Moon Knight: Lunatic

Just recently I acquired the first volume of the new Moon Knight run aptly titled Lunatic. It was amazing run and brought everything I loved from the classic tales as well as the modern interpretations of the Fist of Khonshu.

This article will contain spoilers for Moon Knight vol. 1 – Lunatic

For those not familiar with his story, I will give you a quick bit of background on the protector of the night travelers. Marc Spector was born to a Jewish family in Chicago Illinois. He was the oldest of 2 sons to Rabbi Spector and showed an aptitude for violence at war at a very early age. Before his 18th birthday he left home and lied about his age to enlist in the marines, where he became a heavyweight boxer. after his stint in the marines he was recruited by the CIA for a blacklist team for covert missions. When he finished with the CIA he became a freelance mercenary where he met his longtime ally Jean-Paul Duchamp “Frenchie”. Together they sold their services for many years before being recruited by Raoul Bushman. During his final mission with Bushman, they raided an Egyptian temple of the buried gold, while imprisoning the people working on the dig. Spector allied with the diggers against Bushman and was gunned down because of it. He crawled into the temple and died on the altar of the Egyptian God of the Moon and Vengeance, Khonshu. Khonshu appeared to Spector and asked him to be his avatar on Earth and that if he agreed he would restore his life. Spector agreed and when he was revived he quickly grabbed the cloak that was draped around the statue of Khonshu and claimed himself as the Moon Knight. He returned to New York in order to complete his mission and protect the night travelers, he used his massive fortune acquired with being a Mercenary to establish himself as Steven Grant, a millionaire playboy. This identity helped him to intermingle with the high society but in order to get street level intel he adopted the identity of Jake Lockley, a New York City cab driver. Eventually all of these different personas caused him to have a mental breakdown and as a result he developed multiple personality disorder.

Interestingly though, in the Marvel Now! run by Ellis, Wood & Bunn, Marc’s mind will actually choose the personality that is best suited for the task at hand.  This theme was first shown in the Bendis run from 2011-2012; wherein his personalities took on the personas of Captain America, Spider-Man and Wolverine. It is also widely known in the Marvel universe that Moon Knight is the only person who’s fighting style Taskmaster won’t copy; stating that “… he would rather take a hit and counterattack than block”. In a one off comic Marc saves someone from a gang of attackers in an alley because that saw him standing up on top of the building. The gang members run and Marc jumps down to make sure the victim is okay. When asked why he wears white Marc states ” I wear white so they can see me coming… So that they know that vengeance is not afraid of them… and neither am I”.

Despite his questionable mental state, Marc has remained as a member of the Avengers and even the Secret Avengers hand picked by Captain America himself. In Midnight Sun from 2006 (before Secret Avengers) Marc was visited by Cap and warned not to get up to his “old ways” or Cap would put a stop to it.  (The old ways being referred to was Moon Knight killing Bushman and carving his face off) Marc says that he is a changed man and that was a one time thing, but Cap isn’t sure and delivers him the ultimatum of “… don’t go over the line and we don’t have a problem”. This run takes place right in the middle of the first Civil War arc, and is one of the best runs I’ve read. I highly recommend giving it a read if you ever get the chance.

In the newest run by Jeff Lemire, Marc wakes up in a mental hospital as a patient of Dr. Emmett, being told that his entire previous life as Moon Knight has been a figment of his imagination. As he plans out his escape he even sees Moon Knight on the news and begins to question if everything Dr. Emmett was saying is true. Kohonshu still talks to Marc and tells him that what he sees is not real and that it’s the work of am Egyptian Demon by the name of Ammit. Marc makes and early breakout attempt which leads him to the roof. He emerges onto the roof to see the city is dissolving away and there is sand overtaking the streets. At the center of the city is a massive pyramid. Marc refuses to accept that what he remembers is all a lie, a resolve firmly backed by Khonshu telling him that he is right and everything Ammit is telling him is false. Khonshu explains that Set has attempted to steal the world away into the “God realm” in order to become it’s new ruler. Marc believes his God and sets about getting out of the hospital. As he spends more time in the facility he begins seeing people from his past that are patients there like himself. His resolve wavers until his allies show up one night and deliver him his Mr. Knight outfit.

They break out and fight off mummies as well as Jackal headed cronies of Set. Anubis shows up to offer them safe passage out of the realm and back to earth but he demands a soul as payment. Crawley volunteers stating that he is old and his usefulness is wearing thin but that he can make this sacrifice to save his friends. Marc vows to find a way to get him back before they head out into the city. As they get onto the street they are set upon by more Jackal headed goons of Set and Frenchie is mortally wounded, dying not long after. Gina, Marlene and Marc take shelter in Gina’s diner and Gina makes them pancakes to help them get some energy back. Marc and Marlene continue to trek through the city towards a massive pyramid at the center while Gina stays behind at the diner to wait for her sons. As they near the pyramid Marlene’s head becomes clearer and she tells Marc that whatever that have to do is at the center of the pyramid. As they climb the pyramid they are set upon by Moon Knight, Marc and he battle which ends with the other Moon Knight getting stabbed in the stomach by Marc with a crescent. The impostor takes Marlene into the center of the pyramid with Marc in hot pursuit. As Marc enters the central chamber of the pyramid he sees the other Moon Knight standing there waiting for him. The impostor removes his hood and mask revealing that it is the Egyptian God Khonshu. Khonshu tells Marc that it was all a ruse to get him there so that Khonshu could possess Marc’s body and come to the mortal plane once more. Marc resolutely tell Khonshu he would rather die than let him become a pawn of the God and runs and jumps off the pyramid, falling to his death on the sand below.

Marc wakes up in a penthouse with Marlene in his bed calling him Steven and tells him that they need to get to the set early for make-up.

This run truly shows just how unhinged Moon Knight can be. In one of the panels he sees undead mummies coming out of subway cars at an abandoned subway station. When he asks if they (his companions) see the mummies too, some of them say yes but Gina says ” All I see are a bunch of orderlies here to take us back upstairs”. Doubt is a theme that constantly shows up in Moon Knight comics. Whether it’s people’s faith him Marc or Marc’s faith in himself; you can’t have a Moon Knight comic without doubt. This most recent run brought buckets of doubt from Marc himself. When he sees Moon Knight on the tv stopping criminals, he actively believes that he is crazy until Khonshu tells him that it’s all a lie and that he needs to believe in himself and his God.  Despite all of his shortcomings and issues, Marc is the hero that some people need. He protects people who travel by night and brings vengeance down on those who deserve it.

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