Killer Moth

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Killer Moth
Batman063.jpg
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (van Cleer)
Batman #63
(February 1951)
(Walker)
(as Charaxes)
Underworld Unleashed #1 (November 1995)
Created by (van Cleer)
Bill Finger
Dick Sprang
Lew Schwartz
In-story information
Alter ego Cameron van Cleer
Drury Walker
Unknown
Team affiliations (Walker)
Secret Society of Super Villains
Abilities (All)
Flight via suit
Incapacitating cocoon gun
Razor-sonar waves
(Walker)
(as Charaxes)
Proportionate abilities of a moth
Flight
Sharp claws
Sticky cocoon mucus

Killer Moth is a fictional character in the DC Universe. He first appeared in Batman #63 published in 1951. Killer Moth originally wore a garish costume of purple and green striped fabric, with an orange cape and a moth-like mask.[1]

Killer Moth is not to be confused with another Batman villain, Firefly, who has worn a similar costume.

Fictional character biographies[edit]

"Cameron van Cleer"[edit]

The original Killer Moth was a prisoner identified only by his prison number, 234026. 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. Meanwhile, he promotes himself to Gotham's criminals using his identity as Killer Moth, giving them each an infra-red 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.

In his second 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 appearing through the Silver Age of comics. He is frequently remembered as being the first criminal Batgirl encounters in Detective Comics #359.

Drury Walker[edit]

In the 1990s, in the Post-Crisis continuity, Killer Moth's real identity is revealed as Drury Walker, an unsuccessful criminal who 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 (December 1992), with a more detailed origin appearing in Batgirl: Year One.

A man from Gotham City, Walker became obsessed with killing the bat, which would lead him to his doom, as Walker got killed in Metropolis, New York, by being shot to death numerous times.

In Shadow of the Bat, Killer Moth sets up a team called "the Misfits", comprising second-string Batman villains such as Catman and Calendar Man, to make another kidnapping attempt on Bruce Wayne, as well as other prominent citizens. This team proves unsuccessful, turning against Moth when they realize he plans to kill the hostages.

He is one of the villains who sells their souls to the demon Neron in Underworld Unleashed, where he asks to become feared. He is metamorphosed into a 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.

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.[2]

At around the same time, 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 imposter. 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.[3]

In Infinite Crisis, Charaxes is ripped in half by Superboy-Prime during the Battle of Metropolis, and killed.[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 hired Killer Moth, completed 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 is when they return to the present that Gotham still has no Batman and Killer Moth is now a serious threat, thanks to the "street cred" from the robbery.[4] 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, restoring the timeline.[5]

During the Adventure Comics series' Blackest Night tie-in story, Charaxes is reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps.[6] Superboy-Prime destroyed Charaxes on Earth Prime, using the black ring cycling through the power set of the resulting in a burst of coloured energy that destroys Black Lanterns[clarification needed].[7]

Unknown[edit]

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 Firefly and Lock-Up in the Gotham Underground limited series. The identity and origins of this new Killer Moth remain unrevealed.

Several villains clad in Killer Moth costumes appear in Secret Six v3 #7. At least one of them is killed by Deadshot.

Killer Moth recently appeared in the first issue of the mini-series 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!".

The New 52[edit]

A character using the identity of Killer Moth, whose real name was never revealed, was introduced to the rebooted DC Universe by writer Jeff Lemire in his Green Arrow series. 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. He later appeared as part of a group of villains hired by Richard Dragon in an attempt to take down Green Arrow.

Powers and abilities[edit]

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 moth mobile, a moth signal, and a steel-line, which allows him to swing through the skies. 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 feelers. Charaxes secretes a sticky acidic substance that can trap the strongest of men and dissolve their bodies.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • A short episode of the 1960s live-action Batman television series that premiered Batgirl featured Killer Moth as the villain (played by Tim Herbert), but it was never aired. It has been circulated through bootlegs on the Internet or at conventions. However, in the character's simultaneous comic book introduction (Detective Comics #359, January 1967), "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl", Killer Moth is Batgirl's first and main adversary after he leads her to believe that he killed Bruce Wayne. Batgirl later learns that Wayne has not died after confronting Batman and Robin.
Killer Moth as depicted on Teen Titans.
  • Killer Moth appears in the Teen Titans voiced by Thomas Haden Church and later voiced by Marc Worden. In the episode "Date with Destiny," he is introduced as a criminal who has been bio-engineering mutant moth creatures with the intention of using them to take over the city. While his true identity was never revealed, it's probably the Cameron van Cleer version. At the prodding of his spoiled daughter Kitten(voiced by Tara Strong) (whose boyfriend Fang (voiced by Will Friedle) recently broke up with her), Killer Moth uses the invading creatures to blackmail Robin into taking Kitten to her junior prom. His plan is foiled when Robin breaks the device which controls his moths (which was in Kitten's possession), and Killer Moth, Fang, and Kitten are taken to jail. Killer Moth returns in the episode "Can I Keep Him?," where he turns Starfire's pet larva named Silkie (AKA Larva M-319) into a giant moth to attack the Titans. He is eventually taken down by his own creation when Silkie decides that he prefers Starfire over Killer Moth after exploding back into a larva. Killer Moth and Kitten later become members of the Brotherhood of Evil. The two join in the final battle against the Titans in "Calling All Titans" wherein Kitten fights with a laser-whip, while Killer Moth attacks Starfire with a large swarm of moths. Since the battle ends off-screen in "Titans Together," and since Starfire later reappears inside the Brain's base to rescue Beast Boy's group along with Bumblebee and Red Star, it is assumed that either Starfire won the fight off-screen or at least was able to escape capture. Killer Moth is literally put on ice (with the other Brotherhood members) when Más y Menos send him through Professor Chang's flash-freezing machine.
Killer Moth as seen in The Batman.
  • Killer Moth appears in the series The Batman voiced by Jeff Bennett. Because of his costume's colors, it is easy to assume that this is the Drury Walker version. The character is a physically weak coffee boy for The Penguin's gang in the episode "Team Penguin". He is later transformed into a massive, powerful version of Charaxes after being exposed to chemical fumes and radioactive moths dissolving into his skin during a robbery with Penguin. Killer Moth still maintains his milquetoast personality and poor combat abilities despite his size and strength. Killer Moth is later seen very briefly in the episode "Rumors" being captured by the vigilante Rumor and is later defeated by Batman and Robin along with every other villain.
  • Killer Moth is featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Corey Burton (in a voice similar to Charlie Adler's rendition of Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Renegades). In this version, he wears his classic purple and orange costume probably indicating that the Killer Moth featured is Drury Walker (who once used the alias of Cameron von Cleer in the pre-Crisis comics). In "Legends of the Dark Mite," Killer Moth is among the Batman villains in Bat-Mite's fantasy. He is taken down by the real Batman. In "A Bat Divided," Killer Moth is seen in a bar where the other villains hang out. In "Gorillas in Our Midst", he robs an armored truck alongside his henchmen. Killer Moth is defeated by B'wana Beast and Vixen. In the teaser for "The Last Patrol", he kidnaps Batman and almost feeds him to the Atlas Moth in his lair. Killer Moth, his henchmen, and his beast are defeated when Batgirl comes into view and rescues Batman.
  • Killer Moth appears in the Teen Titans Go! episode "Missing" voice by Scott Menville. Killer Moth was shown to have a base underneath the Jump City Bridge. Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy find a missing poster made by Killer Moth for the return of Silkie. This causes Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy to secretly snatch Silkie while Starfire was sleeping and returned her to Killer Moth. Killer Moth then gives Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy the reward money. Starfire learns that Killer Moth has Silkie and is devastated. Raven takes Starfire to Killer Moth's base to see if Silkie is happy with Killer Moth. As Killer Moth prepares to mutate Silkie, Starfire and Raven spring into action as Killer Moth throws Silkie into the chemicals. Killer Moth tries to get Silkie to attack them which doesn't go well. Killer Moth gives up on his evil plot and heads to his bedroom.

Video games[edit]

  • Killer Moth (identified as Drury Walker) appears as a playable character in Lego Batman: The Video Game with his sound effects provided by Steven Blum.[8] He aids Joker's plot in poisoning Gotham City with his laughing gas. Like his namesake, in game Killer Moth is attracted to bright lights, even repeatedly trying to touch a lamp while at the Joker's hideout with the others, but the Scarecrow stops him (by slapping him in the back of the head). He uses a handgun as a weapon. He also has the ability to glide using his wings. In the Nintendo DS version, Killer Moth is an unlockable character. His original form is unlocked through the "Villain Hunt" minigame while his Alternate form (the one based from the Teen Titans TV series) can be bought as you progress the game.
  • Killer Moth is referenced in Batman: Arkham Asylum where his victim's skeleton can be seen hanging from a giant cocoon in the botanical gardens. Scanning one of the skeletons in detective mode as the answer to one of Riddler's riddles unlocks his biography, revealing his name is Drury Walker, he is human, and that he has used Cameron von Cleer as an alias in his crimes.[9]
  • Killer Moth appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes voiced by Joseph Balderrama. He appears as both an optional boss and a playable character. He is sarcastically declared by Commissioner Gordon to be "not a joke". He can be found near the Gotham Power Plant.

Toys[edit]

  • An action figure of Killer Moth (as Charaxes) was released in 2006 Mattel's The Batman Shadowtek line.
  • Corgi released a die-cast car of the Killer Mothmobile in their Batman line in 2006.
  • A collector's version of Corgi's Killer Mothmobile including a statuette of the Killer Moth was released in 2007.
  • An action figure of Killer Moth was released in 2009 from Mattel's DC Universe Classics Wave 6 line.

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • In The Batman Strikes! (a comic series based on "The Batman" TV series), Killer Moth (still in his Charaxes form) teams up with two more crooks to rob a bank, but is easily foiled by Robin who was busy in a school day since Batman was also fighting Poison Ivy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Charaxes". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 77. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017 
  2. ^ Robin #s 107-110, Dec 2002-March 2003
  3. ^ Birds of Prey #s 50-52 Feb-Apr 2003
  4. ^ Booster Gold (Vol. 2) #11 (October 2008)
  5. ^ Booster Gold (Vol. 2) #12 (November 2008)
  6. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #4 (November 2009)
  7. ^ Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #5 (December 2009)
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ - A Batman Game Worth Getting Excited About » MTV Multiplayer". Multiplayerblog.mtv.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.