The Khonshu Conspiracy
by Phil Perich for the Capes and Lunatics Blog
The Marvel Comics character Moon Knight has been on my mind lately. The character has a new series as part of the Marvel Legacy event, which has me reading all his back issues along with some Black Panther and Daredevil. I also mention almost weekly on the Capes and Lunatics podcast that I believe it would be a grave injustice if Moon Knight is not the next Marvel character to get a Netflix series. Just the other day it occurred to me that Moon Knight might not be all that he seems. One of the only major Marvel characters that hasn’t been replaced even temporarily by a new character and has probably gone through more changes than any other hero. My theory? That “Marc Spector”, Moon Knight is actually Khonshu, the Egyptian deity that Moon Knight originally strove to serve.
Consider the origin of Moon Knight. Former Marine and then mercenary Marc Spector along with his friend Frenchie are working with the violent Raoul Bushman when they come across an archaeological dig in an Egyptian tomb. Looking for artifacts to loot, Bushman kills archaeologist Peter Alraune. When Marc attempts to protect Alraune’s daughter Marlene, Bushman kills him and leaves him for dead. Marc is then resurrected after having a vision of the Egyptian Moon god Khonshu. Khonshu makes Marc agree to be his personal avatar on Earth. But what if this is actually Khonshu himself? Instead of working through an avatar, what if Khonshu decides to take the form of Marc Spector? Is it anymore of a farfetched idea than an Egyptian deity bringing this mercenary back to life? And Marlene ends up falling in love and having an on again off again and on again relationship with Marc over the years? Why would this woman fall in love with a man who came bursting into her life in the company of murderers, especially ones who killed her father. Did she see the good in Marc when he chose to defend her? Or was it subtle manipulation by Khonshu?
Werewolf By Night
The first time Moon Knight appeared in comics was in Werewolf By Night issue #32 (August 1975). He was originally written as a villain who was hired by the group called The Committee to hunt down Jack Russell the werewolf for them. After battling the creature, Moon Knight eventually turns on his employers to save the werewolf. Moon Knight proves to be so popular a character he is brought back as a hero in Marvel Spotlight issue #28 (June 1976). His first villainous appearance is explained when he claims to have been operating undercover to bust The Committee and bring them to justice. Convenient plot point or perhaps the otherworldly Khonshu deciding to walk the path of the hero after trying villainy and quickly becoming bored with it?
Defenders, Avengers, and The Fist of Khonshu
Moon Knight would go on to team up with heroes like Ben Grimm The Thing, Spider-Man, and a short partnership with the Defenders before getting his own ongoing series. Around this time Moon Knight supposedly had limited super strength and endurance depending on the phases of the moon. This was explained away by a bite from the werewolf in their previous encounter. But I believe this is again Khonshu playing with his own new existence. The effect supposedly just “fades away”, however I believe after a limited time using it, Khonshu saw this as a “cheat” and wanted to exist as a more human hero and being. After the end of his ongoing series, Moon Knight appeared in the Fist of Khonshu six issue series where he is summoned by the Cult of Khonshu and given new weaponry and is even physically inhabited by Khonshu. Does this disprove my theory or is it actually Khonshu seeking to bring more of his power to the surface? After the end of Fist of Khonshu, Moon Knight joins the West Coast Avengers and is fully taken over by Khonshu. Eventually Khonshu give back control to Marc, who decides to leave the team. Again, another hole in my theory or was Khonshu temporarily allowing his true, full nature to rise to the surface?
Marc Spector: Moon Knight/Resurrection Wars
After his time with the West Coast Avengers, Moon Knight went back to his friends and his own solo series again. Marc Spector: Moon Knight ran for 60 issues and I think provided more clues to the hero’s hidden, otherworldly nature. During an encounter with Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin, Moon Knight is infected with a demonic virus. While most humans would die quickly, Moon Knight was able to survive months with the supernatural sickness thanks to his “new armor” holding him together. Again I believe since Moon Knight is actually Khonshu who is much more than human, he was able to survive until he could purge himself of the virus. And the series ends with Moon Knight appearing to once again die, but again he is resurrected in the Resurrection War four issue miniseries in 1998. After his return, Moon Knight, his methods, and his entire story go back to the status quo of his original ongoing series. Is this due to returning writer Doug Moench who wrote the original ongoing series or Khonshu seeking a familiar reset after his latest death and return to mortal form? “Marc Spector” even returns to life appearing in the remains of the exploded statue of Khonshu himself.
Early Retirement, Vengeance, and Bendis
2006 saw the return of another new Moon Knight series. The first issue opens with Marc Spector daydreaming of the glory days, before he became injured and addicted to painkillers. Moon Knight eventually returns when a new version of The Committee attempts to kill him with the help of a mysterious figure called The Profile, who can “read” someone’s whole life just by looking at them. My Khonshu theory strengthens here with two points. “Marc Spector’s” ruined knees are mentioned for awhile, but the plot is eventually dropped. New writers forgetting or not wanting the injuries as part of their story? I believe it was Khonshu eventually making his mortal shell whole again, maybe even on an unconscious level. And The Profile? He was terrified of Moon Knight because he couldn’t read him, because Moon Knight was actually the cosmic level being Khonshu in my opinion. After 30 issues Moon Knight received a ten issue series titled Vengeance of the Moon Knight. This series portrayed Moon Knight as much more of a super hero again, less violent and more involved in the superhero community. And through both these series we see visions of Khonshu telling “Marc” to commit acts of violence in his name to worship him. I believe this is Khonshu’s mind trying to integrate every aspect of himself into a new whole or mortality taking it’s toll on the ancient, powerful being. And in writer Brian Michael Bendis’s 12 issue run, instead of the Marc Spector, Steve Grant and Jake Lockley identities in Moon Knight’s head, the hero saw Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. Khonshu trying to learn new ways to be a hero?
Marvel Now/All New, All Different
2014 saw the premiere of yet another Moon Knight series. This time Moon Knight was acting as the protector of “the travelers of the night”, any innocent who found themselves outside and exposed during the night, even confronting some supernatural elements. Coincidence or spirits attracted to a higher being in mortal disguise? And in the 2016 series, Moon Knight appears to be trapped in a mental institution, but also has visions of being TV producer Steve Grant and fighting werewolves on the moon. A breakdown of Khonshu’s mortal shell or an attack from another plane. Moon Knight also seemed to travel to the Overvoid, the supposed plane of existence that several higher beings originated from, including Khonshu. Khonshu even tells “Marc” he was able to control him because of his weak mind. Is this Khonshu’s immortal self telling his mortal self it’s time to quit? Or die again?
And finally in the current Moon Knight series (starting at issue #188, combining the numbering of all the previous series) Moon Knight’s status quo appears to be back to “normal”, with Moon Knight acting as a superhero and all three personalities working together in his head. But his new enemy is a mental patient with powers who believes he is also a higher being, the Sun King Ra, the opposing force of Khonshu. Another insane supervillain or the actual deity he claims to be, perhaps tired of Khonshu acting the part of a mortal man. And what of Marlene’s child? Moon Knight has discovered that his errant personality Jake Lockley has carried on a secret affair with his former girlfriend for years and that they have a child together. What powers or abilities could this child possess if the father is Khonshu?
I think I have laid out more than enough evidence to prove my point. Marc Spector died that day in the Egyptian tomb and Khonshu assumed his form and identity from that day forward. Perhaps it also explains why Marlene has stayed around this dangerous, erratic man for years even when she has tried to leave him many times. Perhaps Khonshu affects the behavior of those around him or even alters reality on subtle levels. Let me know what YOU think!
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