Now that D23 is finally over and everyone is dissecting all the double lightsaber-filled news, one question is on thousands of peoples’ minds: who the heck is Moon Knight?
Just in case some of you are still unaware, Moon Knight is getting his own live-action series on the upcoming Disney+ streaming service and this is a cause for celebration. For those who don’t know much about the character, go check out this quick primer guide here, but if you’re already familiar with him than you know Moon Knight has a pretty interesting group of supporting characters. Marc Spector and his surroundings have transformed quite a bit since first debuting in 1975, but even he has a core group of companions and antagonists that stick by him in almost every iteration. The name of the show may be Moon Knight, but in order to succeed it clearly needs a group of compelling, interesting characters in addition to the masked-protagonist at the center of everything.
Come learn about the characters that comprise Moon Knight’s corner of the Marvel Universe and how some of them can be adapted to better fit the MCU!
His Best Friend: Frenchie
Jean-Paul Duchamp is probably the closest thing to a best friend Marc Spector actually has. Debuting in the same Werewolf by Night issue that includes Moon Knight’s first appearance, Frenchie had infiltrated the mysterious Committee organization in-order to take it down from the inside. After Moon Knight receives his own series years later, it is revealed that Jean-Paul and Marc actually served as mercenaries together before Marc became Moon Knight, giving the two of them a brotherly connection and shared history. Frenchie goes on to help Marc by developing technology like the Mooncopter (seriously) and reinserting himself in the field to directly help Marc take down his opponents.
An incredibly smooth individual who often goes by the name Monseiur LeBlanc when trying to infiltrate something, Duchamp actually succeeds at stepping away from superheroics for a time. Alongside his partner, he opens a restaurant called En Table and lives a happy, normal life far away from hecticness. Unfortunately, he is pulled back into the explosive lifestyle after Norman Osborne, acting as head of H.A.M.M.E.R. at the time, deduces that he is an accomplice of Moon Knight’s and becomes a target to draw the reclusive hero back out. No matter what aspect of Marc Spector’s life the show decides to adapt, the show runners would be doing the source material a grave disservice if they didn’t incorporate Frenchie in some way.
Recommended Reading: Werewolf by Night #32; Moon Knight (2006) #21-25; Moon Knight (2016) 1-5
The Love of his Life: Marlene Alraune
Alongside Frenchie, Marlene Alraune is the only other character who is a constant presence for the different Moon Knight iterations. An art historian who is the daughter of an esteemed archaeologist, she first meets Marc Spector after he betrays his fellow mercenaries and rescues her from the villainous Bushman. The two of them flee to the United States and she assists and encourages him as he starts his heroic, redemptive career as Moon Knight. Even though she herself doesn’t have any powers, she is a skilled fighter and marksman who isn’t afraid to put herself in danger to help Marc save the day.
Unfortunately, Marlene is a character who seems to be “fridged” or moved around quite a lot just to shake things up. She’s constantly put in danger just to prove a point to Marc and at one point she even miscarriages, providing both her and Marc with another tragic wrinkle in their relationship. While the death of her father likely can’t be removed from her origin, I hope the upcoming series will do a good job of positioning Marlene as a strong character in her own right, in addition to being a supportive shoulder for Marc to cry on or for his opponents to target.
Recommended Reading: Moon Knight (1980) #1; Moon Knight (2016) 1-5, 188-192
The Twisted Brother: Randall Spector
Before gaining enough popularity to sustain his own series, Moon Knight appeared in backup stories taking place in Hulk. In issue 17 in particular, audiences are introduced to Randall Spector, Marc’s estranged brother. Far from having a loving relationship, Marc deduces that his brother is actually the culprit of a string of brutal murders taking place around New York City and is forced to take him down.
Randall and Marc grew up incredibly close and both of them have been called upon at different times to serve as Khonshu’s avatar. Both brothers grew up to join the marines and eventually become mercenaries together, but Marc quickly ends the relationship when he discovers that his brother killed his former girlfriend. A massive fight ensues that ends with Marc believing Randall is dead, but years later he resurfaces in New York and begins murdering random women all over again, forcing his brother to once again confront his unhinged behavior. During the Shadowland crossover that saw a possessed Daredevil take control of Hell’s Kitchen, Randall was transformed into Shadow Knight and told to defeat his brother. Convinced that he is Khonshu’s true avatar and given all of Moon Knight’s powers, the two take part in a massive duel with incredibly personal stakes and hostages’ lives on the line.
Recommended Reading: Hulk (1977) #17 ;Marc Spector: Moon Knight (1989) #35-38; Shadowland: Moon Knight #1-3
The Ferocious Friend: Tigra
Originally referred to as The Cat, Tigra is one of Marvel Comics most classic superheroes. Similar to a Werewolf, Greer Nelson is transformed into a half-woman, half-feline beast as a result of a strange ritual while pursuing HYDRA on a mission. Although a special amulet allows her to transform back and forth between the two forms, she grows so comfortable in her feline form that she eventually stays with it permanently, using her newly acquired abilities to become an Avenger and help the team save the world numerous times. A scrappy fighter who has super strength, speed and agilities, Tigra also has retractable claws that help her cut through her opponents.
Not only is she an interesting character on her own, her relationship with Moon Knight is perfect for adapting to the silver screen. In the comics, both characters spend some time on the West Coast Avengers, a team led by Hawkeye after the superhero group decides it needs more national publicity. While any inclusion of the West Coast Avengers or Tigra would probably wait until season two, Greer Nelson is the perfect character to introduce because she kicks major butt, but she also happens to make Marc’s life more complicated and often alienates him from Marlene as she pulls him on superhero adventures outside his normal life.
Recommended Reading: Giant Size Creatures #1 (1974); West Coast Avengers #27-30; Tigra #1-4 (2002)
The Enraged Copycat: Carson Knowles
Up to a certain point, it’s easy to empathize with Carson Knowles. A disgruntled veteran who returned home to New York City and discovered that his wife and son had left him, Knowles snapped one night while working as a deliveryman after a mugger started harassing him. Embittered with the city that treated him so poorly, Knowles is inspired by Moon Knight’s seeming one-man war on violence and becomes Black Spectre, a dark, mirrored version of the hero who wants to terrorize the public. Part of what makes Knowles such a delightful character is the fact that he is also connected to the city’s political underbelly through his father, and he decides to run as a dark horse candidate for Mayor. Using his Black Spectre persona, Knowles terrorizes local community leaders and precinct bosses to give himself an edge in the election, a twisted take on democracy that may give the Moon Knight show a timely feeling if they choose to pursue similar storylines.
Originally a Vietnam veteran, Carson’ could easily be updated to fit the times. While he has taken on Moon Knight by himself many times, he has also teamed up with villains like Morpheus and Bushman to make things even more complicated for Khonshu’s champion and the city he hates so much.
Recommended Reading: Moon Knight (1980) #25; Moon Knight (2006) #14-19
His Fierce Rival: Bushman
Batman has the Joker, Spider-Man has the Green Goblin and Moon Knight has Bushman. More than any other villain, Bushman should be considered Moon Knight’s nemesis and is intrinsically tied with the character’s origin. Debuting back in Moon Knight #1, Raoul Bushman was a mercenary stationed in Sudan with Marc Spector operating as one of his most trusted accomplices. While out in the desert, Bushman and his group discover Dr. Peter Alraune and his daughter Marlene with a stockpile of recently discovered Egyptian gold. Spector may be a skilled mercenary himself, but watching how Bushman interacts and threatens the Arluanes compels him to stand up for their safety. Instead of overpowering his former boss, he is quickly defeated and left unconscious. It’s in this unconscious state where Marc Spector first interacts with the Egyptian spirit Khonshu and becomes Moon Knight, waking up with enough energy to take Bushman down and save the day. While it’s still unclear how Marvel Studios will adapt Moon Knight’s origin, it’s a safe bet to assume that some variation of this character will be included.
In most depictions, Bushman doesn’t have powers, he’s just an incredibly skilled, capable fighter. An expert marksman whose tactical abilities can draw his opponents to him like prey, he typically has multiple firearms or blades on him and he even sometimes fights wearing metal teeth so he can shred his enemies apart if they get too close.
Recommended Reading: Moon Knight (1980) #1, 9-10; Moon Knight (2006) #2-3; Vengeance of the Moon Knight (2009) #3-6
The Werewolf (By Night)
Moon Knight may be his own character but he actually debuted in another character’s book. When the Comics Code Authority started to loosen up in 1971, Marvel was free to publish more horror comics, including one with a Werewolf in the lead. Part of an ancient bloodline, Jack Russel has the ability to transform into a Werewolf. Constantly on the run in order to keep himself safe, Jack has to deal with the side-effects of turning into a killer beast a few nights a month while simultaneously staying hidden from the villainous organization known as The Committee. It’s the Committee that first pins Werewolf and Moon Knight together, as the organization manipulates Marc Spector into trying to capture the monster. With Blade already confirmed to get his own movie, starring Mahershala Ali, Moon Knight seems like a great place to lay down the foundation for vampires and other creatures to infiltrate the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Outside of a short lived Werewolf by Night volume 2 that ran for six issues in 1998, Jack Russell hasn’t had much of a presence in the Marvel Universe since his first series concluded. For anyone interested in a more bloody, extreme take on the character, a four issue mini-series titled Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf by Night was released on Marvel’s Max imprint in 2009. Thanks to the success of It and the fact that Blumhouse is already hard at work on another Invisible Man film, I have a feeling more classic movie monsters will be making a comeback soon. While Jack Russell isn’t the most iconic werewolf in the world, it’s a smart move for Marvel Studios to introduce their own take on the supernatural concept and Moon Knight is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Recommended Reading: Werewolf by Night (Vol. 1) #32-33, 37