Rogue Roulette – Moon Knight
By Jon Durmin
You belong, you belong, you belong, you’ll belong to the Merry Marvel [616-Politics] Marching Society! Sorry gang, yours truly just couldn’t help himself but to harken back to that halcyon hymnal from Marvel history when I realized that just like the Merry Marvel Marching society of old, today’s installment of Rogue Roulette features not one, not two, but three characters with monikers that begin with the letter “M”. They’re also all mad as hatters. Before we get too far into it, our mighty masked marvel this morning is none other than the mysterious & multidimensional Moon Knight.
Marc Spector is a Chicago born ex-Marine turned mercenary who caught a sudden case of conscience in the middle of a job in a remote corner of Egypt. Betrayed by his fellow mercs, Spector is left for dead under the light of the desert moon and in the shadow of the statue of the ancient Egyptian deity Khonshu. Revived by mystic means & adopting a costume resembling that of Khonshu’s idol, Spector returns to challenge & defeat Bushman. Returning to the US he operates as the costumed vigilante Moon Knight. But Moon Knight isn’t Spector’s only secret identity. He uses a fortune accumulated as a mercenary to take on the role of philanthropist playboy Steven Grant & also works as a cab driver under the guise and blue collar demeanor of Jake Lockley. With all the identity-juggling going around is it any wonder that Moon Knight/Spector/Grant/Lockley was eventually depicted as having dissociative identity disorder (DID, once known in psychological circles and among the general public as multiple personality disorder). Later, Spector traded those other identities to act out the personalities of Captain America, Spider-Man & Wolverine, believing himself to be a one-man Avengers. In the most recently launched Moon Knight series by Warren Ellis (it’s great! the best yet! if you aren’t reading it yet, what are you waiting for?) it is further proposed that Spector DOESN’T suffer from DID after all; as the doctor he consults in the premiere issue of this volume explains, “you don’t just catch DID because you spent too much time pretending to be too many people.” Marc’s doctor goes on to hypothesize that the four personalities Spector seems to have at any given time are a coping mechanism for his acting as host to a supernatural psyche, Khonshu.
Whatever the reason, the fact that he does wear so many masks in the pursuit of his mission to protect travelers at night from injustice makes Moon Knight a compelling figure. As interesting as Moonie is, you’d think he would have a more interesting rogues gallery. Alas, most of his foes to date fall into the basic categories of lack-luster mass murderer or cruel gangster and they tend to have short lifespans. Spector’s former mercenary captain, Raoul Bushman provided an enemy with a personal touch until his demise as did Spector’s estranged brother Rand first as the Hatchet Man & later as Shadow Knight. Midnight Man was an art thief whose son briefly operated as Spector’s sidekick for a time following his father’s demise, only to later turn on Spector before meeting his own end. Black Spectre is perhaps the most visually distinct of Moon Knight’s recurring foes, but his wish for vengeance against the city of New York, makes him a plausible enemy for almost ANY Marvel hero to face, and Spector’s ties to the city are less concrete than many others. (Note: Black Spectre appeared to have fallen to his death at the conclusion of his last appearance, but seems to be slated to return in the August 2014 issue of the newest Moon Knight series. Rand Spector & Raoul Bushman have died & come back at least once before too, so who knows. Stay tuned! ) This leaves Moon Knight with one recurrent, living foe, the Profile, an amoral con-artist and sometime ally who uses his ability to know the background, hopes & desires of an individual simply by looking at them to manipulate others for personal gain.
So it’s time then to flesh out Moon Knight’s rogues gallery, but that’s not all! You may have noticed that the most recent romantic interest in Spector’s life, Maya Lopez, is no longer with us. Marc’s long-time on-again, off-again lady-love Marlene has seemingly departed his life with little explanation offered. On top of that he’s managed to alienate most of his original supporting cast over the course of his If we’re going to bother expand Moon Knight’s rogues gallery why not add some more X chromosomes to the cast of characters while we’re at it? This first one feels like a no-brainer to me. What better foil for a hero who juggles 4 personalities than a villain who does the same? Actually suffering from DID, “Typhoid Mary” Walker was a core figure in Daredevil’s adventures for years, but over the last decade her appearances have been sparse and relatively minor. Mary is plenty powerful; skilled in hand-to-hand combat & in the use of bladed-weapons and possessing telekinetic, pyrokinetic & hypnotic powers. Her sadistic “Bloody Mary” persona is a villain through & through; deranged, violent and with access to the full scope of her psionic powers. By contrast the “Mary” persona is a pacifist & shrinking violet with seemingly no ability to access her abilities. Somewhere in the middle the “Mary Walker” persona combines her edge as Bloody Mary with something approximating a conscience and more restrained access to her mutant powers. The Kingpin alluded to a fourth personality, but this aspect of Typhoid Mary’s DID has yet to be explored leaving open ample opportunity in any conflict she may have with Moon Knight. Even without the fourth personality explored there are great possibilities here for her to be Moon Knight’s enemy as “Blood Mary”, an ally or even romantic partner as “Mary Walker”, and as “Mary” somebody in need of his protection.
As crazy as Typhoid Mary might seem, she’s got nothing on our next menacing “M” mantled majestrix of malevolence: Moonstone! Not content with mere dissociative personality disorder Karla “Moonstone” Sofen is both a fully trained and licensed psychologist & psychiatrist, and more likely than not would have to diagnose herself as a certifiable sociopath with borderline personality disorder if she took a long enough look in the mirror. I know there may be some readers who cry foul that I’ve put Moonstone on this list as a villain, but even when she’s worked with heroes (in the guise of Meteorite of the Thunderbolts) or as an agent of the law (when she took on the Ms. Marvel mantle in Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign era Avengers) she has remained motivated almost exclusively by a drive to grow her own power & assert control over those nearest her. Besides, Karla was engaging in acts heinous enough to attract the vengeance of Khonshu before she ever achieved her gravity warping powers; intentionally motivating at least eight of her psychiatric patients to commit suicide (and observing some of them in the act) and advancing the psychoses of at least a half-dozen more to the point of their being institutionalized. Just in case you might think that they all must have done something to deserve such foul manipulation it’s also worth noting that Moonstone suffocated her own mother, a woman who worked 3 jobs to put Karla through college, and burned her childhood home with the body inside to cover her tracks. These are not the acts of a hero and are pretty irredeemably heinous crimes. Moonstone has committed more super-crimes, certainly, and her gravity manipulating abilities allow her to go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters, but in setting her against Moon Knight it is her talent for manipulation & psychological warfare that makes her a most worthy foe. With the ability to manipulate Moon Knight & drive him more mad than he’s ever been makes Moonstone could quickly become one of the most dangerous, subtle foes Marc Spector has ever been confronted with.