Marvel fans debate Moon Knight’s classification as a ‘street-level’ hero

moon knight
Image via Marvel Studios/Disney

Marvel Studios may soon have more gods than they know what to do with. The Asgardian pantheon is familiar to all from the Thor movies, with Thor: Love and Thunder soon giving us a peek at the Greek gods via Russell Crowe’s Zeus. Moon Knight will also join the party by making ancient Egyptian gods like Horus, Osiris, Anubis, and Bastet (who has already appeared in Black Panther) canon.

But it’s the booming and egotistical Khonshu that the show has focused on most. This half-forgotten god of justice and vengeance has chosen Marc Spector as his avatar and granted him superhuman agility, speed, strength, and powerful regenerative abilities that make him near invincible.

So why, if Moon Knight has godly powers, is he regularly ranked as a “street-level” hero alongside Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist? Marvel fans on Reddit have been debating the issue.

The top-ranking post rightly points out that “Khonshu gives [Spector] powers, but not the powers of a god” and that he’s essentially about as strong as the likes of Cage and Iron Fist. Other posters say that Khonshu may be a god, but he’s a small and almost entirely forgotten god and has no worshippers, limiting his reach.

There’s also an argument that Khonshu may actually be a figment of Spector’s imagination, though this doesn’t appear to be the case in the Disney Plus show.

The counterarguments made are that the comics’ Moon Knight has indeed demonstrated world-changing potential. In a 2020 Avengers comic run, Khonshu began having visions of the end of the world, with Moon Knight going on to absorb the collective powers of Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, and Thor. This led to Khonshu taking over Manhattan and renaming it ‘New Thebes City’, eventually resulting in Spector rejecting his patron deity and going it alone.

However, that story is notable precisely because giving Moon Knight and Khonshu such a huge power boost was unusual. The character’s history has indeed seen him primarily tackle street-level occult crime, with his current status in Marvel comics running the ‘Midnight Mission’ which aids New Yorkers with paranormal problems.

Ultimately a character being “street-level” or not isn’t simply about their powers but what kind of stories are told with them. Brief moments of incredible power aside, Moon Knight is clearly better suited to smaller-scale problems affecting regular people, which puts him right alongside Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.