Reading Moon Knight’s origin story is more like reading a man’s slow decent into madness than it is your a-typical superhero mythos. It has been said that Moon Knight is nothing more than the poor man’s Batman, and while there are plenty of similarities, the main difference is this: Moon Knight is completely insane. Sure, you could make the argument that Bruce Wayne is not firing on all cylinders and suffers from a number of psychological disorders, but compared to Moon Knight, he is the very picture of sanity.
From his very first appearance, we know that something is up with Marc Spector aka Moon Knight. He is described as a “Soldier of fortune, mercenary, veteran of three African wars, five South American revolutions. Brief flirtation with the CIA, weapons expert, versatile practitioner of virtually all the martial arts, ex-prizefighter, marine commando for eight years prior to beating a lieutenant within an inch of his life… et cetera.” That’s a direct quote and it ends with “et cetera” which can imply that there is more! Who would have the time to do all that? Anyone of those things, with the exception of beating a man within an inch of his life, could serve as an occupation for a single person. And, while we’re on the subject, how the hell is someone a soldier of fortune and a mercenary? Is there a difference? Aren’t those two titles for the same thing?
Anyway, fast forward some, and Marc Spector is doing some mercenary/soldier of fortune work in Sudan with a guy named Bushman. Marc becomes horrified by Bushman’s brutality and treatment of the civilians in the country, which should not have come as any surprise, since Bushman has a giant skull tattooed on his face and has had his teeth replaced with steel fangs.
After witnessing Bushman bite a dude’s throat off and then order the execution of an entire town worth of people, Marc decides he’s had enough. You see, the dude who got his throat bit off just so happened to be an archeologist who had recently discovered a huge tomb filled with all sorts of treasure, and the Bushman wants to find tomb and melt all its contents down for gold. Apparently, Bushman is unaware of the value of such artifacts, which would no doubt be much greater than whatever gold you melted out of them, but hey, whatever. Marc, a self-described soldier of fortune, is not ok with all this violence being done in the name of profit and helps the archeologist’s daughter escape and then attacks Bushman, who throughly kicks his ass and leaves him for dead in the middle of the desert.
Now, up until this point, one could make a case that Marc Spector was slightly mentally unstable. His violent tendencies have led him to nearly every paid occupation that involves killing or hurting other people. However, once Bushman drops him off in the middle of the desert, whatever ounce of stability Marc had left melts away.
Marc wonders through the extreme heat with no water or food and eventually “dies”. We can’t know for sure if he dies, because we only have the word a random dude named Jallad who briefly listens to Marc’s chest and pronounces him dead. In a stroke of luck, Marc managed to walk to the tomb that everyone wants to find so badly before he collapsed and “died” and this is where his body is discovered by apparent medical expert Jallad and the daughter of the murdered archeologist.
Suddenly, Marc bursts back to life with a new-found knowledge of Khonshu, the Moon god known as The Taker of Vengeance. Now, with a new-found sense of, I don’t know, vengeance I guess, Moon Knight is born! Marc throws on a cape and heads back to town, ready to throw down.
Marc hunts down Bushman, shuts down his operation and murders literally all of the mercenary gang that he once belonged to. All of them except Bushman, of course, who escapes and disappears.
Marc then moves to New York City, invents two new identities and becomes a millionaire. Counting Moon Knight, he now has four personas, and spends his time being super rich, driving a taxicab, picking up the odd mercenary job and fighting crime as Moon Knight.
This is only the beginning of course, and there is much more to the prizefighter/mercenary/taxicab driver/ millionaire/crime fighter known as Moon Knight.
More to come as Moon Knight Month continues…