Marvel’s Moon Knight can be a truly terrifying figure. As a servant of the vengeful moon god Khonshu, he wields awesome and deadly superpowers. He’s a man with multiple identities, so it’s impossible for friends and foes alike to predict which Moon Knight they’ll be dealing with on any given day. Sometimes he’s passive, but catch him at the wrong moment, and you better be ready for a fight. If there is one aspect of the Moon Knight that should frighten more than any other, it’s the fact that he has mastered pretty much every instrument of violence there is — and he always keeps a few of them on hand.
Between his career as Moon Knight and his origins as Marc Spector, the vigilante has trained in virtually every martial art, and he knows his way around melee weapons and firearms. In his first appearance in 1975’s “Werewolf by Night” #32, Moon Knight is referred to as a “weapons expert,” and he more than lived up to that description in subsequent appearances. To give you a better idea of just how terrified Marvel’s bad guys should be, here are all of Moon Knight’s weapons explained.
When it comes to Moon Knight iconography, there are no weapons more ubiquitous, more thematic, and more badass than his crescent darts. The first one showed up just three pages in to Moon Knight’s first appearance, described as being “like a silver razor blade.” In that first incarnation, these signature weapons were shaped like crescent moons, meant to both injure and insult the series’ lycanthropic protagonist — the same was true for nearly every aspect of the silver-clad, moon-themed hero. Like most aspects of the Moon Knight, the crescents were updated in future series, given new origins and new justification.
Though the term “darts” is by far the most common one used in labeling the weapons, for Spector, they are so much more. The weapons master uses sharper versions as daggers for slicing and ranged piercing, and he uses blunt versions to add weight to his punches and to disarm enemies from a distance. In one of his most infamous acts of violence, Moon Knight even used one of his crescents as a butcher’s knife, carving off the face of his longtime arch-nemesis Raul Bushman.
Almost as iconic and omnipresent as Moon Knight’s crescent darts are his adjustable, multipurpose truncheons. Though the comparison will almost certainly draw the ire of some fans and perhaps the approval of others, the easiest way to explain Moon Knight’s truncheons is to say: They are essentially the same weapons as Daredevil’s billy clubs. The main difference is color — Daredevil’s are red while Moon Knight’s are silver or white. The ones used by Daredevil are often referred to as either billy clubs or batons, while the ones used by Moon Knight are usually called truncheons. The three terms are all used interchangeably in other contexts.
Like Daredevil, Moon Knight often begins encounters with a truncheon in each hand — two short, blunt, melee weapons meant to augment his strikes without hindering his mixed martial arts acrobatics. Then, depending on the battle’s progression, he may link the two truncheons end to end, forming a quarterstaff or bo staff — a longer, two-handed weapon with increased striking range and weight. Alternatively, he may choose to connect the two short truncheons via rope, cable, or chain, creating a nunchaku or Asian chain whip. Lastly, he often uses one truncheon as a grappling gun, firing a hook and rope from one end, which — like every other configuration — is another signature of Daredevil’s.
Another set of classic Moon Knight weapons, he often uses his cesti (or battle-gloves) to brutal effect. They function like any set of brass knuckles — which for Moon Knight means an upgrade to silver — except that the metal studs or spikes are built into the glove for ease and added bracing. The weapons are arguably his very first, as he sports them in his depiction on the cover of “Werewolf by Night” #32. In that appearance, they were made of silver — as were all of the Moon Knight’s weapons — to grant Spector an edge against his werewolf foe. But, like the rest of the arsenal, Spector eventually swapped the silver out for kevlar, carbonadium, or adamantium, depending on the series and issue.
Like his two short truncheons, Moon Knight’s cesti are meant to be minimalist and work in tandem with his fluid martial arts. They are armor as much as they are weapons, and so the gloves serve as an extension of Spector’s person. That isn’t exactly true for every series, however. A few writers and artists have purposefully replaced the cesti with simple pointed knuckles, such as Charlie Huston and David Finch. Their goal in their 2006 run was to hammer home Moon Knight’s brawler style and brutality, which the knuckle spikes — so often dripping with the blood of criminals — certainly did.
Moon Knight’s twin tripwire pistols (perhaps more accurately called grappling pistols or crescent pistols) hold a somewhat unique place in his sizable arsenal. In some ways, these weapons are a rarity. Viewed from another angle, however, they’re one of Spector’s most recurrent tools for traversal and crimefighting.
If you consider the defining quality of the tripwire/grappling/crescent pistols to be their physical shape (like that of a generic pistol), then their only prominent and recurring use in any series was in Gregg Hurwitz’s “Vengeance of the Moon Knight,” which ran between 2009 and 2010. Under Hurwitz, Spector used the pistols for everything from grappling to laying trip-lines to hogtying suspects. The weapons featured prominently in several splash panels, often shooting toward the reader for effect.
If, on the other hand, you broaden the weapons’ definition to include any tripwire/grappling/crescent launcher, even if the pistol grip is absent, then there are few runs in which Spector doesn’t use the weapons. Most often, the pistol shape is replaced with the end of Spector’s truncheons or attached to the end of chains — the difference between that and his truncheon grappling hook being the crescent shape of his projectiles.
Before he became the Moon Knight, Marc Spector was a U.S. Marine, and between his service and subsequent training, he became a general weapons expert. Unlike heroes like Batman and Spider-Man, who operate under strict “no guns, no killing” policies, Spector never limited his training to melee and non-lethal weapons. He trained with all manner of firearms, and though his general proclivity towards heroism makes the use of guns a rarity, Spector is not above leaning on them when the situation calls for it.
An excellent example of this comes during Cullen Bunn’s tenure on “Moon Knight.” During issue #15, “Bogeyman,” Spector finds his usual methods insufficient in defeating a folkloric monster who harms children while they sleep. His punches, kicks, and crescent daggers fail to damage the creature, and Spector is left lying bloody and beaten in an alleyway. When given the opportunity to face the beast again, Spector eschews his acrobatics and martial arts and uses his guns instead. Wielding twin assault rifles, Spector takes a surprisingly earthly approach to take down an unearthly enemy. Even to foes like the infamous bogeyman, Spector remains as unpredictable as ever.
Claws, webs, and a shield
Any Marvel fan reading the phrase “claws, webs, and a shield” will almost certainly assume the references are to Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Captain America, respectively. In this case, they would be wrong — well, kind of. As with most things Moon Knight, the answer is not a simple one. The aforementioned heroes’ signature weapons became a part of his arsenal during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on “Moon Knight.” In this version, Spector’s usual alternate personalities are replaced with the trio of Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Captain America.
During that 2011 run, Spector alternated between thinking the three famous heroes were his squad-mates and confidants, aiding him in a semi-Avengers-level mission. He believed that he was one of the heroes — which one depended on the occasion. To that end, he tracked down and hired ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. armorer Buck Lime to craft functioning replicas of the three heroes’ signature weapons: Wolverine’s claws, Spider-Man’s web-shooters, and Captain America’s shield. Before the short series ended, Spector generated personalities based on Iron Man and Echo, too. Sadly, he never got the chance to commission a replica of Tony Stark’s suit.
Over the years, Moon Knight has used a variety of weapons in the shape of ankhs, the Egyptian hieroglyph. They have come in different materials and sizes, and they have served several functions, but all share the same distinct shape. For the Moon Knight, aka the Fist of Khonshu, Egyptian symbols are a source of power and a symbol of his dedication to his patron deity. Most recently, Khonshu gifted his earthly avatar with a series of magic ankhs, vessels that enabled Spector to leech powers from the Avengers. Using the ankhs (and with an assist from some seriously-upgraded lunar powers), Spector swiftly defeated Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, and even Thor.
In the past, Moon Knight has used other ankhs with assorted magical powers, like the golden ankh featured in his first series, which glowed to warn him when danger approached. Since then, the ankhs have appeared time and again throughout the various Moon Knight series as combination totems and weapons, much like his crescents or scarabs. Whether used as blunt clubs, thrown objects, or woven into his deepest origins, the ankh motif has accompanied Spector for decades.
The one weapon that Moon Knight uses more than any other is his body. For Spector, whose divine powers have come and gone over the years and whose very mind can’t be trusted, the only constant is his training and his instincts. In a life full of uncertainty and transience, the Fist of Khonshu always has his fists. The “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe” describes Spector as “an Olympic-level athlete with extraordinary strength, endurance, agility, and fighting skills.” In short, he’s someone you really don’t want to mess with, weapon or no weapon.
According to the handbook, Spector became proficient in “a broad range of hand-to-hand combat techniques” during his time as a mercenary. He’s in the same arena as Batman when it comes to martial arts — we’re talking karate, kung fu, judo, and all the other likely suspects. The two notable differences between the heroes are Spector’s former career as a professional boxer and his military training, which included special forces and stealth combat. His quick trouncing of Iron Fist demonstrates his impressive prowess, even when facing a renowned martial arts master.
His suit and cloak
Moon Knight is an intensely physical hero, but he’s not limited to his feet and fists. Spector often mixes his practiced and measured martial arts maneuvers with messy, reckless assaults, using his entire body as a weapon. He has been known to either curl up into a ball or straighten himself into an arrow to crash through walls, windows, vehicles, and other people. This is only possible because of his suit and his cloak.
Moon Knight’s cloak or cowl has varied in appearance over the years. Sometimes it’s essentially a white mimic of Batman’s, and sometimes it’s a unique tool. In the latter instances, Moon Knight’s cowl becomes a rigid crescent and acts as a hang-glider. After diving and sailing to (or through) his target, Spector’s body armor allows him to turn himself into one big projectile without excessive risk of injury. His armor has allowed him to supplement his skill and dexterity with his trademark unhinged recklessness.
His mountains of money
It may sound like a cop-out, but ignoring Moon Knight’s wealth when listing things that make him a deadly adversary would be a pretty glaring omission. The character’s wealth has fluctuated wildly over the years. In some runs, he’s reached high-tech hideout levels. This was especially true in his first series, in which one of Spector’s alternate personalities, Steven Grant, became the stereotypical playboy millionaire. In other iterations, especially in his no-nonsense cool guy persona Mr. Knight, Spector’s wealth makes itself known through bleeding-edge vehicles like his hovercraft and A.I.-piloted drones.
Even when he is relatively down on his luck, Spector has always had enough money for bespoke gadgets and weapons. When he offered Buck Lime a job as a craftsman in 2011’s “Moon Knight” #3, Lime asked, “How much does it pay?” Spector responded, “More than you’ve ever had.” When he’s not a Wall Street player, the source of Spector’s wealth is debatable, but seeing as he was once an Avenger, he likely has access to the same perpetual funding that allowed Hawkeye to buy an entire apartment complex.
Moon Knight can and will use anything he has to hand as a weapon. That includes the weapons of other heroes and villains. In the “Age of Khonshu” event, Spector uses the Iron Fist, the sorcery of Doctor Strange, and even Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. Spector once impersonated Bullseye and used one of the villain’s signature sai. When there’s no superpowered weapon available, he’s happy to use everyday objects to get the job done — he’s even been known to wield a chainsaw.
Comic readers will be aware that Moon Knight often uses stakes when slaying the vampires that plague the congregation of his beloved Midnight Mission. The list continues with baseball bats, swords, and traditional Egyptian khopeshes. And despite not being a handheld tool, it’s worth pointing out that Moon Knight even wielded the powers of the mighty Phoenix as a weapon for a time — and survived the experience. There isn’t much that Moon Knight can’t use to hurt his enemies and protect the innocent.