If you’re wondering who is Moon Knight, you’ve come to the right place.
Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a significant effect in bringing comic books into mainstream pop culture. The Marvel Studios has made previously obscure characters, from Groot and the Guardians of the Galaxy to Shang-Chi, into household names. They’ll soon be doing it again with the MCU’s newest hero, Moon Knight.
Moon Knight stars Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant; a mild-mannered museum merchant by day and a merciless, masked hero by night. Grant’s story, however, is not conventional by any standards. There’s a sense of supernatural magic and mania about this character.
Let’s dive into a quick walkthrough of the comic book lore of Marvel’s Moon Knight.
Who is Moon Knight? What are Moon Knight’s origins?
Created 1975 by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Moon Knight made his debut in Werewolf by Night #32. He was a bounty hunter named Marc Spector, hired by an organization called The Committee to capture the eponymous character of the series. Due to popularity, he was given a solo story in Marvel Spotlight #28-29 that introduced his different personalities: Marc Spector (the mercenary), Jake Lockley (the cab-driver) and Steven Grant (the billionaire). This was the first time the character’s penchant for different personas emerged.
In 1980’s Moon Knight (vol. 1) #1 by Moench and artist Bill Sienkiewicz, it’s revealed that Marc Spector (the primary personality of the character) was a mercenary tricked to work for a terrorist named Bushman. When he allows Bushman to kill a young woman’s father, he has a change of heart and saves her from Bushman’s forces. He tries to take down Bushman, but is quickly defeated and left for dead in the Sudan desert. He’s found by the young woman, Marlene Alraune, and brought to an ancient temple, but ends up dying at the feet of a statue of the Egyptian Moon God, Khonshu, the taker of vengeance. In a supernatural twist, Spector’s heart begins to beat again, and he wakes up, fully alive, with a mission to defeat Bushman.
Who is Moon Knight’s god?
Khonshu is the Egyptian god of the moon and the god of vengeance. He is part of an ancient race of gods from a dimension called Celestial Heliopolis. He’s unable to enter the realm of Earth, so as the protector of night travelers, every so often he would pick a champion on Earth to assume the form of the Moon Knight, in this case Marc Spector.
Given the flood gates of the MCU have opened to gods of Asgard and even the Celestials in Eternals, the explanations and origins of Khonshu could very well be tied to the cosmic explanations of space gods in the MCU. We’ll see how deeply the show goes into that lore.
Is Moon Knight a villain or hero?
Moon Knight is complex. The short answer is he is a hero. More accurately, he’s an antihero. His powers and abilities are more street level, as such, he goes around beating villains and criminals to a bloody pulp. Definitely not what you’d see in someone like Captain America. But he does protect the streets of New York and the world from malevolent forces like Bushman, The Sun King, Khonshu’s rival, the Egyptian god of evil Seth, and even his own brother, Randall Spector (aka The Shadow Knight).
That being said, because Marc Spector was a mercenary prior to becoming a hero, he did get his hands dirty doing jobs for the bad guys. In certain storylines, Khonshu, has also had some villainous turns, requiring Marc to battle his own savior at certain points during his run.
The point being, Moon Knight is a hero. But that doesn’t always make him a saint. Khonshu has even influenced Moon Knight to battle the Avengers in a recent 2020 run.
It’ll be very interesting to see how the Moon Knight show handles the moral grey areas Spector operates in, as well as the frenemy relationship we see between Khonshu and Marc.
What are Moon Knight’s powers?
Moon Knight’s powers have varied per run. At any given point, depending on the phases of the moon, he’s had super strength (enough to lift two tons in a full moon), necromancy and power absorption. But most runs of the comics stick to the basics of him being an incredibly skilled martial artist, with peak athletic strength.
He possesses vast array of amazing gadgets, such as crescent darts (moon shaped, razor boomerangs), a glider cape, an adamantium truncheon that he uses as a baton and grappling hook and silver cestuses (silver gauntlets with spikes on the fists). All of which he uses to beat the ever-loving snot out of his enemies in a brutal fashion. He’s also known to be a considerably skilled detective.
Was Moon Knight an Avenger?
Moon Knight was an Avenger, specifically first becoming part of the West Coast Avengers in the mid to late 1980s. However he did not join by choice.
Moon Knight was manipulated by Khonshu to join the team to battle Khonshu’s rival, Seth, who was trying to take over Asgard. During his first stint with the Avengers, Hawkeye helped create weapons for him and he even gets into a romantic relationship with the Avenger, Tigra. Marc eventually leaves the West Coast Avengers, but remains a reserve member. Around 2010, he becomes part of the lineup of the Secret Avengers as well, being recruited by Captain America himself.
Though characters like Tigra don’t exist quite yet in the MCU, obviously Hawkeye, Asgard and other elements integral to Moon Knight’s involvement with the team are present. So it’s very possible we’ll see Marc/Steven/Moon Knight fight alongside the heroes in crossover events.
Whatever the case, all will soon be revealed when Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight hits Disney Plus on March 30.