Normally, for the semi-regular Character Corner, we feature popular superheroes in the public eye, or perhaps those that are soon to be featured in one of the many movies or television shows that are currently being produced. But this time we’re going to take a look at a lesser-known hero in marvel’s catalogue: the cloaked and supernatural Moon Knight!
Marc Spector’s father Elias, a Jewish Rabbi, escaped to America when Hitler’s army invaded Czechoslovakia. His son was born in the US, and Marc’s mother died soon afterward. As a child, Marc was upset that his father never fought against persecution, and ended up leaving home to become a professional fighter. After punching his father for entering a ring during a fight, Marc enlisted in the US Marines. After two tours of duty he became a field agent with the C.I.A., and worked with a number of people, including his brother Randall, whom he killed after exposing a gun-running scheme.
Afterward, Spector became a soldier-for-hire and met Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp; the two traveled the world taking a variety of jobs. They eventually worked for a Sudanese man named Raoul Bushman. Bushman massacred a village and killed an old and friendly archaeologist named Peter Alraune, and Spector revolted. Running to safety with Alraune’s daughter Marlene into the Egyptian tomb Bushman had been searching for; he challenged Bushman and was mortally wounded. Marlene and the work crew laid him to rest underneath and idol of Khonshu, the Egyptian god of vengeance. Khonshu appeared before Spector’s vision and promised him a renewed chance at life in exchange for acting as the deity’s avatar.
Bushman himself escaped, but Spector captured his men and began his life as the heroic Moon Knight. He, Frenchie, and Marlene moved to New York, taking the idol, and began to fight crime using a costume, equipment, and his personal fortune. He began to develop multiple personas, useful in his life as a crime-fighter, and his original personage of Marc Spector became fractured, weak, and small. He fought a variety of criminals until Bushman re-appeared, paying Midnight Man, a common foe, destroy Moon Knight’s idol of Khonshu. Since Moon Knight believed the idol granted him his powers (strength, agility, speed, as well as others) he lost his self-control and was threatened with the idea of being consumed with his multiple personalities until Marlene produced another idol, which she said was the original.
Spector’s high-stress life began to take a serious toll, and, after the death of his estranged father (and, natch, the fight with a Kaballah-powered villain named Zohar that used his father’s body as a power source), suffered a mental breakdown due to his many multiple personalities. He decided to abandon them, settle down with Marlene, and attempt to find a measure of peace.
This, of course, wouldn’t last, and Moon Knight re-appeared when he went to Egypt and met with three ancient priests of Khonshu, who granted him new weapons. He joined the West Coast Avengers, but he never felt truly welcome in the group. He soon returned to New York and continued fighting crime on a non-cosmic level (which had been a worrying trend, including time travel, the ghost of murdered villains haunting a team member, and the aforementioned ancient priests), choosing to rely on human ingenuity and strength over mystical powers.
But: He underwent a near-death experience, found his brother Randall was still alive, and that Randall had been trying to take over the spot of Moon Knight – at one point taking the powers for himself. Randall Spector, known as Shadowknight, was defeated by Spector and the Punisher.
After his headquarters at Spectorcorp was destroyed, Moon Knight was killed. Khonshu wasn’t finished with him, however, and brought him back to life. An attack by Seth, another Egyptian deity, using Bushman and other villains on the UN brought national attention to Moon Knight, he would help Black Panther reunite with his own patron deity Bath, and he even gave up mistrust of teams to try and bring in the Punisher, due to the latter’s increasing brutality.
Marc Spector’s fragmented life became worse after finally killing one of his personal demons, Raoul Bushman, in combat. The battle left him with broken knees, and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. One of his alternate personalities, Jake Lockley, became the dominant one, and this tenure of Moon Knight was a struggle against his violent nature; he was hounded by a small, imaginary tormentor, a man in a Moon Knight costume with a bird’s skull who goaded him to kill.
Some time later, Moon Knight went to Mars with the Secret Avengers.
Later still, Moon Knight’s fragile mental state shattered completely. Approached by Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man in Los Angeles, he was told villains were congregating in the area. Moon Knight investigated, and found Mr. Hyde, a shape-shifting villain, selling an Ultron head. Moon Knight was able to recover the head, and gave it back to the three heroes that had approached him originally. Unbeknownst to him, however, the three heroes are mere hallucinations. Believing himself to be Spider-Man, Spector, confronted the criminal Snapdragon. His Wolverine personality took control halfway through the fight, but he was defeated.
Slowly, Moon Knight comes to realize the full strength of his multiple personalities and, after moving back to New York, discovered with the help of a psychologist that he did not, in fact, have what is known as dissociative identity disorder, but instead his mind had been “colonized” by Khonshu since becoming Moon Knight. Khonshu’s four aspects took on the alternate personalities that manifested, and these apparent personalities were Spector’s brain’s way of making sense of the intrusion. His psychologist, Ellisa Warsame, used hypnosis to remove Khonshu, but took the powers for herself, leaving him in an undisclosed prison. He was blamed for the actions Warsame committed, but defeated her and regained Khonshu’s power.
While Moon Knight’s strength, endurance, and reflexes are enhanced depending on the phase of the moon, he is also a superbly-skilled fighter (both unarmed and with weapons) thanks to his years in the marines, as well as a driver, pilot, and – thanks in part to his multiple personalities – can resist mental manipulation and psychic attacks. At the current time, Moon Knight has stated he has no supernatural powers. Who knows if he’s telling the truth.
Thanks for reading! Come back next week for more fun superhero and costume information!