Vengeance in White – Moon Knight

Since I started this blog 37 weeks ago, I have been holding back on writing about one of my favourite heroes and that would be Moon Knight. I know that I have already put out a post about how he should be the next hero included in the Marvel Netflix universe, but for those unfamiliar with the character I will give a quick rundown of the Avatar of Khonshu.

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BACKGROUND

Marc Spector was born in Chicago, Illinois to a rabbi and his wife. He was the oldest of two boys, his younger brother being Randall Spector (Shadow Knight). From a young age both the Spector children were fascinated with guns and warfare, something that didn’t sit well with their pacifist father. After butting heads with his father for much of his childhood and teenage years over the influence he was having on his younger brother at the age of 16 Marc left his home and enlisted in the Marines. During his tenure in the Marines he became a heavy-weight boxer and competed in several competitions winning the majority of them. It is revealed in the Shadowland arc that Marc’s father confronted him while Marc was training for a fight, and suffered a fatal heart attack while reaming Marc out for him being the cause that his little brother enlisted as well. He was recruited by the CIA to become a black ops operator right from the Marine corps, and he served with the CIA for many years before leaving to become a freelance mercenary.

During his extensive career as a mercenary, Spector met and befriended Henri “Frenchie” Duchamp. Henri was a french pilot who became fast friends with Marc and aided him for many years even during his superhero career.

Spector was hired by Raoul Bushman as part of his attack force on a mission in Egypt. While on mission the mercenaries stumbled onto an archaeological dig of the temple dedicated to Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon and Vengeance, headed up by Dr. Peter Alraune and his daughter Marlene. When Bushman discovered the wealth stored in the tomb he resolved to take it for himself and started his acquisition by murdering Dr. Alraune and several of the workers. Disgusted by what he saw, Spector challenged Bushman to one on one combat. Bushman defeated Spector leaving him alone to die in the desert. Some of the workers who still worshiped the old Gods found Spector dying of his wounds in the desert and carried him to the feet of the Statue of the Moon God Khonshu. It was here in the temple he had fought and died to protect that Spector’s heart stopped. The God Khonshu appeared to Spector in a vision and told Spector that he would give him another chance if Spector agreed to become his avatar on Earth. Spector agreed. When he woke up, Spector grabbed the cloak that covered the statue and wrapped himself in it declaring himself the Avatar of Khonshu. He then confronted Bushman a second time and was victorious. With Bushman defeated Spector returned to America accompanied by Frenchie and Marlene and the statue of Khonshu from the temple.

He decided to become a crime fighter and created his superhero persona in the image of Khonshu. Donning the moniker of the “Fist of Khonshu” Spector became the Moon’s Knight. He created a silver coloured suit using the cloak that was draped around the statue as his cape and hood.

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When he returned to the U.S.A. Spector invested the money he had acquired over his mercenary career and amassed himself a small fortune. In order to keep up the appearance that he had died in Egypt, Spector crafted the alias Steven Grant millionaire entrepreneur, to help him purchase some high end real estate and infiltrate the upper class. In order to maintain contact with the street level crime he also developed the alias of Jake Lockley New York city cab driver. It was using the Lockley alias that he met allies such as Betrand Crawley, Gena Lander and her two sons.

Spector first appeared in the 1975 comic Werewolf by Night as the villain hunting down the title character for an organization called the Committee. He remained as an occasional villain until in  1976 when he was given his own Marvel Spotlight. In 1978 his origin was retconned so that his first appearance was a cover he used to take down the Committee.

SKILLS + WEAPONS

Marc Spector is just a man. A man who was given a second chance at life (and many subsequent chances) but still just a man. He is a formidable close quarters fighter being a champion level heavy-weight boxer. He is proficient with most firearms and is considered an expert marksman.

There was a brief period where he was bitten by the Werewolf and affected by the Lycanthropy sickness. He was given varying strength and speed powers based on the phases of the moon.

Moon Knight uses a variety of weapons ranging from truncheons, to crescent shaped throwing knives, staves, spiked brass knuckles, and various firearms. He at one point also created an armored version of his costume made out of Adamantium. he also has multiple Moon-copters which he uses during his patrols, and in more current issues a series of autonomous gliders and vehicles.

Moon Knight has also been stated to be the one hero that Taskmaster will not replicate because he would rather take a punch and keep the momentum and offensive, than block and lose his momentum.

DEFINING TRAITS

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One of the biggest things that Moon Knight is famous for is his fractured psyche. Due to his connection to Khonshu and his already unstable mind, Spector suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). This has caused his mind to compartmentalize each of his identities in such a way that he can switch personalities and identities based on whatever the task at hand is. This has gotten him into some hot water over the years with his fellow Avengers, particularly the Pro-Registration faction during the Civil War story line. The sad thing is that Spector doesn’t see anythig as wrong and it’s only his friends and allies who are concerned for him in regards to his mental state, believing he could snap at any moment and become a major liability to the rest of the superhero community.

Apart from his MPD, Moon Knight is also known for wearing white. While his original costume was silver in colour, his more modern and most well known costume is white. Considering that he patrols at night the colour white is an odd, choice but there is a line that he delivers that explains why he wears white and it is as follows.

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Basically I think Moon Knight is a really great character who should get his time in the spotlight. I know that Marvel is planning on expanding the Netflix universe and adding a couple of new heroes and He would make the best addition!

I know this is a short post and looks unmistakably like an underrated Hero post… but i’m honestly just waiting until next week when I can do a review of Thor Ragnarok and all its glory!

Anyways that’s it for this week, see you all next week!

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Most Underrated Heroes Vol.3 – Hawkeye

This month for the most underrated hero inclusion I decided to go with someone that a lot of people know but very few know anything about, that hero is Hawkeye.  Hawkeye shot to stardom with his inclusion in the MCU, first appearing as a backdoor cameo in the first Thor, he didn’t appear again until Avengers. Clint Barton aka. Hawkeye, is an agent of SHIELD, former circus performer and full-time Avenger.

Side bar, Hawkeye is the only person in all of comics to belong to both the Justice League and the Avengers.

Let’s take a look at his background…

HISTORY

Clint Barton was created by none other than Stan the man Lee and artist Don Heck, and in his first appearance Hawkeye was the villain of the story. His first appearance was in Tales of Suspense #57 in September of 1964; it wasn’t until May 1965 that he became a member of the Avengers.

Clint was born in Waverly Iowa, but lost both of his parents in a tragic car accident when he was young. After spending over six years in an orphanage Clint and his brother Barney ran away to join the Carson Carnival of Travelling Wonders. Impressed with Clint, Swordsman took him under his wing and with the help of Trick Shot, they trained Clint to become a master archer. When Clint discovered his mentor and father figure, Swordsman was embezzling money from the Carnival he resigned to turn him in, but before he could accomplish this, he was beaten and left for dead. Clint bounced from circus to circus and eventually adopted the title of Hawkeye the World’s Greatest Marksman. When he witnessed Iron Man in action he decided to become a costumed superhero himself, but was mistaken for a thief on his first outing. He ran into Black Widow (who was spying for the Soviet union at the time) and fell in love with her going so far as to aid her in stealing tech from Stark Industries. After a battle with Iron Man, in which Widow was seriously injured, Hawkeye broke off the battle to help her only to find she had disappeared, it was at this time that he decided to be a “Straight Shooter”.

After saving Edwin Jarvis and his mother from a mugger, Hawkeye was invited back to Avengers mansion to force a confrontation to allow him to clear his name. He was eventually invited to join the Avengers along with new recruits Scarlet With and Quicksilver, the latter of which he clashed with constantly.

Classic Hawkeye

During a pitched battle with the Avengers, Hawkeye’s bow was broken. He adopted a new costume and identity and succeeded Hank Pym as Goliath. Several adventures occur involving Clint’s brother Barney (who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent) and Swordsman in which Swordsman is captured bringing Clint justice for his brother’s death. At the end of Kree/Skrull War Vision and Hawkeye butt heads over their affections for Scarlet Witch causing Clint to return to his original costume and go solo.

LOSS OF HEARING

Clint held many positions in his many years of comic publications from Avenger to solo hero, Head of Security of Cross Technological Enterprises, It was during his time as the head of security for Cross Technological that he met and fell in love with Barbara “Bobbi” Morse aka Mokingbird. When the two of them battle Crossfire to save the superhero community Hawkeye was rendered deaf by a combination of a sonic arrow and the sonic weapon being used by Crossfire. They briefly established the West Coast Avengers, and battle Mephisto and Satannish. During the battle with Satannish and Mephisto Mockingbird is killed and dies in Hawkeye’s arms. Hawkeye leaves the West Coast Avengers and disbands the team. He rejoins the original Avengers right before the Onslaught event and has his hearing restored by Franklin Richards because when Franklin remade the Avengers he remade them how he remembered them, which was when Hawkeye wasn’t deaf.

DEATH + RESURRECTION

He leaves to head up the first iteration of the Thunderbolts, but quickly returns to the team in time for the House of M. During the House of M he sacrifices himself to save his fellow Avengers only to be reborn by Scarlet Witch’s powers with no memory of his previous death. When he is given the ability to remember he is horrified at what Wanda has done and during the final confrontation shoots her in the back with an arrow. In retaliation one of Wanda’s children wipes Hawkeye from existence killing him once more. When House of M is fixed and reality re-written Hawkeye is still presumed dead.

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Unknown to the rest of the Avengers Hawkeye was resurrected when Wanda fixed reality. he traveled the Earth for several months, finding a Wanda with no memory of her life as Scarlet Witch and no powers. The two get it on and then Hawkeye leaves and returns to New York when he hears of the assassination of Captain America. He joins the New Avengers as Ronin and keeps this identity for several months until the Secret Invasion story line where Mockingbird is revealed to have been alive for years as a captive of the Skrulls.

So many things happen since Secret Invasion it’s hard to list them all, he begins losing his sight, his brother is alive, he kills Bruce Banner in Civil War II. Yes.. he kills Bruce Banner and is found not guilty during a full criminal trial.

Let’s move onto his powers..

POWERS AND ABILITIES

Hawkeye is a human man with exceptional aim.

He is trained to the peak of human conditioning and is bale to battle many meta-human foes with just his body and his bow with trick arrows.

He is an exceptional fencer, acrobat and has considerable strength for someone who is not meta.

It is revealed that Hawkeye’s bow has a 250lb draw weight which is considerable when you take into account the average long bow has a 75-100lb weight draw.

As I said before he uses a variety of trick arrows much like Green Arrow from DC comics. Some of these arrows include: sonic arrows, explosive arrows, shock arrows, disruptor arrows, EMP arrows, and good old fashioned broadtipped.

During his tenure as Ronin he was also proficient with several melee weapons including the Katana.

He is also shown to have the ability to turn any object into a weapon by throwing it.

REASONS HE’S UNDERRATED

Hawkeye is vastly underrated because on a team that boasts a demi-god, a hulk, a tech genius, immortal warrior with metal claws, spider-man, and Captain America… he is just a guy with a bow an arrows.

There is a scene from Avengers Age of Ultron wherein Hawkeye tells Scarlet Witch that “there is an army of evil robots attacking the city, the city is flying, and I have a bow and arrow… none of this makes sense. But if you step out that door you are an Avenger…” This scene shows Hawkeye’s true power and that is to inspire his fellow teammates. When the super human teammates are down and feeling like they can’t win Hawkeye is there to bring them back into the fight. Most of the time it consists of him saying “…how can you be down and I’m not?! Get up!”.

Modern Hawkeye

Not only does Hawkeye provide the pick me up that some of the heroes need in the fight but he also doesn’t back down from a challenge. Hawkeye is a man, a man with a bow and arrow who never misses, but still just a man. Yet, he fights people like Ultron, Thanos and even Hulk on occasion without batting an eye because he knows he has to. Hawkeye will take on whoever is challenging him because as an Avenger you don’t get to pick your enemies, he knows he might not make it but he believes in himself and his team that they will win in the end.

Currently Hawkeye is portrayed by Jeremy Renner in the MCU and he does a fantastic job. In Age of Ultron we were introduced to his family which is a sad point as well. The Russo brothers confirmed that Hawkeye will be in Avengers 4 but he will adopt the persona of Ronin, this means there’s probably a good chance that his family is going to die in the third Avengers.

This concludes the third issue of Most underrated heroes. Let me know who you think an underrated hero is!

 

Superior Spider-Man: What Worked and What Didn’t

With all the news about the Punisher trailer dropping I decided to take a bit of a break from my anti-hero focus and talk about a series that I loved no matter what anyone says, and that would be the Superior Spider-Man run.

For those unfamiliar with the run it was the direct sequel to Amazing Spider-Man #700 in which Dr. Octopus transfers his consciousness with Peter’s (goes full Freaky Friday) and becomes Spider-Man. Before Peter dies in Ock’s body he attempts to right what has been done to him with the help of a few villains. Ock in Spider-Man’s body becomes enraged when the Scorpion attacks Aunt May and punches his lower jaw hard enough to separate it from his body. When the transfer fails, Ock reveals that he placed shielding on the back of his head to prevent a transfer again. Ock proceeds to pummel his old body to the point of death and Peter uses their connection via the Octobot (the device that started the whole thing) to flood Octavius’ mind with his memories and loss he has experienced becoming the Spider-Man he was. Ock has an epiphany realizing how wrong he was and vows that Peter isn’t leaving the mantle of Spider-Man to a villain. Ock then destroys his former identity as Doctor Octopus and redesigns the Spider suit vowing to be a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was, vowing to become the Superior Spider-Man.

Alright now that the prologue to the series is done I’m going to jump into the things that I felt worked and the ones that didn’t. There will be spoilers for the run so if you want to read it yourself spoiler free then stop reading now.

WHAT I LIKED

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#1 – The Suit

The first thing that I will say really blew me away was the redesign of the suit. Initially at the beginning of the run he wears that classic suit just recoloured with the talons and the mechanical eyes. Later on, he redesigns the whole suit to the Superior look. When he added the mechanical arms, that was too much like Doc Ock pretending to be Spider-Man for me, but I understood why he did it and how it was a necessary step in his development as a character. But the redesign with the red and black over tones, along with the bigger mechanical looking eyes really made the whole costume come together. But probably my favourite piece of the whole suit were the retractable talons. They really added a more animalistic look to the whole suit and when used to deliver tracking nanobots they were easily the best piece of the suit. The redesign of the Web shooters to operate on the outside of the suit was also a great addition.

#2 – The Story

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The story of Superior Spider-Man involves quite a few very prominent villains for the most part but the overall plot involving the Green Goblin/Goblin King was really cool. The entire series Spider-Man is vexed by his regular rogues gallery while every issue we are treated to a few panels of the Goblin King recruiting. By the time the Goblin King makes his move he has a veritable army of followers and they quickly take control over large sections of the city. Most notable villains that he comes up against are the vulture, Scorpion, the Sinister Six, Hobgoblin, Spider Slayer, and Massacre. Not only does the story show how much Otto changes during his run as Spider-man but it also shows the lengths he’s willing to go, by executing Massacre. The whole world, including the Avengers knew there was something different about Spider-Man. Not only do the Avengers attempt to subdue him and find out what’s wrong but he actually fights them off single handedly. He also establishes a Spider Island and hires henchmen to be his arach-naughts.

I will say that while the whole story was pretty awesome the one thing you saw coming was Peter eventually retaking his body. Throughout the run we are shown that Peter appears as an astral projection that only Otto can see and hear, but Peter influences a lot of what Otto does while trying to find a way to take his body back. When Otto ultimately sacrifices himself to allow Peter full control over his body it shows how full circle becoming the hero changed Otto for the better.

#3 – Spider-Man 2099

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A large part of the second half of the run involves the arrival of Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara) from the future to stop the rise of the tech conglomerate that is the main antagonist in his timeline.  A colleague at Horizon Labs builds a time portal and Spider-Man 2099 arrives through it sent by Alchemex from his own timeline. Otto attacks  O’Hara believing him to be an imposter, they battle to a stalemate with O’Hara fleeing without Otto being able to track him. While the main story progresses O’Hara ends up working as an assistant to his eventual arch enemy due to him being stranded in this timeline. The climax of the run shows Peter restored and in control of his body working with O’Hara to stop the Alchemex mechs, save the city from the Goblin King, save Anna Maria, and return O’Hara to his own timeline. I think the reason I like this part so much is because of the suit O’Hara has. Blue with a red skull, talons, and a small web cape, just looks awesome no matter what timeline he’s in.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

 

#1 – HOW NOBODY NOTICED HE WAS DIFFERENT

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The entire run of the series shows Otto burning old bridges with long time allies and friends and forging a new relationship with Anna Maria. The Avengers aren’t even able to discern that someone other than Peter is Spider-Man.  The only person the entire series who truly believes something is different is Carlie Cooper (Peter’s ex-girlfriend and knower of the Spider-Man identity) and when she figures it out; she is kidnapped by the Goblin King and dosed with Goblin serum which changes her into “Monster”.  The Avengers conduct every test they have to try and see if someone has impersonated or taken over Spider-Man, and they come up empty handed. The biggest tell though, is the language he uses. If you read other Avengers comics with Spider-Man he talks like a cocky kid and his one liners rival Deadpool. The Superior Spider-Man uses language that a pompous narcissist would use and nobody notices. This is one of the things that irked me about the whole run. That and like seriously… he made 4 mechanical spider arms and nobody thought “Oh maybe something isn’t right… that  looks like something Doc Ock would do” and then they all come to this conclusion”… but Ock is dead so it obviously couldn’t be him” like COME ON!

#2 – Hobgoblin/Goblin Knight

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So one of the side plots for the run is the constant appearance of the Hobgolin, and not even the real one. So turns out the original Hobgoblin has retired (kind of) from his criminal ways, now he only provides a means rather than committing the crime himself. What I mean to say is that the original Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley “actually Daniel Kingsley impersonating Roderick”) is selling villain personas and costumes to people for profit. Phil Urich (Nephew of famed Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich) purchased the Hobgoblin persona and uses it to finance his life while recording himself committing crimes to write stories for the paper.. Ya… it’s really weird.  Anyways, Hobgoblin is in the employ of Kingpin and acts as an enforcer. When Spider-Man attacks Shadowland (of Daredevil Fame) with his arach-naughts and arach-tanks, Kingpin fakes his death and the Hobgoblin flees. Tiberius Stone sabotages the Hobgoblin ruining him and Spider-Man ousts Phil Urich as the Hobgoblin.  Phil takes Norah Winters as a hostage to escape the Bugle but Spider-Man arrives and defeats him. Urich is broken out of jail by Menace and taken to the Goblin King in the sewers of NY. Goblin King annoints him as Goblin Knight and provides him with a new costume and armour.

The whole thing is just extra plot for the sake of making more henchmen for the Goblin King. They could’ve had him be ruined and give it up and that’s it but no, they carried it on making it drag through the last volumes until Peter Parker kicks his butt.

#3 – The Spider Island/Spider HQ

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Okay this goes hand in hand with how do people not notice he is not Peter Parker. HE MAKES HIMSELF AN HQ AND HIRES AN ARMY OF HENCHMEN!! HE BUILD MASSIVE TANKS AND LEADS AN OFFENSIVE AGAINST SHADOWLAND!!! COME ON!!! YOU’RE TELLING ME NOBODY THOUGHT HE WAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT?!?!?

Side bar the Avengers thought something was different but they were more concerned with his brutal punishments rather THAN HIS FREAKING ARMY AND TANKS!!!

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Okay, I’m done ranting about his army and spidertanks.

Minus the few things that I brought up about not liking the whole story arc was very well put together. Dan Slott did a great job with this run I only wish they had somehow kept this Spider-Man alive in a different universe just so we could see how far things would go before someone actually noticed and ousted Doc Ock as Spider-Man.

This story is definitely a must read for any Spider-Man fan and would add to any collection. I know i bought it all and have read it several times over. I didn’t even mention the venom part of the run or the final act because I wanted to keep somethings spoiler free. Regardless of who is in the body though Spider-Man always shows us that with great power comes great responsibility.

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