The “Moon Knight” series debuted on Disney+. Inside, the protagonist is haunted by a mysterious character: Khonshu. Learn all about the Egyptian Moon God in comics and Egyptian mythology.
Moon Knight and the Different Mythologies in the Marvel Universe
Directed by Jeremy Slater, the series Moon Knight focuses on an all-new hero. Steven Grant suffers from numerous psychological problems, including dissociative identity disorder. Basically, he shares his body with other identities including that of Marc Spector, a dangerous mercenary, and that of Moon Knight, a vengeful vigilante, also called the fist of Khonshu. The latter is the kind of dark and disturbing demon that haunts our protagonist. And this character does exist in the comics.
This isn’t the first time Marvel Comics has drawn inspiration from different mythologies and religions to expand its character roster. The general public knows, for example, that Norse mythology is central to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) obviously with the presence of various Asgardian gods (Thor, Loki, and Odin). The comics even invoke stories inspired by real events. Among the different legends discussed, we can for example cite the presence of Dracula, the Devil, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jack the Ripper, or even the gods of Olympus. The latter will also make their entry into the MCU on the occasion of Thor: Love and Thunder because Russell Crowe was cast as Zeus in Taika Waititi’s film.
Thanks to Moon Knights the Marvel Universe this time addressed Egyptian mythology. Khonshu is one of the Heliopolitans, Egyptian gods who inhabit the kingdom of Heliopsis. Unlike Thor and his friends, Heliopolitans are generally unable to enter the mortal realm. A constraint that forces them to choose avatars to survey the mainland. It is in this logic that Khonshu chose Marc Spector/Steven Grant to move on Earth.
Khonshu in the Egyptian religion
Khonshu is the god of the moon in Egyptian mythology. Son of the god Amon and the goddess Mut, Khonshu is considered a god of righteous revenge. While in the comics and in the MCU he is represented as a tall man with the head of a raven, in Egyptian mythology it usually materializes as a young boy wearing a side braid. A member of the Thebes Triad, Khonshu is gifted with exorcism. Also called the traveler, thanks to these exorcism abilities, he is subsequently qualified as a healing god and takes the name of Khonsu the adviser.
Some tales also tell that Khonshu is a god with an insatiable bloodlust. For example, in the cannibal anthemKhonshu makes a deal with a deceased pharaoh to kill other Egyptian deities. Khonshu is also a member of the Ennead, a grouping of nine deities from Egyptian mythology who regularly gather their forces. The Ennead is made up of Osiris, Tefnut, Shu, Atum, Hathor, Isis, Ammit, and therefore Khonshu.
Khonshu in the Marvel Universe
In the comics, Khonshu first appeared in 1980in Moon Knight #1 written by Doug Moench and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz. His introduction is through Marc Spector. The latter, seriously injured after a fight in the Egyptian desert, stops at the foot of a statue of Khonshu. As he is near death, he is saved by Khonshu who makes him his avatar, in exchange for his rescue. Marc Spector is miraculously cured. But in return, he finds himself in the service of the powerful god of the Moon.
In the Marvel universe, Khonshu makes trips to Earth through many avatars for more than 1 million years BC (long before the birth of Egyptian culture). At that time, he already crossed paths with heroes of yesteryear such as Apocalypse, Odin, and Mephisto. He is here described as a jealous, violent, secretive, and vengeful god. Obviously, he has almost total control over Marc Spector, who is his servant in spite of himself.
Khonshu is therefore an ambiguous and ambivalent character, who generally only serves his own interests. Moon Knight manages to maintain a form of independence. In particular thanks to his identity disorder, which sometimes allows him to free himself from his yoke. In the MCU, the character is present and is voiced by actor F. Murray Abraham. For the moment, his representation remains quite faithful to that of the comics.