First Appearances: Moon Knight
Celebrate this week's Moon Knight #200 with a look back at the character's debut!
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Every week, we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to celebrate a major character's first appearance in the hallowed halls of the House of Ideas.
One of the most unique Marvel Legacy launches last year had to be the return of MOON KNIGHT. Among the House of Ideas' most haunting heroes, Marc Spector and his many alter-egos have gone on quite a journey in recent months. And this week, this multifaceted man reaches a merry milestone with MOON KNIGHT #200!
To mark this brainy bicentennial bash, we just had to go back and look at Moon Knight's equally unique debut in the pages of WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32 from 1975.
Before jumping into the story itself, here's a quick breakdown of the eponymous lycanthrope. At the age of 18, Jack Russell inherited the curse of the wolf from his father. When he turned into the beast, Jack's consciousness receded while the monster took over. He spent much of his time with his pal Buck Cowan, sister Lissa, and the witch known as Topaz (who was most recently seen in the pages of DOMINO). Written by Doug Moench and drawn by Don Perlin and Howard Perlin, the tale began with this new masked man beating Jack Russell's furry alter-ego handily, thanks in part to a bevy of silver-covered weapons.
The story then shifts back to where all this began, starting with a flashback to the previous issue wherein the wolf attacked Jack's friend Buck, nearly killing him. After returning to normal, Russell was furious with himself and returned to his stepfather's house...only to have Moon Knight standing there waiting for him to arrive.
Within that flashback, Moon Knight—AKA Marc Spector—explained how he came to the house. He'd appeared before the board of a group called the Committee. They listed his history as a mercenary, weapons expertm and hand-to-hand fighter before presenting him with the Moon Knight costume and requesting the delivery of the Werewolf By Night in exchange for a nice pile of cash.
After hearing the story, Moon Knight intended to finish the job, so Jack ran while his stepdad distracted the hooded one, which led to the fight that began the issue. Meanwhile, Spector's man Frenchie broke into Buck's hospital and kidnapped Jack's sister Lissa and his companion Topaz.
By the end of the issue, Moon Knight knocked the beast out and dragged the unconscious body to Frenchie's helicopter, which also held the tied-up women. In the following issue, they flew off with Moon Knight draping Jack over a rung of the chopper's drop-down ladder. The move proved foolish though, when the wolf woke up and got back into it with his attacker.
Following a fall into the water and an extended brawl on the docks, the sun rose and Jack returned in place of his dark side, which gave Spector a chance to kick him into unconsciousness. Marc then presented the human Russell as well as the women to the Committee, but they refused to pay him until they could absolutely prove the young man's identity when the full moon came up that night.
Already peeved, Moon Knight finally flipped the script on the Committee after they revealed their intentions to keep Russell as a weapon to unleash as they pleased. Pleas from Lissa, Topaz, and Jack himself also seemed to help as Spector used his reinforced suit to smash open the wolf's cage post-transformation.
Though some residual anger still existed in the wolf towards the knight, they worked well together in their efforts to take on the assembled Committee members. Then, from a high perch, Spector looked down on the fleeing wolf and wished him luck finding whatever he searched for while holding that stack of cash he was owed.
Moon Knight would become a somewhat regular guest star in the subsequent years, showing up in DEFENDERS and PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN before eventually getting his first solo series in 1980.
MOON KNIGHT #200 cover by Becky Cloonan
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