With the premiere of Moon Knight on our doorsteps, we put together some of our favorite stories featuring the Marvel hero to check out before the premiere of the series this week on Disney+. From a look into Marc Spector’s complicated life and struggle with dissociative identity disorder to his relationship with the being Khonshu to his adventures with the West Coast Avengers, here are the four Moon Knight stories we recommend reading before the new series comes out!
Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic (2016)
By Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, Jordie Bellaire, Cory Petit
The more trailers and clips I watch from Disney+’s Moon Knight series, the more convinced I am that Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s MK run is among its biggest influences. Subtitled “Lunatic,” the story digs into Marc Spector’s struggles with reality as he questions whether the aspect of Khonshu is part of a highly elaborate psychosis or if it really is an ancient force who’s really using him as its vessel. Lemire treats Spector’s mental health with the nuance it deserves and it never pulls any cheap shots with it. Smallwood’s art, though, steals the spotlight. It gives the story a supernatural neo-noir feel that adds layers of meaning and texture to the characters. Spector is confronted with the possibility of multiple personalities across different times, all tied to Khonshu’s own experience with different vessels, and it threatens to unravel the psychological supports he’s built in to help keep his sanity in place. I see a lot of that in the MK trailers and think Lemire and Smallwood’s run will prove essential to the show’s success. — Ricardo Serrano
Moon Knight (2021)
By Jed MacKay, Alessandro Cappuccio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit
The 2021 Moon Knight run spun out of the “Age of Khonshu” storyline in the main Avengers series. In the most recent Marc Spector-starring series, Moon Knight has opened the Midnight Mission to defend all those who travel by night (and yes, that also means vampires and wererat-type demons à la Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter). Spector’s Dissociative Identity Disorder is under control in this arc, and instead, MacKay and Cappuccio explore how Spector’s brain has been changed by its contact with a deity—the Midnight Mission’s high priest’s brain structure has been fundamentally changed by its contact with Khonshu. This run also explores why Spector felt betrayed enough by the Jewish faith to accept Khonshu’s offer, introduces the second Fist of Khonshu, the Egyptian Dr. Badr, and brings Tigra (Greer Nelson) back into the ex-WCA Avenger’s life (and good thing too). — Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Moon Knight #188-200
As I wrote in my column last week, there’s only one Moon Knight run that I’ve read in its entirety, but writer Max Bemis’ 12-issue tenure is an underrated triumph. It’s funny, badass, and full of well-placed emotional gut punches. Bemis, like Moon Knight himself, both is Jewish and struggles with mental illness, and the series leans into those facets of the characters’ identity with a boldness rarely expected in corporate superhero comics. The art is also fantastic throughout, with even MK veterans Jeff Lemire and Bill Sienkiewicz making guest appearances for the landmark 200th issue. My only complaint is that it ended so soon, but at least it makes for an immensely satisfying all-in-one-sitting read. — Gregory Paul Silber
West Coast Avengers (1987 – 1989)
By Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom, Joe Sinnott, Tom Orzechowski, Paul Becton (#27), Tom DeFalco, Ralph Macchio, Tom Morgan, Ken Lopez, Gregory Wright (#41), and many more on the issues between.
In WCA #27, Moon Knight begins to walk a path that leads to his joining the Southern California-based team! But in WCA #41, an exorcism performed by Hellstrom sees two spirit versions of the Phantom Rider duking it out. Hellstrom performs another exorcism, this time forcing Khonshu to vacate Moon Knight and battle the spirits. The deity had wanted to experience being a superhero, so he eclipsed Spector’s personality with his own and used his body to become an Avenger. But after #41, Khonshu feels that his need for the experience has been fulfilled, leaving Moon Knight to be but “flesh and blood in [his] service.” Khonshu subsequently goes to fight Seth in another dimension while Moon Knight quits the team; membership was Khonshu’s idea, not his. Given that those other members of the WCA’s roster at various eras (Hawkeye(s), Hank Pym, Mockingbird, the Scarlet Witch, and Vision) are all currently active in the MCU, this storyline could provide fodder for Moon Knight’s upcoming adventures… Particularly since the character is rumored to continue appearing on screen for the next decade. — Avery Kaplan