This week I would like to highlight one of my all time favourite comic book characters, Moon Knight. With Oscar Isaac in full training mode for the new show, set to air next year; and the new comic having just released a few weeks ago, it’s time to give the Avatar of Khonshu some love. Most people take a look at Moon Knight and immediately think he is the Marvel comic version of Batman. Which, to be fair there are a LOT of similarities, but there are also a LOT of differences too. The first issue of his newest run was released on July 21, 2021 and is written by Jed Mackay, and penciled by Alessandro Cappuccio.
I’ll give a brief overview of the character as we know him up until his most current run before providing my review of the first issue.
*THIS POST WILL CONTAIN MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR ISSUE #1 OF THE NEW MOON KNIGHT COMIC*
Moon Knight’s real name is Marc Spector. He was the son of a rabbi who detested fighting and so naturally, Marc gravitated towards war games and combat. He left home when he was only 16 and lied about his age to enlist in the Marines. During his time in the Marines he took up boxing and became one of the top fighters the corps ever produced. Following his father’s fatal heart attack, Marc left the Marines and was recruited by the CIA for some black ops style missions. He worked for a fair few years as an independent contractor amassing himself a small fortune. He eventually quit the CIA and became a freelance mercenary where he met his closest friend and his on again/off again romantic partner, Marlene Alraune. The exact details of his origin vary slightly with each new telling of his origin, but the main points are always the same. Marc was hired by a vicious Mercenary named Raoul Bushman who was doing work in north Africa/Egypt. When Bushman received note of an archeological dig in the desert with “untold treasures”, he took his entire mercenary company with him to raid the temple. They killed the lead archeologist, Marlene’s father, before imprisoning the rest of the crew present and raiding the temple of the valuables. Marc seeing how Bushman and the others were treating the innocent had a crisis of faith and decided to stand against the others. He died. At the base of a statue to the Egyptian Moon God Khonshu, in a buried temple to the same God, Marc Spector died of his wounds. Khonshu saw what this man had done to protect those in his temple and offered Marc a choice, he can continue to the afterlife, or Khonshu will heal his wounds and restore him to life; in payment, Marc will become Khonshu’s avatar on earth. Marc took the deal and he was resurrected from death by the magic of an ancient Egyptian deity. When he came back to life, the first thing Marc did was grab the cloak that was draped over the statue and wrapped himself in it declaring himself the Moon’s Knight.
From here it gets a little more out there.. Marc returned to New York where he used his money amassed from his work with the CIA and his PMC (Private Military Contractor) life to generate a small fortune. He began his work as Moon Knight protecting those under the view of the moon at the request of his God. Marc developed two separate identities that he used to generate intel for him as Moon Knight: Stephen Grant (millionaire and high society socialite) and Jake Lockley (New York cabbie with an ear to the ground). As Marc continued his work these identities took on personalities of their own inside of Marc’s mind. With the influence of Khonshu and the constant toll of keeping himself in check, Marc’s mind snapped. He developed D.I.D (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or in layman’s terms, multiple personality disorder. Khonshu wanting Marc to be more vicious and demonstrate his faith to him in blood, started appearing more and more frequently to Marc. His mind continued to slip farther and farther away to the point where his D.I.D is so advanced, his mind will switch to the personality best suited for the situation at hand. His identities are as much of Marc as is his mission to protect those “travelling by night”. Khonshu is the Egyptian God of the Moon (& Vengeance) and he is known as the traveler. His avatar (or Fist as he is often called) must protect those that travel in his kingdom (night). Moon Knight dons a completely white suit as an homage to the moon and his God and ventures out at night to protect those that need his help.
He is very much a supernatural hero in that his first appearance had him hunting down a werewolf for the Committee before double crossing the Committee to bring them down. He has taken on all sorts of enemies from cyborgs, to Vampires, to homophobic thugs, and even the Avengers.
At the start of the comic Marc has returned to his old Persona of Mr. Knight and is the head of a mission he set up in New York to help those that travel by night. He holds church in his modest office and listens to the requests of those in his territory to offer his help where he can.
The comic opens up with Mr. Knight sitting in a chair in front of a statue of Khonshu saying “Welcome to the Midnight Mission, my name is Mr. Knight. How can I help you?” He is calm and collected as the individual, a young man with red hair, opens up about how people have been going missing on his block. He then reiterates that when things are weird, Mr. Knight is the one to speak with, according to the other in his neighbourhood. The next panel shows a van speeding down a street at night with two vampires in the front seat. A gang of vampires have been forcibly turning the locals and forcing them to turn others in order to be indicted into their vampire cult, The Structure. In true Moon Knight fashion of theatrics over safety, Moon Knight glides himself through the windshield of the speeding van. The van proceeds to crash and turn on its side as the occupants, sans Moon Knight, pile out onto the street. The two vampires who were in the front are thrown to the ground while the one who was in the passenger seat is shouting for the driver to run. Taunting from an unseen perch, Moon Knight lets these vampires know that he(Moon Knight) protects those that travel at night, and that he has marked his territory. We see the charred and smoking skull of the driver get thrown to the ground and Moon Knight descends on the other ring leader with a wooden stake in his hand. He rounds on those in the back ready to put them down like the other two when his hand is stilled by them telling him they were turned against their will. Moon Knight then drops the stake and disappears.
We are then shown Mr. Knight sitting in a therapy session in his Midnight mission with Dr. Sterman. She is asking him about the encounter with the vampires and why he spared them. Despite the fact they were vampires, they were innocent people traveling at night, and they required his protection. As the doctor inquires about how someone who is Jewish can pledge allegiance to an ancient Egyptian deity, Marc interrupts her. He acknowledges the differences between his father’s faith as well as the path his father walked which were a stark contrast to his own. He identifies himself as a war criminal and “a bad man who did bad things to people in foreign countries for money”. Marc has no disillusions about the kind of life he led and what he did; but, he also admits that when Bushman and the others attacked that dig site, he grew a conscience. He states that his soul had “become a barren land that needed to be watered with blood, his blood”.
We then find out that this therapist was sanctioned and requested by the Avengers following what Marc and Khonshu had done during the Age of Khonshu storyline in Avengers. We find out that after this first death at the feet of the statue in Egypt, Marc has died twice more that he remembers; once at the bottom of the East River and once when the Shadowkeep (his HQ) was blown up around him. Following this exposition the doctor asks a question to Marc that he doesn’t have an answer for, “Marc, Can you die?” to which he responds “I don’t know.”
Another local arrives at the midnight mission requesting the help of the Moon’s Knight. She says that creatures come out at night and scratch at her door whispering horrible things. Mr. Knight assures her that he will take care of it and take care of it he does. The creatures are anthropomorphic rats that have been turned loose on the city. Marc is beating them all with his fists when he stops and faces them in front of a window. We are shown some great artwork by the creative team behind this book, with Marc in his suit framed by moonlight. He states that he will kill these creatures here and now because he isn’t Spider-Man, he’s Moon Knight, and he doesn’t die. He offers the creatures a choice, they can stand and fight and he promises he will kill them, or they can run back to wherever they came from and never step foot in his territory again. As he is delivering this ultimatum, we see Mac donning a set of brass knuckles painted white, with spikes on the knuckles and a moon carved into them.
Moon Knight is answering a call to a clinic where a supervillain is attacking. As he arrives he sees the “supervillain”, 8-Ball, is getting beat by the owner of the clinic Dr. Badr. The doctor is rather acquainted with Marc and his title and let’s him know that as the Fist of Khonshu, Marc has a duty to his God. Badr scolds Marc for allowing vampires and other filth to desecrate the ground Marc’s God has consecrated by Marc setting up his mission.
*side bar, 8-Ball pleads with Moon Knight not to cut his face off like Marc did to Bushman all those years ago*
Marc immediately goes on the offensive saying that he doesn’t recognize Dr. Badr from the church socials but that he should remember who he is talking to. Marc states that “I am the Fist of Khonshu. High Priest of the Moon God. I outrank you”. Dr. Badr calmly responds with “I can assure you Mr. Spector, there is but one who outranks me in the cult of Khonshu. and you are not him.”
The comic then gives us more exposition of Dr. Sterman explaining that Marc ha come into direct contact with the brain of a God and there’s no telling what that has changed or will change in his head. Marc agrees, stating one of his old psychologists said something very similar. Dr. Sterman delivers exposition about a man named Caedmon largely considered the first English poet. He was a simple minded man who was better suited for looking after animals as opposed to anything more “cerebral” as the doctor puts it. One night after he claimed he had been visited by an angel in his dreams, Caedmon could write beautiful verses and poems with no explanation. This whole story is told as we are shown splash pagesof Moon Knight protecting his people, wielding chainsaws in fights with undead, sweeping in front of his mission, beating creatures with a crowbar, throwing villains off roofs, and even arm wrestling someone who looks suspiciously like Frankenstein.
A suspicious villain has been following and surveilling Marc in all aspects of his life and this mysterious figures vows vengeance upon Marc. He says that it will be something personal and bespoke, which he watches Marc and his assistant at the mission, Reese, sit outside and drink coffee.
Dr. Badr, enters into his own home as he prays to Khonshu himself saying that Moon Knight has strayed from the path. He begins pulling a mask on as he says “You’re right hand has failed you almighty Khonshu but your left will not. Your other fist remains faithful. The Hunter’s Moon”. In the final panel we are shown Dr. Badr in his regular clothes with a black mask with a silver moon on the forehead. He is standing in front of an open window with racks of bladed weapons hanging on his wall beside him.
OH MY GOD! I haven’t been this excited for a Moon Knight comic since Bendis and Maleev’s run from 2011. I know that one is not very well liked among most fans, but I am a HUGE fan of Ultron so I was really into that series. I will say this though, the art in the new run is fantastic! I like the suit and the highlights they use to make it look like the armour and his eyes are almost glowing.. oh ya, that’s the good stuff…
I’m very excited to see where it will go, I’m hoping that at the very least Blade might appear at some point to help with the vampires, if more show up. Either have blade show up or Ghost Rider. But classic Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, not the Marvel Now version. In case that wasn’t clear, I’m not a fan of the Marvel Now version.
The villain that is apparently watching Marc across the street from his mission almost has a mad thinker vibe to him. Like he seems as though he could be someone to weave an intricate web of attacks and challenges that pick Marc and his life apart piece by piece. I would very much like to see a story like that where, yes he has to fight enemies, but Marc also has to use his brain and his wit to solve the puzzle. That being said, Hunter’s Moon looks like he and Moon Knight are going to have a reckoning over who is the true servant of Khonshu, and I have to say, I’m all for it. One of my top Moon Knight comics was his Shadowland tie in, where his younger brother Randall Spector became Shadow Knight.
This comic is definitely one to get into for a great introduction to the character ahead of the Disney+ series that’s set to air sometime next year. I know I am very patiently waiting for the show to see what type of hero Oscar Isaac is going to be. If the previous Disney+ series are any indicator though, the new show should be a slam dunk. I know there will obviously be hardcore Moon Knight fans who might not be pleased with what direction the show is going to take; but at the end of the day, you can’t please everyone all the time.
See you next week!