02 February 2008

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Killer Moth

On the tail of last week's Killer Croc comes Killer Moth. Killer Moth first sorta appeared in the unaired live-action pilot for a Batgirl TV series spin-off of the Adam West show. He has since appeared in the animated Teen Titans and The Batman shows.

The original Killer Moth is a prisoner identified only by his prison number, 234026. Whilst he is 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, which ends when the villain plunges 1,000 into the river and disappears.

Later Killer Moth kidnaps Bruce Wayne and learns his secret identity. However, he is shot by other criminals and the resultant cranial injury caused 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 the 1990s, Killer Moth's real identity is revealed as Drury Walker. Walker is 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. Killer Moth sets up a team called "the Misfits," comprising second-string Batman villains such as Catman and Calendar Man, to make another kidnap attempt on Bruce Wayne, as well as other prominent citizens. This team proves unsuccessful, turning against Moth when they realise he plans to kill the hostages.

He is one of the villains who sells their souls to the demon Neron, where he asks to become feared. He is metamorphed into a moth-like like monster called Charaxes. As Charaxes, Walker resembles a vaguely humanoid, giant brown moth. He consumes humans and spins cocoons to keep his prey in.

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.

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. Later, Charaxes is ripped in half by Superboy-Prime during the Battle of Metropolis, and presumed deceased.

The Dark Knight returns in 167 days!

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