Of all the icons of the Marvel Universe, Moon Knight is one of the least well known with the greatest amount of untapped material. His complex character depth makes him one of the most interesting figures to ever don a cape and cowl. He remains one of the most strikingly mysterious vigilantes that has yet to be involved with the MCU, embodying in equal parts the paradoxes that make both a superhero and a supervillain. He has been good, he has been evil, and he constantly straddles the line between both. Steeped in esoteric spiritualism and real-world temerity, he’s long overdue for a Netflix series or Marvel Studios film.
As rich as Bruce Wayne, as agile as Spider-Man and as ruthless as The Punisher, Moon Knight appears in the shadows of the full moon to dispense vengeance on the criminal underworld. Once a mercenary for hire named Marc Spector, he was left for dead in the Egyptian desert by a man he trusted. With a character arc that shows intimately one man’s journey from damaged goods to the embodiment of an Ancient Egyptian deity, his mission vacillates between getting revenge on the man who left him for dead, and doing the bidding of the Moon God that gave him new life. Known occasionally as “Marvel’s Batman”, Moon Knight may have more in common with the Joker. Sadistic and brutal, only his multiple personalities assuage the turmoil in his soul that has steadily grown with each fresh kill. Discover Moon Knight’s mysteries as you get to know Marvel’s unsung superhero.
20 HE HUNTS WEREWOLVES
Being a superhero that involves moon-based powers, it seems only natural that Moon Knight should hunt supernatural creatures that do the same. Moon Knight first appeared in comics tracking down Jack Russell, a werewolf that used his transformative powers to take down corrupt bureaucrats. In Werewolf By Night #32, Jack Russell runs afoul of some malevolent businessmen called the Committee, who hire Moon Knight to solve their werewolf problem.
Moon Knight’s moon-based costume and weapons made from silver were given to him specifically to combat Jack Russell’s powers. Though Moon Knight began the issue as a villainous mercenary who eventually caught Russell, when he found out the Committee planned to use the monster as an instrument of evil, he heroically let him go.
19 HE HAS MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES
One commonality over the course of the various incarnations of Moon Knight series is the development of his multiple personality disorder. Whether he’s being manipulated by an ancient Egyptian God or simply slowly descending into madness, he’s displayed no less than ten different personalities. He has Moon Knight, Marc Spector (the alter ego), and other characters to separate himself from his bloody past. This included versions of all of the Avengers!
It’s no surprise, given his multiple personalities, that a recent incarnation of Moon Knight from 2016 shows him waking up in a mental hospital. Hospital personnel are convinced that his heroics as Moon Knight were simply hallucinations brought on by his paranoid schizophrenia.
18 HE HAS MOON-BASED POWERS
Recent versions of Moon Knight depict him as a stripped down superhero, with no real superpowers and exceptional martial arts training and gadgets. However, there are versions of Moon Knight that exist where he develops augmented powers the closer to full the phases of the moon get.
In 1985’s Fist of Khonshu, Marc Spector became possessed by the very ancient Egyptian God that resurrected him from mortal death and made him Moon Knight in the first place. As the embodiment of Khonshu, he gained superspeed, agility, night vision, and accelerated healing. However, his abilities were only present when the moon was out, and diminished when the moon waned.
17 HE WEARS ALL WHITE ON PURPOSE
Not one to hide in the shadows and carry a Tide stick, Moon Knight wears all-white on purpose. Many superheroes dress for stealth (Batman, Black Panther), while others dress to stand out from the crowd (Deadpool, Wonder Woman). Moon Knight wears white so that his enemies see him coming.
It takes a certain amount of confidence and bravado to wear all-white, and Moon Knight exemplifies both. He’s convinced that even though he presents a prominent target, fear of his unpredictably brutal nature ensures his enemies never hit it. Incidentally, Moon Knight’s costume does sometimes incorporate some yellow accents (much like in his Civil War run), but only about as much as Batman’s insignia.
16 HE’S AGAINST JOINING A SUPER TEAM (BUT JOINS THEM ANYWAY)
Like Batman, Moon Knight is a bit of a loner. He doesn’t do well being a part of super teams like the Fantastic Four or the X-Men. But like Batman, he begrudgingly helps his fellow superheroes from time to time, and even became a card-carrying member of the Avengers. In 1987, the Egyptian God Khonshu bade Moon Knight to join the West Coast Avengers, and he dutifully abided.
In recent years, Moon Knight has been made an official Avenger, rather than a superhero who occasionally answers Captain America’s distress call. It’s just as well -- it grants him access to infinite supplies, funds and tech (not that he didn’t have that already).
15 HE BRANDS CRIMINALS
The run of Moon Knight issues in 2006 depicted a darker, more violent Marc Spector. Much like Frank Miller’s Dark Knight showed a Batman who had no qualms about being particularly brutal to the criminals he encountered, so too did Moon Knight lose all his patience for the scum of the Earth.
Taking on the literal worst of the worst of humanity, Moon Knight showed no mercy. He branded their forehead with a crescent-shaped mark, several times if they were a repeat offender. Moon Knight never felt like he could go far enough in exposing the twisted depravity of the criminal underworld, especially since more often than not it seemed to lurk in plain sight.
14 HE HAS TECH TO RIVAL BATMAN
Like a certain playboy turned Caped Crusader, billionaire Marc Spector has the ability to invest in as much Moon Knight tech as he needs. Like Batman, he developed a cape that he can use to glide from rooftop to rooftop, as well as various grappling hooks that shoot out from his telescoping fighting staff made from adamantium.
From super sonic jets to crescent-shaped throwing darts, Moon Knight has everything an obnoxiously rich modern crime-fighter could use. His vehicle of choice is his Mooncopter, which is basically a hovercraft with all the latest artillery in one sleek package. He also has a moon-inspired limousine and motorcycle, because of course he does.
13 HE’S DATED HIS TEAMMATES
Being a part of the Avengers means office romances on the super level. Beginning when he became part of the West Coast Avengers, Marc Spector began dating Tigra. Their romance was fiery and volatile, and ultimately they both valued their independence too much to keep each other tied down.
After Tigra, Moon Knight became involved with Echo, who had joined the Avengers as Ronin. Two misfits with a penchant for brooding moodiness, they fell in love over their shared bond of feeling like drifting outcasts with too much baggage. Echo past away in front of Moon Knight, only further adding to his. Unfortunately, Moon Knight’s lone wolf mentality prevents him from meeting anyone outside of work.
12 HE HAS A UNIQUE FIGHTING STYLE
The 2006 version of Moon Knight was dark, gritty, and merciless. Becoming an agent of the Egyptian God Khonshu’s vengeful will, Moon Knight didn’t care how violent his dispensing of justice got, and the more Khonshu tightened his grip on his psyche, the worse his wrath and brazenness became.
Moon Knight’s unique fighting style lies in his dogmatic onslaught. He blocks nothing, letting knives and bullets pierce him, driven purely by his own insanity or belief in Khonshu’s protection. When Taskmaster, the infamous mercenary was hired by a crime syndicate to take Moon Knight down, he failed simply because his powers to mimic the fighting style of his opponent perfectly would have resulted in his death.
11 HIS FATHER LIVED THROUGH WWII
A prominent Jewish Rabbi in war-torn Germany, Marc Spector’s father evaded capture by fleeing to America and taking up residence in Chicago. Though he was routinely harassed by thugs for his spiritual beliefs, his unwavering pacifism held firm. Marc was disappointed in his father’s perceived cowardice, and started training as a boxer from the time he was a young boy.
His father greatly disapproved of his violent lifestyle, and even tried to make him put down his gloves for good. This resulted in Marc punching his own father’s lights out and signing up for the Navy the following morning. His father would later die of cancer, nevering having seen his son again.
10 HE CAN RESURRECT HIMSELF
The entire basis for Moon Knight’s character lies in the death and resurrection of Marc Spector. Hired by Raoul Bushman for mercenary work in the Egyptian desert, Spector ultimately disapproved of Bushman’s ruthless nature and challenged him on a mission. Bushman responded by killing Spector and leaving him there. It was there that he encountered the Egyptian God Khonshu, God of Vengeance, who deemed him worthy as a vessel for his powers.
Marc Spector’s pact with Khonshu comes with the advantages of immortality. Moon Knight has been brought back to life by Khonshu on numerous occasions. Fatal wounds that would end any other mortal superhero are restored by the God to full health, allowing Moon Knight to continue his vengeful spree.
9 HE TAKES HIS TRAINING VERY SERIOUSLY
It’s a given that most superheroes have quite a bit of training under their utility belts. Like fellow Marvel superheroes Deadpool and The Punisher, Moon Knight was a highly trained mercenary before he donned his white cape and cowl. From all his training, Marc Spector gained an elite set of skills that perfectly transferred over into a life of fighting crime.
An expert in Judo, Karate and Savate, Marc Spector could take down an opponent with a single blow applied specifically to a nerve cluster on the human body. This was in addition to being a former Olympic-level gymnast, as well as an expert marksman with a variety of firearms.
8 HIS WEAPONS WERE DESIGNED BY HAWKEYE
Like the timeline of a Terminator movie, Moon Knight was once connected to the West Coast Avengers... 5,000 years before he would eventually join them. One particular story follows Hawk Eye (the then leader of the West Coast Avengers), Iron Man, Tigra, and others as they get flung back in time to Ancient Egypt.
Fleeing civil unrest in the streets of Cairo over the current Pharaoh, the West Coast Avengers hold up in the temple of Khonshu, the moon God. Hawk Eye ends up fashioning all manner of weapons for the priests to protect themselves, including dozens of crescent darts. These would be the weapons presented to Marc Spector when he becomes Moon Knight, the Fist of Khonshu, 5,000 years later.
7 HE CAN GO TOO FAR
Given his frequent lapses in sanity, Moon Knight has been known to be a far more sadistic superhero than most. Add to that the fact that he has multiple personalities and could at any given time be possessed by the essence of the moon god of Vengeance, and you have a crime fighter that makes Batman look like a boy scout.
For years Moon Knight sought revenge on Raoul Bushman, his former employer who left him for dead in the Egyptian desert. He eventually catches up with Bushman and engages him in brutal combat. Despite suffering two broken knees, Moon Knight whips out two crescent darts and does several unsavory things to Bushman's face.
6 HIS SANITY IS QUESTIONABLE
To some it would seem insane to create a different personality for each chapter of your life. To Moon Knight, it’s only logical. Certain areas of his life were filled with violence and tragedy, requiring him to create uniquely tailored aliases to handle them. Unfortunately, this means he has occasional rifts in his reality.
Current issues of Moon Knight bring Marc Spector’s questionable sanity to the forefront, often causing the reader to wonder if what Moon Knight is going through is real or just in his head. At one point his grasp on reality is so tenuous that he is admitted to an insane asylum where the staff convinces him his escapades as Moon Knight are all in his head.
5 HE BEGAN LIFE AS A MERCENARY
Though his first comic appearance depicted him as a supervillain, Moon Knight’s reasons for allying with a crime syndicate were retconned as deception, implying he didn’t so much work for them as try to topple them from the inside. After he began showing up as a superhero in Spider-Man comics, a new origin story was developed.
He became known as Marc Spector, mercenary for hire, who was an expert at offing his enemies. He sought employment with Raoul Bushman in Africa, but when his employer thought nothing of slaughtering a village to get to an Egyptian treasure, Spector stood up for what was right even when it meant sacrificing himself.
4 HE WORSHIPS AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN GOD
When Marc Spector found himself clinging to life after his former employer left him for dead in the Egyptian desert, the tomb of Khonshu provided welcome solace. The Egyptian God of Vengeance, Khonshu also represented the spirit of the moon, and it was to Khonshu whom Spector felt he owed his life.
He made a pact with the ancient god to restore his health and in return, he would fight crime on his behalf as an act of worship. Khonshu accepted, and Spector donned the traditional robes of Khonshu’s priests and became Moon Knight. Bound by vengeance more than heroism, Moon Knight often became the embodiment of Khonshu’s will, known as the Fist of Khonshu.
3 HE KEEPS A FEW LOYAL SIDEKICKS AROUND
Despite being a loner and begrudging member of the Avengers, Moon Knight has a few loyal sidekicks that have been at his side ever since his superhero career began. Back when Moon Knight went solely by his alter ego Marc Spector, he met Jean-Paul DuChamp, aka “Frenchie”, while working for the sadistic mercenary Raoul Bushman. When Spector fled Bushman’s nefarious organization, Frenchie came along.
His other trusted companion is Marlene Alraune, an archeologist who stumbled upon Spector in the Egyptian desert where Bushman had left him for dead. She accompanied him back to America where she was his assistant and partner in crime, as well as occasional lover.
2 HE OCCASIONALLY HAS SUPERPOWERS
While Moon Knight initially began his comic book career as a supervillain with good tech, his origins later changed to include the elite training he received. Though he was deadly in hand-to-hand combat, knew a variety of martial arts, and was an expert marksman with everything from a pistol to a bazooka, he was not a superhero known to have powers.
Occasionally, however, writers will decide to lean more heavily on his pact with Khonshu, Egyptian God of Vengeance. When this happens, they often introduce the idea that when possessed by Khonshu by a full moon, Moon Knight gains superspeed, agility, invisibility, and even glimpses of astral planes.
1 HE KEEPS A CABINET OF EXPERTS
Of all the superheroes that claim to work alone, Moon Knight sure has an odd definition of what exactly alone means. Not only does he have his loyal sidekick Frenchie and his assistant Marlene Alraune, he also assembled a cabinet of people he relies on for their expertise called the Shadow Cabinet.
The Shadow Cabinet met via holographic interface at Moon Knight’s command center known as the Shadowkeep. This included law enforcement, behavioral psychologists, and even ex-convicts. When Moon Knight was faced with a particularly mysterious or complex crime, he would assemble them and discuss its intricacies. Often this led to more arguing and less problem solving, but Moon Knight always teased out the vital advice.