Everything you need to know about Moon Knight

Just in time for the series premiere.

words by: Alee Kwong
Mar 30, 2022

The new Marvel Studios series, Moon Knightis here! Unless you’ve kept up with the comic books or have recently fallen down a Moon Knight rabbit hole, not much is known about this new MCU character. So let’s quickly get you acquainted with one of Marvel’s most intense characters.


Moon Knight’s comic book origins


While many Marvel characters debuted in either their own series run or were featured in another character’s run, Moon Knight was first spotted in a supernatural Marvel comic series Werewolf by Night #32 (August 1975). Since the main character of the series was a werewolf, they decided to pair the werewolf protagonist with an apt antagonist—suiting him in moon symbols and wielding silver weapons. Less than a year later, Moon Knight proved to be so popular that he eventually got a one-off story in Marvel Spotlight #28 -29 (March 1976).


This one-off (alongside a feature in Spectacular Spider-Man #22-23—published in September/October 1978) framed Moon Knight as more of a protagonist and retconned his former association with the evil Committee from Werewolf by Night.


Following this character rework, Moon Knight received his own series in 1980, with issue #1 being an expanded origin story with Marc Spector and his encounter with the Egyptian god, Khonshu.


Marc Spector’s debt to Khonshu


Moon Knight’s evolution to becoming Moon Knight is not like your typical science-experiment-gone-wrong superhero story. Instead, it starts off with a former U.S. Marine and CIA operative (turned mercenary), Marc Spector. He was mortally wounded by a fellow mercenary during a hired hit gone wrong. Looking for shelter, Spector finds himself drawn to the recently unearthed tomb of the moon god Khonshu.


After dying in Khonshu’s tomb, he is suddenly revived and brought back to life. Spector believes that Khonshu resurrected him. In return, he was then obligated to become Khonshu’s “moon knight.” This also was redeeming his life. Instead of being a hired assassin, he began protecting and avenging the innocent.


Early issues of the series imply that Marc Spector’s mental state was impaired, and the validity of Khonshu’s existence was always in question. It’s later revealed that Khonshu does exist, and is one of several entities from the “Othervoid” (a dimension outside normal time and space).


D.I.D. (dissociative identity disorder)


If you remember this scene from the trailer, I’m sure it left you a little confused. The answer is kind of simple: Marc Spector has dissociative identity disorder, and the moment we saw in the trailer was him switching alters. Alters are the alternative identities that reside within the host (the host being Marc Spector in this case).


Spector’s dissociative identity disorder links directly to his origin story as a Jewish-American son of Elias Spector, a rabbi who survived Nazi persecution. Rabbi Yitz Perlman, a close friend of the Spector family, is revealed to be a Nazi named Ernst who kidnaps Spector and forces him to watch as he tortures Jewish members of their community.


As his disorder worsens, and all options had been exercised, his parents place him in a mental institution. After years of therapy and treatment, Spector’s condition was under control, and he was able to silence his alters. He clears the mental health check and enlists, becoming a U.S. Marine. This leads him to eventually becoming a mercenary.


When Spector was resurrected by Khonshu and given the task of being his moon knight, Spector’s alters unleashed, and it seemed as though his condition had become worse than before. The initial alters, Steven Grant and Jake Lockley, had taken on full personalities with their own backstories. This advanced progression allowed the alters to front (meaning they could take over the host body).


Moon Knight’s powers


Moon Knight’s powers are kind of a mixed bag. The main perk to having an Egyptian god on your side is being able to summon the god’s power when needed. Moon Knight’s powers include enhanced strength and functional immortality (Khonshu could simply resurrect him if he dies in combat). That’s not all: He also has high pain tolerance, control over moon-based material, power absorption, prophetic visions, necromancy, and strong resistance to psychic assaults.


Again, having a god in your corner doesn’t make you invincible, but it does offer an arsenal of very useful abilities and skills. To speak more on Moon Knight’s abilities, Taskmaster (arguably one of Marvel’s most formidable foes, due to his ability to mimic nearly anyone’s fighting style) is scared to mimic Moon Knight.


It is Moon Knight’s duty to avenge and protect the innocent. He’ll do so by any means necessary, making him extremely lethal. Moon Knight is known to exclusively play offense and zero defense when engaging in combat. Yes, he will willingly get shot and stabbed if it gets him closer to his opponent—closer to winning a fight. Taskmaster’s refusal to copy Moon Knight stems from the sheer fact that if he mimics Moon Knight, he will die almost instantly.


Moon Knight will be an interesting and very new project from Marvel Studios. Not only will this be the first introduction to a canonically violent character, but this will also open the door to the supernatural side of Marvel. Not only will this usher in a completely different type of hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it will touch on a mental illness that has historically been misrepresented in the media. It’s important that Marvel Studios approaches this character with care both as an intense anti-hero and a man who struggles with dissociative identity disorder.


Moon Knight premieres today and is now streaming on Disney+.


In related news, Disney+ will bring back the X-Men animated series.


Photos via Marvel