Comics

Spider-Man and Moon Knight: Not So Different, You and I

These two heroes have more in common than you might expect!

INFINITY WARS: ARACHKNIGHT #1, on shelves now, combines Moon Knight and Spider-Man into a single character. On the surface, it feels like an odd choice. Spider-Man, the wisecracking little guy who wholesale rejects deadly force, and Moon Knight, the angry, wildly violent vigilante who has more money than he could spend in a lifetime. On what world would they end up the same person?

However, a deeper look reveals the Lunar Crusader and the Friendly Neighborhood Webslinger have more in common than you might initially expect.

The Original Sin

Spider-Man catches criminal who killed Uncle Ben

At the heart of both Peter Parker and Marc Spector’s respective searches for justice lies an original sin. For Spector, the life before he donned the robes of Khonshu had been spent spilling blood for money. The knowledge of how his mercenary past gave him the ability to lead a rich man’s life is a guilt that drives his every punch.

Parker has an even more personal stain on his heart. As we all know, early on, Spidey’s powers left him arrogant and removed. While still in that state of mind, he failed to stop a common thief from escaping security. That thief became the man we know as The Burglar, the criminal who broke into the Parker home and ended up killing Uncle Ben during a robbery attempt. Knowing he could have stopped his uncle’s killer long in advance if not for his own entitlement informs every moment Spider-Man dons the webs.

A Deep Mysticism

Moon Knight kneels before Konshu

Spider-Man, for years, appeared to be the result a random stroke of luck – good or bad, depending on your viewpoint. Peter Parker just happened to be closest to the machine when a dying radioactive spider escaped and, in its last moments, bit him. However, in recent years, it has turned out that Parker connects to a vast “web” of history that has seen many heroes empowered by spiders step forward to help the helpless. In turn, additionally, many of those heroes have fallen before the vampiric Morlun and his family as food to fuel their seeming immortality.

Moon Knight, on the other hand, pretty clearly had mystical underpinnings from jump. Raised from the dead by an Egyptian deity and given powers to right wrongs with his new life, Spector came out of that pyramid a markedly changed man. It should be noted, though, that those mystical roots have deepened in time for him as well as Khonshu has become an increasingly present and verbal factor in Spector’s adventures in and out of costume.

Ambivalence About Violence

Both heroes have struggled with the role of violence in their work, albeit in different directions. Spider-Man frequently wonders if, perhaps, he should be more brutal. In fact, sometimes he even has embraced that impulse, although it always proves short-lived. Meanwhile, Moon Knight has long openly contemplated who horrifyingly far his thirst for vengeance takes him. Also, as with the Webhead, his laments at his choices rarely lead to real change. As soon as he finds himself fighting crime once again, MK’s embrace of violence is full and complete.

A Powerful Will

Spider-Man lifts rubble

Neither Moon Knight nor Spider-Man are the most powerful in the game. While both boast some kind of super strength and other heightened abilities, you would be hard pressed to put them at the top of any “Fastest,” “Strongest,” or “Most Powerful” lists. However, both have a tremendous gift for stubbornness and rejecting the idea of quitting. Whether it is being buried under a building’s worth of rubble or wrestling a super-powered werewolf, both cannot stomach the idea of simply giving in and letting fate take them. They may end up bruised, bloody, or broken, but while they still draw breath, they will soldier on.

A Multitude of Multiples

Moon Knight sure does live his life as several different people. A Super Hero or a brutal force of a god’s vengeance, a rich man or a cabbie. Sometimes, seemingly, all at once. His identities, seemingly, only can be exceeded by his dry cleaning bills.

Spider-Man does not keep his identities on an ongoing basis, but has, from time to time, had to create some alternative alter egos. Most prominently, he became Hornet, Prodigy, Dusk, and Ricochet so he can operate in plain sight to clear his own name without drawing undue attention.

A Crisis of Identity

Moon Knight Multiple Personalities

Of course, as night follows day, so do identity crises follow those with multiple identities.

For Spider-Man, it actually had nothing to do with his quartet of alter egos mentioned above. No, it happened because, for a brief time, it appeared Peter Parker had been a clone for years while the real Peter lived in exile as Ben Reilly. While the break happened only ever-so-briefly, Parker presented as violent and unaware of his surrounding during it.

In MK’s case, the whole thing has more of “slow-motion car crash” feel. Despite the identities being entirely his own conscious creations, he often loses the proverbial script. As a result, he sometimes forgets that Marc Spector has always been his real identity and the rest are just tools in his war on crime.

Team Members but Not Team Players

The Fist of Khonshu and the Wallcrawler have both been Avengers at various times in their career. They have carried the cards, responded to the call, and fought alongside others as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. However, they also feel more comfortable as individual heroes and with short-term team-ups. It is not that they dislike the Avengers, but rather that they both struggle with their feelings of worthiness and one being able to turn off their guilt long enough to not try and do it all themselves.

No Business Like Show Business

Oddly enough, both heroes have shown an attraction to the entertainment industry. Spider-Man, early on, thought he could parlay his newfound abilities into cash and a lifetime in the spotlight. He seemed well on his way until Uncle Ben’s death, winning wrestling competitions and making some television appearances. However, when Ben died, Parker felt he could no longer squander his powers simply to be famous.

Moon Knight, meanwhile, has long used his alter ego Steven Grant, to dabble in film and television production. Like Spider-Man, his life as a crime fighter takes precedence, but unlike Spidey, MK finds himself back in Hollywood giving it all another try.

They’ve Already Shared a Body?!

Moon Knight consults with the Avengers

Well, sort of.

Moon Knight went west to make movies. During that time he also teamed up with Echo to take down Count Nefaria, who had decided to make himself a kind of West Coast Kingpin. MK, throughout, received advice from Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine. Except none of those heroes ever actually spoke to him. Rather, the voices in his head took on their personas. So while ARACHKNIGHT #1 will be the first time we truly have seen a Spider-Man/Moon Knight hybrid, Marc Spector has one before been able to so accurately imagine what Spider-Man would tell him, it seemed as though Spider-Man was sharing his body.

INFINITY WARS: ARACHKNIGHT #1, written by Dennis Hopeless with art by Alé Garza (pencils) and Victor Olazaba (ink), is now available online and at your local comic shop!