Moon Knight’s Arthur Harrow is a major departure for Marvel’s villain
Even the biggest Moon Knight fan would have to admit that the character only enjoys C-list status. Sure, he’s had several solo series since his first appearance in the 1975s Werewolf at night #37 and even a few stints on different Avengers teams. But no one expected the character to deserve his own television show, let alone being played by acclaimed actor Oscar Isaac.
Even more surprising was the announcement that Ethan Hawke would play the series’ main villain, cult leader Arthur Harrow. Moon Knight has built up a respectable roster of villains over the years, but it’s hard to believe anyone would consider Arthur Harrow their favorite Moon Knight antagonist.
So why would a star of Hawke’s caliber agree to play the character? Of course, he and moon knight Showrunner Jeremy Slater has a lot to offer in her oddly sensitive portrayal of an evil cult leader.
First, Harrow puts glass in his shoes
In the opening scene of moon knightIn the first episode we see an undercover character enjoying an evening of fine liquor in his glass, Bob Dylan on his hi-fi and broken glass in his loafers. Much later in the episode, Harrow will explain to Steven that while Moon Knight serves the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, it serves the goddess Ammit, the soul eater. In Egyptian mythology, Ammit will eat those judged immoral if their heart outweighs that of a feather on the scales of Osiris.
According to Harrow, Ammit was betrayed by her fellow gods and locked away, allowing evil to spread across the planet. Had she been free, villains like Hitler and Pol Pot should never have committed her evil deeds. As the avatar of Ammit, Harrow and his followers seek to free the goddess and bring justice to the earth.
So Harrow must be Moon Knight’s nemesis, right?
You’d think so, since both Harrow and Moon Knight serve the Egyptian gods and strive for justice. But the hero’s main antagonist in the comics is Bushman, the leader of the mercenary group that Moon Knight’s main identity, Marc Spector, worked for. Bushman killed Spector, leading to his resurrection by Khonshu and the origin of Moon Knight, and has returned time and time again to terrorize the hero.
Harrow isn’t even Moon Knight’s evil underside. That distinction belongs to either the thief Midnight Man – who will appear in the Disney Plus show in his civilian guise as Anton Mogart (played by Gaspard Ulliel) – or the Sun King, recently introduced by writer Max Bemis and artist Jacen Burrows .
No, Harrow has no special place in the life of the moon knight because he only appeared in a comic, moon knight Volume 2, Issue 2, published in 1985. Despite strong illustrations by artists Chris Warner and ER Cruz and hard-hitting plots by writer Alan Zelenetz, the second Moon Knight volume only ran for six issues.
Unlike his television colleague, the Dr. Alan Harrow from the comics a bad man of science. The character fits the mold of a James Bond villain very well, complete with minions, a hidden stash and support from a shadowy organization with a flashy name, OMNIUM. More importantly, Harrow embraces the Bond franchise’s bad habit of turning people with physical abnormalities into villains.
When this happens, Harrow suffers nerve damage, leaving half of his face paralyzed and in constant pain. His quest for a cure for pain earns him recognition and attention from the Nobel Committee, but it also ventures into inhumane territory. From his hidden base in the Yucatan, Harrow experiments on poor locals captured by his servants while yelling that “they didn’t go far enough at Auschwitz.”
Sent to the Yucatan by Khonshu priests to stop Harrow, Moon Knight encounters Dr. Victoria Grail, a researcher looking for evidence to denounce Harrow before the Nobel Prize Committee. Moon Knight and Grail stop flirting long enough to thwart Harrow and send him back to OMNIUM. Near the end of the issue, Moon Knight tells Grail, “I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Harrow.” He was wrong.
So the TV Harrow has nothing to do with the comic book version?
If you squint you can see some similarities. The guy walks around with glass in his shoes, so he has some relation to pain. And in addition to his followers, Harrow has henchmen in the form of armed guards who harass Steven Grant.
The most important similarity might be the similar perspectives between the two Harrows. Both versions absolutely believe in their own righteousness. For the comic Harrow, that’s what comes out when he says, “No herd of [the Yucatan locals] is worth an Arthur Harrow.” For the live-action version, this is expressed in his desire to create heaven on earth by eliminating all evildoers before they do any of that evil.
For Hawke, this perspective was key to creating the character. Because the protagonist of the story was “crazy,” Hawke said at a press conference moon knight, the antagonist can’t be too crazy. “So somehow I have to find a sane madman or a sane malevolent force,” Hawke reasoned. ‘And in his mind he’s Saint Harrow, you know? I mean, he thinks he’s going to be part of the big solution.”
For the comic Harrow, that great solution is to rid the world of pain. For the television version, it means ridding the world of evil.
It’s too early to tell if this rework will be enough to make Harrow one of Moon Knight’s greatest enemies. But without question, Hawke’s hiring will make Arthur Harrow a much more prominent figure in the life of Khonshu’s Faust.
https://www.polygon.com/23003291/moon-knights-arthur-harrow-villain-explainer Moon Knight’s Arthur Harrow is a major departure for Marvel’s villain