Moon Knight's typically brutal crime-fighting methods have made him a pariah among his fellow superheroes, but those methods were symptomatic of the fact that he was haunted by his violent past as a mercenary and by a malevolent entity known as Khonshu, who claims to be the Egyptian God of Vengeance and that Moon Knight is his avatar. It's unclear at the moment whether Khonshu exists or if he's just a figment of Moon Knight's deluded imagination, but in any event, the dark hero seems to have been improving lately. He arranged for his original civilian identity, Marc Spector, to "die," and now operates with a new persona, Jake Lockley, who desperately wants to be a proper hero.
In Marvel's "Vengeance of the Moon Knight," Gregg Hurwitz writes the stories of Jake coming to terms with the violent actions of his former self and getting Khonshu under control, and the writer spoke with CBR News about the book.
"Moon Knight feels like he's managed to bring the different parts of his personality into alignment in a way and his behavior is stable," Hurwitz told CBR News. "He's put Khonshu in a place where he can handle him and he's also made peace with Marc Spector's past. So he's in this position of peace and feels like everything has lined up."
In the pages of "Vengeance of the Moon Knight," Hurwitz suggests that Moon Knight's newfound sense of peace may not be permanent, specifically in a scene that depicted a character known as the Profile traveling to Egypt to discover what makes Moon Knight and Jake Lockley tick. "The Profile is not a fan of Moon Knight and I think now there's a level of awareness on his part of what is driving Moon Knight and who he is in a way that's objective," Hurwitz explained. "So at the very same moment that Jake is finding peace and feeling that everything is stable, we're also in a position where psychological weaponry is about to brought to bear against him in a way that we've never seen before."
The threat of the Profile is in Moon Knight's near future, but in issue #7 of "Vengeance of the Moon Knight," on sale now, Hurwitz began a new arc -- "Killed, Not Dead" -- that finds Moon Knight in the uncomfortable position of protecting a mobster from Deadpool. "With Moon Knight and Deadpool, it's two different versions of crazy banging heads," Hurwitz said. "Moon Knight is much more tortured in certain regards and isn't such a pop culture referencer. Both of them share one thing in common, though, the fact that they're both batshit crazy.
"Also both of them are or have been guns for hire," Hurwitz continued. " So this new Moon Knight who has emerged from the 'Shock and Awe' arc is confronting a sort of fun house mirror version of his own past. In this story, he really has to question what his new position is and Deadpool can really call him out on the hypocrisy of the 'New Moon Knight.' In confronting this new version of himself, Moon Knight comes to realize that he's protecting someone who is quite despicable. So it's a pretty unique situation where he's having to uphold his new values in a way that he least wants to. So there's a big question of whether he's going to snap at the end of the second part of this two-part arc."
The second part of "Killed, Not Dead" goes on sale May 9 and features a rematch between Deadpool and Moon Knight that promises to be a lot messier than their first clash in "Vengeance" #7. "Moon Knight is able to unleash in a way that he's been unable to throughout the entirety of 'Vengeance of the Moon Knight'. So were going to see him become untethered in a way that we've not witnessed," Hurwitz teased.
In June's "Vengeance" #9, the new Heroic Age of the Marvel Universe is in full effect and Moon Knight is ready for his first team-up of the new era. "I'm moving to a Spider-Man/Moon Knight team up that was one of the most fun times I've had writing comics," Hurtwitz revealed. "It's an old fashioned adventurous romp through Manhattan. The villain is a character I love, Sandman. I got to dig into his psychology a little bit. We're floating through this period of relative calm for Moon Knight so I thought that was a rare occasion and gave us a chance to do a team-up in a way that is uncomplicated and old fashioned, the way team-ups used to be. Because when you have that monster knocking on the cellar door in the form of Khonshu, there's not going to be a big window for Moon Knight and Spider-Man to be allied on their approach to things. So it's a unique and really brief window to be able to write something like this."
Indeed, the Moon Knight and Spider-Man team-up in "Vengeance" #9 will be unlike any of the two characters' previous encounters because of Jake Lockley's current outlook on life. " It will even be different than it was in 'Shock and Awe,'" Hurwitz stated. "Moon Knight proved something to Spider-Man in the course of that arc."
Spider-Man wasn't the only character Moon Knight proved something to. Ed Brubaker's "Secret Avengers" series begins May 26, and it was recently revealed that Moon Knight will be part of the team. In July's "Vengeance"#10, Hurwitz takes a deeper look at how his protagonist feels about that development with a done-in-one story titled "Team Player." "I think it's something that he's open to but he still has something to prove. He proved a lot during 'Shock and Awe' so he's caught the interest of the right kind of people now to do this, but for me, Moon Knight will never be a full team player," Hurwitz said. "So the title is intended a bit ironically, because he's a guy who does his own thing. He chafes under authority. He's a loner, but this team is a combination of a lot of other people who are not exactly your typical team players. Moon Knight isn't one and that's why the issue is called 'Team Player'. It's slightly tongue-and-cheek because he's not someone we think of as such."
A number of Moon Knight's teammates in the Secret Avengers guest-star in "Vengeance" #10 and Hurwitz has had a lot of fun playing these characters off his hero. "In some ways, Steve Rogers is the ultimate contrast. The Beast was a lot of fun. With Valkyrie it's like, 'Who the hell is this? And what's going on here?'" Hurwitz remarked. "So there are a lot of characters that are contrasting, but they go on a pretty hard corps spec ops style operation. So Moon Knight is going to see the mettle of the team that he's surrounded himself with."
The Secret Avengers' mission is to take down the sea faring supervillain known as Captain Barracuda and his allies , who have hijacked an oil tanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil. "They're responding to this international incident and potential crisis of global proportions.," Hurwitz stated. "They're also people who are spec op schooled and geared. And in that way Marc Spector's training and background which Jake went to great lengths to reconcile in 'Shock and Awe' is going to be of great value."
The current "Killed, Not Dead" arc of "Vengeance" is being brought to life by artist Tan Eng Huat ("Ghost Rider," "Punisher"), and the Spider-Man and Secret Avengers issues will feature art work by Juan Rose Ryp ("Black Summer," "No Hero"). "Over the course of 'Vengeance of the Moon Knight' I've been fortunate to work with some really talented artists," Hurwitz said. "Jerome OpeÃ±a was a great choice for our first arc. He helped relaunch the book as a bigger, badder Moon Knight. And Tan brings a real sort of flair. He's great for Deadpool. He's got this real comedic edge and really clean lines. He can play the humor really well. I love that one shot of Deadpool in the hospital room holding a pistol on the comatose mobster where he goes, 'He started it!' Ryp has got a really great, dynamic style. A lot of people are going to be familiar with him because he's sort of a star in his own right. He plays really well with dynamic movement, expression and emotion. So he's got a really different flavor."
Moon Knight will be spending his summer vacation interacting with some of the Marvel U's biggest names, but Hurwitz has even grander plans for "Vengeance of the Moon Knight" come this Fall. "We're going to return to some of the darker, more complex themes that I examined in 'Shock and Awe,'" the writer confirmed. "I don't want to speak ahead of turn and get myself into trouble but Moon Knight will find himself playing his new role in the middle of a major upcoming Marvel event."
Could that event be "Shadowland," as hinted in the latest of Marvel's teasers? Only time will tell for sure.