The story of the masked mercenary Marc Spector, better known as the vigilante Moon Knight or Luna Knight according to the Marvel Universe comics.
By Robyn Belt
Moon Knight – A lunar legionnaire and the living avatar of a god. Steven Grant: a charming millionaire from high society. Jake Lockley – A tough informant who drives a cab. And Marc Spector: the man, and mercenary, behind it all.
Avenger, antihero and occasionally something more antihero, the Moon Knight or Moon Knight is a difficult character to decipher thanks to his complex origin.
Take a look at the history of this crescent-clad crusader, from his earliest appearances to his recent stint in the Avengers. These are the basic facts about Moon Knight aka Marc Spector.
Who is Marc Spector?
A direct question with a non-direct answer.
Spector is the main identity of the antiheroic Moon Knight, a night mercenary who was brought back to life by the Egyptian god of the moon. In addition to the identities of Spector and Moon Knight, there are two other distinct personalities: Steven “Steve” Grant and Jake Lockley.
As revealed in the origin of Moon Knight, Spector was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in Chicago, the son of a rabbi and a Holocaust survivor. A traumatic incident in his formative years was the most likely link to his Dissociative Identity Disorder, a condition later made worse by a supernatural encounter. Breaking away from this painful childhood, Spector pursued a career as a heavyweight boxer, and later as a gun-for-hire, though his natural creativity also sparked Hollywood dreams.
Who is Kohnshu?
The Egyptian Moon God who transformed Spector into a Moon Knight!
While on assignment as a soldier in Sudan, Spector witnessed the assassination of archaeologist Peter Alraune at the hands of his first in command, Raoul Bushman. The behavior of Raoul, a known terrorist mercenary, horrified Spector, who quickly got Alraune’s daughter, Marlene, to safety before she could meet the same fate.
Spector’s second encounter with Raoul was not so lucky, leaving the soon-to-be Moon Knight declared dead in the tomb of Pharaoh Seti III. Until a Khonshu statue reanimated Spector in exchange for making him his avenging avatar.
Khonshu is also the god of travellers, represented in four archetypes: the Explorer, the Embracer, the Defender and the Watcher. Depending on his whims, Khonshu has empowered Spector, stripped him of it, imprisoned him, and even used Spector’s Moon Knight as an omnipotent vessel to rewrite the world in his image. His relationship with Spector, and his appearance, is changeable.
Canonically, Khonshu has been both a non-physical manifestation and an actual living being. But there is no doubt that he manipulates Spector to be his disciple and his tool.
How did Moon Knight or Moon Knight debut?
Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, he debuted in Werewolf by Night #32 August 1975 as a thug hired to take down Jack Russell, known as the teenage lycanthrope “Werewolf by Night.” After a three-night battle under the moonlight, Spector manages to drag his bounty after using all the silver weapons on his utility belt. But being an antihero, capturing a minor for his clients didn’t sit well with Spector. So Moon Knight refused the hefty payment, instead letting his capture go free because he admired a “gilled beast.”
Following this strong first impression (and a successful solo career), Moon Knight donned the hood of a hero to become a key member of the West Coast Avengers, later collaborating with a group of street vigilantes including Daredevil, Black Widow and Shang-Chi before becoming a Secret Avenger.
Since his first appearance was in 1975, Moon Knight has also had a number of notable alliances with the likes of Spider-Man, Deadpool, and the Punisher.
How many identities does Spector have?
The exact number is unknown, but three are clearly defined with traits of their own: elite Hollywood producer Steven Grant, Jake Lockley (also the father of Spector’s daughter Diatrice), and vigilante Moon Knight. In issues #9-14 of his 2016 solo series, Spector reconciled with these personalities in an effort to clear his conscience and escape “New Egypt,” the mind field designed by Khonshu to trap Spector.
Interestingly, another identity was introduced here, a version of Spector as a space pilot whose only mission was to hunt down a vicious race of space wolves. More a dream than a developed character, this identity was forgotten.
Moon Knight (2014) featured another emerging identity: the measured Mr. Knight. Wearing an all-white suit and willing to cooperate with the law, this stripped-down version of Moon Knight shares similarities with Steven Grant, but is more interested in detective work than film. Although Mr. Knight is not considered a main identity, it does represent a clear change in behavior, moving away from the superheroic to adopt a more detective role.
Does Moon Knight or Moon Knight have superpowers?
Recently, Moon Knight was given god-like power by Khonshu, the result of a supermoon that the deity used to level up Spector. Seizing Thor’s hammer, Iron Fist’s cloak, the Spirit of Vengeance, and even Doctor Strange’s magic, Moon Knight delivered these raw goods to his master, acting as a servant to build Khonshu’s image of the ” City of New Thebes. But once Moon Knight got his hands on the Phoenix Force, the deal was over.
In his initial contact with Khonshu, Spector is believed to have been given superhuman abilities that granted him enhanced reflexes, stamina, and strength. Although the limits of these depend on the phase of the moon (and the favor of Khonshu), the line between what is a superpower and what is Spector has become blurred.
Even without the power of Khonshu, Spector is an expert hand-to-hand combatant who has served as both a Marine and a CIA agent. He also excels at detective work, especially in his identities as Lockley and Mr. Plus, who needs a superpowered sledgehammer when he’s got an endless arsenal of themed weapons like golden ankhs, scarab darts, grappling hooks, and an authentic Mooncopter?
Who are your allies?
Moon Knight has a team! Aside from a select group of heroes, Spector has stayed close to three friends, plus his longtime girlfriend, Marlene.
Marlene Alraune: The most constant person in Spector’s life. Marlene’s love affair with Spector began shortly after he rescued her in Sudan, and is considered an inspiration for her Moon Knight identity. Upon their return to the United States, the two began living together at Steven Grant’s mansion on Long Island, with Marlene acting as a confidante to the vigilante’s work. Although Marlene fell in love with Spector, she has a special relationship with Grant. She is also the mother of Jake Lockley’s daughter, although this was a long-kept secret to protect Diatrice from her father’s dangerous life.
Frenchies: Moon Knight’s best friend and personal pilot. Frenchie, aka Jean-Paul Duchamp. He met Marc Spector during his wrestling days, and a series of common interests led them to associate.
Gene Landers: The owner of The Other Place restaurant in Brooklyn. Gena was an informant and friend of taxi driver Jake Lockley, but now she is aware of his moonlighting as a hero.
Crawley: One of Gena’s regulars. Bertrand Crawley is a philosophical drifter with an unusual past. He was an informant for Lockley, but was also drawn into the world of Moon Knight.
Who are your enemies?
Moon Knight has gotten into trouble with petty criminals, higher level criminals like Taskmaster and Bullseye, and of course supernatural gods. But these three stand out from all:
Raoul Bushman: Time and time again, Marc Spector has had to deal with the man who killed him… even after he killed him. In Moon Knight (2006), Spector finally caught up with Bushman and made him pay for the blood on his hands. This made Moon Knight’s hands bloody as well. But Raoul Bushman didn’t stay dead and faceless for long: he was resurrected by The Hood’s underground empire, but fell to Moon Knight again in Vengeance of the Moon Knight (2009) #6.
Randall Spector: A mercenary known as the Shadowknight and the brother of Marc Spector. Unlike Marc, Randall had a taste for killing innocents. At one point, he was “blessed” with supernatural abilities by a bond with Khonshu, but was still stopped by the Punisher. And later, by his own brother.
Sunking: The pyrokinetic Sun King is a criminal arsonist who claims to be the avatar of the Egyptian sun god, Ra. After a life of abuse and violence, he found solace in Egyptian myths and legends, a therapeutic suggestion from his doctor. He is currently detained.
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Marvel Basics – Avengers: Age of Khonshu
From the beginning of time… Until the end of the world?
Trapped in an icy cave millennia in the past, Tony Stark has lost his armor along with a good deal of his sanity, and tonight, when the sun goes down and the devil reappears, will he lose what’s left of his soul as well?
In the present, Earth’s mightiest villains unite against a common threat: the Avengers! And as the heroes face an uprising like no other, they are attacked by one of their own! The mummies rise from their graves. From K’un-Lun, to Wakanda, to Greenwich Village, secret armies march under the moonlight.
A dark god invades Asgard and Moon Knight springs into action like never before! Thus begins the era of Khonshu, and the fall of the Avengers.
Collects Avengers (2018) #31-38
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