How 'Moon Knight' Just Set Up The Comic's Biggest Villain: Bushman
The fifth episode of Disney+'s Moon Knight showed us the origins of the hero's split personality, which is all-new and all-depressing, and for his powers, which goes down pretty much just like in the comics. We even got a mention of Moon Knight's original and most iconic bad guy, Bushman ... not to be confused with Luke Cage's Bushmaster, who is also a big, nasty black guy, and Black Panther's Killmonger, who is also an angry mercenary. In fact, a while back, Moon Knight's head writer Jeremy Slater said they decided not to use Bushman as the main villain on the first season because people might get Black Panther deja vu.
But then, in the latest episode, Moon Knight's Marc Spector personality is recalling the day he got his powers and mentions "his old CO" from his military days, Bushman -- it was him who left Marc for dead in the desert after a botched attempt at tomb raiding in Egypt, leading Marc to crawl up to a statue of the god Khonshu and accept his offer to become a superpowered hitman for him, basically. It is bad form for superhero adaptations to tease big characters without actually showing them, so hopefully, this means we'll see Bushman later on ... with some changes, ideally.
See, in the comics, Bushman is pretty much a regular dude who happens to be big and scary -- the closest thing he has to a superpower are his steel teeth and his face-painting talents.
Bushman is a threat in the comics because Moon Knight didn't actually have powers for most of his Marvel Comics existence, aside from his ability to come back from the dead every so often, and even that was left ambiguous at first. In fact, once Bushman faced a Moon Knight with established powers (and established personality disorders, something else he didn't have at first), things didn't go too well for him: Moon Knight ended up carving his face off before killing him, which is probably not a scene you'll see depicted in many Marvel-themed lunchboxes.
If Bushman is supposed to appear as a "main villain" in the MCU and not just a secondary baddie, the writers are gonna need to level him up in some way. The comics provide some hints as to how they could do this: in one storyline, Bushman makes a deal with Seth (Marvel's version of the Egyptian god of death, not the HR guy at your workplace) and pretty much just serves as his errand boy, but the show could turn him into an actual vessel for the deity, like Moon Knight and Khonshu or those other indolent bungholes from episode three, and give him more elaborate powers than "extensive dental work."
This would be especially creepy if they also make the face-carving scene canon in Bushman's past, and now he just goes around doing mercenary stuff without a face -- an idea Oscar Isaac seems to like. (Or, you know, with a face mask over his exposed flesh, depending on when the next season is set.)
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Top image: Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics