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Spider-Man's History With Moon Knight, Explained

It's not uncommon for superheroes in the Marvel universe to work together. Whether it's a chance encounter between two heroes stalking the same crime gang or a coordinated strike executed after weeks of planning, it isn't unheard of for, say, Hawkeye and Black Widow to team up against the Kingpin, or for Captain America to lead a ragtag group of heroes in busting up some drug cartels. 

That said, not all costumed do-gooders are the sort that you'd be happy to join forces with on a mission. Take Moon Knight, for example. Despite having a ton of crime-fighting equipment at his disposal — as well as being certainly not-too-shabby when it comes to flying kicks and fisticuffs — his reputation as a rather difficult fellow to partner with tends to precede him. Admittedly, some members of the spandex-clad set tend to judge him rather hastily and unfairly based on their limited understanding of his mental state. Still, Moon Knight's proclivity for violence and brutality often makes him a distasteful, if not dangerous, partner.

Spider-Man, on the other hand, has had plenty of experience with team-ups. From Daredevil to Doctor Strange, the wondrous webslinger has worked with virtually everyone in the Marvel universe. While some can find his constant chatter and sense of humor off-putting, no one can deny that Spider-Man is someone you'd want on your side in a fight. 

Which raises the question: Have Spider-Man and Moon Knight ever worked together? The answer is yes — many times, in fact.

Spider-Man, Moon Knight, and the Maggia

The friendly neighborhood webslinger and the Fist of Khonshu first crossed paths in "Spectacular Spider-Man" Vol. 1 #22, published in 1978. Unfortunately, their initial encounter follows the oft-rehashed "heroes are initially antagonistic toward each other due to a misunderstanding" trope, coming to blows before deciding to work together against Marvel's version of the Mafia, an international crime syndicate called the Maggia.

During an otherwise unremarkable night of web-swinging across New York, Spider-Man happens upon an incident involving several armed men locked up in a diner. The gun-wielding Maggia thugs are searching for cab driver Jake Lockley (one of Moon Knight's civilian personas, which he uses primarily for gathering information on the street), and are holding the diner owner hostage. Spider-Man swings in and handles them with ease, but one of the Maggia dashes out of the diner ... only to encounter Moon Knight himself, who proceeds to beat him up in a particularly violent interrogation session. Unfamiliar with Moon Knight and misunderstanding the situation, Spider-Man steps in, fighting Khonshu's avatar for a bit until they both find themselves dealing with the costumed supervillain Cyclone, whom the Maggia had sent after them.

Ultimately, Spider-Man and Moon Knight set aside their differences and head toward the Maggia Headquarters. While they are unable to apprehend the group's leader, the two heroes successfully capture Cyclone and the rest of the Maggia boys.

Caviar and wine after curb-stomping crime? No thanks!

An interesting contrast between Spider-Man and Moon Knight is that the former is almost always out of money, while the latter is almost always swimming in it (since one of his identities is the incredibly wealthy Steven Grant). This was highlighted — albeit almost like an afterthought — in an early adventure that saw the costumed heroes teaming up to bring down the National Syndicate Directorate.

1981's "Amazing Spider-Man" Vol. 1 #220 begins with Moon Knight infiltrating the Syndicate by pretending to turn to crime. He secretly contacts Spider-Man (who had been assigned by Peter Parker's boss, the Daily Bugle's J. Jonah Jameson, to snap some photos of Moon Knight for the paper) and stages a conflict between them that plays out during a botched heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, Moon Knight receives another assignment from the syndicate: Kill Spider-Man. With the help of the wall-crawler and Moon Knight's chauffeur Frenchie, the hooded hero is able to trick the syndicate long enough for him and Spider-Man to apprehend all of its members.

In high spirits, Moon Knight invites Spider-Man to celebrate their victory over caviar and vintage wine. The cash-strapped young superhero quickly declines, and swings off into the night. Though he is saddened by Spider-Man's rejection, Moon Knight quickly realizes that the arachnid-themed hero likely declined due to his finances — and subsequently ruminates on how fortunate he is as he flies away via his personal helicopter.

Throwing down in Chinatown

Spider-Man and Moon Knight work together once more in 1984's "Marvel Team-Up" Vol. 1 #144, in an adventure set primarily in Chinatown. This time, Spider-Man is clad in his black costume, which interestingly serves as an excellent contrast to Moon Knight's all-white uniform.

Sent on an assignment to snap some photos of the street violence taking place in Chinatown, Peter Parker heads to the area (via a cab driven by none other than Moon Knight's alternate identity, Jake Lockley) and meets with his old friend Philip Chang. Philip tells him about how the members of the Tiger's Claw Guardian Society are trying to get him to stand up against the White Dragon, a ruthless wannabe gang leader seeking to control Chinatown's mobs. Unfortunately, Philip swore a vow never to raise his hand in violence.

Spider-Man and Moon Knight — who has been there since the death of his friend at the White Dragon's hands, the event that kicked off the whole gang war in the first place — quickly find themselves at odds with the White Dragon and his forces. Soon, the White Dragon manages to capture Philip. The ruthless costumed criminal almost kills Philip, but a vengeful Moon Knight interferes, pummeling the villain into submission. Meanwhile, Spider-Man finds and intercepts a bomb before it could explode in Chinatown, disposing of it in the East River. Moon Knight departs after complimenting Philip's wisdom in choosing not to fight, which completely confounds the webslinger.

Up against the Secret Empire

1990's "Marc Spector: Moon Knight" #19 kicks off a three-part story arc that shows Moon Knight working with Spider-Man and the Punisher. This story demonstrates how Spider-Man and Moon Knight have come to know and respect each other's abilities over the years — and also plants the seeds for a future team-up between the two superheroes.

As the members of the criminal organization called the Secret Empire discuss how to permanently get rid of Moon Knight, Marc Spector discovers that his suit has gone missing. Unbeknownst to him, his sidekick Jeff Wilde (aka Midnight) donned his suit, pretending to be him. Spider-Man sees the imposter, and while he initially approaches the disguised Midnight thinking he's the real Moon Knight, the webslinger quickly realizes that a different person is underneath the hood. The Secret Empire arrives and attempts to kill them, but the real Moon Knight joins the fray. Unfortunately, Jeff is critically injured during the battle, and the Empire's forces escape with his body in tow.

Moon Knight and Spider-Man team up with the Punisher (who had been hunting the Empire on his own for some time) and travel to New Jersey to confront the Empire's forces. They successfully prevent the organization from enacting its grand plan to disrupt the world's communication systems, but the criminal leader tells Moon Knight that his partner is dead. Fortunately, Spider-Man stops Moon Knight from killing the leader.

Round robin

About a year in real time after Spider-Man guest-starred in Moon Knight's book, the two heroes joined forces once again — this time, with help from both the Punisher and newbie Night Thrasher, Nova, and Darkhawk — in the six-part "Round Robin" story arc that started in 1991's "Amazing Spider-Man" Vol. 1 #353.

The opening sequence of "Round Robin" reveals a cyborgized Midnight, who survived his ordeal in "Marc Spector: Moon Knight" #19 and became one of the Secret Empire's trusted and highly skilled operatives. The Empire sends the cyborg to a police station, where he attempts to rescue the then-powerless Wrecking Crew's Thunderball. The fledgling hero Darkhawk catches wind of this police rampage, and eventually receives a much-needed assist from Spider-Man, who eventually discovers that the cyborg is actually Moon Knight's former sidekick.

The next issue sees Spider-Man informing Moon Knight (with some help from Captain America) that Midnight actually survived the Empire's attack, receiving technological upgrades and becoming the group's lackey. Midnight ends up capturing Nova of the New Warriors as instructed by the Empire, so that they could study the young hero's powers. Over the next few issues, the ragtag team of street-level heroes forms, eventually storming the Empire headquarters. The final battle ends tragically for both Moon Knight and his ex-partner: Midnight decides to liberate himself once and for all, destroying the Empire's headquarters and seemingly dying in the process.

Dealing with demonic Goblins

In a 1992 two-parter that began in the pages of "Web of Spider-Man" Vol. 1 #93, a physically unwell Moon Knight joins forces with Spider-Man to deal with one of the latter's most freakish foes: the Hobgoblin (the Jason Macendale version).

After discovering a plot from the villain called the Foreigner involving killing both Moon Knight and Daily Bugle photographer Nick Katzenberg, Spider-Man spots the Hobgoblin shooting down Moon Knight's aerial vehicle. The wall-crawler leaps in just in time to allow Moon Knight to escape from his aircraft, and quickly joins Spider-Man in fighting the Hobgoblin. After the supervillain distracts the heroes long enough to make a getaway, the two urban knights resolve to work together to save Katzenberg from the Hobgoblin.

The next issue, Spider-Man mentally takes note of how Moon Knight has changed, both in terms of his suit and his abilities. However, the webslinger fails to realize that there's something terribly wrong with his white-clad companion. Nevertheless, the two superheroes are able to ultimately defeat the Hobgoblin, saving both him and his hostage from a burning building. Moon Knight quickly leaves the scene, though, and rushes to find Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four in a desperate attempt to find out what's really wrong with his body.

The Infinity Crusade

Cosmos-spanning stories are rarely associated with Spider-Man, but he has been on quite a few of those kinds of adventures over the decades — and during one such story, Spider-Man temporarily found himself at odds not just with Moon Knight, but also with other superheroes as well.

1993's "Web of Spider-Man" Vol. 1 #104 kicks off the title's three-part "Infinity Crusade" tie-in story, with a cosmic-powered being called the Goddess (the personification of the "good" aspects of the hero Adam Warlock) mentally influencing different superheroes with religious or mystical inclinations to join her cause. Spider-Man is one of the heroes the Goddess takes to Paradise Omega, a haven the goddess created on the far side of the sun. While the Goddess meditates to figure out her next steps, Spider-Man begins to doubt himself due to the recent chaos in his life. As he attempts to approach the Goddess for spiritual guidance, he is stopped by the powerful telepath Moondragon, who probes his mind and attacks him to prevent him from "disturbing" the Goddess.

When Spider-Man's speed and agility make him a match for Moonstone, the Goddess herself makes a move, making Spider-Man confront his personal demons in his mind while being attacked by the other brainwashed heroes in the real world. Spider-Man puts up a good fight against them, including Moon Knight — appearing as Venom in Spider-Man's hallucination — who proclaims his willingness to die for the Goddess' cause. Ultimately, Spider-Man "passes" the Goddess' test and rejoins the group.

Teaming up against the Ringmaster

The Ringmaster is one of those Marvel villains you just can't take seriously. Everything about him — from his strange name (Maynard Tiboldt) to his bizarre hypnotic hat — points out just how much of a ridiculous antagonist he is. That is, until he briefly came into possession of an all-powerful ring made from a fragment of a Cosmic Cube, which enabled him to turn his thoughts into reality. And unfortunately, it was Spider-Man and Moon Knight who faced the full brunt of his near-limitless (albeit temporary) cosmic might.

In 2005's "Marvel Team-Up" Vol. 3 #7, the Ringmaster is seen using the ring to pull off a bank robbery. Meanwhile, in a different part of the city, Spider-Man lends Moon Knight a hand in apprehending the Constrictor, after which the Fist of Khonshu offers the webbed hero a ride on his helicopter. While on their journey, however, the heroes are shot out of the sky by the cosmic-powered Ringmaster. The situation quickly becomes dire when the villain changes the chemical composition of Spider-Man's webbing with a thought, causing a massive explosion. The book ends on a cliffhanger, keeping the heroes' fates mysterious until three issues later. It is revealed that right before the explosion, Ringmaster made them all invincible, allowing them to survive. Even with Daredevil's assistance, the cosmic-powered circus criminal continues to toy with the heroes. The battle ends when the Punisher shoots the Ringmaster's ring — and finger — off his hand with a sniper bullet.

Spider-Man and Loony Mooney

Moon Knight's brash, sometimes reckless behavior and penchant for extreme violence can make him an absolute pain to work with, even for someone as patient and experienced with superhero team-ups as Spider-Man. Proof of this is seen in 2007's "Moon Knight" Vol. 5 #7, when after a particularly tense encounter, the normally jokey webslinger couldn't help but call his occasional ally a derogatory nickname.

The beginning of the issue shows Moon Knight chasing a petty crook down a dark alley. It's worth noting that at this point in time, the Fist of Khonshu is in an extremely poor mental state, due to his violent actions in the past (including killing his archnemesis Bushman) almost consuming him. Moon Knight captures the criminal with ease, then proceeds to brutally beat him into a bloody mess.

Things would have gotten further out of hand were it not for the timely intervention of Spider-Man, who snags Moon Knight's makeshift truncheon with a web and asks if he and the disturbed vigilante could talk. Moon Knight responds by throwing a crescent dart at Spider-Man and departing the scene. Spider-Man easily blocks the dart with the truncheon, but also expresses frustration at how the brief conversation turned out, uttering "Mooney. Rhymes with Loony," after Moon Knight leaves him to clean up his bloody mess.

Moon Knight develops a 'Spider-Man' identity

Over the years, writers have strived to develop Moon Knight further as a character by exploring different facets of his psyche. On occasion, this has translated into brand-new powers for the tortured hero. One example took place in 2011's "Moon Knight" Vol. 6 #1, where writer Brian Michael Bendis gave Moon Knight an interesting new ability: alternate profiles of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Captain America manifesting in his head, as well as matching gear that allowed him to ape their powers.

The issue sees Marc Spector at a party in Los Angeles, California for the new show he produced, titled "The Legend of Khonshu." He quickly receives a call from the Star-Spangled Avenger, prompting him to make his way to the rooftop. Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man await him there, and inform him that they need Moon Knight to keep an eye on the increasing number of criminals moving to LA after operating on the East Coast for so long. Marc agrees, acknowledging his Avengers membership.

As Moon Knight, Marc gets involved in a scuffle with Mr. Hyde, and manages to get away from Hyde and his henchmen with some truly bizarre cargo in his possession: the head of one of Ultron's discarded bodies. He takes this artifact back to the three heroes ... who aren't really there. In reality, it was just Moon Knight talking to himself. This development didn't last long, though, as Moon Knight drops these alternate personas in subsequent stories.

Real talk during Osborn's Dark Reign

When Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) successfully tricked the United States of America into making him its top peacekeeping commander, his Dark Reign quickly followed. During this period, Osborn was granted his own SHIELD-like agency, which enabled him to operate with impunity under the guise of national security. Unsurprisingly, it was Spider-Man who was hit the hardest by this development, as he blamed himself for permitting Osborn to run around freely and maneuver himself into such an important position. And it was Moon Knight, of all people, who took that figurative knife in Spider-Man's heart and twisted it further with a few choice words.

In 2016's "Vengeance of the Moon Knight" Vol. 1 #5, Spider-Man arrives just after Moon Knight — who at this point exhibits remarkable mental stability — ends an incredibly destructive battle on the street. Doubtful of Moon Knight's true mental state, Spider-Man comments that he doesn't completely buy the Fist of Khonshu's apparent new lease on life, adding that what he witnessed was "a guy barely holding back an avalanche of rage." This leads to a brief but brutal exchange of words between the two heroes, during which Spider-Man lectures Moon Knight about having discipline, ethics, and a code.

Moon Knight's response: "How's that working out for you?" He then leaves a visibly stunned webslinger, as a billboard of Osborn in his Iron Patriot armor with his government-sanctioned Avengers is seen in the background.

Infinity Wars and the Arachknight's arrival

Spider-Man and Moon Knight would end up being closer than most — literally — following the events of 2018's "Infinity Wars" storyline. In this company-wide crossover, the Guardians of the Galaxy member known as Gamora collects the Infinity Stones and halves the universal population by "warping" characters together and creating an entirely new reality. This leads to the creation of Arachknight, the merger of Spider-Man and Moon Knight, who starred in his own limited series ("Infinity Wars: Arachknight") for the rest of the event. In this new reality, Peter Parker serves as the Spider-Totem's avatar, possessing both a fractured mind and a deadly archnemesis, the Goblin-by-Night.

However, the most memorable part of this story involving both Spider-Man and Moon Knight wasn't their merging, but a humorous panel in 2018's "Infinity Wars" #3. As Gamora gathers the heroes and prepares to merge them, Moon Knight stands next to Spider-Man, completely clueless as to what's going on. He even admits he doesn't know who Gamora is, to which Spider-Man replies, "Just punch whoever I punch in a second."