The following article contains spoilers for Moon Knight season 1, episode 2, “Summon the Suit”, available now on Disney +.
Marvel Cinematic Universe has once again ventured into unknown territory with its latest series, Knights of the Moon, which has opened several doors into the supernatural arena rather than venturing into the Multiverse or exploring the world post The Blip. Now fans can experience a part of the universe filled with gods, supernatural creatures and a different type of magic than what has been seen before. But within its rich narrative, there are also beats associated with one of Marvel Comics’ most unpopular superhero crossovers, “Civil War II” by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez.
“Civil War II” was a super-powerful battle with Iron Man and his forces against Captain Marvel and her followers. When an inhuman is revealed to predict the future, Carol believed that this power should be used to punish a criminal before committing the crime. But after learning from the original Civil War, Tony felt this was unethical and caused a rift in the heroic society. Knights of the Moon has apparently followed a similar idea with its deities, Khonshu and Ammit. In the series, Khonshu believes in punishing the criminals who have already committed a crime, whereas Ammit’s conviction took a stance similar to Carol Danvers’.
Although the story of the comic was a rich vein of ethical debates that could have been explored further, the series fell under harsh criticism due to its execution. It is difficult to say the exact reason for the criticism, but it can be argued that the lack of emotional weight or the deaths that felt less meaningful than they should have ultimately diminished its overall impact. That said, the core idea of the book is still one that could easily succeed through a lens such as Knights of the Moon as the story of the series brings the ethical debates of the comic into a more spiritual context.
For a human being, the idea of punishing a criminal before the crime may feel wrong, as it would be a violation of free thought. But for gods, these ideas and concepts are nothing when a major issue is taken into account. For example, if Ammit wanted peace, then the sacrifice of free thought is obvious. But Khonshu, who is a god who reveled in revenge, may not find fulfillment in punishing a criminal before he became one. For Khonshu, this is tantamount to killing an innocent, which would be against his faith. But for the vessels that these gods have chosen, there is a human aspect to these ideas that could even challenge the gods and create a more complex narrative.
For Ammit’s vessel, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), he has seen both sides of the spectrum as he has been both Khonshu and Ammit’s vessel. Though he may have spoken as if he knew what the best action was, he asked Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) if Khonshu chose him because his mind was easy to crack or was already crushed. As a result, it’s easy to assume that the only reason Harrow believes in Ammit’s genocide mission is that his own mind was already broken. Steven / Marc also has to fight with Khonshu, who only believes in punishing criminals because he is a god of justice and demanded homage in the form of blood.
Despite all its shortcomings, “Civil War II” offered a unique conflict that could be considered a thought exercise even in the real world. Saving lives by stopping a crime before it has happened is an incredible luxury. But it would cost the price of lost humanity, as judging a person before they have done wrong would put everyone at risk, as humanity has an infinite potential for violence. Through this lens, Knights of the Moon could be the series that takes the idea to new heights and shows viewers that the debate can still be improved even outside of the controversial cartoon.
New episodes of Moon Knight will be released on Wednesdays at Disney +.
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