CS Soapbox: Marvel’s Moon Knight vs. DC’s Batman
Oscar Isaac has been cast to play Moon Knight in Disney+’s upcoming series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with filming set to begin shortly. Casual moviegoers/non-comic-book enthusiasts (who haven’t payed attention to the latest in Keanu Reeves fan art) are probably asking themselves: “Who is Moon Knight?” Similarly to how Hawkeye is basically Green Arrow and Namor resembles Aquaman, Moon Knight is Marvel’s response to DC’s Bruce Wayne AKA Batman AKA THE Dark Knight. In fact, Moon Knight has drawn so many aesthetic comparisons to Batman -one of the most popular superheroes of all-time- that he gets lost in the cape crusader’s silhouette.
Anyway, how do the two compare? Well, they’re both skilled hand-to-hand combatants and rich, using seemingly limitless wealth to fund their vigilante exploits, as well as create useful technology/gadgets. Where Batman has his Batmobile, grappling hook, utility belt and Batarangs, Moon Knight has his Mooncopter, Moonrangs and crescent-shaped glider. Moon Knight even has a rogues’ gallery, not unlike Batman’s. On top of all that they’re some of the “World’s Greatest Detectives.”
The characters’ key differences lie with their backstories/origins. As a young boy, Bruce famously witnesses his parents Thomas and Martha’s murder in the streets of Gotham, prompting his self-righteous war on crime using nothing but his mind, body and billions of dollars. His prowess as a crime fighter ultimately leads to his association with the Justice League… but you already know all this.
Marvel’s Moon Knight, created in 1976 by Batman writer Doug Moench, has superpowers (point for Batman). Originally introduced as a villain in Werewolf by Night #32 but then recast as a hero (1976), Moon Knight became Marc Spector, a rabbi’s son who trades in being a boxer before joining the military. Years later, working as a mercenary, Marc has a near-death encounter with the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, who gives Marc a second chance at life -superpowers and all- if the latter agrees to a symbiote-esque partnership. Moon Knight’s abilities, such as increased strength and speed, are dependent upon the lunar cycles. The height of his power is when the moon is full.
Using the wealth he accumulated as a mercenary, Marc creates two new secret identities: Steven Grant, a millionaire/businessman, and Jake Locksley, a taxicab driver. Living as Steven, Jake, and Moon Knight (largely ignoring Marc), taxes his psyche, leading to an identity crisis. The resulting schizophrenia becomes a staple of Moon Knight’s character, his mental illness making him erratic and unpredictable, especially when he fights.
In the comics, Moon Knight goes on to become a member of Hawkeye’s West Coast Avengers (for a time) and remains one of Marvel’s most complex characters, also becoming an addict at one point. The physiological aspect of Moon Knight’s story will undoubtedly play heavily into the Disney+ series and his implementation into the MCU. With Isaac on board, it’s sure to be a good time, one that will free Moon Knight from Batman’s shadow once and for all.
But who would win in a fight? Batman. Batman always wins.