Moon Knight Review: Episodes 1-3

Leading up to Marvel’s new TV series, Moon Knight, I was pretty hopeful. Finally, we were getting the opportunity to see a new character, and one that hadn’t gotten much attention previously, too!

After reading a few of the Moon Knight comics in preparation for the show, I was intrigued by how different Moon Knight was from other Marvel superheroes.

Marc Spector was trying to reconcile his dark past, while his counterpart Steven Grant was just trying to live his life.

I was a bit skeptical about how the TV show would handle the character’s multiple personalities, but I have to say, Oscar Isaac’s performance has been spectacular thus far.

Here’s our Moon Knight review for the first three episodes!

(Spoilers for Moon Knight 2020 comic series and the first three episodes of the TV series).

Oscar Isaac Captures Steven Grant (and Marc Spector)

If you haven’t read our breakdown of the Moon Knight Comics (which you should read, by the way), here’s a quick recap of the characters:

  • Marc Spector is an ex-mercenary who was killed by in Egypt and brought back by the Moon God, Khonshu.
  • Steven Grant is a normal guy, and is one of Marc Spector’s personalities.
  • Mr. Knight is a superhero-ish consultant who resides in the Midnight Mission.
  • Moon Knight is the identity of Khonshu’s avatar, which is currently Marc Spector.
moon knight review

It’s a bit convoluted, but the show does a good job of keeping track of who is who. There’s a distinct shift in voice and tone when Oscar Isaac is portraying the characters. Steven is at a nerdy guy who struggles with insomnia, and when he speaks, he often poses statements as questions or rambles.

But when Isaac is playing Marc Spector, he’s much firmer and more confident, classic for an ex-merc.

The way the show has these two sides of Oscar Isaac’s characters interact is through the use of reflections. When one of the personalities has control of the body, they can talk to the other personality by looking at a mirror, shiny object, or still water. Visually, this provides a pretty interesting element. Whenever there’s a fight scene, there happens to be a reflective surface around, whether it’s broken glass, the hood of a car, or a polished dagger.

As the show progresses, we see Spector start to value Grant’s intellectual abilities and moral compass, and Grant starts to become more assertive. They take each other as rough role models, and with them inhabiting the same body, makes for a pretty neat character dynamic.

The Moon Knight Has Powers

For the most part, the Moon Knight of the comic books only has a few innate abilities. He’s tough, fast, agile, and gets resurrected when he dies (since he’s under Khonshu’s protection).

Marc Spector’s a fairly ordinary guy, you might say, kind of like the Batman of the Marvel universe.

But in the TV show, there is definitely a focus on the Moon Knight’s super powers, most of which come through Khonshu. Marc Spector is not only a badass, but he seemingly can’t die when wearing the suit. In the third episode, he’s impaled multiple times with spears, and gets up seeming no-worse-for-wear.

Plus, he acts as a conduit for Khonshu’s power, at one point he even helps alter the constellations.

The choice to add the super-power elements that are almost entirely absent in the comic books to the TV show just hints that there’s a larger plan for the Moon Knight. He’s on par to compete with the likes of Captain America and Spider-man at this point, and we’ll probably see Oscar Isaac’s entry into Marvel films soon enough.

What’s Up With the Plot?

At this point, we’re halfway through the Moon Knight mini-series, (all the shows on Disney+ keep getting shorter, don’t they?) and stuff is certainly heating up.

The TV show doesn’t focus on the origin story of the Moon Knight, instead it’s more about the journey Spector and Grant take in getting to know one another and inhabit the same body. At the same time, there’s a pretty ominous plot in the background with one of Marc Spector’s previous enemies working to unleash Ammit, an Egyptian god of judgement.

To be honest, this plot line is only secondary for me. Sure, it’s fine, but in six episodes can you really create an earnest conflict? The villain’s whole spiel is about judging everyone in the world based on whether they’ve committed evil or will commit evil.

It’s kind of frustrating that this kind of stock villain appears so often in mainstream media. The idea that the path to a more holistic society must be paved in blood is so overused and cliché. We know that genocide is evil, and after Thanos, Harrow just feels contrived.

For me, the real conflict is the moral dilemma that both Spector and Grant go through as a result of their actions. Grant is appalled that Spector’s a trained killer, and Spector starts to realize he doesn’t have to use violence for every problem. This evolution is definitely something to look out for as the Moon Knight show progresses.

Overall, I’d say that the first three episodes are pretty good. The fight scenes and cinematography are decent, and Oscar Isaac is certainly carrying the weight in this show. I wish that Marvel would take a new approach to villains, because the “final solution” era of villains is over, and frankly, was never that great to begin with.

To conclude this Moon Knight review, I give the first three episodes a 7/10.

Understanding The Moon Knight Comics: Who Is Marc Spector?

As you’ve probably seen already, Disney and Marvel are releasing a new miniseries on Disney+ called Moon Knight. The show stars Oscar Isaac as the titular character, with a March 30th release date.

For many of us, the Super Bowl commercial for the Moon Knight show was the first time we’ve seen the Egyptian knight character, but there’s a rich history of Moon Knight comics that the show will be based on.

Here’s everything you need to know about Marc Spector, Moon Knight, and his origin story before you watch the show at the end of the month.

The Origins of Marc Spector

While the trailer for the show makes it seem like the Moon Knight has some kind of super powers, what with the glowing eyes and the suit that forms to his body, he actually is an ordinary human.

Marc Spector used to be a Marine, part of the CIA, and a mercenary for the highest bidder. When another merc brutally murders an archeologist in Sudan, Spector steps in to save the archeologist’s daughter. During the fight, the other merc, known as Bushman, kills Spector at the feet of a statue of the Egyptian god Khonshu.

Miraculously, Spector comes back to life, believing he’s been resurrected by Khonshu, the god of the moon, to be a protector of the innocent.

There’s been a few different iterations of the Moon Knight comics, but they are almost unanimously centered around Marc Spector’s dissociative identity disorder. Spector uses a few different identities which he created—Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, and Mr. Knight—to go about his day to day, gathering information from all levels of society.

But other comics detail the psychic connection Spector has to Khonshu, which causes Spector to shift between four different personalities of the moon god.

Generally, Moon Knight’s powers are all human in nature. Spector uses the wealth he amassed as a gun-for-hire to create a Batman-esque lair with advanced technology. The one thing that might be considered a superpower is Spector’s ability to avoid death. He’s died multiple times, but is always resurrected by Khonshu.

The First Moon Knight Comic

Moon Knight first appeared in the 1975 comic Werewolf by Night #32, and later received his first series in 1980. The series was headed up by Dough Moench, who has worked on Batman comics and is credited with the creation of the Deathlok character, and Bill Sienkiewicz, whose work appeared in New Mutants, The Mighty Thor, and Daredevil.

Since the first Moon Knight comic in 1980, there have been 9 official volumes alongside plenty of side-appearances with the Avengers and other notable heroes.

In 2021, a new Moon Knight comic was released under the name The Midnight Mission, and it was written by Jed Mackay with art by Alessandro Cappuccio and Steve McNiven. The six-issue series portrays Marc Spector as a priest of Khonshu’s congregation, as well as taking on the form of the “defender of those who travel at night”.

moon knight comic

And with the new show coming out later this month, Marvel plans to release an anthology series titled Moon Knight: Black, White, and Blood in April 2022.

Check out this resource if you’re interested in seeing all the Moon Knight comics in order.

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight

From the looks of the two trailers for Marvel’s Moon Knight miniseries, there are some changes in store for Marc Spector. We see him as an insomniac, fighting to control his dreams and discern what’s imagined from reality.

For the show, they clearly exaggerated Spector’s D.I.D., to the point where he lives as Steven Grant almost exclusively. In one scene, he answers the phone and is confused by a woman calling him Marc.

It’s unclear how true to the Moon Knight comics the show will be, but it will be nice to see a new Marvel character prepare to join an Avengers lineup, as presumably that’s what the show is setting up.

We’ll keep you posted on the Moon Knight TV series, and we’re certainly excited to see where it goes!

In the meantime, check out some of our other comic book content:

Mind Over Matter: How Robbie Reyes Conquers Science

Superhero literature, be it blockbuster films or comic books, is inexplicably tied with science. Many of the greatest superheroes—and supervillains—were created using science, like Captain America or the Incredible Hulk. And some use their big brains and expansive wealth to wield science like a weapon.

But, there’s a special segment of superhero lore that revolves around anything but the scientific. In these annals of comic book history, there lives heroes and villains that operate outside the realm of science.

Mutants, Inhumans, gods and goddesses, monks: the list goes on.

However, one anti-hero comes to mind when we think of the supernatural. Ghost Rider.

While the 2007 and 2011 films starring Nick Cage might have turned off long-time Ghost Rider fans, newer iterations of the flaming-head hell-raiser have brought new life to the character.

Robbie Reyes’ Ghost Rider prominently appears in season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the All-New Ghost Rider comic book series released in 2014. (Spoiler warning for both).

Two Origin Stories for Robbie Reyes

As with any book (in this case, comic book) to film adaption, there’s bound to be some inconsistencies. When it comes to Robbie Reyes, the differences are both minute, and…well, not.

Reyes’ origin story as it’s told in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and as it’s told in All-New Ghost Rider are fairly similar. Reyes takes out his 1969 Dodge Charger RT for a ride, is gunned down either a rogue militant group or a gang, and ends up dying.

However, the distinct point of deviation is where the Ghost Rider comes from.

In AoS, the previous Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, shows up and imparts the spirit of the Ghost Rider into Reyes.

But in All-New Ghost Rider, the demented spirit of Reyes’ serial killer uncle, Eli Morrow, possesses Robbie, giving him Ghost Rider-like abilities.

The story lines diverge a bit from that point, but a common theme remains: mind over matter, spirit over science.

How Robbie Reyes Beats Science

While there are some differences between the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider characters we’ve discussed, there’s one thing that ties the stories together: the battle against science.

It might seem like a trivial aspect of the story, because Reyes’ real battle is fought against his own rage and that of the spirit processing him. But let me digress.

One of the prominent themes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the power of science. The majority of the problems Coulson and his team face up to season 4 are solved by Fitz and Simmons, their head scientists.

And it’s a great theme that sends a positive message to all real-life scientists. It says “your education and skills are your superpowers.”

But, when Robbie Reyes shows up, he continually challenges science. Fitz and Simmons can’t grasp his abilities, even though they made it their mission to understand powered individuals (specifically the Inhumans Daisy, Lincoln, and Yo-yo).

Reyes breaks out of Fitz’s containment module, escapes from a parallel, limbo dimension, and survives numerous scenarios where he should have died. All of his screen time is spent defying science like it’s his sole mission.

Even against seemingly insurmountable foes, like Eli Morrow, with his ability to create matter, and the rogue android, Aida, Reyes finds victory. Both antagonists base their power in science—with a bit of dark magic thrown in—and Ghost Rider prevails.

All-New Ghost Rider

In the All-New Ghost Rider comics, science takes on a physical manifestation in Dr. Zabo and his Blue Krue.

Everyone Reyes faces is juiced up with a powerful steroid concoction that transforms them into either super-soldiers or monsters. But Reyes manages to conquer his foes with relative ease, once again demonstrating Ghost Rider’s power over science.

Reyes in the All-New Ghost Rider shows us that no amount of body modification or scientific tampering can match strong willpower.

Even though Reyes undergoes extreme duress—financially, emotionally, and physically—he never stops trying to control the spirit inside of him. And in the end, he learns to harness the power without giving into the spirit’s evil demands. Science just so happened to be the fire he needed to reforge his identity.

By defeating the Blue Krue and Dr. Zabo, Reyes solidifies his presence in his neighborhood as the Ghost Rider, a hero. For the people of Hillside Heights, their savior is one they never expected, and that in itself speaks volumes to Reyes’ determination for success—or his fear of failure.

What the Reyes Ghost Rider Tells Us About Reliance on Science

In today’s world, the ever-forward step of science makes it very easy to fall into the trap of reliance on technology.

Picture it:

  • Working all day on a computer
  • Driving home in your smart car
  • Managing your home with Alexa or Google Home
  • Scrolling on your phone, playing video games, or watching TV for entertainment

Perhaps that was a bit dramatic.

But the point remains that as technology continues to advance, our lives become even more intertwined with it. In many cases, that’s a good thing—better medical equipment, cleaner energy, more accessible knowledge.

Yet, if we’re totally absorbed in our technological realities, we start to lose sight of everything else around us.

Sometimes, our saving grace—our breath of fresh air—comes from embracing the unknown. Reyes didn’t completely understand Ghost Rider, but he learned to control it to his benefit. Should we be doing the same? Sometimes the answers to our questions are right under our noses, only if we took the time to look down instead of ahead.

Anyways, it’s something to think about.

In Conclusion…

The real message that Robbie Reyes sends to viewers is this: no matter what your skill, be it biology, mechanics, engineering, video games, writing—anything, really—if your mindset isn’t fully focused on success, then you won’t accomplish your goals.

Reyes shows us that when you put your mind to it, you can overcome any obstacle. And while in his case he has the help of a demonic spirit to break the rules of science, he wouldn’t have been able to save his friends if it hadn’t been for his iron-strong willpower.

No matter how accomplished we are in the sciences, without a solid moral center and unbroken spirits, we won’t achieve anything worth recording in the annals of history.