Punisher vs. Moon Knight: Who Wins?

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Punisher vs. Moon Knight: Who Wins?

Moon Knight vs Punisher by Mico Suayan and Frank D'Armata. Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Moon Knight vs Punisher by Mico Suayan and Frank D'Armata. Photo credit: Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics

Marc Spector, a.k.a. Moon Knight, and Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, are two of Marvel's toughest anti-heroes. They're both brutal vigilantes, but who would win if these two got into a fight? They've encountered several times in the comics, but what would happen if there wasn't a plot getting in the way of the brawl? What if there were no other characters around to interfere, and no objective other than simply defeating the other anti-hero?

This is speculating about the two getting into a fight while they're in a generic and unpopulated city setting. There's no outside vehicles they can access and they both have their standard variety of gear on them. They're in character as well, so that means neither of them will try to kill the other one. Severely hurt? Yes, but kill? Definitely not. Okay, let's take a look at several very important factors and then determine who should probably win!

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Hand-to-hand combat

Moon Knight by Juan Jose Ryp and Andres Mossa. Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Moon Knight by Juan Jose Ryp and Andres Mossa. Photo credit: Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics

Frank and Marc don't need weaponry to be all kinds of dangerous. They're both superb unarmed combats, but who would have the advantage if these two decided to duke it out? Frank has savagely slugged it out with the likes of Daredevil, and Moon Knight has consistently shown advanced technique, even utilizing nerve strikes against his enemies. If this was purely a hand-to-hand encounter, it would be vicious; there's just no doubt about it. These two sure know how to take a punch and then send one back even harder.

Frank is effective and violent with his strikes, but Marc is effective, violent, and seems to have slightly more variety in this element. That's not a jab at Frank's technique, but Marc seems to share Frank's talents in fighting and then brings a few extra tricks to the table as well. It wouldn't be easy by any means and neither would drop quickly, but Moon Knight appears to have the slight edge here.

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Mentality

Punisher by Jerome Opena, Dan Brown, and VC's Joe Caramagna. Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Punisher by Jerome Opena, Dan Brown, and VC's Joe Caramagna. Photo credit: Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics

Punisher and Moon Knight aren't just harsh fighters; they're also very clever tacticians.Give Frank some time to prepare for his battle and odds are he can give anyone - no matter how powerful they may be - a challenge. For our little fictional fight, Frank has no such luck. It's a random encounter, and that means neither side knew they were about to get into this conflict. Despite not having prep time, Frank has proven countless times before that he's capable of adapting very well. He may not be a stunning genius like Reed Richards, but when it comes to combat, Frank's brilliant. Moon Knight shouldn't be sold short, but if we're talking about tactics in battles, Frank's experience is downright phenomenal. Moon Knight's a gifted fighter who's perfectly capable of adapting and finding ways to improve his odds in a fight, but Punisher's years upon years of displaying his impressive tactics should grant him the edge here. 

It's also worth noting that neither character is going for lethal attacks here; it just wouldn't be in character for them. They both know their opponent is technically a good guy, so they won't be quite as harsh as they would be against a well-known villain. Moon Knight won't be cutting off Punisher's face, and Punisher won't be shooting Moon Knight in the crotch with an explosive. Still, that doesn't mean they'll go easy on each other, and if Frank can find a way to put Marc out of the fight, he's going to go for it. Whether that's using the environment to his advantage or carefully deciding how to use his weaponry, the guy's always thinking about how he can win. It doesn't matter if it's cheap or dirty move, Frank's going to go for it if it means putting his opponent out of the fight.

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Physicality

Moon Knight by Jerome Opena and Paul Mounts. Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Moon Knight by Jerome Opena and Paul Mounts. Photo credit: Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics

The Marvel Universe is filled with surreal characters. From super speed to intangibility, several heroes have breathtaking powers that help them take down villains. However, Moon Knight and Punisher don't have powers. (Sure, there was a point when Moon Knight's abilities were boosted with a full moon, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.) They don't need telekinesis or heat vision to strike fear into their enemies. These two humans are in amazing condition, and when combined with their skills, that turns them into formidable characters. They may not have Steve Rogers' super soldier serum flowing through their veins, but that's not stopping them from fighting crime and going well beyond what an average human would be able to endure. Both of these anti-heroes have a ridiculously high degree of pain tolerance, but what sets them apart is Moon Knight's agility. Frank's hardly a slouch when it comes to mobility, but Moon Knight's multiple displays of dancing around gunmen would grant him a small edge in this category.

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Equipment

Moon Knight by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire; Punisher by Mitch Gerads. Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Moon Knight by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire; Punisher by Mitch Gerads. Photo credit: Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics

This is a tough one. There's no doubt about it that Punisher has more variety on him. He's always packing the basics (i.e. firearms and bladed weapons), but he may also have an assortment of grenades. From flash bangs to explosives, Frank often has a variety of options to choose from. Combined with his quick thinking and praiseworthy accuracy, this selection of weapons could prove to be a game changer if they're used at just the right moment.  

Moon Knight may not regularly have such a wide range of gear to choose from, but what he does utilize most definitely gets the job done. Marc has a truncheon that can be effective at both close range and at a distance (not to mention it can turn into nunchaku or a grappling line) and he has sharp crescents that he just loves to throw. It should also be said that Moon Knight is known to use his projectile weapons to disarm his opponents and his abilities as a marksman are impressive. At the time of writing, Moon Knight's costume also has sections of carbonadium armor, and thanks to a wicked encounter with Bushman, we know that material protects Marc quite well against firearms.

Punisher has more variety; Moon Knight has fewer yet equally effective options and a very efficient armor. We'll go ahead and call this one a draw.

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Verdict

Moon Knight by David Finch and Danny Miki. Photo credit: Marvel Comics
Moon Knight by David Finch and Danny Miki. Photo credit: Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics

No matter who's left standing in the end, an extended fight between Moon Knight and Punisher would be unforgettable. We are talking about two of Marvel's most formidable anti-heroes going at it, after all. They can both take a beating, wipe the blood off their face, and they proceed to unleash hell upon whoever dared to attack them. They're both so tough and skilled, yet small differences do grant each of them very different advantages. Punisher's more likely to fight dirty to win; he'll take advantage of an opening if he sees it and he certainly brings a lot of weaponry to the fight. However, Moon Knight's bringing superior agility, slightly more impressive skill, and boosted durability to the table; his tendency to stab gunmen in the hand (with his throwing weapons, that is) would be extremely helpful in a fight against Frank, too. While both of these characters have the potential to take the other one down, I think Moon Knight's barely going to take it. His multiple strengths should give him slightly better odds at winning. It certainly won't be easy, though.