Batman. The Dark Knight. The Fat Guy in Black. Whatever you call him, he’s one tough cookie, that’s for sure. In DC’s world, Bats stands right up there alongside Superman as the iconic hero, the flipside to Mr Goody Two-Shoes himself. He’s rough justice personified; in comics and movies alike as the kinda guy you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley.
How would he fair against this guy?
This is Moon Knight and he’s Marvel’s answer to Batman, designed from the ground up to be cooler than Mr Cool himself. He also happens to be among my most favourite superheroes of all time, so taking that bias into account, let’s see how these two compare head-to-head.
We all know the story behind Batman. His parents were killed by a two-bit hoodlum as a child, saw a bat and took it as a symbol designed to strike terror into the hearts of evil folks. That basic premise has been toyed with by countless authors and scriptwriters over the years and it’s stood up to all their inveterate fiddling and become a cliche precisely because it’s Batman’s origin. Cool? Yes, but not because it’s a great origin. It’s cool because it’s Batman.
Moon Knight’s origin is a little more involved, and (IMHO) much, much better. Marc Spector is the son of a rabbi. Before he became Moon Knight he was a heavyweight boxer, Marine, CIA operative then freelance mercenary. During one mission in Egypt he died only to be brought back to life by Konshu, god of the Moon and Vengeance. In cool terms, we’ve got all the boxes ticked. If he’d never become Moon Knight, Marc Spector would still be cool. Bruce Wayne, on the other hand, would be…. nobody.
Winner Moon Knight, easily
Outside the suit, Batman is millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne. Let’s get this clear: tuxedos aren’t cool unless they’re worn by Jackie Chan. The names Bruce and Wayne aren’t cool unless they end in Willis or ‘s World. Whilst Batman is, without a doubt, very cool indeed, Bruce Wayne isn’t. He’s what Peter Parker is to Spiderman. Not cool, by design.
Then we have Moon Knight. Marc Spector is cool to start with. He’s every bit as hard as his Moon Knight persona and his struggle to recover from badly shattered legs during one combat has left him with scars both inside and outside his mortal frame. At the core, Marc is an ex-soldier who still thinks and acts like there’s a war to fight. That’s cool. But that’s not all.
Y’see, in order to gain contacts through all levels of society, Marc created a few extra personalities. As Steve Grant he is a millionaire playboy to match Bruce Wayne. Jake Lockley is a fast talking low-life Cabbie. While those personas as (for now) gone, I’ve no doubt they’ll return to haunt Marc’s shattered and splintered mind. This all means that the times Moon Knight is out of costume are every bit as fun and cool as the times he’s dressed in white. Bruce Wayne, in comparison, is just a lame plot hook.
Winner Moon Knight, by a mile
Depending on who’s telling the tale, Batman was taught how to fight by Himalayan mystics, Wildcat, the Triads or pretty much anyone else who can swing a punch. What’s for sure though is that Batman is at the top of the DC league when things turn mano-a-mano. He’s fought everything from muggers to Superman and lived to tell the tale.
Moon Knight’s training comes from the boxing ring, the CIA, Marines and his time as a mercenary. He’s a dirty fighter from start to finish with none of the finesse of Batman’s martial arts training. This certainly doesn’t mean he’s out of Batman’s league though. Oh no……
Y’see, the difference between Batman and Moon Knight is that Mooney kills. While Batman tends to leave his foes in a battered heap for the police to pick up, Moon Knight leaves a trail of bodies that left even the Punisher in awe. As he said “I know the face of every man I’ve killed. Moon Knight just remembers the first, and the last.” If the Joker was Moon Knight’s foe, that smiley face would be six-feet under after the first encounter, without a doubt.
I know that Batman is DC’s answer to Wolverine who seems to be able to beat anything just because he’s freakin’ Batman, but if these two ever came head-to-head, I reckon there’s nothing to separate them in terms of combat prowess.
Winner A draw. Though I’d secretly put money on Moon Knight anyhow.
This is simple. Batman is a genius who has created countless gadgets, technology and systems to further his war against crime. In this respect, I’d rate him on a par with Tony Stark of Iron Man fame.
Marc, on the other hand, isn’t. Brains ain’t Moon Knight’s strong point so he relies on other people to be the grease monkeys in his life. Makes sense, really.
Unlike 90% of all the superheroes out there, neither Batman nor Moon Knight have superpowers. They’re both peak physical specimens who push their ordinary mortal frames beyond the limits time and again. At one point, Moon Knight did have powers though; his strength, dexterity and endurance grew with the phases of the moon. That though is long gone, and it’s no loss. I like these two just how they are.
Winner A draw
Costume and gadgets
Ah, Batman’s tools of the trade. He’s got enough gadgets to make a toy franchiser weep; from cars, to bikes to planes to boats. Batman’s got the lot. His body armour alone is tech nirvana, and the gadget belt holds enough gizmos to keep any DIY enthusiast happy for hours.
Bats is the gadget king.
Moon Knight in contrast is more of a cherry picker. He’s got the Mooncopter, the crescent shuriken and a New York cab. And…. that’s about it. It’s like he’s taken the best of Batman’s toys and tossed the rest. Just like the Batcave it’s all housed in a hole in the ground too.
When it comes to costumes, only one thing nee be said. Batman wears black so the bad guys can’t see him coming. Moon Knight wears white so they can. That’s cool!
Winner Overall, Batman gets it, though Moon Knight wins points for the cooler costume.
Bat’s personality has changed over the years. In the good old comics-code approved days of yore Batman was (believe it or not) a cheery fellow with a disposition like Spiderman on happy pills. How on earth he was supposed to frighten villains, I’ll never know.
Then we have this:
It’s only when Krank Miller cuts Batman loose in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns do we see Batman in all his grim and brooding loveliness. That’s the Bats we know, and it’s what is with us still.
Moon Knight, on the other hand, is still the same fractured personality he always has been. I’d say that Moon Knight 1975 was a tougher cookie than the 1975 Batman of the same era.
The modern Moon Knight is built on all that’s gone before. Unlike Batman he’s not a re-invention but a solid evolution from beginning to end. He’s torn between his love for Marlene, loyalty to his friends and dedication to Konshu, all mixed in with a questionable sanity.
Winner Moon Knight
Friends and foes
Bats is, by nature, a loner. His relationships, whether with other superheroes or with women of the opposite sex, just don’t work out. He’s been an on-and-off member of the Justice League, frequently breaking their code of conduct and treating them like crap along the way. Strange to say, the only person who Batman could call a friend is Clark Kent. Maybe they should get a room.
Marc Spector is a much more sociable guy, though he’d never admit it. He needs his friends, with Marlene and Frenchie (fellow mercenary and pilot) central to his very being. Along he way Moon Knight has teamed up with everyone from Punisher and Daredevil to Spiderman, was a member of the Avengers for a while, though like Batman his methods just didn’t fit into a group dynamic. No surprises there then.
When it comes to villains, Bats has more than his fair share of iconics with the Joker at the top of the tree. Both heroes have fought everything from street-level muggers to vampires and werewolves to world-conquering uberfoes. The closest Moon Knight comes to having an arch-foe is Bushman, a rival mercenary. Moon Knight carves his face off after having his legs shattered. I guess bad guys don’t last long enough around Mooney to become nemeses ;)
Winner A draw. Bats has cooler villains but Moon Knight has his friends.
Counting the number of wins and it’s a draw, so I’m going to call it for…. Moon Knight! He’s got a cooler costume, a more interesting backstory, a grittier attitude and more reliance on pure determination rather than fancy gadgets. He’s the ultimate cross between Batman, Punisher and Captain America all wrapped up in one heck of a multiple personality disorder. Add the Egyptian God of Vengeance to the mix, and stir.
Sorry Bats. Moon Knight rocks!