr. Knight this week. First introduced in the 2011 Secret Avengers series—first drawn by Michael Lark—he’s most well known from that Declan Shalvey arc we mentioned before, making Mr. Knight a newer Moon Knight persona. In the comics, Mr. Knight is a separate personality who’s a smart, savvy, and public figure. Here the Mr. Knight suit is just how Steven manifests the Moon Knight garb. It’s an interesting choice that may annoy die-hard Moon Knight fans, but it’s a smart way to differentiate between the two. It also could hint that our multiversal theory is right. After all, if Steven was from a different universe than Marc it would explain why their suits manifest so differently.
A Truly Great Egg
As the big chase goes down, we see a number on the top of a double decker bus. The code says WBN 0032. That obviously stands for Werewolf By Night #32, Moon Knight’s first appearance. How fun!
Thanking Those All-Important Creators
The only new addition this week is Michael Lark. As we mentioned, he was the first artist to ever draw the Mr. Knight suit which makes its on-screen debut this episode.
Featured Image: Marvel Studios