Moon Knight – meet Ethan Hawke’s remarkably obscure Marvel Comics villain, Dr. Arthur Harrow

Moon Knight is set to smash her way into the hearts of Marvel Cinematic Universe fans with her upcoming Disney Plus streaming series (starring Oscar Isaac in the title role), premiering March 30. But the series’ apparent main villain, Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow, remains even more of a mystery than the fractured hero Moon Knight himself.

And Harrow’s unknown nature may apply just as much to longtime comic book fans, even those who know the night vigilante himself intimately – he has only one comic book appearance to his name, after all, and it’s so generally unknown, it hasn’t even been widely collected or added to digital services.

Despite its relatively obscure nature (even to Marvel Studios, which often seems to revel in lesser-known characters), the inclusion of Arthur Harrow as Moon Knight’s main nemesis in the series may signal big things about the direction Moon is heading. Knight from Disney Plus could take.

What follows may be a relatively brief trip down memory lane in Marvel Comics, but the bits and pieces of Arthur Harrow’s short comic book story could spell a particularly heartbreaking MCU story (sorry not sorry for the pun ).

Who is Dr. Arthur Harrow?

Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

In the comics, Dr. Arthur Harrow is a geneticist whose research into roots and the management of physical pain earned him a Nobel Prize nomination. However, before the Nobel Committee announces the winner of the prize, Harrow’s colleague, Dr. Victoria Grail, uncovers a terrible secret behind Harrow’s research.

Grail discovers documents dating back to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, cataloging the results of genetic research carried out essentially through torture on Jewish prisoners. Although the documents were destined to be destroyed, as decided by the Nuremberg trials that prosecuted Nazi war criminals after World War II, they fell into Harrow’s hands and formed the basis of his research. .

(This echoes the real world a bit, both in terms of the brutal torture inflicted on Jewish prisoners under the guise of utterly ineffective and unscientific “medical experiments,” and the resulting destruction of supposed research after the end of the Nazi regime).

When Dr. Grail visits Harrow’s lab in the Yucatan region of Mexico to investigate on behalf of the Nobel Committee, she is nearly kidnapped by the secret organization known as OMNIUM (the acronym has never been defined ) who had hired Harrow and provided him with the Nazi documents, blackmailing him into turning his research into his own health condition to their nefarious ends.

This is where Moon Knight comes in.

cover of Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu #2 from 1985 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Arthur Harrow’s story is set in 1985’s Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu #2 – part of the six-issue limited series that redefined Moon Knight’s powers as waxing and waning with the phases of the moon, and who established the concept of Moon Knight. multiple personalities, while retooling his costume and weaponry with a more directly Egyptian-inspired aesthetic – something directly on display in Disney Plus’ Moon Knight trailer.

This bit of context is needed to explain Moon Knight’s involvement with Harrow, which comes at a time when Marc Spector has given up the identity of Moon Knight. Despite giving up his superhero identity for a life as a millionaire entrepreneur, Spector begins to receive visions from Khonshu that prompt him to find Harrow and rescue Dr. Grail.

Traveling to the Yucatan, Moon Knight meets Dr. Grail just in time to save her from the OMNIUM and for the pair to reunite with Dr. Harrow.

When they find Harrow’s lab, they discover that his pain management research was actually aimed at creating ultra-violent super-soldiers who feel no physical pain – a feat he achieved through experiments. monstrous genetics.

Moon Knight and Dr. Grail destroy Harrow’s lab, but he unleashes his army of painless minions against them. With Moon Knight realizing he can’t beat them all, especially if he can’t neutralize them, he and Dr. Grail flee the lab just as Harrow blows it up to cover up evidence of his abusive experiments.

Harrow is later seen reuniting with OMNIUM, who promises to set him up with a new lab for further experiments in another country, holding the evidence of his previous crimes as blackmail against him to keep him under the thumb of the organization.

And oddly, after this issue of Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, neither Dr. Arthur Harrow nor any sign of OMNIUM have been seen again – until the character’s next adaptation in the MCU.

image from 2017’s Moon Knight #188…see where we’re going with this? (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

However, the version of Arthur Harrow shown in the Moon Knight trailer actually resembles another, more contemporary villain of Moon Knight, a former psychiatric patient at Ravencroft Asylum known only as Sun King, who was an adept of the Egyptian sun god Ra. – a rival of Khonshu, god of the moon.

It’s possible that aspects of the Sun King inform the MCU’s version of Arthur Harrow, who seems to have a spiritual and philosophical bent. Sun King also has superpowers (unlike Arthur Harrow), with the ability to control flames.

Dr. Arthur Harrow in the MCU

Curiously, although the story and concepts of Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, including Moon Knight’s split personalities and his direct connection to a real and tangible ancient Egyptian deity, have become central concepts to the Moon Knight mythos, especially these days when they seem to be directly informing the streaming series from Disney Plus, the limited series isn’t officially available anywhere – either on reprint or digital.

This odd lack of source material for fans, as well as certain aspects of Dr. Harrow’s background in Nazi research, raise questions about how Harrow’s comic book story will directly influence Moon Knight.

Marvel Studios has taken great pains not to represent Nazis – especially modern Nazis – in the MCU, even splitting Hydra as its own splinter group in Captain America: The First Avenger. And while many characters who have since entered the MCU have some connection to the Nazis or Nazism in their comic book history (somewhat due to the post-war period in which many characters were created, with many creators of the day actually being WWII veterans), this was largely overridden by association with Hydra or other groups on film.

Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

That said, the MCU’s version of Harrow seems to be something of a spiritual guru with a philosophy that seems to be based around healing and dealing with psychological issues like Marc Spector’s split personalities. So there could be some sort of deeper, more violent experiences at play below the surface, echoing Harrow’s ‘mad scientist’ comic book background – or perhaps even tying into the aforementioned Sun King villain.

Harrow’s inclusion in the series could also have some sort of connection to the appearance of the Power Broker, formerly used by Sharon Carter in Disney Plus’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. While there’s no comic book connection between the Power Broker and Arthur Harrow, if Harrow’s experiments are similarly based on trying to create super soldiers as in the comics, it could offer some insight. dividing line between the two shows.

Whatever Dr. Arthur Harrow’s deal is in the Disney Plus Moon Knight streaming series, there’s sure money it’ll all tie into Moon Knight’s roots in some way – and that he has a secret brewing beneath his seemingly calm demeanor.

Take a look at the weird and wild Moon Knight Trailer.

Lisa M. Horner