Moon Knight’s New Villain Tease Confirms His Avengers Problem
Moon Knight’s New Villain Tease Confirms His Avengers Problem
Warning! SPOILERS for Moon Knight episode 2.
After teasing a new villain in Moon Knight episode 2, Marvel Studios has already confirmed the character’s Avengers problem. Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector/Steven Grant is the newest superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although the Disney+ series doesn’t feature many references to the larger franchise, that doesn’t change the fact that Moon Knight does exist in a world where the Avengers exist. The result of this connection even raises some questions about the Moon Knight character’s MCU future, and now Marvel has already indicated why he needs to become involved in the overall story.
The state of the Avengers team after Avengers: Endgame is one of the great mysteries lingering over Phase 4. Iron Man and Black Widow’s deaths, Captain America’s older age, Hulk’s weakened state, Thor’s decision to leave Earth, and Hawkeye’s retirement left the team’s status in doubt. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings teased that Wong, Captain Marvel, and Bruce Banner are still united in some sense, while Marvel Studios called Shang-Chi a new Avenger. Other heroes like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Sam Wilson, and Spider-Man could also be considered members of the team going forward. There is already talk of how Moon Knight’s MCU future could include a spot on the Avengers team.
Prior to potentially working with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Moon Knight shows Marc/Steven working to stop their first real villain. The fight against Arthur Harrow and his plans to release Ammit should go a long way in proving why Moon Knight belongs with the MCU’s biggest heroes. However, Moon Knight episode 2’s tease for his next villain confirms his problematic place in the MCU and why he needs the Avengers.
During Moon Knight episode 2, Marc Spector’s backstory and Moon Knight origin is slowly unraveled. The full details of the transformation aren’t discussed or shown. However, the show provides plenty of context through his near-death experience before Khonshu found him and Marc’s mercenary jobs. The latter comes with the mention that the mercenary team Marc worked with was ruthless in an archeological dig job, which included execution-style killings. It might be a quick moment, but it is through this mention that Moon Knight teases a new villain in Bushman, as the ruthless killings are a trademark of the character.
The potential Bushman setup in Moon Knight episode 2 would mean that the character is part of Marc Spector’s Moon Knight origin in the MCU just like in the comics. While those involved with the Disney+ show have mentioned why they didn’t use Bushman as the villain of season 1, the possible tease of him here could mean he is part of Moon Knight’s future plans. Viewers could eventually see Marc once again cross paths with the man who played an important role in him becoming Khonshu’s Avatar.
Raul Bushman is one of Moon Knight’s biggest villains in the comics, as he was introduced in the very first issue of Moon Knight’s standalone comic series in 1980. He became a fearless warlord after watching his family driven from their African home by foreigners. Bushman tattooed his face to make himself more terrifying to his opponents and got steel teeth implants. It didn’t take long for Bushman to become one of the biggest mercenaries in the Marvel universe, bringing him into contact with Marc Spector and Frenchie Duchamp during a mission in Cairo. During a later mission at the border of Egypt, Bushman’s propensity for violence led Marc and Frenchie to rebel against his orders and attempt to save some people in his crosshairs. This led to Bushman shooting Marc and leaving him for dead, which is when Khonshu interfered to save Marc’s life and turn him into Moon Knight.
Bushman became a recurring villain for Moon Knight after this point, as he moved from mercenary work to drug trafficking and gambling in New York. He does not have any superpowers to speak of but is instead highly skilled with a variety of weapons and understands the tactical advantages of a fight. Bushman has teamed up with several of Moon Knight’s other foes in the Marvel comics as well, as he worked with Midnight Man to destroy the Statue of Khonshu and was recruited by Sun King to try and kill Marc Spector after all these years.
Despite Bushman’s status as one of Moon Knight’s oldest villains, the tease that he could be his next MCU foe is somewhat concerning. Marvel Studios has repeatedly proven its ability to elevate characters from the comics as they join the shared universe, but Bushman doesn’t have a great record of really making Marc Spector’s life difficult. The villain has rarely truly threatened Moon Knight. Bushman was best positioned to defeat him when Marc Spector was just a regular mercenary, as that was where he gained the upper hand on him, but that was also before Marc was a superhero. Beyond this encounter, Bushman is arguably best known for when Moon Knight finally killed him. Marc used one of his crescent darts to carve off Bushman’s face, resulting in Khonshu taking on the form of this faceless villain to remind Marc of his work.
Making Bushman Moon Knight’s next MCU villain would require a lot of heavy lifting on Marvel Studios’ part to make him a compelling threat. It would also likely involve reinventing the character’s motivations as Moon Knight‘s creative team has already pointed out how similar he is to Killmonger. Since Michael B. Jordan’s Black Panther villain is regarded as one of the best MCU foes of all time, bringing Bushman to live-action with similar motivations, tactics, and a backstory would draw comparisons that are difficult to imagine him topping. Changing Bushman’s comic story is certainly something Marvel would be open to though, as they completely reinvented Arthur Harrow to make him Moon Knight‘s main villain. It is through both of these decisions that Marvel has already proved why he might be better suited for the Avengers and other crossovers.
Moon Knight has a long history of fighting crime in the comics, but he doesn’t have many great villains that are directly connected to him. Bushman could be a formidable opponent at some point, but it will only happen if Marvel is able to reinvent the character. It seems that the studio has already worked its magic to make Moon Knight‘s Arthur Harrow a compelling foe for Marc Spector, but how many times will that really work? There’s a reason some of Moon Knight’s villains haven’t become major threats in the comics, and that’s because they simply aren’t that big of threats. Newer creations like Sun King managed to stand out, but that arc also reinforced how many forgettable and minor opponents Moon Knight has defeated. The MCU should do everything it can to avoid a similar fate for Oscar Isaac’s superhero.
This is why Moon Knight‘s enemies prove that he needs to be part of the Avengers in the MCU. Marvel Studios could get around this issue by continuing to reimagine villains from the comics in a way that essentially makes them brand new characters or by having Moon Knight fight villains who are better associated with other characters. However, pairing him up with the Avengers means that this isn’t necessary. Moon Knight can find a role in fighting bigger threats to the MCU and that are better defined through the comics. It is one of the many reasons why speculation keeps pointing to him working with Blade, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and other supernatural heroes as part of the Midnight Sons. This would allow Moon Knight to fight some of their villains who are more iconic, such as Dracula, Blackheart, or even Mephisto. There’s nothing wrong with Moon Knight exploring villains who are lesser-known, but there is greater potential for the character’s future fighting foes alongside the Avengers.
Moon Knight episode 2 secretly teases Bushman as his next MCU villain, but the Marvel show also confirms his Avengers problem in the process.
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