‘Moon Knight’: A Guide to Khonshu

For those new to Moon Knight, we take a closer look at Khonshu and explain what you need to know about the character.

While Steven Grant and Marc Spector grapple with the fact that they are two personalities living within the same body in Moon Knight, they have another presence to deal with. Often towering above them with a booming, rather demanding voice is F. Murray Abraham‘s Khonshu. While Episode 2 of the series gives only a very brief rundown of the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu is absolutely vital to Moon Knight’s character. Here, we give you a more in-depth look at Khonshu.

In Egyptian mythology, Khonshu is revered as the nocturnal God of the Moon, God of Vengeance, and the Shepherd of the Lost. He was a protector of travelers in the night. The nitty-gritty of Khonshu and other Egyptian gods in the comics is that these gods are members of the Heliopolitan race of gods who live in the Othervoid, an extradimensional realm adjacent to Earth and worshipped by the people of Ancient Egypt. Moon Knight has adopted a more modern take on the appearance of the character, specifically opting for the bird-like skull head that appears in many recent adaptations. 

Because Khonshu, and the other gods, are unable to be physically present on Earth, they choose human avatars to carry out their will on Earth. For Khonshu, his chosen avatar is called the Moon Knight. As we know, Khonshu chose Marc Spector to be his avatar after Spector died and was revived under a statue of Khonshu.

For Marc Spector and his alters, being the “Fist of Khonshu” originally looked like standard vigilante work, and it still does generally. But lately, there is more emphasis on the protection of nighttime travelers. Khonshu often appears to Marc, but there are times when it is suggested that he may be a figment of Marc’s imagination. Khonshu often appears as himself, but Spector has seen him in many forms including the form of a faceless Bushman after Moon Knight tore the face off of the villain. Khonshu early on was more professional, and sort of seemed like a more traditional authoritative presence. But he has certainly developed a personality, whether as the actual god or as Spector’s mental projection.

So far in Moon Knight, Khonshu has been a bit rude, short, and “snotty”. As you can tell from the series so far, he has no problem calling Steven Grant “the idiot” or flat-out insulting or criticizing anyone. He does not appear to exhibit patience or empathy when dealing with humans. Likewise, in the comics, nowadays you can indeed expect him to be quite rude and often demanding. Sometimes this takes more of a sadistic and manipulative form (such as the Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood run in which he tries to break Spector’s mind completely), and in others, he is sarcastic, vulgar, and absurd (the page from Moon Knight #15 (2006) below should say a lot). 

Moon Knight #15 (2006)

Khonshu has a colorful, long, and detailed history in the comics, some unrelated to Marc Spector. For example, around 1,000,000 B.C., Khonshu was upset that he was not offered membership to the Stone Age Avengers. He chose his first Moon Knight in part to antagonize those Avengers on his behalf. Khonshu has taken over Spector’s physical body during Moon Knight’s time with the West Coast Avengers, and he revived Spector once again during the events of Marc Spector: Moon Knight (1989). In Jason Aaron’s recent arc, Avengers: The Age of Khonshu, Khonshu uses Moon Knight to defeat several Avengers in an attempt at taking over the world for the supposed purpose of protecting it. 

Avengers

Whether Khonshu remains as a more passive companion throughout Moon Knight is yet to be seen. It is likely that we will not see too much Khonshu-specific storytelling in this series that focuses on Steven Grant and Marc Spector’s dissociative identity disorder and introduces Moon Knight as a concept. It is interesting that neither Marc Spector nor Khonshu have been truly explained in detail yet, and “Moon Knight” as a name has not yet been used. Still, Khonshu is likely to remain around as an integral part of Moon Knight

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.

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