Moon Knight’s (and Khonshu’s) Powers Explained In Detail

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Before the series came out, Moon Knight was not known by many people around the world. His name was not among the household superhero names. Only the people who had read the comics knew that the character even existed. The main character Steven Grant has the ancient Egyptian god Khonshu on his shoulder and despite that, he gains the reputation as a dangerous street-level scrapper with otherworldly superpowers. But he does not need any of his superpowers to gain the fear and respect of the underworld. His all-white outfit ensures that his enemies see him coming from far away.

Moon Knight’s enemies may find it easy to write him off on account of his mental state but he is the super schizophrenic and the maniac in white. However, under that bright white hood hides a host of impressive abilities that, in Moon Knight’s recent adventures, have included powers on the level of a deity. Add that to Marc Spector’s background as a tough-as-nails soldier-turned-mercenary, and it’s not hard to see why many would rather stay out of the way of Khonshu’s warrior.

Enhanced brain function

Marc Spector crossed paths with Khonshu in his adult life after a botched operation left him near-dead in an African desert. Barely making it to a mystical Egyptian tomb, Spector passes away at the feet of the moon god’s statue, leading to his spirit meeting Khonshu. The ancient deity saves Spector’s life, in exchange for the mercenary becoming his knight (as Spector himself recounts in “Moon Knight” Vol. 9 #1). This encounter gives birth to the superhero called Moon Knight and fundamentally changes not only Spector’s life but his brain as well.

Due to the nature of Khonshu’s powers as a multifaceted, extradimensional entity, his interactions with Spector — some of which happened way before their encounter in the desert — are said to have contributed to the fracturing of Spector’s psyche. In fact, it has been explained on more than one occasion that Spector’s dissociative identity disorder may have been a direct result of his mind attempting to match the complex nature of the god’s own persona.

Furthermore, Spector possesses the ability to switch between his personas — including Moon Knight himself, which is actually a separate personality, not just a secret identity — at will. The already formidable traits that Spector possesses due to his military background are amplified by the powers of whichever persona is in charge at the moment.

Enhanced strength

For a time, Moon Knight was able to harness Khonshu’s powers in the form of superhuman strength. According to the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Marvel Knights 2005,” the Fist of Khonshu’s physical strength increases under the light of the moon, peaking during nights with a full moon.

Interestingly, Moon Knight’s strength, speed, and agility are all affected by the phase of the moon — full moon, half-moon, waning or waxing crescent, or new moon. These fluctuating power levels are said to be in place because of Spector’s direct ties to both the moon and the Egyptian god. Other guides, such as the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition” #9, establish that Spector is typically capable of bench-pressing 450 pounds, but can lift approximately 4,000 pounds when he is operating under a full moon.

In recent years, however, Moon Knight has had to deal with the loss of this useful ability, forcing him to push himself to his physical limits in order to continue his superhero activities. As Spector himself explained in “Moon Knight” Vol. 5 #9, his super-strength was stripped away from him by a wrathful Khonshu after he went against the god’s orders.

Functional immortality

As Moon Knight can likely attest, the cool thing about having a god on your side is that, for as long as they have a reason to keep you around, death will be less of a final destination for you and more of a revolving door. Not that death ever tends to be permanent in the Marvel universe, but still. In the case of Moon Knight, this means that unless Khonshu decides to find a new servant, Spector is functionally immortal.

In a discussion with his Avengers-recommended psychiatrist Dr. Andrea Sterman in “Moon Knight” Vol. 9 #1, Spector confronts the uncomfortable question of whether or not he can die with a level of uncertainty. He even recounts that Khonshu has resurrected him not once, not twice, but at least three times, including when they met in the Egyptian tomb. Hence, on more than one occasion, Moon Knight has found himself in a situation where he should have died but didn’t.

That said, Khonshu doesn’t seem to have any qualms about reminding Spector that he is disposable. In “Moon Knight” Vol. 5 #6, during a vision in which he took the form of Moon Knight’s horribly disfigured nemesis Bushman, he took Spector’s life (and instantly brought him back) just to prove a point.

High pain tolerance

While Moon Knight may be functionally immortal, that doesn’t mean that his body is impervious to injury like Luke Cage. In fact, Moon Knight’s battles tend to be extremely brutal, bloody, and violent, almost always ending with both him and his opponents sustaining broken bones, smashed limbs, massive bleeding, and other types of physical trauma. Rather impressively, Spector is able to bear the extreme pain that comes from his injuries, showing a near-superhuman level of endurance even in the face of torture from his most sadistic enemies.

Moon Knight’s high pain tolerance has been said to be a combination of his mental state, Khonshu’s empowerment, and the sheer amount of physical abuse he experienced during his time in the military. This has led to Spector enduring pain unlike that of any other street-level superhero.

For instance, in “Moon Knight” Vol. 5 #6, Spector is shown to be basically unaffected by direct crossbow shots from Taskmaster and is able to soundly beat his foe despite the severity of his injuries. Six issues later, his crazed former partner Midnight subjects Spector to an inhuman level of torture, pinning his limbs against a giant clock while digging into his back to systematically remove Spector’s vertebra one bone at a time. Moon Knight endures this pain long enough to break free from his restraints before Midnight succeeds, and defeats his enemy by ripping off one of the clock’s hands and stabbing him fatally.

Moon material manipulation

“Avengers” Vol. 8 #33 depicts Moon Knight during one of his most powerful phases. In an attempt to stop the machinations of the hellish ruler Mephisto, Khonshu decides that it’s time for his earthly avatar to bring about the Age of Khonshu. He imbues Spector with a host of abilities that the superhero has never possessed before, a fraction of what Khonshu himself can do. Among the powers that Spector receives (albeit temporarily) from the moon, god is the ability to literally control moons and anything that was made from moon-based materials. This came with the implication that Moon Knight could also control many other celestial bodies, as they are mostly made up of materials of similar cosmic origin.

While this power on its own is already impressive, it also granted Spector a frightening new ability: He could manipulate one of the Marvel universe’s most iconic and fearsome weapons, a tool wielded by another god. Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is made out of Uru, a metal ore reportedly as old as the universe itself. Since Uru metal is formed in a dying star’s heart from material that comes from a primordial moon, Moon Knight’s newfound lunakinesis allows him to control Thor’s weapon, regardless of his worthiness. Spector demonstrates this when he makes quick work of the Thunder God by smacking him around with his own hammer.

Multiple personalities

Marc Spector shares his mind-space with at least four other main personalities, each with their own unique skill sets and talents reflective of Khonshu’s multiple aspects. Combined with his main persona’s own fighting skills and deductive reasoning, Spector maximizes the talents that each of his personas brings to the table.

There is, of course, the Moon Knight persona, which is said to represent Khonshu’s side as the “Watcher of Overnight Travelers” (as shown in “Moon Knight” Vol. 9 #1). Then, there’s Mr. Knight, a suave, sharp-dressed consultant who typically does the talking. There are also two alter-egos that Spector’s psyche developed in his youth: Steven Grant and Jake Lockley. Grant is depicted as a wealthy public figure and is the persona that finances Moon Knight’s activities. He utilizes and grows Spector’s wealth to allow him to operate as a costumed vigilante. Lockley, on the other hand, is a taxi driver who wanders around New York and gathers intel from street-level sources.

For a brief time in his career, Spector was also able to tap into the abilities of three iconic Avengers. As shown in “Moon Knight” Vol. 6 #1, Spector developed the personas of the tactical Captain America, the wise-cracking Spider-Man, and the uber-violent Wolverine, and would even occasionally have “meetings” with them. Whenever each of the personas takes control, Spector even equips himself with the appropriate gear to mimic their iconic move sets.

Necromancy

It’s fair to say that Marc Spector’s relationship with death is a bit different than other superheroes. After all, he has died and been resurrected quite a few times, thanks to his all-powerful benefactor (although he still doesn’t hold a candle to good old Ben Reilly, Spider-Man’s clone, in terms of deaths and resurrections — that guy’s got him beat by at least 24 times). Thus, when Marc was given the ability to further tap into Khonshu’s vast array of powers, it’s not surprising that “raising an entire army of the dead” would be on the list.

During the course of his quest to bring about the Age of Khonshu in “Avengers” Vol. 8 #33, Moon Knight (sporting the Mr. Knight persona) pays a visit to the Master of the Mystic Arts himself, Doctor Strange, immediately after stealing the power of the Iron Fist from Danny Rand. With the help of a horde of mummies, the Fist of Khonshu was able to overwhelm the Sorcerer Supreme in his own Sanctum Sanctorum.

Power absorption

Yet another example of a short-lived but spectacular power in Moon Knight’s arsenal was shown in “Avengers” Vol. 8 #33. After being allowed to tap into the vast reserves of Khonshu’s might, Moon Knight gained the ability to absorb the powers of his opponents via mystical artifacts. However, his impressive absorption abilities also had their limits.

Moon Knight first puts this ability to the test in a confrontation with the Iron Fist, Danny Rand, in the mystical hidden city of K’un-Lun. After subduing Iron Fist with a barrage of Khonshu-powered attacks, Spector whips out a divine ankh, which he uses to steal the power of the immortal dragon residing within Rand. Using the ankhs (and a bit of necromancy), Moon Knight easily defeats Doctor Strange as well and brazenly takes control of Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes’ Spirit of Vengeance. Moon Knight’s power enhancements also helped him become the only wielder of Mjolnir. The ankhs are even said to be powerful enough to hold a cosmic entity such as the Phoenix.

However, the ankhs were of virtually no help to Moon Knight when he went up against Wakanda’s King T’Challa, revealing their limitations. As Black Panther’s powers granted by the heart-shaped herb were coursing through his own veins, Moon Knight could not use the ankhs to steal them.

Prophetic visions

According to the “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Marvel Knights 2005,” one of Moon Knight’s unique abilities is the power to occasionally experience prophetic visions. It’s easy to see why others who become aware of Moon Knight’s visions could easily dismiss them as mere manifestations of Spector’s deteriorating mental state. At one point, some even suspected that the former mercenary simply fell prey to self-hypnotic suggestions. In reality, though, the visions that Moon Knight experiences are legitimately supernatural in origin — specifically, from Khonshu himself.

That said, Moon Knight’s visions aren’t always of the helpful kind. Sometimes, they can come from a place of godly pettiness. In “Moon Knight” Vol. 5 #6, Khonshu appears before Spector in the form of Bushman, his dead arch-nemesis whose face he had carved off with his crescent-shaped weapon. Khonshu wanted to prod Spector into operating at peak efficiency as Moon Knight again — and when he didn’t receive the response he wanted, he killed the ex-mercenary and revived him almost instantly, simply to remind him that his life is forever in the god’s hands.

Durable armor and dangerous weapons

While Moon Knight has sported quite a few different looks over the course of his costumed career, his most iconic ensemble remains his all-white hooded suit. And while they may not look like they offer much in the way of protection, Spector’s assorted outfits are actually designed to be as resistant and durable as their wearer. They’re also all white, of course, as Moon Knight prioritizes shock value and intimidation over the element of surprise when it comes to subduing perps.

Spector’s early suits included Kevlar vests, as well as a host of defensive and offensive features. Later on, Moon Knight would tweak his getup to offer even more protection, infusing the design with Carbonadium. In the Marvel universe, Carbonadium is described as a flexible material comparable to Adamantium in terms of quality and durability (it’s the same material that makes up X-Men villain Omega Red’s tentacles). Moon Knight also wears a long cape that enables him to catch updrafts and glide across limited distances, as well as metal bracers on his arms. Some of Moon Knight’s most recognizable weapons include his crescent moon-shaped throwing blades and his adamantium-laced bo staff.

Resistance to psychic assaults

Incredibly, the one thing about Moon Knight that many may perceive as a disadvantage has proven to be the superhero’s strongest line of defense against some of the Marvel universe’s greatest minds.

Due to Spector’s Khonshu-touched mental state and the multiple personalities residing in his head, the white-clad crime fighter has developed a powerful resistance against various forms of psychic attacks and attempts at mind control. His mental resilience also makes it tremendously difficult for telepathic individuals to read his mind, effectively deterring them from anticipating his next move or discerning what his true objectives are.

Moon Knight doesn’t take too kindly to mental invaders. In fact, as “Moon Knight” Vol 9 #2 shows, his mind can be a very hostile place for unwelcome visitors. While facing off against a criminal telepath named Hawley, Moon Knight was able to overpower his adversary almost as soon as he invaded. Spector himself claims that his direct interactions with Khonshu have turned his mind into “poisoned ground.” The villain was thoroughly overwhelmed by Moon Knight’s sheer mental fortitude and was rendered catatonic after their encounter.

Phase transformation and self-sustenance

While he no longer has access to this ability, Moon Knight was once able to wield complete control over his physical form. This included the ability to pass right through otherwise impassable objects, as well as being able to survive in places without an Earth-like atmosphere (like the vastness of space) for extended periods of time.

In “Conan: Serpent War” #4, Moon Knight finds himself temporarily time-displaced. Upon his return to the present day, Spector discovers that he is able to pass through the glass pane of his residence, transforming into his costumed alter upon stepping out. This power boost, which was granted by Khonshu to enable his servant to complete a series of complicated tasks, is also seen on full display in “Avengers” Vol. 8 #33. As Moon Knight himself observes, he is able to ride Ghost Rider’s flaming 1969 Dodge Charger and even battle Thor in outer space without dying.

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