A New Kind Of Hero: The History of the Scarlet Scarab, and Where Marvel Could Go From Here
Now that Moon Knight has come to an end, I think it’s fairly safe to say that we’re all in love with Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy). And Episode 6 gave us a truly amazing and awe-inspiring moment from our new favourite character.
After agreeing to be the (temporary) avatar for the goddess Taweret, we see Layla become the first Egyptian superhero on screen. After the release, Marvel confirmed that she has taken up the mantle of Scarlet Scarab. But who is the Scarlet Scarab? What is the story of this character? Let’s take a look into the history of one of the newest members of the MCU.
While I Wear The Ruby Scarab…
Let me take you back to December 1977, when The Invaders issue #23 introduced us to Abdul Faoul. A famous Egyptian archaeologist during the Second World War, he is tasked with leading Namor and the Human Torch to the hideout of a group of fanatics. However, on arrival, it is not the hideout, but the location of the Ruby Scarab.
The Ruby Scarab gives Dr Faoul extraordinary powers, and he reveals himself to be the leader of the fanatic group, the Sons of the Scarab. While the Invaders believe him to be aligned with the Nazis on the front line, he isn’t aligned with anyone.
Dr Faoul then goes on to kick the British out of Egypt, and then he gets rid of the Nazis. After this, he becomes the protector of Egypt, and he goes on to fight criminals and anyone who would hurt his home. One day in the 50s, the Ruby Scarab disappears, which leads to Dr Faoul losing his ability to become the Scarlet Scarab. One thing that he failed to realise was that Garret, the crafter of the Ruby Scarab, had placed an enchantment on the gem. This enchantment meant that once it had been drained of all of its mystical power, it would return to his tomb.
… I Am Invincible
After many years of searching, Dr Faoul was unable to locate the Ruby Scarab once more. On his deathbed, he passed on all of his knowledge and information about the Ruby Scarab to his son Mehemet Faoul. Mehemet continued his Father’s work and he was able to find the Ruby Scarab. Not only did he complete his father’s work, but he also took up his job as the protector of Egypt, and became the second Scarlet Scarab.
One of his main roles as the Scarlet Scarab was protecting and locating Egypt’s priceless artefacts. He even had a run-in with Thor while trying to recover some stolen artefacts. Although there was a misunderstanding at first, the God of Thunder eventually helped him to do the right thing and return the artefacts to their rightful home.
Mehemet Faoul also has the same abilities as his father did as the Scarlet Scarab. This includes flight, super strength, and the ability to fire bursts of mystic energy. The character had a lot of strength and power, and he proved to be a good match for all superheroes
Are You An Egyptian Superhero?
While the introduction of the Scarlet Scarab framed him as a villain, we eventually see who he is. He does not side with the Allies or the Nazis. He sides with Egypt and will do anything to ensure the safety and freedom of his country. After Dr Faoul, his son takes over and makes it his mission to return artefacts that were stolen from his home. They are not villains, but the protectors of Egypt.
It is this aspect of the character that we hope is brought into the new version of the Scarlet Scarab. Layla’s introduction as the superhero is a complete change from what we know from the comics. Her powers, costume and history are entirely different. But I don’t think her love for her home and her willingness to be a protector will be different.
We already know that Layla is a strong, brave, and caring character. She is fiercely loyal and protective and will do anything to ensure the safety of others. She is a much better representation of a modern Egypt than the outdated version from the comics and gives this superhero a much-needed update.
All of the changes that were made to the Scarlet Scarab for the show are very welcomed. Her costume is truly beautiful, her powers are much more in keeping with the show, and the way she becomes this hero also ties in nicely with this part of the MCU. We all want to see more of Layla; as herself and as the Scarlet Scarab. And while Layla is our new favourite, we’re all hoping that her introduction into the show is just the first in a long line of a new type of superhero.
All six episodes of Moon Knight Season One are now available to stream on Disney+.