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Comic Book / Moon Knight

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Oof, you might want to get that cleaned, pal.

Mercenary Marc Spector died in Egypt, under the statue of the ancient deity Khonshu. He returned to life in the shadow of the moon god, and wore his aspect to fight crime for his own redemption. He went completely insane, and disappeared. This is what happened next.
Moon Knight vol 7 #1 (2014)

Marc Spector, also known as the Moon Knight, is a 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 found an archaeological dig that unearthed a temple to the moon god Khonshu, with a statue of Khonshu within. 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 did not go as well as planned.

As Spector lay dying, Khonshu appeared to him in a vision and offered to bring him back to life if he became the god's avatar on Earth. He did. After repaying his new Arch-Enemy Bushman, he went back to America with Frenchie and the late Dr. Alraune's daughter, Marlene. Deciding to become a crime-fighter, Spector created a silver-cloaked costume and became the Moon Knight.

Ashamed of his mercenary past, he invested the money he acquired from those jobs, developed a small fortune, and created the identity of Steven Grant, as well as the other identity of common taxicab driver Jake Lockley.

Later incarnations have given him dissacociative identity disorder (DID) which made Jake and Steven separate alters rather than secret identities, though Steven and Jake being written as separate people has been a thing since his first run. Other identities of his have also been treated as alters. He's commonly seen as a Captain Ersatz of Batman, due to the "millionaire playboy" Steven Grant and cape-wearing, overly-thematic nighttime vigilantism. Strictly speaking, he has a lot more in common with The Shadow, also the chief inspiration for Batman, but writers have often used him for a sideways commentary and deconstruction of DC's greatest Cowl, usually as a contrast — people may ask if Batman is as troubled as the villains he fights, but Moon Knight definitely is.

He also entered the spotlight (kind of) as an official member of Captain America's Secret Avengers after Siege. In 2014, he got a new ongoing series with the first six issues by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. After them, it became a rotating writer/artist book, with Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood doing #7-13 and Cullen Bunn and Ron Ackins doing #14-17. Declan Shalvey remained on covers for a while and Jordie Bellaire on colours. Each issue was a done-in-one adventure (with some recurring background plots) rather than the more common arc-based structure.

Jeff Lemire wrote a new Moon Knight series post-Secret Wars, with Greg Smallwood returning as the artist. The series went back to Marvel's typical arc-based structure. After Lemire's run finished, Max Bemis and Jacen Burrows took over creative team duties in time for the Marvel Legacy initiative, which returned Moon Knight to his all-white costume and traditional superheroics in contrast to Lemire's Mind Screw and Ellis's Genre Throwback to The Shadow (kinda).

In 2021, a new series spun-off of Moon Knight's appearance in The Avengers (Jason Aaron), written by Jed MacKay with art by Alessandro Cappuccio. In this incarnation, Moon Knight now runs a "Midnight Mission" that helps those who travel by night, while Khonshu sits imprisoned in Asgard. Still, "Marc Spector, in whichever guise he dons, is back on the streets, a renegade priest of an unworthy god."

The character made his live-action debut in the Disney+ series Moon Knight, which was released in March 2022, with Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist, The Umbrella Academy) as showrunner. It is part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Oscar Isaac playing the character, with May Calamawy, Ethan Hawke, Gaspard Ulliel and Lucy Thackeray in other roles.

    Main Comics 
  • Moon Knight vol 1 (1980) #1-38, (2017) #188-200
  • Moon Knight Special Edition (1983) #1-3 (reprints stories from the UK Hulk! magazine)
  • Moon Knight Fist Of Khonshu vol 2 (1985) #1-6
  • Marc Spector Moon Knight (1989) #1-60
  • Moon Knight: Divided We Fall (1992) #1
  • Moon Knight Special (1992) #1
  • Moon Knight vol 3 (1998) #1-4
  • Moon Knight vol 4 (1999) #1-4
  • Moon Knight vol 5 (2006) #1-30
  • Moon Knight Annual vol 1 (2008) #1
  • Moon Knight: Silent Knight (2008) #1
  • Vengeance of the Moon Knight (2009) #1-10
  • Shadowland: Moon Knight (2010) #1-3
  • Moon Knight vol 6 (2011) #1-12
  • Moon Knight vol 7 (2014) #1-17
  • Moon Knight vol 8 (2016) #1-14
  • Moon Knight Annual vol 2 (2019) #1
  • Moon Knight vol 9 (2021) #1-present
  • Devil's Reign: Moon Knight (2022) #1
  • Moon Knight: Black, White & Blood (2022) #1-4
  • Moon Knight Annual vol 3 (2022) #1
  • Murderworld: Moon Knight (2023) #1

    Other Comics 
  • The Avengers vol 8 (2018) #33-37 ("The Age of Khonshu" story arc, leading into Moon Knight volume 9)
  • Conan: Serpent War (2020) #1-4 (one of the main characters)
  • Contagion (one of the main characters)
  • The Defenders vol 1 (1972) #47-51 (briefly joins the team)
  • Marvel Knights vol 1 (2000) #4-14 (member of the team)
  • Marvel Spotlight vol 1 (1971) #28-29 (solo adventures before his first book)
  • Ms. Marvel & Moon Knight vol 1 (2022) #1 (part of a Cross Through featuring Kamala Khan teaming up with various Marvel anti-heroes)
  • Secret Avengers vol 1 (2010) (member of the team)
  • Werewolf by Night vol 1 (1972) #32-33 (first appearance)
  • West Coast Avengers vol 2 (1985) (one of the later team members)

Moon Knight provides Examples Of:

  • All Myths Are True: Part of his origin story.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • Of another "knight", but with Divergent Character Evolution leading to some heavy shades of Deconstruction and Foil. Both are Terror Heroes, but Batman fights from darkness, while Moon Knight wears white so people see him coming. While Batman has his entire (Bat-)family, as well as his friends in the Justice League, Moon Knight is a perennial D-lister with virtually no friends, and a third-string Avenger. And while (most) writers portray Batman to be (in the context of his weird universe) actually entirely sane and rational, Moon Knight is the cape-wearing vigilante if his sanity were legitimately unstable.
    • Come Warren Ellis's 2014 run and the 'Mister Knight' persona a case can be made he is also one for Steve Ditko creation 'Mr. A'.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: At least initially; later it's firmly established that Marc's the son of a rabbi, but he isn't very religious (unless you count his devotion to Khonshu). In some of the flashbacks in the 2016 series, he's seen wearing a kippah, and after his father dies, Marc goes to attend his shiva. The Bemis run touches on this somewhat, with Marc commenting on his cultural roots as a Jew and how it influenced him, including a traumatic incident in his childhood when he encountered serious antisemitism and first learnt about the Holocaust, an incident that likely contributed to Marc's later mental instability.
  • Ambiguous Situation: A Civil War II tie-in has Nick Fury explaining that Moon Knight was stuck in an asylum at the moment. The actual 2016 Jeff Lemire run never actually explains if the asylum was real or just part of Marc Spector's delusions in his mental journey to kill Khonshu. The gigantic Mind Screw attitude of the series doesn't help to give clues or answers.
  • Anti-Hero: He is The Cowl, but he is often mentally unstable and extremely violent (and his patron god wants him to be a Blood Knight).
  • Arch-Enemy: Bushman.
    Moon Knight: How many times before a guy figures it out? How many times do you beat a guy down? How many times do you take him out? Before he knows you're better than he is? He never got it. Guess that's why he's called a nemesis. So, how many times can you do the same thing? Before you get sloppy? Blame it on arrogance. Blame it on a bag of tricks grown tired. Blame it on the passing years. Blame it on him. Blame it on our hatred. The hatred born from slaughter. Slaughter born from friendship. Friendship born from recognition. Recognition of a kindred soul. Souls hating each other. Hating as you can hate only one thing. The reflection in the mirror.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Shadow Knight forcibly removed Frenchie's legs as part of one of his schemes.
  • The Atoner: In the series Vengeance of the Moon Knight, he genuinely tries to become a true hero, who doesn't kill, disable or mutilate his opponents.
  • Ax-Crazy: On his worst days, or when Khonshu is especially pushy, especially in the 2006 and 2014 series. This is a modern development, as he wasn't nearly as violent in his 80s and 90s comics.
  • Back from the Dead: Spector himself as part of his origin story, and Khonshu has brought him back to life several times since then. Bushman also came back courtesy of the Hood's supernatural goons.
  • Badass Cape: Especially as drawn by Alex Maleev.
  • Badass Normal: Moon Knight has usually relied primarily on his agility, skills, technology, and weapons to get by. Also his ability to take pain and punishment is phenomenal given his lack of physical superpowers.
    • Empowered Badass Normal: At various points in the past, Khonshu has also empowered him with superhuman strength based on the waxing of the moon, night vision, limited invisibility, and a Healing Factor. Since Warren Ellis' run, he has displayed certain supernatural gifts like the ability to see ghosts and speak to the dead.
  • 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: He does these, in another parallel with the Trope Namer.
  • Battle Butler: Samuels, Spector's butler, once spectacularly opened up on Taskmaster with a blunderbuss.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Grew one while in a wheelchair after his pivotal fight with Bushman in the 2006 series.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    Scarlet: Your face.
    Mr. Knight: It's a mask.
    Scarlet: It's not a mask. It's your face.
    Mr. Knight: Smart kid.
  • Black Comedy: The Warren Ellis run has a lot of this, as does the MacKay run.
  • 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: Uses this.
  • Boxing Battler: Had a stint as a heavyweight boxer in his youth. While he learned many other styles throughout his later careers as a soldier, mercenary and costumed hero, his hard-hitting brawling style of combat still brings to mind a prize-fighter. Emphasized by his occasional use of spiked cestus (the ancient precursor to boxing gloves).
  • Cain and Abel: Abel to Shadow Knight's Cain.
  • Camp Gay: Frenchie's boyfriend and eventual husband, Rob.
  • Carnival of Killers: In issue #4 of his first series, Moon Knight is targeted by the Committee, a crime syndicate who feel MK double crossed them. They send out five assassins: Ice, Bull, Dragon, Razor, and Boom Boom.
  • Chainsaw Good: The gimmick of the assassin... Chainsaw.
  • Chest Insignia: In most incarnations, a crescent moon. In Fist of Khonshu it was an ankh.
  • 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.
      Echo: Echo.
      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?
  • Commuting on a Bus: Moon Knight's supporting characters were largely confirmed to have been phased out in Ellis's run, explained as them having grown sick of Marc's instability and moving on with their lives. This doesn't stop Jeff Lemire, Max Bemis and Jed MacKay from bringing back the likes of Marlene or Frenchie for more adventures with him, though Lemire's usage of them is extremely ambiguous. Bemis brought Marlene back long-term, while MacKay brought her back for a one-off as she needed Marc's help.
  • Confusion Fu: In the Bendis series, his alters (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. When Spider-Man catches wind of Moon Knight dressing and fighting like him, he's baffled.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The reveal that Jake Lockley had gotten Marlene pregnant is either this or Canon Welding with huge retcons. The last time Marlene was in the picture was during the 'Vengeance of the Moon Knight' era, where Jake Lockley had become the host of the system and had opted to become a more heroic figure, due to being free of Marc's sociopathy. So, for Marlene to have been surprised by Jake 'sneaking behind Marc's back' to have an affair with her, only for her to find it loveless because he 'lacked Marc's warmth', either means that Marlene completely forgot the time she was happily dating 'Jake' (who, again, was a Nice Guy compared to Marc), or that this was the time Jake 'was sneaking behind Marc's back', and that what we saw at the time was just Jake's perspective of him being a more heroic figure with a warm relationship with Marlene. It still doesn't account for the fact Jake and Marc swapped personalities, though.
    • Confronted with the above, the MacKay run opts for Broad Strokes, rerailing Jake and Marc's personalities and glossing over which of Marc's alters fathered Marlene's daughter.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Moon Knight is basically what Batman would be if Bruce Wayne wasn't possibly an insane masochistic Triple Shifter but flat out delusional, incurably violent Knight Templar with only a few token nods taken towards his own self preservation, to the point he has no concept of stealth. Moonknight's still an ultimately good, if needlessly dangerous crime fighter however, motivated by what he sees as past moral failings as a mercenary.
  • The Cowl: Has parallelisms with Batman and The Shadow.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Literally in Issue 3 of Volume 5. When Spector encountered a gang of punk ghosts that were terrorizing a neighborhood, he got his ass kicked because they could hit him while his blows passed 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... (The "ghost armor" reappears in Black, White & Blood).
  • 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. Most of Moon Knight's money was acquired by (and owned by, as much as you can when you share a body) Steven Grant.
  • Cuckoo Nest: The storyline "Welcome to New Egypt" opens with Marc Spector in a mental institution, and told that the only part of his past adventures that was real was the dissociative identity disorder. He doesn't accept it, at least in part because the hospital being a Bedlam House made it just too obvious that this was the nightmare.
  • 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: He is a mentally unstable Anti-Hero empowered by a Jerkass God, so...
    • His series has grown Darker and Edgier since the early 2000s, and unlike some other examples this has been an improvement as a side-effect has been that his stories have been more tightly written and there's a more cinematic film-noir quality to them, while his transformation into a cold-blooded killer is fitting. This contrasts with his previous treatment in the Marvel Universe where he's been seen as little more than a schizophrenic loser and C-List Fodder, but it has also lead to the character facing a lot of ableism from writers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He likes to snark.
  • Death by Origin Story: One of the 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. When asked about this in the MacKay run, he's not sure he can die anymore.
      Mr. Knight: I've died before. It was boring so I stood up.
    • MacKay's run goes on to reveal that while there's usually a final death for the Fists of Khonshu... they'll still rise if someone intrudes on them.
  • Deconstruction: Usually viewed as one to The Cowl archetype heroes. As it turns out, spending almost every waking hour beating up criminals, pushing your mind and body to its limits, and getting into life or death scrapes with superhumans really does a number on your psyche - though Moon Knight's was troubled to begin with. His stories often make note that the only way anyone could go through with this kind of lifestyle is by being unstable to begin with. Ol' Moonie has no interests outside of crime fighting, and Steven Grant being a seperate alter can be easily interpreted as an extreme version of Batman's idea of "Brucie Wayne" being seemingly a seperate person. In essence, Moon Knight is every joke about the mental instability of Batman, Daredevil, The Phantom and Spawn played dead straight. And it sure as hell isn't funny.
  • Demonic Possession: The interpretation of Jake, Steven, and Marc being separate people in the 2014 ongoing. It's stated that the three alters represent different facets of Khonshu.
    Psychiatrist: You're not insane. Your brain has been colonized by an ancient consciousness from beyond space-time. Smile.
    • In the 2021 ongoing, the interpetation is that he had Demonic Possession and mundane DID.
    • He also once was literally possessed by Demogoblin after an encounter with the then-possessed Hobgoblin.
  • 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: DID problems do not help.
  • The Dreaded: To a variety of villains, to the point where a hardened merc like Taskmaster refuses to take contracts out on him, because he's too dangerous and unpredictable to be worth it.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Khonshu, from the 2006 run onward. Originally he liked to appear as Bushman's faceless corpse and regularly goaded Marc to commit murder. Then as a malformed statue, still encouraging violence. Under Ellis he became a much colder figure, appearing mainly as Mister Knight with a terrifying bird skull for a head.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: Around the time of Civil War, one issue had Marc Spector telling his friends that he would die that night. Of course he said nothing about Jake Lockley.
  • Expy: While he is commonly referred to as a Batman-expy, he has far more in common with Batman's own inspiration, The Shadow. Both are darker vigilantes with varying degrees of brutality depending on the adaptation, driven partially by a desire to atone for their pasts, related to mystical concepts that can be explained psychologically, varying degrees of super abilities, and who may or may not be paladins of higher mystical entities, depending on the version. Moon Knight, like The Shadow, relies on a close network of agents (outright referred to as the "Shadow Cabinet"), some of which include close friends and people aware of his secret identity, and a complicated relationship with a romantic interest. Additionally, Moon Knight also employs multiple identities in his missions via his different alters.
  • Eye Scream: Moon Knight's battle with The Truth. The latter winds up getting his eyes shanked by a pair of crescent darts.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Your God: When Khonshu is at his worst, Marc has at times done battle against him, even though he's spent his tenure as Khonshu's crime-fighting avatar of vengeance.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: By the moon god Khonshu.
  • Flanderization: Due to many unfamiliar writers knowing nothing about Moon Knight besides his DID, many of his brief appearances where he doesn't play much of a role result in him being shown as an almost complete joke whose mental illness turns him into a goofy Cloudcuckoolander. Doctor Strange: Damnation for instance has him acting suspiciously more like Deadpool than anything.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • Marc has three aspects: himself, the ego; the violent Moon Knight, the id; and the kind and helpful Mr. Knight, the superego.
    • For the three alters who live in Moon Knight's body, Marc is also the ego and the one who fronts the most; Jake, the id, appreciates material pleasures and can be brutal and violent at times; and Steven is what a superego would be as a real person: without worries, friendly, charitable, but not too deep.
  • Generational Trauma: Marc Spector's dissociative identity disorder can be traced back to his upbringing as the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. In particular, it's triggered by facing antisemitism himself as a little kid when he discovers that a close family friend is a Nazi who still gleefully murders Jews.
  • God in Human Form: Ellis' interpretation of Spector in the 2014 series: Marc was remade in Khonshu's image after his death, to be the god's latest avatar in the mortal world.
    Khonshu: YOU ARE MY SON.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted. He has a scar over his left eye in some runs, but he's a good guy.
  • Hallway Fight: An issue of the Warren Ellis run has Mr. Knight fighting his way through an entire brownstone house to rescue a kidnapped girl, including several hallways.
  • 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.
    • This is also shown in issues 34 and 35 of the 1980 series.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Is known as this for supernatural and street level enemies. His first ever appearance had him battling against Werewolf by Night, and the 2014 series seems to have restored him going up against street level violence as well as supernatural and just strange threats.
  • 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.
  • 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. The cop, Ryan Trent, ends up becoming the new Black Spectre.
  • Insanity Immunity: Marc's mind makes him a nightmare for psychics. Profile was reduced to a screaming wreck from looking Moon Knight in the eye, the Truth was overwhelmed by trying to use his powers on the Jake Lockley persona, and Hawley was left catatonic after trying to mind control Moon Knight and seeing what Khonshu had done to his mind.
  • In the Hood: The Badass Cape has a hood, with a pointy end to enhance the intimidating look.
  • I Owe You My Life: Played straight. In the original Moon Knight stories, Crawley was a homeless man who Moon Knight recruited as an informant and agent, providing him with money, friends, and a way to recover from his alcoholism. Unlike other agents of Moon Knight, Crawley does not have much of a life when not working for the vigilante. He says 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:
    • Often 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. Marlene, Gena, and Crawley are also people he often relies on for his superhero work- Marlene often does spy work and both Gena and Crawley are informants.
    • 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.
      Mr Knight: People who love me suffer and die. I never want to be loved. That's why I always win.
    • Come MacKay's run, he gets a vampire secretary, Reese, and goes through a painful deconstruction of the trope as he discovers there are certain things he can't handle alone, one way or the other.
  • Jerkass Gods: In the arc "The Bottom", Khonshu is revealed to be something of a Jerkass God, as well as a Blood Knight. He continues to be this for the rest of the book, and the following Vengeance of the Moon Knight series both make a running theme of Marc (and Jake) having to resist Khonshu's demand for blood.
    • This is furthered in Brian Wood's run when Khonshu is willing to abandon Moon Knight as his avatar for the Doctor instead because she is willing to be more bloodthirsty. It doesn't last for long, but the God sways long enough to make things difficult for "his son".
    • This continues in Cullen Bunn's run where Moon Knight discovers there are other followers of Khonshu besides himself, including a monster that preys on children and a twisted cult.
    • In the 2022 annual, Khonshu urges Hunter's Moon to kill Marc's daughter Diatrice because she has the potential to be his doom. Hunter's Moon doesn't go through with it, but the episode confirms Khonshu has no issue with his followers killing children, and even encourages it if it serves his ends.
  • 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, though he was only a one-off. Bushman at least plays it more straight, having been brought back from the dead to act as The Heavy for Norman Osborn's war with Marc.
  • Killed Off for Real: Bushman, Shadow Knight, the first Black Spectre, Midnight, and Echo. Though Echo later gets better, as did Bushman.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Played With; for a while, 'Marc Spector' is dead, and the Jake Lockley persona is running around as the host. After some brief heroics in Mexico he returned to New York and became a different kind of Moon Knight, one who uses more gadgets (including Power Armor that looks like an all-white version of the Nolanverse Batman suit), and pistols that fire Unusual Ammo, and makes an effort to both be a much more heroic figure and also a more respectable one too. It has much of the trappings of being a Legacy Character (Jake had a very different personality and used a new costume, and Jake even looked younger), except it was the same person (physically, at least).
    • Also played straight; Max Bemis's run introduces the idea of previous Moon Knights, and Jed MacKay puts his own spin on it, with Marc lampshading that no-one told him about any of this. Some of the Marvel Universe's many futures have their own Moon Knights too.
  • Loners Are Freaks: And he is both of these things.
  • Los Angeles: Where he worked for a time, before returning to New York.
  • Lunacy: In the past 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.
  • 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, but the main thing that changes is if he's a Badass Normal or not. YMMV on which is the more interesting interpretation.
    • The Age of Khonshu firmly establishes Khonshu's existence, but leaves open which of Marc's past interactions with him were real and which weren't.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Spector means "face". Marc is the alter who fronts the most in the system. Spector also sounds like "spectre" which riffs off of Marc's death.
    • It is lampshaded in one comic that Marcus means "dedicated to Mars", which would be zig-zagged: Marc is a warrior, but he is dedicated to a Moon deity, not Ares.
    • His brother Randall. It's funny that a guy who made his name fighting werewolves should have a brother named "wolf-shield".
  • Mind Screw: Moon Knight is often an unreliable narrator both due to his regular delusions and psychic tampering due to Khonshu. Writers often explain away retcons by blaming Moon Knight's mental illness.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The 2014 Warren Ellis run, which tries to put the Mind Screw aspects of Spector going completely insane in Brian Michael Bendis' previous Moon Knight run in terms of Spector's relation to Khonshu.
    Psychatrist: You don't simply "catch" DID simply by pretending to be other people for a while... You're not insane. Your brain has been colonized by an ancient consciousness from beyond space-time. Smile.
  • Multilayer Fašade: Often Moon Knight - especially Marc - struggles with who he is "truly," especially in the 1980 series.
  • Night and Day Duo: He has this dynamic with Sun King. Both are avatars used by the Gods of the Moon and Sun, Khonshu and Ra, who get their power respectively from the moon or sun. The two have been at war with each other for centuries, and to make it even better Ra is Khonshu's father.
  • No Hero to His Valet: His various companions and allies eventually leave him in disgust (if they don't die first) due to a mixture of his instability, churlishness, and the wretched irony of funding a war on crime with a nigh-limitless supply of paramilitary blood money.
  • 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 it necessary; people close to him tend to get hurt, so he doesn't care if he's alone as long as they're safe. He's not even good at dealing with other members of the superhero community, many of whom openly shun him.
  • Odd Friendship: Marc and Rob, Frenchie's then-future husband, become pretty good friends when Marc re-enters Frenchie's life, despite Marc being a brooding and aggressive Sociopathic Hero and Rob being a flamboyant Camp Gay Motor Mouth. Frenchie does not approve, in fact the anxiety of Marc (who he resented for the toxic effect he had on his life) potentially having the same effect on Rob that he did on Frenchie nearly drives the poor guy to suicide.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In a story arc of Marc Spector: Moon Knight (1989-1994), Moon Knight has become aware that Doctor Doom is after an item in Marc Spector's collection. He deduces that Doom is planning world conquest again and attacks Doom within a Latverian embassy. After nearly getting killed in battle by Doctor Doom, Moon Knight learns that Doom only wanted to purchase a cameo locket that Marc Spector had recently obtained. It used to belong to Victor's mother, and contained a rare photo of Victor's father. Moon Knight realizes he had provoked an unnecessary battle.
  • 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.
  • Real Life: In the All New All Different run, it appears that Steven Grant now resides here, overseeing a hypothetical Marvel Studios Moon Knight film.
  • "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 Black Spectre. He really just wanted to be loved. By his dad, his wife, his crew, the whole city... I don't know you. 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.
  • Required Secondary Powers: During the Bendis run he had high-tech bracers made for himself so he could mimic the fighting styles of several different superheroes. When he asks whether the retractable claws in the bracers are made of unbreakable adamantium like with Wolverine, the answer he gets is that would be pointless, as even with claws made of regular high tensile steel his arm would break well before the claws do.
  • Retcon: Marc's mental illness goes through this back and forth between Warren Ellis' revamp and later Jeff Lemire's relaunch. Ellis openly disliked Marc apparently 'catching' DID by pretending to be other people and so explained this as the result of Khonshu's influence. Lemire, who found the mental illness aspect interesting, brought it back, explaining that Marc had DID before he became Khonshu's avatar, with 'Steven Grant' first emerging while he was in school (thus, not the result of him 'catching' it or the result of Khonshu). It's not quite reached Armed with Canon yet, though.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Max Bemis's run (part of Marvel Legacy) quietly dispenses with Warren Ellis and Jeff Lemire's status quo shake ups to return the character to his traditional superhero adventures. This results in Khonshu being revived without explanation, the Ellis status quo being forgotten in favor of going back to his 80s roots, and the introduction of more fantastical elements such as a pyrokinetic nemesis for Moon Knight. This is also exemplified by the decision to ditch Declan Shalvey's redesign for a return to the original all-white costume.
  • Rogues Gallery: Very small, only consisting of about five characters, and few have consistent characterization.
    • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: Has fought plenty of villains from elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, such as Taskmaster and the Thunderbolts.
  • 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 2021 have closed off that part of their lives as best they can, and Spector is content to leave it that way.
  • Secret Identity: Several. It's a downplayed subversion in that several major villains seem to know one or all of them, despite his best efforts — a fact which he frequently laments. In his earliest stories (1970s), before getting his own series, his identity was known to the Committee, a secretive organization which once employed him. While the original Committee members died in one way or another, several other villains had access to the files which they left behind.
  • Secret-Identity Identity: Even he can't tell anymore.
  • Self-Made Man: Moon Knight uses his bottomless pit of blood money that he has earned over the years as a mercenary to protect the travellers of the night. The treasures and artifacts of Khonshu belong to him as well, as he discovered them and was chosen by Khonshu to act as his avatar.
    • In the early Moon Knight series (1980 to 1994), the mercenary money was a relatively small initial capital. He invested it in the stock market and earned a much larger fortune.
    • The MacKay run has him lose pretty much everything and start seeking out other sources of money.
  • Semper Fi: To further his credentials as a professional badass. He served in the USMC before becoming a superhero.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: His homeless informant, Crawley, is excessively verbose.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Issue 5 of the Ellis run is one big homage to The Raid, with director Gareth Evans' name written in graffiti in one point. (Declan Shalvey is a vocal fan of the film.)
    • Issue 6 of Lemire's run has Executive Producer Steven Grant talk about Marvel Studios and mentions Ant-Man. Though by the tone of the dialogue, it comes off as a minor Take That Us.
    • In Fist of Khonshu #6, Moon Knight quotes his chief inspiration, with a little twist at the end:
      Moon Knight: The weed of crime bears bitter fruit! Crime doesn't pay. Khonshu knows!
    • One storyline in the 1990s series had Moon Knight encountering multiple alternate Moon Knights, many of whom were references to other heroes ("Mr Spector" is The Spirit; Moon Man is Golden Age Batman; Dark Moon is The Dark Knight Returns Batman; Moon Ghost is Space Ghost.)
  • Show Within a Show: In the Bendis run, there is a Xena-like show based on his adventures called "Legend of Khonshu". Marc Spector is the creator and executive producer.
  • 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.
    • Bendis' run had Buck Lime, a former SHIELD agent, as this.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Marc has been known to get a little emotional and yell at his Khonshu statue.
  • Split Personality: Depending on the Writer, Marc has DID and his system has two other alters - millionare Steven Grant and cabbie Jake Lockley. Moon Knight and Mr. Knight are also occasionally treated as seperate alters.
    • In Ultimate Marvel, Moon Knight has 5 different alters, including a little girl. With no eyes.
    • In the 2011-2012 series, it's Marc Spector, Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Interestingly, they are aware of each other, and other than Marc usually just provide advice.
      • When Echo is killed, Wolverine destroys the other two and drives Marc into Unstoppable Rage. Eventually Wolverine, Echo, and Iron Man become Marc's new alters.
    • In the 2014 series, Marc switches to having Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, and Khonshu himself in his head, which continues into the 2016 series.
    • The 2021 run focuses on Marc solo for the first year, with Steven and Jake being mentioned as surfacing occasionally for short periods off-screen. Their return, and the fallout from it, kicks off the second year of the run.
  • 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, Spector's Wolverine actually destroys the Captain America and Spider-Man alters and drives Marc into an Unstoppable Rage.
  • Stealth Pun: He's quite literally a lunatic superhero.
  • Straight Gay: Frenchie, so much so that Moon Knight didn't even know he was gay until he came out in the 2006 run, even though he wasn't trying to hide it.
  • Tear Off Your Face: Who cut Bushman`s face off? Moon Knight did. Moon Knight has became infamous for doing it, though at least the public doesn't know that Spector even wore the face, scaring away Marlene.
  • 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 a moon-shaped helicopter piloted by Frenchie and named the Mooncopter.
  • 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.
    • In his West Coast Avengers days, the team split in two over their philosophical beliefs about killing. Moon Knight, Mockingbird, and Tigra were the only ones who viewed killing foes as an option for the Avengers. By that point, Mockingbird had already caused the death of Phantom Rider/Lincoln Slade, Moon Knight had caused the death of Taurus/Cornelius Van Lunt, and Tigra had attempted to kill Master Pandemonium/Martin Preston.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The post-Secret Wars run. Marc Spector is in an insane asylum being treated for delusions. Or is he? The other residents of the asylum are his associates, and if he wears a homemade mask the orderlies look like jackals. And good ol' New York is covered in sand and pyramids. The surreal art style doesn't help in determining what is real and what is not.
  • Tragic Villain: Both Black Spectres, who turn to villainy to be noticed and respected, only to lose everything because of it.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Inverted. Midnight is the one who betrays Moon Knight.
  • True Sight: In the post-Secret Wars run, Marc with his mask off sees a regular Bedlam House with cruel orderlies who give him electro-shock therapy and other tortures. Moon Knight with his mask on sees jackal demons running a prison in Neo-Egypt.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The entirety of Jeff Lemire's run builds up to and ends with Marc and his alters killing Khonshu, freeing themselves of his negative influence (don't worry about whether he's an actual Egyptian god or a representation of Marc's mental illness for now). Max Bemis's run inexplicably revives him with little to no explanation as to why he's back and serving as the ringleader of the system again. Or why he's benevolent once more. According to Jed MacKay's run, the benevolence was because Marc's system had put Khonshu in his place for a while, but how he came back remains unexplained.
  • Unreliable Narrator: It's often unclear if what we are seeing is what's actually happening or just hallucinated by Moon Knight. His powers, Khonshu's existence, etc. are mostly left to the reader to decide if it's all real or not.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Echo is killed by Count Nefaria, Moon Knight's Wolverine 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.
  • Villain Episode: The final issue of Warren Ellis's run revolves around Ryan Trent, the new Black Spectre.
  • Walking Armory: 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 a truncheon that can become a grappling hook or nunchuks, and "crescent darts", shurikens 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Wolverine alter outright destroying his other alters.
    • Issue 6 of the Ellis run; Black Spectre launches an all-out attack on Moon Knight.
    • Just three issues later, in Issue #9, Moon Knight's psychiatrist manages to convince Khonshu to work with her rather than Marc.
    • Issue 5 of the All-New All Different series. It appears that Marc Spector has committed suicide, paving the way for Khonshu to completely take over his body and trap Steven Grant and Jake Lockley elsewhere.
    • Issue 14: Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, and Moon Knight kill Khonshu.
    • Issue 3 of Bemis's run ends on the reveal that Marc and Marlene have a young daughter.
  • Wham Line: From Issue 15 of the Marvel NOW! run. After slaying a boogyman type creature who would slaughter children in their sleep, Marc hears the dying monster whispering something.
    Creature: Why have you forsaken me, Khonshu?
  • 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.