Killer Moth
Interior artwork from Batman Family #15 (December 1977). Art by Michael Golden.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman #63 (February 1951)
(as Charaxes)
Underworld Unleashed #1 (November 1995)
Created byBill Finger (writer)
Dick Sprang (artist)
Lew Schwartz (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoDrury Walker
Unknown
Team affiliations(Walker)
Secret Society of Super Villains
Longbow Hunters
Suicide Squad
Notable aliases(Walker)
Cameron van Cleer
Abilities(Both)
Flight via suit
Incapacitating cocoon gun
Razor-sonar waves
(as Charaxes)
Superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, stamina, and durability
Flight
Sharp claws
Sticky cocoon mucus

Killer Moth (Drury Walker) is a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, usually as an adversary and dedicated evil counterpart of Batman. Like Batman, he has no superpowers and relies on his technical equipment, including a Mothmobile and numerous gimmicks. Killer Moth originally wore a garish costume of purple and green striped fabric, with an orange cape and a moth-like mask.[1] In Underworld Unleashed, Killer Moth is transformed into the monster Charaxes with superhuman abilities.

Publication history

Killer Moth's debut.
Killer Moth's debut.

Killer Moth first appeared in Batman #63 (February 1951) and was created by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang, and Lew Schwartz.[2]

Fictional character biographies

"Cameron van Cleer"

The original Killer Moth was a prisoner identified only by his prison number, 234026.[3] While in prison, he reads a newspaper article about Batman and decides to set himself up as the "anti-Batman", hiring himself out to Gotham City's criminals to help them elude capture by police. Upon his release, he uses the hidden proceeds of his crimes to build a "Mothcave", modeled on the photos of the Batcave in the newspaper article he read.

Killer Moth also establishes a false identity as millionaire philanthropist Cameron van Cleer. In this guise, he becomes friends with Bruce Wayne.[4] Meanwhile, he promotes himself to Gotham's criminals using his identity as Killer Moth, giving them each an infrared Moth-Signal. In his first job, he rescues some criminals from the police and then uses his Mothmobile to defeat and capture Batman and Robin. The duo escape and lead Killer Moth to a climactic battle on Gotham Bridge, in which he is defeated.[5]

In his third appearance (Detective Comics #173 (July 1951)) Killer Moth kidnaps Bruce Wayne and learns his secret identity. However, he is shot by other criminals and the resultant cranial injury causes amnesia. He remains a persistent enemy through the Silver Age of Comic Books, being the first villain Batgirl encounters in Detective Comics #359 (January 1967). He teams up with the Cavalier twice: the first time in Batman Family #10 (March-April 1977), where they battle Batgirl and Batwoman (Kathy Kane, who comes out of retirement for the first time in years) and the second (and final) time in Batman Family #15 (December 1977-January 1978), where they battle Batgirl and Robin.

Drury Walker

In the 1990s, in the Post-Crisis continuity, Killer Moth's real identity is revealed as Drury Walker, an unsuccessful criminal whom no one takes seriously. He again adopts the false identity of Cameron van Cleer and the persona of Killer Moth to fight Batman. This version first appears in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7-9 (December 1992-February 1993), with a more detailed origin story appearing in Batgirl: Year One #1-9 (February-October 2003).

In Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7-9, Killer Moth sets up a team called "the Misfits", comprising Batman villains such as the Catman and the Calendar Man, to make another kidnapping attempt on Bruce Wayne, as well as other prominent citizens. This team proves unsuccessful, turning against Killer Moth when they realize he plans to kill the hostages.[6] He is one of the villains who sells their souls to the demon-lord Neron in Underworld Unleashed #1 (November 1995) and in Robin (vol. 2) #23-24 (December 1995-January 1996), where he asks to become feared instead of always being laughed at. He is metamorphosed into a carnivorous moth-like monster called Charaxes. As Charaxes, Walker resembles a vaguely humanoid, giant brown moth. He consumes humans and spins cocoons in which to keep his prey.[7]

In a later story, Charaxes begins laying hundreds of eggs, all of which hatch into duplicates of Drury Walker. Charaxes despises his progeny, but is unable to destroy them. Following his capture, these duplicates are taken into government custody. During an argument between various bodies as to what should be done with them, they attack a scientist and are killed.[8] At around the same time, the Oracle is confronted by a criminal named Danko Twag who claims to be the "real" Killer Moth (the one she had defeated), and that Drury Walker had been an impostor. During a rant in which he claims they are going to be a team, she captures him in an energy cell and he seemingly disintegrates himself.[9]

In Infinite Crisis, Charaxes is killed by being ripped in half by Superboy-Prime during the Battle of Metropolis.[1]

In order to ensure the existence of Batman, Rip Hunter tells Booster Gold and Skeets that they have to make sure Wiley Dalbert, a time-travelling criminal who had hired Killer Moth, completes his crime successfully. Booster does this by dressing up as Killer Moth and taking his place. During the robbery, he is forced to fight with Batman and Robin and takes them both down. An unfortunate, unintended side effect of this is that, when they return to the present, Gotham still has no Batman and Killer Moth is now a serious threat, thanks to the "street cred" from the robbery.[10] Booster, Skeets and his sister Goldstar attempt to fix the anomaly they created by taking Batman's place in the robbery, but things go wrong when Alfred Pennyworth intervenes; the Time Masters barely escape in the Batmobile. Instead they steal Batgirl's costume and purchase an Elvis costume for Booster. Booster stops the version of him dressed as Killer Moth from defeating Batman and makes sure that Wiley gets away with the loot, thus restoring the timeline.[11]

During the Adventure Comics series' Blackest Night tie-in story, Charaxes is reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.[12] Superboy-Prime destroys Charaxes on Earth Prime, using the black ring cycling through the power set, resulting in a burst of colored energy that destroys Black Lanterns.[13]

In The New 52, a more serious, less garish Drury Walker/Killer Moth appears as an enemy of Green Arrow. [14] This version, preferring the title "Moth", utilizes a gas mask and a compression gun which he calls a "Stinger". Moth later appeared as a member of Richard Dragon's Longbow Hunters.[15]

In DC Rebirth, Killer Moth is again Drury Walker, a low-level criminal sporting a purple outfit and helmet.[16] He first appeared in the "Zero Year" story arc in which he was defeated by both Batman and Green Arrow, teaming up for the first time.[17]

Unknown

A new Killer Moth appears in Batman #652, during the Face the Face storyline wherein he displays competence in hand-to-hand combat and the ability of flight when facing Robin. He later appears working alongside fellow Gotham criminals the Firefly and Lock-Up in the Gotham Underground miniseries. The identity and origins of this new Killer Moth remain unrevealed.

Several villains clad in Killer Moth costumes appear in Secret Six (vol. 3) #7. At least one of them is killed by Deadshot.

Killer Moth recently appeared in the first issue of the miniseries Justice League: Cry for Justice. He was hired by Prometheus to kidnap and torture Mike Dante, ex-assistant to Atom ally Professor Hyatt. The two current holders of the Atom identity, Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi, tracked Killer Moth and his goons down to a hideout in Albuquerque, New Mexico and defeated them all. Ray Palmer then tortured Killer Moth by entering his head via the nasal pathways and growing inside his skull. Killer Moth immediately gave up Prometheus as his employer.

In Red Robin #9, Red Robin returns to Gotham City where he runs into Killer Moth in his classic costume, holding a man at gunpoint. Red Robin thinks to himself: "I think this is Killer Moth. The costume and the man change from time to time, so you can never really tell". This Killer Moth seems to be scared and on the run, stating: "Are you with him? Are you with the Atom? I won't let you torture me, too!"

Powers and abilities

In his original incarnation, Killer Moth has no superhuman abilities; he relies on the vast array of equipment he has developed. Killer Moth’s range of gimmicks includes a Mothmobile, a Moth-Signal, and a steel line, which allows him to swing through the skies as if he were flying. He carries a cocoon gun that fires a stream of sticky threads that can totally envelop a victim. The gun can also fire a grenade.

As Charaxes, he has superhuman strength, agility and endurance, an exoskeleton that gives him some protection from physical and energy attacks, a set of wings that allows him to fly, sharp claws and sharp, prehensile antennae. Charaxes secretes a sticky acidic substance that can trap the strongest of men and dissolve their bodies.

In DC Rebirth, he uses a highly compressed air gun to great effect as a weapon, shown to be powerful enough to stop a bullet in mid-air.

Other versions

Teen Titans Go!

In the Teen Titans Go! comic book series, Killer Moth was the second villain to arrive at the tower for the Titans' Party Party and informed them that he only attended to spend more time with Silkie. Throughout the party, he cuddled with the mutant moth larva until Robin ordered all the villains to leave, including Killer Moth. Killer Moth attacked Jump City and told the Titans they were outmatched. He noticed Cyborg, who had been disguised, and asked about his identity. Beast Boy lied to him, telling him that Cyborg was their brand new Killer Robot Titan and asked Killer Moth if he wanted to see how he fared against one. The villain, however, immediately left.

Batman: Arkham Knight

In Batman: Arkham Knight's prequel comic, after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins, following the defeat of Black Mask, Drury Walker checked out books from Barbara Gordon at the local library about moths and staked out her and her father, the newly-promoted Commissioner Gordon, which Barbara noticed. Later, at a GCPD panel that proved Batman was simply a man with gadgets instead of some 'paranormal entity', Killer Moth crashed it to advertise his services with a free trial of killing Commissioner Gordon while his henchmen kept Batman preoccupied on the other side of Gotham. Barbara quickly put on the sample Batman costume, managed to defeat Killer Moth's henchmen, and disarmed the villain. After he realized that his plans were falling apart, Killer Moth threw Gordon off the rafters to kill him and used that as a diversion for his escape. As Barbara saved her father, Walker made his escape and tried to calm himself down by saying that Batgirl was just a girl in a suit like Batman, who happened to arrive just in time and subdued him.

Injustice 2

Killer Moth appears in the prequel comic to Injustice 2. Following the events of the first game, Killer Moth is shown to be a member of this universe's Suicide Squad,[18] but after an impostor Batman (later revealed to be Jason Todd) surprisingly appears and takes control of the Squad, he kills Killer Moth using the bomb implanted in his neck, considering him to be useless.[19]

In other media

Television

Killer Moth as depicted on Teen Titans.
Killer Moth as depicted on Teen Titans.
Killer Moth as seen in The Batman.
Killer Moth as seen in The Batman.

Film

Video games

LEGO

Killer Moth in Lego Batman: The Video Game

Batman: Arkham

Other games

Killer Moth appears as a boss character in the NES Batman game.

Toys

Miscellaneous

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Charaxes". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1. OCLC 213309017.
  2. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  3. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Manning, Matthew K.; McAvennie, Michael; Wallace, Daniel (2019). DC Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle. DK Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4654-8578-6.
  4. ^ Fleisher, Michael L. (1976). The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume 1: Batman. Macmillan Publishing Co. pp. 256–257. ISBN 0-02-538700-6. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  5. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 176. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  6. ^ Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7-9
  7. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. pp. 85–86. ISBN 9780345501066.
  8. ^ Robin (vol. 2) #107-110 (December 2002-March 2003)
  9. ^ Birds of Prey #50-52 (February-April 2003)
  10. ^ Booster Gold (vol. 2) #11 (October 2008)
  11. ^ Booster Gold (vol. 2) #12 (November 2008)
  12. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #4 (November 2009)
  13. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #5 (December 2009)
  14. ^ Green Arrow (vol. 5) #25
  15. ^ Green Arrow (vol. 5) #31
  16. ^ Detective Comics #958
  17. ^ Green Arrow (vol. 5) #25
  18. ^ Injustice 2 #1
  19. ^ Injustice 2 #2
  20. ^ Batman: The Complete Television Series, Warner Bros., 2014.
  21. ^ "The World's Finest - Backstage - Unused Villians Database - Killer Moth".
  22. ^ Game Informer features a two-page gallery of the many heroes and villains who appear in the game with a picture for each character and a descriptive paragraph. See "LEGO Batman: Character Gallery", Game Informer #186 (October 2008): 93.
  23. ^ "'Batman Arkham Asylum' - A Batman Game Worth Getting Excited About » MTV Multiplayer". Multiplayerblog.mtv.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2010-12-29.