Perfect for a show about a protagonist with dissociative identity disorder, this week’s second episode of moon knight features the second Moon Knight in the series… sort of. Less than a decade after his comic book debut, Mr. Knight gets his live-action introduction… but for fans familiar with the character from his comic book appearances, things aren’t exactly what you might expect. expect.
Who is Mr. Knight?
In the comics, Mr. Knight is a separate character from the traditional cloak and skin-tight incarnation of Moon Knight. Created by writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey, Mr. Knight debuted in the first issue of the 2014 revival of the moon knight comedic as a recreation of Marc Spector’s traditional identity – sometimes he even uses the name “Mr. Spector” to emphasize this fact.
As Mr. Knight, Moon Knight rejects the traditional superhero tropes he’s used in previous appearances. His costume is an all-white costume with a matching white mask, and while he’s certainly skilled in hand-to-hand combat, his greatest weapon is arguably his mind. He speaks through the mysteries, to the Sherlock Holmes, and also maintains a tenuous connection with the authorities which allows him access to crime scenes, much like Sir Arthur’s famous detective Conan Doyle.
Simply put, Mr. Knight is a hyper-confident, hyper-smart version of Moon Knight. He’s the best possible version of Marc Spector… Spector already being the most capable version of all the Moon Knight characters. In other words, the guy in the suit is the most Moon Knight of all the Moon Knights.
Things are quite different at Marvel Studios moon knight.
The transformation of Mr. Knight
The MCU version of Mr. Knight is, if nothing else, the complete opposite of his comic book incarnation, being what happens when Steven Grant – the incompetent and anxious employee of a London museum gift shop confusingly called the National Art Gallery, according to signage – assumes power and abilities gifted by Khonshu instead of Marc Spector. In the show, Mr. Knight is the less effective version of Moon Knight, and of which Marc Spector does not seem too convinced.
If you think about it, that probably makes more sense than the original division of labor between the costumed identities of Moon Knight. After all, it would surely take the advanced experience and badassery of Marc Spector to deal with the cape and cowl that Moon Knight wears when not in his Mr. Knight guise, just like someone who isn’t quite comfortable being a seemingly overpowered killer would. wear a regular costume instead of the more over-the-top, eye-catching traditional superhero outfit of the Moon Knight character. By rethinking how Mr. Knight as a visual fits into the character as a whole – especially in his current on-screen incarnation – the show’s creative team might have helped things take a turn. little more sense.
In a decision that says something about the moon knight series and Marvel Studios as a whole, it’s really just the visual of Mr. Knight that survives translation between media. (Designer and co-creator Shalvey was even invited to the premiere of the showin a rare but welcome moment from Marvel Studios acknowledging the contribution of comic book creators.)
It’s no surprise that Warren Ellis’ contributions are downplayed by Marvel, considering what has has happened in recent years, but it’s not just about trying to sweep an inconvenient truth out of sight. (In fact, much of what Ellis established for the character had already been dropped in the comics, years before he was cast as an abuser.)
Mr. Knight: A Wider Marvel Trend
moon knight the show follows what has become Marvel Studios’ model of being a synthesis of intellectual property created for the comic, rather than a direct translation. While promoting the series, producer Grant Curtis spoke about how the filmmakers considered “years and decades of storytelling” in the comics, rather than the work of a creative team or execution on the character. .
It’s an approach that shows in the series itself, which tells a story featuring elements from different comic book stories without actually following an individual comic book itself – just like, say, Captain America: Civil War draws inspiration from several comics in addition to the 2006 original Civil war comic or Avengers: Infinity War is so much more than (and so different from) any 1990s adaptation Infinity Gauntlet comic strip from which it is based.
In doing so, it highlights the flexibility of the base material (as well as, potentially, the company’s disinterest in maintaining author’s voice on brand consistency, but let’s forget about that for now). With over 40 years of comic book continuity and reboots to juggle, it makes sense that the show will pick and choose what it brings to the screen…and, honestly, when it comes to memorable elements of Moon Knight, the Mr. Knight’s look was, hands down, the best thing the character did in decades.
moon knight is streaming now on Disney+.