FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Moon Knight

Siskoid and Shag's coverage of Marvel Team-Up continues with issue #144 (August 1984) by Cary Burkett, Greg LaRocque and Mike Esposito, and starring Spider-Man and Moon Knight!

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Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental

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13 responses to “FW Team-Up: Spider-Man and Moon Knight

  1. My thought process: “Spider-Man and Moon Knight?!?! They’re going to cover Amazing Spider-Man #220, my FIRST issue of Amazing! Wonderful! … Oh. It’s a Marvel Team-Up. I guess I’ll listen anyway.”

    1. “A Coffin for The Amazing Spider-Man” “Ghost starring the Macabre Moon Knight”
      220 wasn’t my first ASM, but it WAS my introduction to Moon Knight

  2. Here’s my idea for a team up it’s two parter using a villain created just for this story . She would be a combination of a siren and a dark sorceress for think ace from doctor who mixed with choice from the ultraverse (faint ) some one pick up shag . She is kid napping children at night to making the Egyptian goddess who protects children mad , she has no avatar so ask the moon god and living mummy for help . So it’s up to moon knight and the living mummy to rescue the children of Egypt before great harm can be fall them , but after beating the henchmen and rescuing the children,the villeness escapes leaving behind a program for a wwf event at Madison Square Garden to be continued.

    Part 2 :
    Moon knight in Jake Lockey persona is investigating Madison square garden when he run into Captain Lou Albano, the manger , Jake thinks he’s gonna have to fight , when Lou says to himself self moon knight , shocking Jake , lou reveals that he is a avatar for the cat goddess , suppressing moon knight , Lou says ya I’m probably not her first choice either , but you need help as the sorceress has inpowered three wrestlers to stop you prince kharis the wrestling mummy , King Kong bundy and Randy savage , you got me, Rody piper who is ra’s avatar and the undertaker who is Seth’s avatar . Together with you leading us we are the Suplex Society. They beat her and her magic enhanced wrestlers as the crowd cheers . End for story .
    Cover 1 : the living mummy and moon knight running over the sands of Egypt with the image of goddes behind them saying hurry my champions the children are in danger!!!
    Cover : 2 roddy piper , Lou Albano, undertaker and moon knight in the a wrestling ring back to back .

  3. I LOVED this issue! The cover captivated me when I saw it on the stands. (I’ve been blind in my right eye since birth, so my perspective is always off.) I loved this cover so much I actually… GASP… Choke… tore off the cover and pinned it up on my bedroom wall.
    I had only read Moon Knight a few times before when he popped up in a Spider-Man title. I was intrigued by the character. He had an amazing look and a darker edge to him. A few months later Moon Knights second solo book Fist of Khonshu hit the shelves and I snapped up the first issue the second I saw it. I’ve followed Moon Knight ever since. The current (as of this episode) Jed McKay run is FANTASTIC! I highly recommend it.
    Finally, in regards to Spidey using his Spider Sense as a bomb detector. There is precedent for this. His ESP for danger is often shown to be directional. Letting him know the danger is coming from behind him. He has also linked his Spider Tracers to whatever “frequency” his Spider Sense uses, also showing his sense is directional. Yes, this seems very contrived, but no more contrived than his spider sense is to begin with.
    Thanks again for a fun episode. The MTU episodes are my favorite, and you’ve made it worth the wait between episodes.

    1. Re: the use of the Spider-Sense. I was going to comment with this exact same info. I remember a story where Spidey deactivates a bomb, and he figures out which wire to pull by which one triggers his Spider-Sense the LEAST. As in, pulling any of the other wires would detonate the bomb immediately, but the one where he only had a “general sense” of danger was the safe one to pull. And plenty of times he swings around the city and his Spider-Sense lets him “home in” on something by how intense the warning from the sense is. The sense isn’t just directional, it also warns him of danger in degrees and he’s learned when it’s “low-level danger” vs. “red alert danger”, and the intensity of the sense determines the danger’s proximity AND imminence. Sure, it’s been depicted inconsistently over the years, but there is precedent for him finding the bomb in this story.

      Wow, I’m not the only person who discovered Moon Knight through West Coast Avengers! I’ve always thought he had a cool look, weapons, and personality. I have to admit I like the international crimefighting side of MK and less the DID side of MK–for some reason those latter stories that focus on his DID don’t resonate with me, though I recognize they elevate him from “Batman clone” to a character that is distinct from other superheroes.

      The revelation in this issue that Philip Chang is a deadly martial artist and used to be the right-hand man of a Chinese crime organization is pretty crazy, when you consider that among Peter’s fellow teaching assistants at Empire State Unviersity (when he was working on his Masters degree there), of which there were three, Phil, Marcy Kane, and Steve Hopkins, TWO of these three turned out to have “more than meets the eye” crazy backstories. Marcy Kane turned out to be an alien princess from an extraterrestrial race called the Contraxians, living in disguise on Earth to keep an eye on the Jack of Hearts, and eventually returns to her homeworld with Jack (it turns out Jack is half-Contraxian). To my knowledge, nothing crazy was revealed about Steve Hopkins. But do that math. TWO of THREE grad school friends of Peter’s had mind-boggling secret pasts! Of course, this is par the course for Peter Parker supporting characters, isn’t it, LOL. Of course, it’s a little eyeroll-inducing that the ONE Chinese-American friend of Peter’s is a martial artist and has this backstory. But I guess that was better than inventing a brand new character Peter had no ties to.

      Weird thing about this issue, Peter Parker taking a cab to Chinatown. Since when does Peter, when traveling alone, ever take a cab? He would’ve absolutely swung there as Spidey like he normally does. This was a contrived scene just to put him in the same cab as Moon Knight in his cabbie identity. Especially since Peter would’ve taken pictures of the street brawl from rooftop level like he normally would and not get personally mixed up in it as Peter Parker. And of course, web the camera to a wall in “auto mode” so it snaps pics while he’s fighting the crooks.

  4. When I saw the cover, I instantly remembered some of the story beats, especially the Chinatown aspect, and all I could think before rereading this issue was “please dont be racist, please don’t be racist, pleasedon’tberacist.”

    This is a fairly basic, okay story. It’s pretty tight. I like team-up stories where both heroes sort of split up and deal with the antagonist from different angles. So this one worked for me.

    The non violence angle was originally a little cheesy for 10 year old me, but as an adult I feel it really pays off and I love that it added a bit of weight to the characters that could have otherwise been very disposable.

    It’s funny to me that in the character history of Moon Knight you mentioned Denny O’Neil having some influence because rereading this story, Moon Knight felt more like the O’Neil/Cowan Question rather than Batman to me, with the philosophical angle on fighting and violence and Moon Knight seeming to have a kind of zen aspect to him here in how he understood Phillip’s decision. So I enjoyed that.

    As far as Peter’s spider-sense, I was under the impression that it intensified the more imminent the danger was, and he could use that to find the bomb and know when it was about to go off. Sort of like in No Way Home when the MCU Spider-Man was able to figure out who the specific threat was in a roomful of bad guys.

    My first real dive into Moon Knight was that short lived 80s series with the gold and the Egyptian themed weapons, and man….not good. Then West Coast Avengers, where I feel like he was going to tattle on Mockingbird for killing a ghost? The details are fuzzy. Anyway, the next time I consumed anything Moon Knight was the TV show.

  5. I’m committing the crime of commenting without first even bothering to check anything to verify my admittedly shaky memory, but in regard to the use of Spider-Man’s spider sense as a bomb detector, I seem to recall that *May* Parker (Spider-Girl) was supposed to have a more refined spider sense than her dad, which had a directional component (which he apparently lacked) that she used to great effect on multiple occasions. I don’t specifically recall any bomb-searching, but it’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t be so surprised at if SHE did it.

    1. Pete dodges bullets in the dark based on spider-sense. That’s at least somewhat directional. I think our real problem is that we all know that if we looked, we’d find comics where Spider-Man was looking for a bomb and didn’t do this trick, and we hate the inconsistency. It takes us out of the story.

  6. Siskoid and Shag, this was so much fun, I have to comment, despite my continuing efforts not to be Shag’s meat puppet. I’ll just have to comment twice on all the other FW Team-up shows (sigh).

    By topic:
    dissociative identity disorder (please make Shag read this one) — I’ve been reading Moon Knight off and on since the Hulk! magazine backups (that was such a great magazine). It’s true that, at the beginning, they treated Moon Knight’s multiple identities mostly as separate cover identities and not as a psychological condition — but only mostly. They would drop hints that there was something more going on even then. Interestingly, in looking up how to spell dissociative identity disorder (or really, copy and paste it), I found a list of associated symptoms from the UK’s National Health Service. One of them was “feeling little or no physical pain.” I don’t know if Moon Knight ever displayed that symptom, but given some of the beatings he took, it would make sense.

    Khonshu — Gesundheit! Yes, Khonshu was pulled from actual Egyptian mythology. Based on my Wikipedia-deep understanding, they’ve represented Khonshu and his character pretty accurately in the comics. His name is also the sound small children make when they’re pretending to sleep.

    Silvery or white costume — I’ve seen it described both ways in the comics. I think it was Warren Ellis who established that his costume is so visible because he wants the villains to have a clear shot at him — some combination of intimidation factor, bravado, and classic Marc Spector self-loathing. (Man, I love this character.)

    Marc’s Jewish faith and heritage — I urge all of you to listen to the multiple episodes of the “Funny! They Don’t Look Jewish” podcast dedicated to Moon Knight. They are fascinating and insightful, partly because that’s how Rabbi Brandon and Henry always roll, and partly because Marvel has done some bold and deep stuff with this character. Here’s your catch-all trigger warning, though: If there’s any kind of violence that triggers you (racist violence, violence against children, sexual violence, etc.), it’s probably mentioned. Download a Who’s Who or Ohotmu or Not to listen to in between episodes.

    Mercenaries — I’ve known a couple good ones. I have an active duty friend and colleague who considers mercenary work the noblest form of soldiering, because you get to pick what causes you fight for and whether or not they’re worthy. That said, mercenaries who are indiscriminate about who they work for can get into dark, evil things.
    That’s how they portray pre-resurrection Marc Spector, so the truckload of guilt Marc’s portrayed as carrying around makes perfect sense.

    Pacifism — I liked that Spider-Man and Moon Knight were on different sides of the pacifism debate. Spider-Man’s biggest mistake was not doing something when he should have, so he is a committed activist. Moon Knight’s biggest mistakes were all things he’s done. It’s sins of omission versus sins of commission, and the sides they came down on matched their characters perfectly.

    As I’ve said before, Moon Knight is Batman-y, but it’s as if Marvel said, “Hey, what if Batman were really, really messed up, and not just a traumatized extremist?” One of my favorite factoids about him is that both sides of the Civil War event told him to stay on the sidelines (https://screenrant.com/civil-war-moon-knight-marvel-hated-hero-punisher/). For some characters, the message is, “It’s okay to not be okay.” With Moon Knight, the message is, “Yeah, but not being okay can really suck.” Let’s not be afraid to ask for help, folks!

  7. Almost forgot: The Chinatown clip was the perfect stinger. I was waiting for that reference, and I was afraid you were going to leave it on the table. Please forgive me for my lack of faith. [hangs head penitently]

  8. To echo myself last time, I will have bought this, I don’t remember it at all. It seems a decent done-in-one, even though it was at the point at which Moon Knight had recently lost his comic book magic… Moench and Sienkiewicz produced a stonkingly great series and I’ve never found him as interesting since.

    The moral philosophy discussion made this something different, and I don’t have any problem with spider-sense working as a ‘getting warmer’ bomb detector. Maybe the alien suit was enhancing Peter’s abilities.

    Now, Cary Burkett wasn’t a new writer, he’d done a fair amount at DC, including team-ups and creating Nemesis with Dan Spiegle. And I don’t think he worked on the Batman Animated comic… are you confusing him with Kelly Puckett, Siskoid? The names are kinda sorta similar. (I suspect this is a deliberate mistake put into the podcast to up the comment numbers!)

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