Moon Knight is a fan-favorite Marvel character that gained a lot of traction during the last few comic book runs. So much so, the character is getting his TV series and an official introduction to the MCU.
Here’s a list of the 15 best Moon Knight comics and runs you should read right now to prepare for the series. I’ve ranked them according to my preference, which doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other – I just enjoyed it more.
15. Moon Knight Vol. 7 #1 (2014)
This issue was the start of the Warren Ellis – Declan Shalvey Moon Knight run, and it was brilliant, to begin with. The first issue gives a new twist to the anti-hero, giving him three different personalities and diving deeper into his mental health.
During his fight against the nightly terrors of New York City, solving the most twisted, bizarre mysteries, Moon Knight battles in his signature all-white suit. He doesn’t want to hide in the shadows – he wants his enemies to see him coming.
That usually results in a lot of pain and damage taken, but it perfectly depicts who Moon Knight is and how he operates. He’s not afraid to eat a punch; he welcomes it and keeps pressing forward. Although issue #1 gives a great start to an amazing storyline, I love the artwork most in this run.
14. Moon Knight #22-23 (1980)
Moon Knight #22 and #23 were a part of the first Moon Knight solo runs in the early 1980s. I chose these two issues as my favorites in the run, although the entire Moench-Sienkiewicz run is terrific. It’s very dark, gritty, gloomy, and at times horrifying. It really gives you chills, and the feeling of terror is highlighted as much as possible.
In #22 and #23 particularly, Moon Knight comes head-to-head in battle with Morpheus. Morpheus is one of my favorite Moon Knight villains, first appearing in Moon Knight Vol. 1 #12 and subsequently in #22-23 (later, he appeared in other issues as well).
He gave himself the name after the Greek god of sleep, as an experimental drug changes parts of his DNA, causing him to look more like a vampire than a human. He also needs no sleep, and later, he can manipulate other people’s minds, filling them with nightmares. I hope we see some Morpheus in the upcoming series, too.
13. Werewolf by Night #32-33 (1972)
It would be wrong not to include the first appearance of The Stalker Called Moon Knight on this list. The first time Marc Spector appeared (the guy named his alter ego Moon Knight) was in the Werewolf by Night #32 issue.
While we don’t get the full background of the character, it’s an awesome start that shows you who he is, how he operates, and what he’s all about. In this particular run, he hunts a werewolf who has a bounty on his head.
You can instantly see his true nature. He doesn’t care what means he has to use, as long as it gets him to his goal. It’s only later that we get to know more about the character’s history and deeper character arc.
12. Moon Knight #1 (1980)
Moon Knight Vol. 1 #1 was the first solo comic book for Moon Knight that started a 30-issue monthly series. I’ve put #22-23 at number fifteen on this list, but #1 is where it all started. We get to see who Marc Spector is and how he connects to the ancient Egyptian god Khonshu.
Khonshu was a moon god of vengeance, which explains Spector’s costume when he assumes the Moon Knight alter-ego. Marc Spector was a mercenary who got betrayed and killed, only to be resurrected as an avatar of Khonshu, gaining his powers and doing his will.
We also see the multiple personalities Spector has and get other key information about Moon Knight, giving us a much better understanding of him and his powers. This was also the first issue I’ve ever read about Moon Knight, so I hold it dear to me.
11. Moon Knight #1-5 (2006)
Moon Knight has been a stagnant character for years before the writer Charlie Huston and artist David Finch gave it a new breath of life. It was one of the coolest, darkest revivals in years, and the fans chewed through the issues with incredibly high remarks.
The 2006 Moon Knight #1-5 collection is called The Bottom, and it goes deep into Spector’s mental issues and his connection and relationship with Khonshu. It comes to a point where we’re unsure if Khonshu is real or just a figment of Spector’s mental disorder.
The character became even darker, grittier, and the collection’s name, The Bottom, truly depicts Moon Knight’s mental state in the issues. The profound dark vibe will probably play a major influence on the upcoming series.
10. Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1 (2009)
Vengeance of the Moon Knight was a ten-part issue that started coming out in September 2009. The new, revamped Moon Knight took a bit of a lighter path this time in terms of the story’s gloominess, darkness, and character design.
Don’t get me wrong, Moon Knight is still a no-holds-barred mercenary, but Jerome Opena’s design gives him much stronger, formidable armor and a will to be a hero, not just a vigilante.
His primary goal in this run is to take down Norman Osborn and his Dark Reign as we get deeper into Spector’s connection with Khonshu. The artwork is brilliant, and I believe the run is much more friendly for younger readers compared to some of the darker versions and issues.
9. Moon Knight #7 (2014)
At the start of Moon Knight Vol. 7, we had Warren Ellis as the writer of the new series. He and Declan Shalvey worked together on the first six numbers. Starting with Moon Knight #7, though, Shalvey got a new writing partner in Brian Wood.
Wood continued the brilliant storyline and picked up right where Ellis left off. Like things weren’t dark enough – in the #7 issue, whole New York goes dark, and Moon Knight uses all means necessary to defeat the new threat.
The issue keeps the same violent undertone of the character and even amplifies some of the questions from the first several numbers, such as the Mr. Knight persona. I liked this number even more than the first six.
8. Moon Knight Vol. 3 (1998)
The four-part series that hit the shelves in 1998 is known as The Resurrection War. After Spector had died in previous issues, his connection with the god of vengeance, Khonshu, meant he couldn’t really die. Marc Spector gets resurrected by the god in the Moon Knight Vol. 3 #1 and reclaims his Moon Knight vigilante role.
It’s a short series with only four parts, but it was spectacularly written, in my opinion. Doug Moench and Tommy Lee Edwards successfully integrated numerous incredible Moon Knight villains, such as Morpheus, Black Spectre, Seth Phalkon, and others.
What is more, one or more of these villains will almost certainly appear in the upcoming series, so it would be great if you read these couple of numbers to get acquainted with them.
7. Marvel Knights (2000)
The Marvel Knight series started a while before Moon Knight joined the crew. Marvel Knights #1 hit the shelves in 2000, and it was the foundation of a newly-assembled team of heroes, including Shang-Chi, Black Widow, Daredevil, Punisher, and Dagger.
After Moon Knight gets resurrected by Khonshu once again, he stays away from hero business – until he joins the Marvel Knights team to fight new threats.
Although he joined in later issues, I find the possible connection quite interesting. Just recently, the movie Shang-Chi made a huge boom in cinemas worldwide. Perhaps there’ll be a connection to the Moon Knight series, and who knows what might tie other characters to the plot.
6. Shadowland (2010)
Shadowland is a Marvel event that encapsulates several different titles and issues, with Daredevil at the center of the storyline. He returns to NYC with some morally questionable operating methods, which puts him on a collision course with several other street-level heroes – some working with him and some against him.
The characters involved were Spider-Man, Punisher, Luke Cage, and of course, Moon Knight. Daredevil defeats Moon Knight and nearly kills him, but spares his life after Khonshu appears to him and requests it.
I found this bit of information crucial, as it now removes all doubt about Khonshu’s existence. We can rest assured that he is indeed real and not just a manifestation of Spector’s mental issues, as he finally appears to somebody else except Spector himself.
5. Avengers Vol. 8: The Age of Khonshu (2020)
Although this was one of the most recent Moon Knight storylines developed in 2020, I loved it a lot since it shows the character’s full potential and all its power. The Age of Khonshu ran through issues #33-37 of Avengers Vol. 8.
It’s an incredibly interesting storyline that squares off Moon Knight versus Earth’s mightiest heroes. An ancient connection between Khonshu and the Avengers enables Moon Knight to manipulate their abilities and take them face-to-face.
He got introduced and tied with many characters in the Marvel Universe. It happened quite recently, which is why I believe the creators of the upcoming Moon Knight series will use The Age of Khonshu a lot as an inspiration on how to integrate the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
4. Moon Knight Vol. 5 #20 (2008)
Although I didn’t particularly enjoy Vol. 5 of the Moon Knight comics, this single issue is a gem to be found among the 2006-2009 ongoing series. It started with issues #1-5, previously mentioned on this list as The Bottom.
After that, the entire Vol. 5 felt like it had streamed too far away from the character’s roots, but #20 returned it on that path and gave me nostalgic chills for the Moon Knight in the Werewolf by Night and the 1980s series.
Moon Knight #20, debuting in 2008, saw a change in the team when Mike Benson and Mike Deodato Jr. took on the single issue. We’ve seen Moon Knight flashback into his fight against Jack Russell, the werewolf in Werewolf by Night.
The writing, the character’s personality, and most importantly, the artwork are simply incredibly put together and feel just like the first several issues from Moench and Sienkiewicz.
3. Moon Knight: “High Strangers” (1999)
High Strangers is a four-part mini-series that came to life in 1999. Doug Moench returned as Moon Knight’s primary writer, and he went into a whole new, bold, unexplored direction. Spector discovered a conspiracy by the government revolving around aliens, UFOs, mind control, and more crazy stuff that the character hasn’t had a chance to encounter before.
It’s a bit different and funkier than the rest of the Moon Knight volumes, storylines, and issues, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The artwork is fantastic, developed by Mark Teixeira, one of my favorite artists who worked on some versions of Ghost Rider.
The only problem you might have is that you’ll have to get every issue individually, as Marvel never officially made it a collection.
2. Moon Knight Vol. 8: Lunatic (2016)
Now, there were a lot of Moon Knight issues where the character battles his mental illness, multiple personalities, etc. However, the first part of Vol. 8, called Lunatic, is by far my favorite.
It was incredibly ambitious and perfectly depicted how the character struggles with reality internally. Greg Smallwood did a fantastic job with the artwork, but Jeff Lemire’s storyline took the spotlight for me.
In the Lunatic, Spector wakes up in a psychiatric hospital and has no powers. He begins to question all his identities and personalities and even ponders if Khonshu ever existed. Later, it’s speculated that Khonshu had built a trap for his mind and much more. It’s one of the trippiest, most mind-boggling, and interesting storylines I’ve read.
1. Moon Knight Vol. 2: Night of the Jackal (1985)
I remember reading this storyline almost in one sitting. Night of the Jackal was the first storyline in The Fist of Khonshu, the second run that Moon Knight had individually. It started in 1985, and at the beginning of the story, Marc Spector had lost all of his powers.
He had given up on being Moon Knight and instead decided to focus on art, opening galleries all over the globe. However, Khonshu wouldn’t leave him alone just like that. He begins to appear in Spector’s dreams, instructing him repeatedly to come back to Egypt.
He eventually does what Khonshu asks of him and returns to Egypt, where the Priests of Khonshu give him new powers, weapons, and gadgets, and he becomes Moon Knight once again. However, later issues play with the possibility of all the events in the Night of the Jackal being a figment of Spector’s imagination and declining mental health.
Be that as it may, I loved the take on the character, and the artwork was spectacular.
You’ll certainly know what to expect from the upcoming series if you read through all these issues. The character still has many unexplored avenues the show’s writers can dive into, but until we learn more about the plot, the comic books are more than enough to enjoy some good, dark vigilante business.