Steven Grant just learned his origin story in ‘Moon Knight.’ Here’s what the comics say
This story contains spoilers for the fifth episode of “Moon Knight” on Disney+.
Everything Steven thought he knew about himself is upended in the penultimate episode of “Moon Knight.”
After reuniting in the halls of what appears to be a psychiatric hospital, Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) and Steven Grant (also Isaac) are informed by the goddess Taweret (Antonia Salib) that they have died. Marc and Steven are then tasked with sharing secrets they have been keeping from each other in order to balance their souls.
Episode 5 of the Marvel Studios series, titled “Asylum,” addresses Marc and Steven’s dissociative identity disorder head on as the pair travel between their memories, their afterlife and the Putnam medical facility.
Over the course of the episode, Steven learns the truth about Marc’s painful past. But in addition to seeing how Marc came to be the moon god Khonshu’s fist of vengeance, Steven discovers that he’s an alter that developed during Marc’s abusive childhood.
From characters’ comic book backstories to the Marvel series’ pantheon of Egyptian gods, keep our guide handy as you watch “Moon Knight” on Disney+.
Who is Bushman?
During their trip down memory lane, Marc tells Steven that after being discharged from the military, he “went work-for-hire for [his] old CO, Bushman.” During a job raiding an Egyptian tomb, Bushman decided all witnesses — including Layla’s father, archeologist Abdallah El-Faouly — needed to be killed.
Marc unsuccessfully tried to save the people at the dig site and was left for dead as punishment. As he lay dying under Khonshu’s statue, the moon god offered to save Marc’s life if he agreed to serve as his warrior of vengeance.
Bushman plays a similar role in Moon Knight’s comic book origin story, first told in 1980’s “Moon Knight” No. 1 (by Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz). In this original incarnation, Bushman is the merciless leader of a group of mercenaries taking out rebel camps in Sudan. Marc, working as his second-in-command, tries to stand up to him to save innocent civilians after Bushman targets an archeologist to steal treasure.
Marc succumbs to his wounds (and the harsh desert conditions) but is revived by Khonshu to become “the moon’s knight of vengeance.”
Like many comic book superheroes, Moon Knight’s origin story has evolved as it’s been retold over the years, but Bushman’s role as a ruthless mercenary turned Marc’s nemesis has remained.
What about Steven and Marc’s dissociative identity disorder?
In Episode 5, Steven — who has believed he’s the core identity between him and Marc since the beginning — learns that he is actually an alter that developed during Marc’s childhood, when he was blamed by his mother for his younger brother’s death.
In the earliest “Moon Knight” comic books, Steven is introduced as an identity that Marc develops after becoming Khonshu’s fist of vengeance (along with another identity, Jake Lockley).
More recent comics have approached Marc’s mental illness differently. 2017’s “Moon Knight” No. 10, for example, shows how Steven was developed during Marc’s childhood. 2018’s “Moon Knight” No. 194 explained that Marc developed dissociative identity disorder after discovering a close family friend — the rabbi who was his father’s mentor — was actually an escaped Nazi and a serial killer still targeting Jews.
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