The cowl jumped over the moon â€˜Moony: Rhymes with looneyâ€™
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 09:00
THE BREWER REPORT
The cowl jumped over the moon
‘Moony: Rhymes with looney’
By Byron Brewer
I’ll be honest: I know just a Jeopardy’s worth of trivia on Moon Knight, just enough to get by when the charadter appears as a guest. I was reading Werewolf By Night in 1975 when he made his debut and I read the last few issues of his first book by Doug Moench. Oh, and I was a big supporter of his appearances in both The Defenders and West Coast Avengers because he was so different. (Steve Englehart in WCA just never managed to capture the rogue Batman feel of Moon Knight, unfortunately.)
From the get-go, this tri-identity hero was walking like an Egyptian, with a god named Khonshu looking over his shoulder like All-Father Odin in the first days of Thor’s Journey Into Mystery and enough supporting cast to fill a regular book and three minis.
And ya think DC’s Cowled Crusader is nutso? Bruce Wayne cannot hold a candle to Marc Spector! Or is it Steven Grant? Or is it Jake Lockley? See what I mean? On the question of Moon Knight’s sanity, Spider-Man once remarked, “Moony: Rhymes with looney.” You get the picture.
Yet Moon Knight is set to be one of the undercover assemblers in the military-oriented Secret Avengers book being created by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato. Along with Steve Rogers, Black Widow, Nova, Valkyrie, Beast, War Machine and the Irredeemable Ant-Man, Moon Knight will be globe-hopping on government missions under the scrutiny of SHIELD agent and former Cap squeeze Sharon Carter.
Like Daredevil before him, many readers consider Moon Knight a Batman knockoff – and indeed the similarities can be intellectually compared and contrasted (but not here, not to worry). Suffice it to say that while Bruce Wayne’s Batman is motivated by vengeance for wrong done to his parents, Marc Spector primarily seeks redemption from crimes he himself committed in his mercenary past.
Why return Moon Knight to the Avengers?
Writer Brubaker explained in a recent interview with CBR that “this is Moon Knight in a team book, and I’m using their current version and coordinating with Gregg Hurwitz to make sure nothing I’m doing conflicts with his plans,” he said. “(Moon Knight) is crazy, but he’s also trying to reform, so this fits in with his new ‘I’m going to be a hero’ mode. He thinks, ‘Okay. I’ve been invited to join an Avengers team. That makes sense.’ Of course, it’s a totally messed-up, weird Avengers team. It’s not the Avengers team that’s on TV, but all that works into the story too.
“Also, he has history with Valkyrie because they were both briefly in The Defenders together. He just briefly had some time with her on the Defenders. I’m re-reading a lot of that various stuff right now for some research on all the good guys and bad guys, and I had totally forgot that they were on the Defenders together. Conveniently, I hadn’t yet written them in a scene together where they speak.”
For those like me out of “The Know,” in brief: Born in Chicago, Marc Spector is an American rabbi’s wayward son. As an adult, Spector spends time as a heavyweight boxer, a U.S. Marine and a mercenary. He becomes a skilled combatant and befriends the French pilot Jean-Paul DuChamp, whom he calls “Frenchie.” While the pair work for the African mercenary Raoul Bushman in Egypt, the group stumbles upon an archaeological dig whose crew includes Dr. Peter Alraune and his daughter Marlene. The dig had uncovered an ancient temple where artifacts included a statue of the Egyptian god Khonshu. Intent on looting the dig, Bushman kills Dr. Alraune. In response to Alraune’s murder, Spector challenges Bushman to personal combat but is beaten nearly to death and left to die in the sub-zero temperatures of the desert night.
Nomads who worship the ancient Egyptian gods find Spector and carry him to their temple. Helpless before the statue of Khonshu, Spector's heart stops. Khonshu appears to him in a vision, offering Spector a second chance at life if he becomes the god’s avatar on Earth. Spector awakens, wraps himself with the silver shroud that covers Khonshu’s statue, and again confronts Bushman. He defeats Bushman and returns to America with Marlene Alraune, Frenchie and the statue of Khonshu. Deciding to become a crime-fighter, Spector creates a silver-cloaked costume based on the shroud and becomes Moon Knight.
As you might have guessed, Moon Knight gains enhanced strength, endurance and reflexes at night, reaching his pinnacle during a full moon. He sometimes has prophetic visions as well.
Will Moon Knight fulfil the same role in Steve Rogers’ Secret Avengers that the Dark Knight sometimes does in the Justice League? Who knows? But it will be interesting to see how the creative team keeps this Dissociative Identity Disorder Daredevil on track with his redemption redux while taking orders from the Living Legend of World War II (not to mention Carter).
Secret Avengers #1hits stores May 26!