Let me tell you a thing about me. People who love me suffer and die. I never want to be loved. That's why I always win.
Marc Spector, AKA the Moon Knight, is a lesser-known Marvel Comics
superhero who debuted in Werewolf by Night
vol. 1 #32 (August, 1975). He was created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Spector was once a U.S. Marine, but quit and became a mercenary when he went to Egypt. There, he befriended French pilot Jean-Paul DuChamp, often referred to simply as "Frenchie", while working for Raoul Bushman. The trio soon find an archaeological dig that unearthed a temple that contained a statue of the moon god Khonshu. Bushman decided to loot the site, and in so doing, killed the lead researcher, Dr. Alraune. In response, Spector picked a fight with Bushman that does not go as well as planned
As Spector lays dying, Khonshu appears to him in a vision and offers to bring him back to life if he becomes the god's avatar on Earth. He does
. After repaying his new Arch-Enemy
Bushman, he goes back to America with Frenchie and the late Dr. Alraune's daughter Marlene. Deciding to become a crime-fighter, Spector creates a silver cloaked costume and becomes the Moon Knight. Ashamed of his mercenary past, he invests the money he developed from those jobs, develops a small fortune, and creates the identity of Steven Grant
, as well as the other
identity of common taxicab driver Jake Lockley.
Later incarnations have had him lose his grip on reality and treat each of these personae as different people
, among other identities crafted to suit his needs. Also commonly seen as a Captain Ersatz
, due to the "millionaire playboy" Steven Grant personality and cape-wearing overly-thematic nighttime vigilantism.
He also entered the spotlight (kind of) as an official member of Captain America
's Secret Avengers
. In 2014, he got a new ongoing series with the first six issues by Warren Ellis
and Declan Shalvey, with writer Brian Wood
and artist Greg Smallwood taking over as of issue #7.
Provides Examples Of:
- All Myths Are True: Part of his origin story.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: Of another "knight". Eventually became Divergent Character Evolution. While Batman has the entire Bat Family, as well as being a major member of the Justice League, Moon Knight is an mentally unstable, third-string Avenger.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Marc's the son of a rabbi, but he isn't very religious.
- An Arm and a Leg: Shadow Knight forcibly removed Frenchie's legs as part of one of his schemes.
- Arch-Enemy: Werewolf by Night, originally, hence all the silver weapons. Bushman is sometimes considered this due to his close tie in Moon Knight's origin but he's been dead for ages. A better example would probably be Black Spectre.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: When Spector is undergoing a Heroic BSOD during God & Country, Crawley gives him one to snap him out of it. Then he gives him another two, for good measure.
- The Atoner : In the series "the Vengeance of the Moon Knight", he genuinely tries to become a true hero, which doesn't kill, cripple or mutilate his opponents.
- Ax-Crazy: On his worst days, or when Khonshu is especially pushy.
- Back from the Dead: Spector himself, several times. Bushman also came back courtesy of the Hood's supernatural goons.
- Badass Cape: Especially as drawn by Alex Maleev.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: In his 2014 series, his "Mister Knight"◊ persona wears a snazzy white suit. The shading, however, makes sure that we are well aware that he is.... just a bit out there.
- Badass Normal: Moon Knight has no powers and relies on himself, his allies, or technology to win fights. However, he has been brought back from the dead at least three times by Khonshu.
- Ballistic Discount: Carson Knowles, better known as the villain Black Spectre, is buying a crapton of medieval weaponry and armour, and the dealer refuses to hand over anything until he sees payment. Knowles tosses a bag at his feet and begins picking up his weapons, while the dealer opens the bag and complains there's nothing in there. He promply says "Oh @#$%" when the penny drops.
- Batman Cold Open
- Battle Butler: Samuels, Spector's butler, once spectacularly opened up on Taskmaster with a blunderbuss.
- Beard of Sorrow: Grew one while crippled after his pivotal fight with Bushman.
- Black Best Friend: Roy Landers.
- Black Comedy: The Warren Ellis run has a lot of this.
- Blood Knight: Khonshu spends most of his time trying to push Moon Knight into this role, with varying success.
- Body Horror: At one point his body was wasting away.
- Bold Inflation
- Cain and Abel: Abel to Shadow Knight's Cain.
- Camp Gay: Frenchie's boyfriend and eventual husband, Rob.
- Chest Insignia: In most incarnations, a crescent moon.
- C-List Fodder:
- Often referenced in his own series. He even recalls his time as an Avenger: "Sent me to the West coast B team." He finally made it to the A-List as a member of the Secret Avengers. The only problem is that nobody else knows he's A-list now. In his 2011 series, he finds himself unwittingly up against Count Nefaria, a man who has taken on the Avengers in the past (as in: all of them, at once, by himself), who is more than a little irate his plans are being tripped up by someone he didn't even recognise at first.
- Echo, frequent guest star of the same series. Played for Laughs when she calls the Avengers mansion under her real name.
Ms. Marvel: Who is this?
Echo: This is Maya Lopez.
Ms. Marvel: Um, who are you and how did you get this number?
Echo: Carol, it's me, Maya Lopez.
Ms. Marvel: Um.
Ms. Marvel.: Oh. Oh, hey.
Echo: You didn't remember my name, did you?
And shortly after
Luke Cage: Who was that?
Ms. Marvel: That was Echo.
Spider-Man: Hey, yeah, she used to be on the [Avengers].
Wolverine: You just noticed she was gone?
- Confusion Fu: In the Bendis series, his additional personalities (namely, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine) cause Moon Knight to start using their respective weapons in a fight. To say that this is unexpected by his opponents is an understatement.
- The Cowl
- Crime Fighting With Cash: Spector is a rich man, but he has found that he is "cash poor," as in a lot of his wealth is in assets that are hard to liquidate quickly into cash.
- Crazy-Prepared: Literally in Issue 3 of Volume 5. When Spector encountered a gang of punk ghosts that was terrorizing a neighborhood, he got his ass kicked because they could hit him while his blows pass harmlessly through them. After stumbling back home, he has a little pep talk with Khonshu who tells Spector that he doesn't need any help. Over the years, Spector had been collecting Egyptian armour and artifacts without understanding why or even remembering that he did so. Some of those old Egyptian items have the power to affect ghosts. So cue round 2 and Moon Knight all decked out...
- Curb-Stomp Battle: In the Ellis books, Moon Knight was tasting a lot of Doc Martens thanks to some vicious ghost-punks. After getting some ancient Egyptian ghost-busting gear, he returns the favor and then some. Including smashing one ghost's head clean off its shoulders and punching another's arm right out of the socket. The ghosts are so terrified even after reforming at the site of their death, they do nothing but hide in a wall as Moon Knight walks in to shut down the item causing their spirits to manifest.
- Darker and Edgier
- Deadpan Snarker
- Death by Origin Story: One of few instances where the death is the protagonist's.
- Death Is Cheap: Marc Spector has died something like three times in continuity, and has been resurrected by Khonshu each time, often within the same story arc.
- Demonic Possession: The interpretation of Spector's Split Personality in the 2014 ongoing.
Examining Doctor: I found it particularly resonant that Khonshu is said to have four aspects. Pathfinder, Embracer, Defender, and Watcher of overnight travelers. And, in your most violent moments, Khonshu's hidden secret aspect: The One Who Lives on Hearts. The bad news is, Mister Spector, you have brain damage. I believe you were indeed raised from the dead by an outerterretrial entity, and remade to some extent by that entity's operations. You are made to be driven by Khonshu's chosen agency. You bring vengeance to those who would harm people who travel by night. You cycle through these four aspects. And your brain, struggling to define what has happened to it, seeks to apply identities to them. Whether that be Marc Spector, Steve Grant, or Jack Lockley, or Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Captain America... Your brain has conjured them to explain what has happened to you. You're not insane, your brain has been colonized by an ancient consciousness from beyond space-time.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: No matter how beaten up he gets, he rarely lets anyone else help him out, at least initially. Even Khonshu.
- Double Consciousness: Split Personality problems do not help.
- Enemy Mine: While the Profile is often antagonistic towards him, he has just as often aided Moon Knight, even helping him get registered after the Civil War.
- Evil Costume Switch: His sidekick, Midnight. Oddly enough, it hasn't happened to Moon Knight himself in the 616-universe. In the Ultimate universe, at one point he creates a fake villain persona known as Ronin in order to work his way into the Kingpin's organization and ends up Becoming the Mask.
- Faking the Dead: He briefly faked his death and fled to Mexico after a particularly trying battle.
- Fighting from the Inside: See Split Personality Takeover below.
- First Episode Resurrection
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted. He has a scar over his left eye, but he's a good guy.
- Heroic Bystander: Upon being attacked by three supervillains at once, Moon Knight manages to defeat two of them but is tied up by Coachwhip's electrical coils. Coachwhip is about to fry Moon Knight when a bystander sprays her with a hose, shorting out her equipment and knocking her out from the feedback.
- Hollywood Healing: The fight with Bushman where he carved off his face left Spector in a wheelchair with his legs all but shattered. With the proper motivation from Khonshu and a little help in the Super Toughness department, he finally stood back up and got back to it.
- The Hunter: Is known as this for supernatural and street level enemies. His first ever appearance had him battling against Werewolf by Night, and the recent 2014 series seems to have restored him going after against street level violence as well as supernatural and just strange threats.
- I Just Want to Be Special: One of the cops in issue #1 of the 2014 run becomes a bad guy because he's upset Moon Knight is special and he gets no respect. He, Ryan Trent, ends up becoming the new Black Spectre.
- I Owe You My Life: Crawley credits Spector with this, saying that only by aiding in Moon Knight's activities does his life hold any purpose, and without providing that aid he may as well be, and probably would be, lying dead in the gutter.
- I Work Alone: Subverted. Despite his loner identity and typically taking on most of the hard work on missions, Moon Knight openly relies on his partner Frenchie. He even adopts a sidekick at one point. In Marvel Knights he practically begs Daredevil to let him on the team.
- Played straight from Ellis's run onwards. His car and aircraft are all run by autopilots and he has no one else at his base.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Frenchie often told Spector he loved him. Spector never put two and two together and assumed it was just Undying Loyalty. He never found out Frenchie was gay at all until after Frenchie had moved on with his life and found a boyfriend.
- Jerkass Gods: In the arc "The Bottom", Khonshu is revealed to be something of a Jerkass God, as well as a Blood Knight.
- Joker Immunity: Notable aversion with Black Spectre; after many battles with Moon Knight, he was shoved off a building and fell to his death. He hasn't come back and has since been replaced by a new Black Spectre.
- Killed Off for Real: Bushman, the first Black Spectre, Midnight, and Echo.
- Loners Are Freaks
- Los Angeles: Where he worked for a time, before returning to New York.
- Lunacy: When serving Khonshu, his strength waxed and waned with the phases of the moon. Then again, there's also a more up front description of lunacy as well.
- Man in White: His suit is as white as the moon. He does it so his targets can see him coming, and their fear is a much better tool for him than sneaking up in the shadows. Given his violent tendencies, it's hard to say if Light Is Good or not.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Depending on the Writer, Moon Knight is either a magically enhanced Avatar of an Egyptian Moon God, or he's a lunatic who thinks he is. Regardless, he's always an Ax-Crazy Badass with multiple personalities, but the main thing that changes is if he's a Badass Normal or not. YMMV on which is the more interesting interpretation.
- Multilayer Fašade: As part of his multiple personality psychopathy, sometimes even he didn't know who the "real" person was under all the double- and triple-personalities.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ended with the removal of Bushman's face.
- No Sense of Humor: Spector, Depending on the Writer.
- No Social Skills: Due to his poor mental state, Marc has a hard time forming emotional bonds and generally isn't good with people. Even his longtime friendship and relationship with Frenchie and Marlene respectively fell apart after about a decade. He realizes this, but considers necessary; people close to him tend to get hurt, so he doesn't care if he's alone as long as they're safe.
- Preacher's Kid: Marc Spector is actually a rabbi's kid, but fits the trope in the way he went bad before going sort of good.
- Private Military Contractors: Spector's backstory.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: One arc involving voodoo zombies has one of these moments as Moon Knight finds even his higher-than-average strength unable to faze an assailant.
Moon Knight: You're going down, ugly. You're going down and you're staying... you're not going down.
- Notably does this to his enemies. He's not Made of Iron, but he takes more punches than he dodges to scare the hell out of them. Taskmaster wasn't impressed.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Moon Knight gives one to the new Black Spectre about his predecessor, followed by a Badass Boast peppered with Self-Deprecation.
Moon Knight: Let me tell you a thing about me. People who love me suffer and die. I never want to be loved. That's why I always win.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Moon Knight's "Steven Grant" identity.
- Rogues Gallery: Not a terribly interesting one, though, but it's getting better.
- Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Has fought plenty of villains from elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, such as Taskmaster and the Thunderbolts.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: His homeless informant, Crawley, is excessively verbose.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Played for Drama. After being put in danger too many times and seeing how unstable Spector had become, Marlene walked out on him. Frenchie, after losing his legs, left not long after. Though they both occasionally came back, these relapses became less frequent, and as of 2014 have completely closed off that part of their lives, and Spector is content to leave it that way.
- Secret Identity: Several. Partially subverted in that several major villains seem to know one or all of them, despite his best efforts — a fact which he frequently laments.
- Secret Identity Identity: Even he can't tell anymore.
- Sherlock Scan: A minor enemy of Moon Knight called The Profile specializes in this, literally to the point of it being a superpower. He is eventually defeated due to Moon Knight being an agent of a god. While the Knight himself could be analyzed, the god could not due to not being present.
- Moon Knight himself seems to have picked this up for one of his personas, Mr. Knight, in the 2014 series
- Show Within a Show: In the New Moon Knight ongoing. There is a Xena like show based on his adventures called "Legend of Konshu".
- Sidekick: He reluctantly takes on a sidekick in the form of Midnight at one point. Midnight is later turned into a cyborg and Moon Knight is forced to kill him.
- The Smart Guy: Ray Landers, his mechanic who flies the mooncopter if Frenchie is unavailable.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Marc has been known to get a little emotional and yell at his Khonshu statue.
- Split Personality: Moon Knight is afflicted with this in the Ultimate universe. It comes and goes in the 616 Universe. One of them is a little girl. With no eyes. In the 2011-2012 series, the personalities are Marc Spector, Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Interestingly, the personalities aren't dissociative, they are always active and aware of each other. Marc is the head personality, while the others usually just give advice and comment on the current situation (Marc describes them as more "voices, " rather than whole personalities). At times, Marc calls in one of the other personalities to fight for him. Also, unlike most characters with the condition, Marc is completely fine with all the different personalities, and so are they. When Echo is killed, the Wolverine personality destroys the other two and drives Marc into Unstoppable Rage. By the end of the series, his companion personae appear to be Wolverine, Echo, and Iron Man.
- As of the new series, he is back to having his previous non-superhero personas.
- Split Personality Takeover:
- In the Ultimate universe "Warriors" story arc, Moon Knight creates the persona of Ronin to infiltrate and take down the Kingpin; he ends up losing control, and Ronin takes over. However, Ronin eventually comes back to "wake up" Moon Knight again.
- Maybe not a complete takeover, but in the Bendis series, when Echo is killed, the Spector's Wolverine personality actually destroys the Captain America and Spider-Man personalities and drives Marc into an Unstoppable Rage.
- Straight Gay: Frenchie, so much so that Moon Knight didn't even know he was gay.
- That Man Is Dead: At the end of the The Death of Marc Spector arc. In a conversation with Marlene, Frenchie confirms Marc Spector is indeed dead...but Jake Lockley isn't.
- Thememobile: While Moon Knight's Jake Lockley persona is a cab driver, Moon Knight typically travels by way of moon-shaped helicopter.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: A notable aversion. Moon Knight doesn't like killing and generally tries as hard as possible to avoid it, but unlike most superheroes he's willing to kill. Khonshu often tries to advance this willingness into becoming a full-blown Blood Knight who kills any crook that crosses paths with him, but Marc usually resists it. When he doesn't well... bad things happen.
- For example; in the prologue to the "The Bottom" arc, Moon Knight is almost defeated by his nemesis Bushman, but saves himself at the last minute by carving Bushman's face off with a crescent knife.
- Tragic Villain: Both Black Spectres.
- Treacherous Advisor: Inverted. Midnight is the one who betrays Moon Knight.
- Unstoppable Rage: When Echo is killed by Count Nefaria, Moon Knight's Wolverine personality drives him into a rage, causing him to seriously injure the Count. Nefaria (a villain on the power level of Thor) is actually forced into a stunned retreat to recover, and Moon Knight wakes up later chained to a hospital bed.
- We Used to Be Friends: Whenever someone questions Marlene or Frenchie in Huston or Ellis's runs, they make it very clear they have nothing to do with Spector any more. Marc is ok with that, because as he mentions, everyone that loves him ends up hurt.
- Weapon of Choice: His arsenal is pretty unstable, having used a spiked gauntlet, a bow, guns that fire bolas, and a whole bunch of other weapons. His main weapons, however, are are a truncheon that can become a grappling hook or nunchuks, and "crescent darts", shuriken shaped like a crescent moon. In the Secret Avengers, he uses a gun that shoots crescent shocktoxin darts. At one point in the Secret Avengers he uses an energy shield, web-shooters, and metal claws.
- Wham Episode: The "Gods And Country" arc; Carson Knowles returns and nearly destroys New York, forcing Moon Knight to kill him by shoving him off a building on national television. This is seen by Iron Man, bringing the full force of SHIELD and other registered heroes down on Moon Knight's head.
- The "Death Of Marc Spector" arc; After a brutal battle with Bullseye, Moon Knight fakes his death and travels to Mexico. Marlene, Frenchie, and Ray Landers all cut ties with Marc believing him to be dead.
- Issue 9 of the Bendis run; Count Nefaria kills Echo, causing Marc to absolutely lose it with his aggressive personality outright destroying his other personality aspects.
- Issue 6 of the Ellis run; Black Spectre launches an all-out attack on Moon Knight.
- What the Hell, Hero?: See Thou Shalt Not Kill above. This is outdone by the fact that he keeps the carved off face as a memento. Khonshu appears to him as a faceless Bushman from this point on. Two arcs later, while struggling with personality issues, Spector retrieves the face-mask and puts it on before being caught by Marlene, who flees screaming.