Marvel's answer to Batman is finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the lead character in his own TV series, Moon Knight - but who is he, exactly? The Marvel Comics superhero, who has long been characterized by some fans as a Batman clone, has evolved into one of Marvel's most complex characters.
Moon Knight has a long history in Marvel Comics that goes all the way back to Werewolf by Night #32 in 1975. Created by longtime Master of Kung Fu and Batman writer Doug Moench and Don Perlin, Moon Knight was originally introduced as a villain of Marvel's Werewolf. Shortly afterward, Moon Knight began appearing in his own solo stories in Marvel Spotlight and in back-up features in Hulk magazines. After a while, the character was able to stand on his own in a self-titled series, and his popularity only grew from there.
The prospect of a live-action Moon Knight was first raised in 2006, and though a writer was hired to develop the project, the series never came to fruition. In the same year, Marvel dropped a reference to Moon Knight in an episode of the short-lived Blade TV series, but the series was cancelled before the character could make an appearance. Marvel Studios announced a Moon Knight, TV series for Disney+ in August 2019 as part of the MCU's Phase 4. For Moon Knight, the show will mark the long-awaited live-action debut of the comic book hero.
Moon Knight's Comic Book Origin
Marc Spector, a Jewish rabbi's son, spent the early part of his adult life as a heavyweight boxer, and later as a Marine. After his military career ended, Marc began looking for work as a mercenary. One particular job brought him to an excavation site in Egypt where he was badly wounded and left for dead. After being taken to an alter of the Egyptian God of the Moon, Khonshu, Marc received a vision, where Khonshu himself offered Marc another chance at life. Marc accepted and took on the role of Khonshu's white-clad champion, Moon Knight.
As Moon Knight, Marc operated as a street-level vigilante who over time accumulated a rather large rogues' gallery, which included villains like Bushman, Midnight, Nimrod Strange, Hatchet-Man (Moon Knight's brother), and most importantly, the evil organization known as the Committee. Throughout many of his early adventures, Moon Knight crossed paths with some of Marvel's biggest heroes, such as the X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four. Early in his career, Khonshu instructed his champion to become an Avenger. Though Moon Knight has always preferred to work solo, he followed his god's command and, for a brief time, served as a member of Hawkeye's West Coast Avengers.
To keep up his life as a crime fighter, Marc developed secret identities that he could use to further his superhero activities. To make use of his various resources and contacts, Marc came up with a plan that would involve the use of two new alter egos. With the considerable wealth he had attained as a mercenary, he became "Steven Grant", a successful businessman and millionaire. While on the street, he would be "Jake Locksley", a down-to-earth taxicab driver. As this continued, spent less time as "Marc Spector" and more time as Moon Knight, Steven Grant, and Jake Locksley. Maintaining four different lives worked well for Marc. In fact, it worked too well. As a result, Marc developed schizophrenia, which led to mental instability. Marc had reached a point where he couldn't separate his real life from his fake ones. Marc's ongoing battle with mental illness is a crux of the character.
Moon Knight's Comic Book Powers
When Khonshu revived Moon Knight, he imparted special abilities onto his newly-anointed champion. Thanks to the moon god, Moon Knight possesses enhanced strength, endurance, and reflexes. The extent to which these abilities vary depends on the phases of the moon. Marc is at the height of his power when the moon is full. Moon Knight doesn't just rely on his lunar powers in combat. Marc carries an arsenal of special weapons related to Khonshu. During fights, he often employs crescent-shaped boomerangs (like Batman's batarangs), darts, bolas, a staff, and other useful gadgets. As Moon Knight often upgrades and changes out his equipment and armor, his arsenal occasionally receives an update.
One of Moon Knight's signature traits is his unpredictability, which is often attributed to his mental illness. In any case, this unpredictability is one of Moon Knight's greatest advantages. Moon Knight's erratic, sometimes even irrational behavior in combat has often gained him victories against unsuspecting opponents, like Taskmaster, who claims that Moon Knight's chaotic and unpredictable fighting style is impossible to copy.
Moon Knight In The MCU
Nothing concrete is known about the MCU's Marc Spector, though his existence was possibly teased in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when Jasper Sitwell mentioned "a TV anchor in Cairo" as a potential threat to HYDRA. Marvel may have hinted at Moon Knight a second time when Egypt was included on a map of global incidents in Captain America: Civil War.
Of course, none of this means that Marc Spector is already Moon Knight in the MCU. In the same scene that seemingly alluded to Moon Knight, Stephen Strange was also mentioned, even though the character didn't become Doctor Strange until two years later when his solo movie was released. Since the Moon Knight references in the Captain America movies are vague at best, Marvel could simply explain that Moon Knight is a different character entirely than the one mentioned in Winter Soldier. Until more details are announced, how Marvel Studios will handle the Fist of Khonshu's introduction into the MCU remains to be seen.
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