Moon Knight (Marc Spector) is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin, he first appeared in Werewolf by Night #32 (August 1975).
The character debuted in the title Werewolf by Night #32 (August 1975), written by Doug Moench with art by Don Perlin, as an enemy of the title character in a two part story continuing in issue #33. The character proved popular with readers, and was granted a solo spot in Marvel Spotlight #28-29 (1976), written by Doug Moench with art by Don Perlin.
He then had appearances in Spectacular Spider-Man issues #22 and #23, both written by Bill Mantlo with art by Mike Zeck on #22 and Jim Mooney on #23, Marvel Two-In-One #52, written by Steven Grant with art by Jim Craig, and Defenders #48-50. Moon Knight then gained a backup strip in the Hulk! Magazine in issues #11-15, #17-18 and #20-21, all written by Doug Moench. Art was done by Gene Colan in #11, Keith Pollard in #12, and Bill Sienkiewicz on the rest. These were reprinted in Moon Knight Special Edition #1-3.
A new ongoing series was then launched, titled Moon Knight, which also had writing by Doug Moench and art by Bill Sienkiewicz. During the early 1980s Moon Knight was one of the three "direct distribution only" Marvel titles, starting with issue #15. This series ended with issue #38. In 1985 there was a six-issue series called Moon Knight - Fist Of Khonshu. Then in 1989 Marc Spector: Moon Knight debuted. This ended in issue #60 (March 1994), written by Terry Kavanagh with art by Stephen Platt depicting his death. In 1992 Marc Spector: Moon Knight Special Edition #1 and Moon Knight: Divided We Fall were published. In January 1998 and January 1999 two four-issue limited series were published. A new Moon Knight ongoing series was launched in April 2006, written by Charlie Huston with art by David Finch.
Moon Knight's most notable team was Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. Moench launched the character and had a long, productive run, defining the character with often dark adventures across many different titles. Sienkiewicz illustrated many of Moon Knight's appearances in Hulk! Magazine, and also launched the character's first solo series. He enjoyed a long tenure on the comic, producing memorable covers for Moon Knight as well.
Fictional character biography
Marc Spector was born in Chicago, Illinois, an American rabbi's wayward son. As an adult, Spector spends time as a boxer, a U.S. Marine, and a mercenary. He becomes a skilled combatant and befriends the French pilot Jean-Paul DuChamp, whom he calls "Frenchie". While the pair work for the African mercenary Raoul Bushman in Egypt, the group stumble upon an archaeological dig whose crew includes Dr. Peter Alraune and his daughter Marlene. The dig had uncovered an ancient temple where artifacts included a statue of the Egyptian god Khonshu. Intent on looting the dig, Bushman kills Dr. Alraune. In response to Alraune's murder, Spector challenges Bushman to personal combat but is beaten nearly to death and left to die in the sub-zero temperatures of the desert night.
Roaming Egyptians who worship the ancient Egyptian gods find Spector and carry him to their temple. Helpless before the statue of Khonshu, Spector's heart stops. Khonshu appears to him in a vision, offering Spector a second chance at life if he becomes the god's avatar on earth. Spector awakens, wraps himself with the silver shroud that covers Khonshu's statue, and again confronts Bushman. He defeats Bushman and returns to America with Marlene Alraune, Frenchie, and the statue of Khonshu. Deciding to become a crimefighter, Spector creates a silver cloaked costume, based on the silver shroud and becomes the Moon Knight.
After his return to the United States, Spector invests the money that he had accumulated as a mercenary and develops a small fortune. To distance himself from his mercenary past he creates the identity of millionaire Steven Grant, using this identity to purchase a spacious estate. To remain in contact with the common man he also creates the identity of taxicab driver Jake Lockley.
In his original appearance in Werewolf by Night #32, the Committee supplies Mark Spector (as spelt in the comic) with the name Moon Knight, his costume and weapons to hunt down Jack Russell. This false origin is explained away in Moon Knight #4 and is described as a ruse set up by Frenchie so that Marc can secrectly infiltrate the Committee in an effort to shut it down.
Fist of Khonshu
During the six-issue Fist of Khonshu mini-series, Spector is telepathically summoned to Egypt by the cult of Khonshu. They give him a small arsenal of moon-themed projectile weaponry, such as throwing discs and crescent-shaped blades, originally designed by a time-traveling Hawkeye in ancient Egypt. Khonshu himself then appears to Spector and enters his body, giving him superhuman strength which waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. As the direct agent of Khonshu, he joins the West Coast Avengers, but at the cost of alienating Marlene and Frenchie. Moon Knight eventually strikes up a relationship with Tigra that lasts for his remaining tenure on the team. Khonshu is eventually forcibly expelled from Spector's body by Daimon Hellstrom. Moon Knight speaks directly to Khonshu, who explains that it was he and not Moon Knight that wanted to join the Avengers. Upon realizing this, Moon Knight declines his active status with the team. Reuniting with his friends, Moon Knight begins his career of adventuring anew. Although he dies in battle, he is once again resurrected by the statue of Khonshu.
Marc Spector: Moon Knight
Marc Spector: Moon Knight #39
Art by Gary Kwapisz.After "Fist of Khonshu", a third Moon Knight volume was published. It was the longest-running series, lasting sixty issues before ending. In the final chapter, Moon Knight is killed violently, sacrificing himself to save his loved ones from a computerized villain called Seth and his "Zero Hour" program.
This volume introduces Moon Knight's teenage sidekick Jeff Wilde, also known an "Midnight". Wilde is actually the son of Midnight Man, a villain from the first volume. Midnight makes a few appearances until Moon Knight #24, by this point he has been turned into a cyborg by the Secret Empire. Midnight is seemingly killed in the "Round Robin" story arc of Amazing Spider-Man, spanning issues #353-#358.
In issue #37 while fighting with his brother Randal Spector over who is destined to carry the mantle of Moon Knight, Marc discovers Khonshu is not the god of vengeance but the god of justice.
Starting with issue #38, Moon Knight appears in adamantium armour rather than his kevlar costume. In the comic storyline it is explained that Moon Knight needs the armour to hold his body together after being infected by the then-possessed Hobgoblin. The disease is revealed to be the villain known as Demogoblin trying to possess him. With the help of Dr. Strange and Mr. Fantastic, the Demogoblin parasite is removed. In issue #50, Moon Knight seemingly severs his ties to the Avengers by burning his membership ID card after being brought up on disciplinary charges for his illegal actions in order to get the better of Dr Doom.
In 1998, writer Doug Moench, artist Tommy Edwards, and inker Robert Campanella brought the deceased hero back in a four-part mini series. In 1999, Moench and artist Mark Texeira worked together on another four-part series called "High Strangeness" which was nominated for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan award for Favorite Limited Series.
Moon Knight appeared infrequently in the Marvel%20UNIVERSE%20'>Marvel UNIVERSE for awhile. In 2001 and 2002 he joins the "Marvel Knights" non-team. After making a brief appearance during the "Avengers Disassembled" story-arc, he makes a minor return in the 2005 Marvel Team-Up miniseries, fighting alongside Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Punisher.
Moon Knight, Volume 4
The first arc, "The Bottom", of the 2006 relaunch of Moon Knight, by writer Charlie Huston and penciler David Finch, explores Marc Spector's return to crime-fighting following his self-imposed exile. His retirement comes after a brutal battle with Bushman. Although his body is broken after a tremendous fall, Moon Knight finally defeats Bushman by carving off his face with a crescent moon dart. The series highlights Spector's supposed spiritual connection to the moon god as well as his own psychologically damaged state of mind. After returning to his role as Moon Knight, Spector continually receives guidance by what he believes to be Khonshu in the form of a faceless Bushman.
Moon Knight is often criticized as an ersatz Batman and the parallels are indeed apparent. Writer of the 2006 relaunch of Moon Knight, Charlie Huston, attempted to answer these criticisms in an interview with Comixfan. The interviewer noted that the comparison is not baseless, as both Moon Knight and the Dark Knight are wealthy, "normal" humans that use gadgetry to fight crime. Though not specifically mentioned by the interviewer, further comparisons may be drawn due to the two characters' specialized vehicles, use of themes in their gadgets, and use of fear to aid their fight against the criminal element.
Huston, though he disagreed, accepted that the character may be a rip-off of Batman, but went on to contrast the two by noting in particular differences in origin, motives, and personality. "Bruce Wayne", he said, "fights crime to avenge the murders of his parents", whereas Moon Knight "beats up whoever has it coming because he believes he is the avatar of the Egyptian god of vengeance and it helps him to feel better about all the people he killed when he was a mercenary." Thus, while Batman is motivated by vengeance for wrong done to his parents, Marc Spector primarily seeks redemption from crimes he committed in his mercenary past. Huston further notes that Bruce Wayne, Batman's alterego, takes on other personalities merely to aid in his fight. However, Moon Knight has three alteregos which aid him as much in dealing with personal demons as fighting law-breakers, and which have taken a further psychological toll of causing multiple personality disorder.
Powers and abilities
Over the course of his life as a U.S. Marine, boxer, mercenary, C.I.A. operative and costumed superhero, Marc Spector has become one of the finest hand-to-hand combatants in the world. He is an Olympic-level athlete and excels as a combat strategist. He has employed a variety of weapons over the course of his career, including throwing darts and a truncheon. He is a superb driver and can pilot a helicopter, though he usually leaves this to Frenchie.
Promotional art of Moon Knight descending from the Mooncoptor. Art by David Finch.Although it is emphasized more in his second series, early appearances of Moon Knight depict his ability to gain enhanced strength, endurance and reflexes with the waxing and waning phases of the moon (e.g., Marvel Spotlight #28). The fuller the moon, the more strength Moon Knight derives from it. Due to his multiple personalities he is also resistant to some psychic attacks and he also has the power of prophetic visions.
Moon Knight was given special weapons by the cult of Khonshu, including bolas, golden throwing darts shaped like scarabs an ivory boomerang, throwing irons, and a golden club in the shape of an ankh that glowed in the presence of danger. Initially given to him by the cult, he eventually lost most of them but replaced them with duplicate weapons crafted by Hawkeye. He retired these items to his personal museum once he abandoned the "Egyptian" motif in favor of updated versions of his original styled-gear, including a truncheon/staff/nunchucks combo, and a compound bow.
During his third series, Moon Knight's silver-white costume was improved to include adamantium, and he acquired an array of high-tech weaponry including an Adamantium staff, a truncheon which could fire a cable line, and gauntlets which could fire his crescent darts. Lately he has been using Spiked knuckles, worn on the left hand. As Marc Spector he wielded various firearms, and would occasionally employ them in his Moon Knight identity as well.
For transportation, Moon Knight has employed a variety of sophisticated aircraft. These have included the Mooncopter and Angelwing; the vehicles have featured VTOL (vertical take-off and landing), a rope ladder, and 20 mm cannons. Marc Spector's Mooncar was very shortlived and its wreckage was also used as sight gag later on.
The one-shot 2099: Manifest Destiny (Mar. 1998) introduced a female Marvel 2099 version of Moon Knight, fighting crime in the lunar city of Attilan. Manifest Destiny was the last comic published in Marvel's 2099 line and the character has not reappeared since. Her identity, abilities and motivations were never revealed.
Ultimate Moon Knight
Ultimate Moon Knight on the partial cover to
Ultimate Spider-Man #79
Art by Mark Bagley.Ultimate Moon Knight first appears in Ultimate Spider-Man #79 during the Warriors story-arc. He is an active participant of a gang war waged by the Kingpin and newcomer Hammerhead. Remaining neutral, he ultimately wants both crime lords to be taken down. At the same time, he considers Spider-Man to be a nuisance who needlessly puts innocent lives in danger.
In the climax of the arc, Moon Knight ambushes Hammerhead's penthouse. During the battle, he is impaled by the assassin Elektra. Although gravely wounded, Moon Knight subdues Elektra with a moon-blade to her head before slipping into a coma. Upon waking up, Moon Knight escapes from custody and engages in a fight with the Punisher, Spider-Man, and Daredevil. He is ultimately invited by Daredevil to join an organization of super-heroes with the goal of bringing down the Kingpin for good.
There is no mention of any supernatural origin to Ultimate Moon Knight, although he is an expert with weapons and martial arts. It is also noted that he has a form of dissociative identity disorder; the "identities" of Steven Grant, Marc Spector and Moon Knight all appear as separate people in a "dream sequence" of sorts. There is also a little girl present in the dream, although whether or not she factors into Moon Knight's psyche remains to be seen.
Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1 (collecting Werewolf By Night #32-33; Marvel Spotlight #28-29; Spectacular Spider-Man #22-23; Marvel Two-In-One #52; Hulk Magazine #11-15, 17-18, 20-21; Marvel Preview #21; Moon Knight #1-10. ISBN 0785120920)
Moon Knight Vol.1: The Bottom Premier Hardcover (collecting Moon Knight volume 4, #1-6. ISBN 0-7851-2186-2)
Marc Spector's name is briefly mentioned in the pilot episode of Blade: The Series (starring Kirk Jones). Spector is described as an expert in werewolves. Marc is also said to be a colleague of Professor Melvin Caylo, a specialist in vampires. The character of Spector did not appear in the series before it was cancelled.
Moon Knight is one of the playable characters in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, exclusive to the next-gen versions of the game but unlockable with a patch in the PC version.
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