Moon Knight: Who is the Lunatic Superhero?

I See A Moon Knight Rising

Moon Knight:I’m a ghost now. A specter of the moon. The moon’s knight of vengeance. And I got work to do.

Moon Knight Vol. 1, #1

A scream splits the air. A young woman has been dragged into an alley by a man with a knife. He shoves her into a wall and stands over her unconscious body until he is knocked backwards. He sees a figure in white swoop down and then only pain as spots fills his vision.

Red blood stains the figure’s gloved fists as the moon shines down on them. A tall figure with a bird’s skull for a head becomes visible and whispers in the figure’s ear, ordering him to finish the job. A dapper playboy and a cab driver beg him not to. Heroes fill the alley, shouting support or condemnation. There’s too much noise, his head is going to split!

He blinks as the woman groans. There are only three people in this alley. He drops the unconscious man and kneels by the woman to tend to her wounds.

Moon Knight is one of Marvel’s strangest heroes. He has been a hero and a villain, may be the agent of an ancient god, and is completely insane. So who is he? How did he get his powers? Is he crazy or is there something more to it? Let’s find out.

Ill Met By Moonlight: Moon Knight’s Backstory

Mr. Knight:I’ve died before. It was boring, so I stood up.”

Moon Knight Vol. 7, #1

Moon Knight debuted in Werewolf By Night #32 in 1975. He was created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. While originally a knockoff of The Shadow, Marvel often uses him to deconstruct Batman by showing what the Caped Crusader would be like if he had a diagnosed mental disorder.

Marc Spector was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as a child. He developed several alter egos, most notably a logical side named Steven Grant and a violent side called Jake Lockley. Spector became a marine, but was discharged for lying about his condition to enlist.

Marc became a mercenary and was joined by fellow ex-marine “Frenchie” du Champ and Raoul Bushman. While protecting an archeology expedition, Bushman and his soldiers demanded they be given the priceless artifacts and killed the lead researcher, Dr. Alurane, when he refused. Marc tried to stop Bushman, but was murdered by him.

A moon god named Khonshu appeared to Spector and proclaimed him its champion. Marc was resurrected and took a white cape from a statue of Khonshu. He claimed the title of Moon Knight and defeated Bushman.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: Moon Knight’s History

Moon Knight:Whoa, I picked a bad time to space out. What’d I miss?
Spider-Man:Gamora’s taking over the family business.”
Mr. Knight:Who’s Gamora?
Spider-Man:Just punch whoever I punch in a minute.”

Infinity Wars

Moon Knight returned to America and became a superhero. He schmoozed with high society as Grant, became a cab driver as Lockley, and pursued Dr. Alurane’s daughter, Marlene, as Spector. This guy had one packed schedule.

Marc’s condition evolved over the years and developed many new alters. Moon Knight once had his normal personalities replaced by a council of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. After witnessing Echo’s death during a team-up, Wolverine “killed” the other two before replacing them with alters of Echo and Iron Man. The council was eventually written out and the original alters returned, joined by the Sherlockian Mr. Knight.

Marc coped with his mental issues including knowing that he had brain damage by often questioning if Khonshu existed. He eventually learned that Khonshu was real and had forged a link with Marc as a child, causing the brain damage and his DID.

Khonshu recently planned for a war against the demon Mephisto. He forced his servant to steal many Avengers’ powers to grow stronger. The knight and his alters realized Khonshu only saw them as a cat’s-paw and helped the Avengers seal the god away. Despite their animosity, he created a religious order called the Midnight Mission to help others in Khonshu’s name.

For We Are Many: Moon Knight’s Powers and Personality

Khonshu:Please… you need me.
Marc:No, Khonshu… I am Marc Spector. 
Steven: I am Steven Grant.
Jake: “I am Jake Lockley. And we are going to be okay. We are going to live with who we are.”
Moon Knight:We are Moon Knight. And we never needed you.

Moon Knight Vol. 8 #14

Moon Knight is an expert martial artist, gymnast, driver, and pilot. His armor is lined with silver to repel supernatural threats. A collapsible staff is his main weapon, but he also uses several artifacts and weapons blessed by Khonshu as well as modern equivalents.

Khonshu gave his knight many abilities, including visions of the future, superhuman strength that increases when the moon is full, and resurrection. While preparing for the war with Mephisto, he was given ankhs that could steal powers from magical heroes and even usurp the Phoenix Force. He gave the ankhs up after sealing away Khonshu.

Moon Knight makes Deadpool seem predictable. He has dozens of alters, but only a few are ever active at the same time. His mind has learned to switch control to whichever alter would be best suited to the situation, meaning even he doesn’t know what he’ll do or who he’ll be when responding to a crisis.

The Actors Who Play Moon Knight

Diedrich Bader – Ultimate Spider-Man
Gideon Emery – Avengers Assemble
Peter Giles – Marvel’s Spider-Man
Oscar Isaac – Moon Knight

Didya Get All That

A hero who changes like the moon.


Image: Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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