This article contains potential Moon Knight and MCU spoilers.
Moon Knight is on the way to Disney+ and he’s one of the late-in-the-game characters introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has fans excited. While many Marvel fans looked at the coming of the Eternals with a confused shrug, Moon Knight gets a celebrated, “Finally!” It’s genuinely surprising that this guy never showed up to be part of the Netflix Defenders crew because he feels right at home with all the gritty street level heroes.
Moon Knight is regularly compared to Batman, albeit with a mysterious mix of the psychological and supernatural making up his identity. And sure, Batman sometimes dips his toes into that kind of thing, but in the end, we know what we’re getting with Batman: a billionaire playboy who dresses as a masked vigilante and occasionally goes undercover as a low-level criminal. You can argue about which identity is the true disguise, but otherwise Batman is pretty straightforward.
You don’t quite know what you’re getting with Moon Knight. Is he truly the herald of an Egyptian god, or is he just imagining it all? Are his aliases part of his mission to punish evil and extract vengeance, or is he trying to make sense of his mental disorder? How does Marc Spector coexist with himself?
Many different writers have tackled Moon Knight over the years and there have been various takes on what his deal is. Certain writers have outright confirmed Khonshu as being real because comic book fiction always has to make the fantastic possible. It’s like the cliché of somebody saying, “There’s no such thing as ghosts!” before a ghost appears. The nature of Marc’s identities also differs as one may say he gets too into character while another may say him cosplaying as Batman is his way of making sense of his Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The trailers for the Disney+ Moon Knight TV series have leaned heavily on one of these identities, in case you’ve been wondering why Oscar Isaac is speaking in that absurd chimney-sweep accent. The latest Super Bowl trailer leaned into it, too.
There’s a story reason for it, and we’ll help you make sense of it. Here are the different faces of Moon Knight…
At the core is Marc Spector – some might refer to him as the “host” identity. Marc joined the marines at a young age, which trained him in combat. After being discharged, he moved on to becoming a mercenary. He lived the mercenary life for several years alongside his close confidant Jean-Paul DuChamp, otherwise known as “Frenchie.” Unfortunately, he also worked closely with Raoul Bushman, a more skilled merc with an overly sadistic streak. Marc and Bushman ended up clashing due to Marc’s sense of honor, which ended very badly for Marc.
Or did it? Horribly injured and dying, Spector was brought in front of a statue depicting Khonshu, the Egyptian Moon God of Vengeance. Khonshu offered him life and strength in return for being his avatar. Whether it was real or just a hallucination, Spector miraculously healed from his injuries and sought revenge on Bushman and monsters like him.
But a mercenary can only do so much against the criminal element.
A caped vigilante jumping across rooftops, using gadgets (including logo-based boomerangs), and putting the fear of God into criminals. Moon Knight is basically Batman, albeit dressed in all white because he wants you to see him coming. Plus it helps with the whole full-moon-contrasted-with-the-night motif.
While Batman has the Bat Wing, Moon Knight’s aircraft of choice is the Angel Wing (and sometimes the Moon Copter). Usually, he has Frenchie piloting the Angel Wing so that Moon Knight can rope down and punch bad guys. Frenchie is sort of his Alfred Pennyworth, only his history of being a badass soldier type is in the forefront instead of being treated as a footnote.
What really separates Moon Knight from Batman is how brutal he tends to be at times. Not only is he a bit more reckless due to his tolerance for battle damage, choosing to take punches that he could otherwise dodge, but there have been times when he was outright ruthless to criminals. Maybe he wouldn’t kill them, but he would mutilate them. Even the Punisher was wondering if he was alright.
Moon Knight arguably has enhanced strength based on the cycle of the moon. Depending on how real the writer depicts Khonshu, it’s either Moon Knight’s superpower or it’s just psychosomatic like Dumbo’s feather.
Kicking ass as the Fist of Khonshu necessitates resources and a lot of money. Bruce Wayne was born into a solution to that, but Marc Spector created his own by becoming Steven Grant. Grant is a businessman who mixed Spector’s mercenary earnings with some sound investments to become a billionaire playboy.
Of the little we know about the Moon Knight show, they’re going in a different direction with Grant. Instead of being a fake Bruce Wayne, he’s a timid dork working in a museum gift shop with an English accent that Oscar Isaac has all but confirmed is intentionally awful. The trailer leans more into how this is a separate rather than necessary identity, but time will tell if and how he is part of Khonshu’s greater plan.
If you’re going to beat up the criminal element, it helps to have an ear on the criminal element. For Batman, it was his occasional disguise, Matches Malone. For Moon Knight, it’s cabbie Jake Lockley. As Jake, he can mingle with the kind of people who would never trust the likes of Spector or Grant without anyone being the wiser. He’s also able to make contacts with people on the street who can get some information that would otherwise be impossible for the other personalities to come by. Jake is also a reminder that Marc’s identities are capable of hiding huge things from him: Jake even managed to start a family and raise a daughter without Marc having a clue.
Jake is supposed to be the “lowly” one, so considering how the MCU version of Steven Grant is being treated, we’ll see where they go with him. And yes, this is the identity that is speaking in all of the Moon Knight trailers so far. Jake isn’t British in the comics, and the show has moved him from being a cabbie to a museum employee, but nevertheless, this is your guy.
Why should all of Marc Spector’s personalities just be unmasked civilians? Why not have a second Moon Knight personality? That’s what the more recent creation, Mr. Knight, is. He isn’t a dashing, caped vigilante scouring the night sky. This masked and dapper personality is more of a consultant to law enforcement. If he had to be compared to Batman, he’d be more like the 1960s Adam West version, I suppose.
Moon Knight is a flamboyant avatar for vengeance. Mr. Knight is a bit more subdued and down-to-earth, even if he’s doing something as ridiculous as punching ghosts. While he can absolutely kick all sorts of ass, Mr. Knight has more focus on playing detective than going all-in on theatrics.
Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine
During a spell of dropping in and out of the Avengers, Marc also started chatting with his own take on the identities of Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine! In the 2011-2012 Moon Knight series by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, Marc is dealing with some street level crime in LA and uses aspects of those three Marvel superheroes’ personalities to decide on his tactics. He also tries adopting their fighting styles and has versions of their weapons made so he can wield them in battle. Unfortunately, Cap, Spidey, and Wolverine’s personalities are larger than life, so Marc struggled to form an equilibrium with them.
In the Ultimate Universe, mainly in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man, Moon Knight was a failed super soldier experiment that caused him to have a fractured psyche. Not only does he have the separate identities of Marc Spector, Steven Grant, and Moon Knight, but a few interesting extras. For instance, one of his identities was simply that of a redhead little girl. Ultimate Moon Knight is less Chevy Chase as Fletch and more James McAvoy as the Horde.
What makes Ultimate Moon Knight very interesting, especially as we dive into another alternate take, is that two of his identities are Ultimate versions of existing characters from the mainstream comic universe. When working for the Roxxon Corporation, he became the hired gun Paladin (a character who has yet to pop up in the MCU). Then Spector created a new identity for the sake of going undercover and joining the Kingpin’s criminal organization: he became Ronin. How about that?