Black Spectre has two meanings in the Marvel Universe. The first Black Spectre is the name of a fictional organization which first appeared in Daredevil #108 (March 1974) and was created by writer Steve Gerber and penciller Bob Brown. It was a league of costumed female commandos, entranced by the Mandrill into doing his bidding, and led by Nekra. The second Black Spectre is a fictional supervillain who first appeared in Moon Knight #25 (November 1982) and was created by writer Doug Moench and penciller Bill Sienkiewicz. The character is one of the greatest enemies of the vigilante Moon Knight.
Black Spectre (organization)
|First appearance||Daredevil #108|
|Created by||Steve Gerber (writer)
Bob Brown (penciller)
|Type of organization||Para-military|
The Black Spectre first appeared in Daredevil #108 (March 1974) and was created by writer Steve Gerber and penciller Bob Brown. The organization subsequently appeared in the next issues of the series with Daredevil #109-112 (May-August 1974) written again by Steve Gerber. The author used it also in The Defenders #109 (May 1974) and Marvel Two-In-One #3 (May 1974).
In 2012, the organization appeared in Daredevil series with issues #6, #8-10 and #13, in Avenging Spider-Man #6 and in The Punisher #9, #11. The Black Spectre is one the five criminal organizations used in "The Omega Effect" crossover between these three comic book series. In an interview with IGN about this crossover, writer Mark Waid explained "As we've seen in Daredevil, Matt has basically conned five of the biggest crime communities in the Marvel Universe - Hydra, AIM, Black Spectre, the Secret Empire, and Hidden Team. He's conned them out of a unique, super-science hard drive that contains key information on all five organizations. It's the hot potato he has that makes him the most dangerous man on Earth.".
Fictional organization biography
The Mandrill created Black Spectre by organizing his female followers, disguising themselves as men using bulky armor. He plotted to use Black Spectre to confuse America through terrorism and racism, instilling chaos in the world and intending to rule it after anarchy ensues. Agents of Black Spectre stole printing plates during a battle between Daredevil and Beetle, and then organized a riot over the counterfeited money they secretly made and distributed. During the riot, Nekra captured Black Widow and returned her to the Mandrill, while Beetle and Daredevil disrupted the Black Spectre agents and sent them fleeing.
Mandrill was able to learn Daredevil’s identity when he enthralled the Black Widow with his powers, and he then confronted Daredevil as Matt Murdock before escaping. Nekra and Black Spectre, with the Silver Samurai, kidnapped Shanna the She-Devil who was able to resist the Mandrill’s powers. Mandrill planned to dissect Shanna’s brain to determine how she was able to resist him. Silver Samurai and Black Spectre attacked the Empire State Building and jammed all of America’s communication lines. Mandrill and Nekra captured Daredevil, planning to have him dissected as well. Mandrill entered the White House and sat in the President’s chair when Daredevil attacked him. Mandrill and Daredevil battled on the roof until the zeppelin carrying Black Spectre exploded, allowing Mandrill the chance to escape.
Later Daredevil came into possession of the Omega Drive, a piece of hardware which contained secretive information on five criminal organizations A.I.M., HYDRA, the Secret Empire, the Black Spectre and Agence Byzantine. This sensitive information could take down all these organizations, so they formed a conglomeration named Megacrime and they tracked down the superhero. In one of his mission, the Punisher learned of the existence of the Omega Drive from Black Spectre operatives and decided to find Daredevil. Reed Richards, whose technology had been used to create the coveted drive, asked Spider-Man to contact Daredevil. Both Punisher and Spider-Man found Daredevil and the three men had to work together against the conglomeration Megacrime.
Black Spectre (Carson Knowles)
Carson Knowles as the Black Spectre.
Art by Mark Texeira.
|First appearance||Moon Knight vol.1 #25
|Created by||Doug Moench (writer)
Bill Sienkiewicz (penciller)
|Alter ego||Carson Knowles|
Black Spectre has an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A To Z Update #2 (2010).
Fictional character biography
The Black Spectre was Carson Knowles, a Vietnam War veteran whose father was a politician. Upon returning, he discovered that his wife left him and his son was killed. He couldn't get a job and decided to get revenge on the city since they turned his back on him when he needed it most. Inspired by Moon Knight, Knowles became the Black Spectre, a master criminal. He also decided to run for Mayor of New York City. Knowles was defeated by Moon Knight and sent to prison.
Later, Black Spectre joined together with Morpheus and Bushman, two other foes of Moon Knight. They intended to use the power of the statue of Egyptian God Seth to curse diplomats at a U.N. conference.
Carson Knowles appeared again some time later, recently released from prison. He falls back into his ways as the Black Spectre and attempts to, yet again, destroy Moon Knight and hurt the city. Moon Knight ultimately pushes Knowles off a building to his death.
During his supervillain career, Black Spectre has always been an enemy of Moon Knight and is considered as one of the greatest enemies of the vigilante. In his first appearance, the character is depicted as the antithesis of Moon Knight. In his essay titled “Fight Scenes, Fight Scenes Everywhere … And Not a Stop to Think”, Heidi MacDonald declared that the story "Black Spectre" is more than just a fist fight. He analysed it and concluded "It is about the way that Moon Knight's fortunes descend while Black Spectre's rise, and the way that Moon Knight conquers his weakness while Black Spectre falls to them.".
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Augie De Blieck Jr., the reviewer of the 2006 Moon Knight series, noted that "Moon Knight's rogues' gallery seems to play a decent supporting role in each issue.". Writer Mike Benson explained that there were many adversaries that he would like to bring back but he kept the villains which he felt "could easily fit the tone of the book".
Dave Richards, reviewer for Comic Book Resources, analyzed the death of Black Spectre and explained that it was a turning point in Moon Knight's life. In its past adventures, the vigilante demonstrated that he had no guilty conscience about seriously harming criminals, but he did have a strong code against killing them. According to Richards, Mike Benson used this violent death to separate Moon Knight and Khonshu, the Egyptian God of Vengeance. Khonshu is a character which claims that Moon Knight is his Avatar, and must therefore do Khonshu’s bidding. Mike Benson confirmed in an interview that these two characters "have had such a cantankerous relationship that they needed a little distance."
In his review of Moon Knight #19, Kevin Powers, reviewer for Comics Bulletin, also noted "The ending of this issue is extremely well done and effectively concludes the main Khonshu-involved storyline that began with Charlie Huston.". He said that it is an interesting evolution that could lead to storylines for future issues where reactions from his supporting cast could be explored. Powers stated that the most important moment is Black Spectre's dialogue during their last fight. It helped understand the character's desires. According to the reviewer, Carson Knowles "wants the people to love him; he wants to be their leader like he should have been back in the day when he ran for mayor, before becoming a villain". Even if Black Spectre is more powerful than the vigilante, he's also a classic villain whose ego often serves as his downfall.
In other media
The character of Black Spectre appeared in the Moon Knight pinball table of the video game Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue developed by Zen Studios. The player controls the Moon Knight character into the world of his crime fighting on the streets of New York City. The table pits the player against four Moon Knight’s traditional enemies: Morpheus, Midnight, Bushman and Black Spectre. It culminates in a battle with the god of evil and death Khonshu.
- Sunu, Steve (January 12, 2012). "Rucka and Mark Waid bring "The Omega Effect". comicbookresources.com. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Schedeen, Jesse (January 12, 2012). "Marvel's Heroes Feel the Omega Effect: Greg Rucka and Mark Waid discuss the upcoming crossover between Punisher, Spider-man, and Daredevil.". uk.ign.com. IGN. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Steve Gerber (w), Bob Brown (p), Paul Gulacy (i), Petra Goldberg (col), John Costanza (let). "Cry...Beetle!" Daredevil 108 (March 1974), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Anderson, Chad. "Black Spectre". marvunapp.com. the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
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- Rovin, Jeff (1987). The encyclopedia of super villains. Facts on File Publications. p. 205. ISBN 9780816013562.
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- Doug Moench (w), Bill Sienkiewicz (p), Bill Sienkiewicz (i), Christie Scheele (col), Joe Rosen (let), Denny O'Neil (ed). "Black Spectre" Moon Knight 25 (November 1982), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- MacDonald, Heidi (December 1983). "Fight Scenes, Fight Scenes Everywhere … And Not a Stop to Think". The Comics Journal (87).
- Doug Moench (w), Tommy Lee Edwards (p), Robert Campanella (i), Melissa Edwards (col), Ken Lopez (let). Moon Knight: The Resurrection War 2-4 (February-April 1998), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Uchtman, William; Hoskin, Michael. "Seth". marvunapp.com. the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Mike Benson (w), Mark Texeira (p), Javier Saltares (i), Dan Brown (col), Joe Caramagna (let), Axel Alonso (ed). "God and Country" Moon Knight v3, 15 (March 2008), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Mike Benson (w), Mark Texeira (p), Mark Texeira (i), Dan Brown (col), Joe Caramagna (let), Axel Alonso (ed). "God and Country" Moon Knight v3, 19 (August 2008), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Richards, Dave (November 19, 2008). "Requiem For A Spector? Benson on “Moon Knight”". comicbookresources.com. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Powers, Kevin (June 10, 2008). "Review: Moon Knight #19". comicsbulletin.com. Comics Bulletin. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- "Moon Knight Joins Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue". marvel.com. Marvel Comics. November 10, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- De Blieck Jr., Augie (March 7, 2008). "COMMENTARY TRACK: "Moon Knight" #16". comicbookresources.com. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Richards, Dave (July 14, 2008). "Good (K)night Moon? Benson talks “Moon Knight”". comicbookresources.com. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- "Pinball FX 2: Marvel Pinball - Vengeance and Virtue". gamefaqs.com. GameFAQs. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- Duff, Jeremy (February 23, 2012). "Review: Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue". gamingnexus.com. Gaming Nexus. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Black Spectre (organization) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Black Spectre (organization) at the Comic Book DB
- Black Spectre (Carson Knowles) at the Comic Book DB