With his origin story in place, something clicked for the Moon Knight. A pervading sense of completion gave writers the themes and concepts needed to start expanding on White Eye’s mythos. And especially his rogues’ gallery. Although no one can really compare to the criminal catalogs of Batman or Spider-man, Moon Knight has a few memorable baddies of his own. This article will explain what comes next through the eyes of Moon Knight’s many villains.

The following compendium installments draw from the first and second volumes of Essential Moon Knight. Due to the length of this list, the rest will be covered in future entries. Potential spoilers may follow.

Raul Bushman

There are a few foes who could be considered the arch-nemesis of Marc Spector. But there’s no question that Raul Bushman is a top pick. With teeth made of steel and a skull tattooed on his face, Bushman is a true believer in the idea of terror as a weapon.

As covered in the earlier article, Bushman is first introduced in Moon Knight #1. As Marc Spector’s commander during a mercenary campaign in Sudan, he is responsible for first exposing our protagonist’s moral limits. And after Spector mutinies, Bushman exposes him again—this time to the Saharan sun. As our hero (theoretically) dies and is resurrected by Khonshu, it is strange to say that Bushman’s evil may accidentally result in good.

After his forces are beaten by the reborn man, Bushman flees. But later, he baits a trap for the Moon Knight in New York. As Spector busts heroin rings, an item bearing Bushman’s sigil falls into his possession. Raiding the dealer’s club, MK comes face-to-face with his old foe.

But Marlene Alraune shows up, following Spector for fear of losing him to Bushman, as she had her father. As Moon Knight takes Bushman down, she insists that he maintains the moral high ground by not killing their mutual foe. They depart as the police arrive, taking the terrorist into custody.

Not long after, Bushman would ally with a talented thief known as the Midnight Man (see below). But even after this battle, Bushman and Moon Knight would go on to have many run-ins in the coming decades.

Raul Bushman, from Moon Knight comic series.

Midnight Man

Moon Knight would spend his second issue taking down another psychotic murderer known as “the Slasher.” The tale proved personally tragic for Jake Lockley’s informant Bertrand Crawley, however this was not a villain who would be seen again. Issue #3 however, gave us an enemy who leaves a lasting mark: Midnight Man.

An exceptional thief, Midnight Man bears an intriguing M.O. in that never fences his ill-gotten gains. Learning this the hard way sends Crawley, Lockley and Moon Knight down a dead end in their investigation. However, Grant succeeds where Lockley fails, gaining the acquaintance of Art Collector Anton Mogart during a charity gala. Mogart approaches Grant, inquiring about Spector’s services to protect his art collection. And when Moon Knight shows up, so too does Midnight Man, determined to take out the competition.

Mogart’s initial defeat sends him flying into the sewers, where tragedies await. Corrosive substances give him horrendous facial scarring and, considering his cape, further conflate him with the Phantom of the Opera. The police also seize his assets while he’s incapacitated, and the loss drives him over the deep end.

Later he allies with Bushman to steal Khonshu’s statue from Grant’s manor. Although betrayed by the terrorist during the act, Midnight Man destroys the god’s symbol, and reveals MK’s weakness in doing so.

The loss of Khonshu’s symbol wounds MK’s psyche deeply, and after Spector helps his butler and Mogart escape Bushman’s watery trap, Midnight Man flees, yet the depressive streak that haunts Spector makes him forget his convictions for a time. Fortunately, Marlene reveals that the destroyed art was just a replica—the real one is safe. And the revelation restores Spector’s faith.

One must appreciate the blank acceptance of Mogart’s early motivation. He seeks no sympathy, no justification for his actions. He covets his prizes out of pure materialism, not even motivated by the usual “liquid assets” commonly associated with greed. Although, his attitude changes towards the end of his life. Losing to cancer, Mogart would seek his illegitimate son Jeff Wilde to pass on his skills and grudge, resulting in further troubles for Moonie.

He covets his prizes out of pure materialism, not even motivated by the usual “liquid assets” commonly associated with greed.

The Committee

The cabal of businessmen return in issue #4 to rectify their prior hiring mistake. This time using five flavorful assassins to take out their former employee, Marc Spector:

  • Boom-Boom, the master of explosives.
  • The eponymous Razor.
  • The skilled sniper, Ice.
  • Dragon, the martial arts master.
  • And the colossal Bull, who firmly intends to crush Moon Knight with his bare hands.

After Ice takes the first shot and fails, Moon Knight suspects something is up. Frenchie then provides historical context from Werewolf by Night #32, gently retconning history. Having posed as a member of the Committee, he originally suggested the code name “Moon Knight” and recommended a skilled mercenary for their werewolf-catching task. Pressing on Frenchie, Crawley and Gena’s boys Ricky and Ray, MK takes the offensive and begins hunting down his would-be assassins.

Moench’s use of destructively-diverse villainous ensembles would continue with other antagonistic associations. But the writer still challenged himself, preferring our hero to take the offensive whenever possible. Even if that meant a great deal of investigative work. And while Moench didn’t rely too heavily on the Committee, the fluid, reformative nature of the group allowed Marvel to reinvent it with ease. Thus they would create several future problems for both Moon Knight and Jack Russell.

Morpheus

Before The Fist of Khonshu, one foe stood out as the most prolific in this rogues’ gallery.

First appearing in Moon Knight #12, Robert Markham suffers from a strange genetic disease. His physician, Dr. Peter Alraune Jr. (Marlene’s brother) sees little alternative but to try an experimental drug. The effects are drastic and horrifying, cursing Markham with an inability to dream… and disfiguring his very appearance into something akin to Count Orloc from Nosferatu. Markham begins referring to himself as Morpheus, after the Greek god of sleep, and seeks vengeance against the doctor.

Worse, he’s quite capable of it thanks to “ebon energy,” a psionic power that generates from his inability to sleep. These powerful projections allow him to lash out at people or create bulletproof shields. While Moon Knight is a man, Morpheus is firmly classified as a super villain.

When MK took him down the first time, he was placed into a chemically-induced slumber to keep him in check. But the state of affairs would not last, and Morpheus would return in Moon Knight #22. Even from his hospital bed, their foe began torturing Dr. Alraune through his dreams, while MK battles a shadow in Morpheus’ shape. The terrors grow worse as hallucinations plague Frenchie and even turn Moon Knight’s alter egos against him. But the grand twist is that the “shadow” stalking our protagonist turns out to be a mind-controlled Peter Alraune.

Morpheus from
Morpheus from

Bill Sienkiewicz either loved or hated drawing Morpheus’ story lines. But there’s little question they allowed him creative freedoms that artists seldom get…

The problems only get worse in the following issue. The hospital increases their dosage to Morpheus, and their decision backfires when the villain’s powers grow. Awakened, he frees himself and follows Spector, Dr. Alraune and Marlene as they head to a rural retreat. Moon Knight finds himself heavily outmatched by the bolts of ebon energy. In the dream battles that follow, a black knight character is rendered, possibly foreshadowing the creation of the Black Spectre. But it’s Peter Alraune who puts a stop to the madness, as something about the dream powers given to him counter Morpheus’ own. Contact weakens the villain’s abilities permanently… but Dr. Alraune pays a deadly price.

Bill Sienkiewicz either loved or hated drawing Morpheus’ story lines. But there’s little question they allowed him creative freedoms that artists seldom get, filling the pages with imaginative monsters and amazing panels that truly stand as genius artwork of their own. Many of the backgrounds and line work feel inspired by the Salem’s Lot miniseries released a few years before. Morpheus himself was given a rodent-touched vampiric look, complete with pointed ears, sharpened teeth, and a bald head with almost reptilian cranial ridging. But most strikingly, Sienkiewicz gave his creation almost fly-like eyes, often glinting in the light. This decision worked with the design of Markham’s madness, no longer allowing him to close his eyes to sleep.

Stained Glass Scarlet

John Lennon was shot on December 8th of 1980. A year later, Moench felt compelled to pay a deep tribute to the musician in Moon Knight #14.

The story begins on not one but two melancholy notes. The first in a church in the Bronx, following the regrets of an anonymous, well-dressed woman. The second at the manor of Steven Grant, where he and Marlene enjoy an indoor date night of gazing at the works Alphonse Mucha and playing the piano. The mood darkens as Marlene’s tune references a piece by The Beatles. But turning to the radio offers no relief. The news reports the police pursuit of a gang led by one Joe “Mad Dog” Fasinera, freshly released from prison.

Moon Knight flies to the action, but so too does the woman from the church. The former arrives in time to assist the cops, taking down several gunmen. The latter corners two of the culprits, commanding them at gunpoint to direct Joe to the church. White Eyes doesn’t miss this unusual exchange. Intrigued, MK follows her to the holy hideout,. When questioned, she freely gives her tale.

Her name is Scarlet, a former nun who once dreamed of being an actress. On a day the priest was out, she listened to the confession of a repentant Vince Fasinera, who had recently committed a violent robbery. Trusting that love could solve all problems, she gave up the clothe to marry and “fix” him. But while Vince’s regrets could be assuaged, his instincts could not. Twenty years of Scarlet’s loving devotion ended when Mr. Fasinera robbed a bank and stashed the money before being gunned down. Left a widow, Scarlet tried and failed to reach their son, Joe, who gains his “Mad Dog” moniker soon after.

Time and again, [Stained Glass Scarlet] would serve as the fencing foil to Moon Knight’s morality. Although he avoided killing, his temptations were heavy, and her actions constantly tested them.

Stained Glass Scarlet from

The story ends as heartbreaking as it sounds. Joe shows up, armed. Despite Moon Knight’s efforts, he cannot prevent a stand off between mother and son. The conflict ends with Scarlet reluctantly shooting her own child dead.

The former nun left quite the impression, and appeared again in Moon Knight #24. This time armed with a hood and a repeating crossbow, and applying the latter against five mobsters at a restaurant. As his unofficial ally Detective Flint investigates the scene, Moon Knight discovers a clue meant for him, and heads to the church. There, Scarlet admits she intends to bolt the mob the death, blaming them for their influence on her son. The situation leaves Moon Knight at a cross roads, and Marlene (still grieving for her brother), doesn’t have answers to guide him. Moon Knight decides to stop her rampage, but at the moment of truth, he chooses her over the life of mob boss Manny Sindone.

Stained Glass Scarlet’s story is a bitter pill. Intriguing in that she tried for decades to help her family change, and in the end was changed herself. Time and again, she would serve as the fencing foil to Moon Knight’s morality. Although he avoided killing, his temptations were heavy, and her actions constantly tested them. Marvel too felt the impact, revisiting the character repeatedly in later volumes.

Arsenal & The Slayers Elite

Benjamin Abramov, a friend and Mossad agent, visits Spector to ask a favor during Moon Knight #17. The spy details a dictator by the name of Nimrod Strange, a former member of Black September, the Red Army Faction and similar groups. Not one to waste a Rolodex, Nimrod became the commander of his own forces, a terrorist group he calls the Third World Slayers. Clever use of both left and right-wing groups funds and outfits his army as an “alternative to the enemy.” In response to the situation, Ben asks Spector to deliver a message to Switzerland. But just as Marc is turning him down, the spy is shot in the back by Nimrod’s agent, Master Sniper.

Himself injured in the pursuit, Spector recovers in the hospital and spins a tale to get the police off his scent. And after traveling to Switzerland to defeat the assassin, Marc ventures to Israel to continue the fight against Nimrod Strange. Unfortunately, the Slayers Elite move first, kidnapping Marlene and Benjamin’s wife Anna. With their lives on the line, Moon Knight is pitted against agents Jou-Jouka, Kareesh-Bek and Sumaro. But they prove no match for him.

All other options lead to dead ends, and Frenchie, Marlene and Spector infiltrate the Third World Slayers through their recruitment routes. For better or worse, Commander Strange puts eyes on Marlene as a new bodyguard, and she passes his violent test.

The Slayers Elite from

Nimrod Strange adds a politically conscientious element to Moon Knight Volume 1. 

Arsenal would not, and likely could not, exist without exploiting the “enemy of my enemy…” philosophy that dictated much of the Cold War.

Taken away, Marlene witnesses Nimrod dress himself like an armory, taking the name “Arsenal.” Meanwhile, Moon Knight and Frenchie set to work sabotaging the Slayers’ weapon caches. In the chaos, Commander Strange gets away, taking Marlene with him.

In the pursuit, MK returns to New York, where Arsenal has anchored four tankers filled with oil. His plan? To expel their contents into the bay, and start a devastating fire that would consume Manhattan and a chunk of New York. With Mossad backing him, Moon Knight infiltrates the tankers and takes down the crew. But Arsenal gets the upper hand. strapping Spector to the ship’s generator and unmasking him. After escaping, Arsenal is taken down and the explosives are disconnected from the oil. But the madman reawaken unaware of this, arming and destroying himself in the process…

Nimrod Strange adds a politically conscientious element to Moon Knight Volume 1. Arsenal would not, and likely could not, exist without exploiting the “enemy of my enemy…” philosophy that dictated much of the Cold War. While intriguing and comparatively fresh in some ways, Nimrod Strange’s origin belongs to his time, and would face challenges in conversion to a modern setting.

Continued in part 3, coming soon at Thunderbird.

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz, original story and writing by Doug Moench. Moon Knight Vol 1, Marvel Comics is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. All Marvel Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1941-2020 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.

About James Fadeley

James is a short story author and novelist who spends way too much time playing video games. His first novel, The Gift of Hadrborg is based on The Banner Saga universe. If you think yourself insane, he can be followed on Twitter @JamesFadeley.