Who is Mobius M. Mobius? He wears an unremarkable brown suit and pushes a lot of paperwork, but make no mistake - the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a brand new superhero.
Disney Plus's newest streaming series Loki is now two episodes old, and while Tom Hiddleston's highly-anticipated return from the grave as the God of Mischief (or technically speaking, a variant thereof) is still the show's titular calling card, his co-star Owen Wilson as TVA field analyst Mobius is quickly stealing scenes and becoming a new MCU fan-favorite.
Spoilers ahead for Loki episodes 1 and 2.
Wry and sarcastic but whip-smart as well, Mobius has stood toe-to-toe with the always-scheming Loki and Wilson has stood toe-to-toe with the dynamic Hiddleston in what may be the MCU's most interesting new duo, with apologies to Captain America and the Winter Soldier.
While Newsarama (and apparently many fans) have our questions about the true nature of the TVA, Mobius seems like the real deal, not to mention formidable in his own right.
However the time travel shenanigans of Loki plays out and what the TVA turns out to be, Mobius M. Mobius seems like a welcome long-term addition to the MCU.
Which makes it as good a time as any to get to know his Marvel comic book history and what it may mean for his MCU future.
Who is Mobius M. Mobius?
Mobius M. Mobius - 'Moby' to his pals - is one of the uncountable number of bureaucrats working for the Time Variance Authority, a sort of cosmic organization with nebulous origins which exists outside of time, and true to its name monitors and fixes trouble in the timestream.
Nearly all of the agents of the comic book TVA are clones, genetically engineered to serve their specific functions in the organization under so-called lifetime employment, rising through the infinitely vast ranks of the TVA until they are killed or meet some other fate.
In the case of Moby (we're all friends here right?), he started out in middle management before rising all the way to the rank of one of the TVA's judges of time-based crimes thanks to his eidetic memory for facts and minutiae.
It's in this capacity that Moby (it's growing on us, we're starting to think less of the '90s singer now) has had most of his encounters with the Marvel Universe at large - though not with Loki, whose comic book relationship with the TVA is limited to a few panels.
Instead, Moby (fits like a glove now!) spent a good portion of his time chasing down Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, trying to make him and his team take responsibility for their own time-breaking shenanigans.
Reed Richards, screw around willy-nilly with fundamental forces beyond his control? The hell you say! The MCU is in for a whirlwind when he debuts.
First appearing in 1991's Fantastic Four #353 from writer/artist Walt Simonson, Mobius M. Mobius was one of the managers who dispatched Justice Peace (the first TVA agent to appear, also created, as was the TVA itself, by Simonson) to bring in the members of the FF. The Fantastic Four naturally resisted, and Moby became something of a recurring nemesis for the team as he managed to move up in the TVA's ranks despite his failure to capture the FF.
Ironically, it was actually the Fantastic Four who wound up helping Moby get his promotions, as they helped him apply for work in Chronopolis, the far-flung future city ruled by Kang the Conqueror. In business terms, Moby leveraged his offer from Kang to garner a promotion from the TVA, which set him on his upward trajectory from then on.
Later, Moby (that's the Honorable Judge Mobius M. Mobius to you!) was one of the judges who presided over the trial of Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk in the story She-Hulk: Time Trials - and the only judge at the trial to survive the attack of the villain Clockwise, who She-Hulk defeated to earn her freedom.
And that's pretty much where comic books left Mobius M. Mobius - although, with time travel and the TVA involved, it's not so much a matter of if he'll return, it's a matter of when.
Mobius M. Mobius in the Marvel Universe
So what was with all that stuff about our dear pal Moby - or the guy he's based on - having a lot to do with the state of the current MCU?
Well, we can't exactly speculate that the character is somehow manipulating events behind the scenes ... not yet anyway. But it's a bit of behind-the-scenes fun that could inform some of how Mobius M. Mobius fits into the MCU.
Mobius M. Mobius is Loki's liaison with the TVA and the agent who tries to recruit him to help apprehend another variant of Loki. Played by Owen Wilson, the MCU character is the spitting image of the comic book version, down to his charming mustache.
Oddly enough, Moby's comic book appearance is itself based on a real person - none other than long-time Marvel Comics writer and editor Mark Gruenwald, whose years-long run on Captain America introduced the character of John Walker and formed the basis of much of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Likewise, Gruenwald's work on the Avengers, which helped define the powers and origin of the Scarlet Witch including tying in the Darkhold to her history, was hugely influential in the story of WandaVison.
Known for his almost encyclopedic knowledge of and memory for the history of Marvel Comics, Gruenwald started as an editor for the publisher in 1978. Following a brief diversion as a penciler (including a few illustrations for DC's Who's Who character guide), Gruenwald began contributing to Marvel Comics as a writer in the early '80s alongside his editorial duties.
Like Mobius M. Mobius, Gruenwald became known at Marvel Comics for his nearly inexhaustible knowledge of the publisher's characters and history, eventually taking a position as Marvel's executive editor while also writing his seminal Captain America run.
When Walt Simonson created Moby, he drew on the demeanor and encyclopedic mind of his pal and co-worker Mark Gruenwald, paying homage to Gruenwald's behind-the-scenes role as Marvel's unofficial keeper of continuity for the character - right down to Mobius M. Mobius being depicted on the page as a caricatured version of Gruenwald himself. In fact, an editor's note from editor Ralph Macchio (not the Karate Kid) in Fantastic Four Annual #24 describes the TVA as "sort of the Mark Gruenwalds of time continuity."
And, though he didn't create the TVA, Gruenwald did create the Time Keepers - seen as the three cryptic statues in the Loki trailer - a group who predate the Time Keepers in the real world, and who have in-continuity ties to the TVA's future.
Funnily enough, Gruenwald himself played into his own pastiche, writing Mobius M. Mobius in 1994's Fantastic Four Annual #27, which depicted another attempt to bring in the FF. In this story, Gruenwald introduces another executive of the TVA, his boss Mr. Alternity.
This is where things get hilariously meta.
As Mobius M. Mobius was based on Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald, Gruenwald himself based Mr. Alternity on his own boss Tom DeFalco, who was then serving as Marvel's editor-in-chief. So Gruenwald wrote a fictional version of himself dealing with a fictional version of his own boss, that his boss then had to edit.
Since these stories, just about all the agents of the TVA have been visually based on Gruenwald and DeFalco, who actually appeared as themselves in editorial comic strips that once ran inside Marvel Comics, in the classic Bullpen Bulletins section.
Mobius M. Mobius in the MCU
Meta commentary aside, Mobius M. Mobius could have a significant ongoing role in the MCU following Loki. Since there are potentially infinite numbers of TVA agents who look like him (which episode 2 may have hinted at), even if one of them goes away, there's nothing but potential to bring the character back - or to have him spread out throughout the MCU's other shows and movies.
Though his comic book history isn't as dense as many of the other characters that the MCU adapts, Mobius M. Mobius plays a unique role in Marvel lore and has the comic book story connections to find his way into many of the MCU's upcoming properties.
For one thing, there's Moby's whole relationship with the Fantastic Four - soon to make their MCU debut. With very little known about how director Jon Watts will bring the FF to the MCU, and the Multiverse/alt-timelines seemingly only becoming more prevalent, it's entirely possible that Moby or the TVA could play a role in bringing them into the story.
And of course, there's Moby's other big comic book connection, his appearances in She-Hulk as one of the judges at her trial.
She-Hulk has her own MCU show coming up on Disney Plus starring Tatiana Maslany in the title role of Jennifer Walters, lawyer-plus-superhero. Many of her most prominent comic book stories revolve around bizarre meta concepts like the TVA, who are central characters in at least one volume of her solo comic book title, including Mobius M. Mobius himself. That may just pave the way for an onscreen She-Hulk connection too.
We also have to mention Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Though Strange and Mobius M. Mobius don't particularly have any comic book ties, the film seems to be one of the most prominent places Marvel Studios will explore the concept of the Multiverse, potentially paving the way for the TVA and its agents to appear.
And finally, there's the time Moby applied for a job in Kang's empire. Kang himself will be the villain of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, played by Jonathan Majors. It seems like a strong possibility that the TVA, or perhaps Moby himself, could show up there alongside the time-traveling villain in some capacity.
The bottom line is, with multiverses, alternate timelines, clones, and more involved, Mobius M. Mobius could go anywhere - or anywhen - in the MCU and provide connective tissue between the franchise's various films and shows. And that's saying nothing of what could be possible if Marvel Studios picks up the metatextual storytelling traditions that Mobius M. Mobius carries in comic books.
Get to know all the Loki variants from comic books that could play a role in the Disney Plus streaming series.