Lost Legends

'Moon Knight' theory: A forgotten comic reveals Harrow’s painful intentions

“Not a herd of them is worth one Arthur Harrow.

Moon Knight introduced all sorts of new aspects to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oscar Isaac single-handedly gave audiences a glimpse into the lives of Steven Grant and Marc Spector and revealed the hidden truth of Egyptian gods within the world of the MCU. But from the get-go, it made an impression with a cringe-inducing scene of our series’ villain, Arthur Harrow, filling his fetching Egyptian-style sandals with shards of glass.

But could there be more to Episode 1’s opening scene than meets the eye? If we look back at Harrow’s singular comic appearance, it may reveal what motivates his strange and painful routine. Here’s how it all breaks down.

Ethan Hawke plays Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight.Marvel Studios

Arthur Harrow appeared in the Marvel comics only once in Moon Knight Vol. 2 #2, published in April 1985. Harrow was a Nobel Prize-nominated scientist in the field of pain theory, and he did experiments to cure himself of “trigeminal neuralgia,” a disease that curses him with eternal agony and causes facial disfigurement.

To discover a cure, he puts innocent bystanders through horrible pain to find a way to completely desensitize them. He’s a classic mad scientist villain — secret lair, henchmen, guard leopard, and a distinct look.

Lost Legends is an Inverse series about the forgotten lore of our favorite stories.

Dr. Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight Vol. 2 #2. Marvel Comics

However, we never saw Arthur Harrow after Moon Knight chased him out of his lair. At the end of the issue, we see him receive orders to continue his experiments at another lab in Paraguay from a secret society known as O.M.N.I.U.M. (the acronym’s meaning is unknown). But neither Harrow nor O.M.N.I.U.M was ever mentioned again in Marvel Comics. This dropped storyline may have merely been a disappointment almost 40 years ago, but now, Moon Knight seems to be bringing it back.

While this Arthur Harrow and Ethan Hawke’s version of the character may not have much in common, there’s still much to learn about his villain. Perhaps before he became a quasi-cult leader, he was a scientist experimenting with pain. He seems so obsessed with the black-and-white morality of people, maybe he believes those who are good deserve never to feel pain, and those who are bad should suffer eternally — just like his comics character apparently does.

The cringeworthy glass-in-shoes scene in Moon Knight Episode 1. Marvel Studios

While it’s clear Arthur Harrow in the MCU isn’t suffering from some chronic pain illness, he’s definitely putting himself through pain for a reason. Maybe, in his search for how to become a person suitable for “the new world” (whatever that means), he found physical pain the best way to atone for his sins.

Regardless, it’s apparent that Marvel doesn’t pull names randomly from the comics. We know Harrow’s brief appearance in the comics was centered around pain. So, it merely can’t be a coincidence that the first time we meet MCU Harrow, it is a brutal self-harm scene. Who knows — maybe this forgotten comics issue could become the foundation for Moon Knight as a series.

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.