Killer Moth's major claim to fame was being the first supervillain ever defeated by then-amateur heroine Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl. His reputation was largely destroyed as a result of that debacle and other extravagant but failed capers; throughout his latter career he struggled to be taken seriously by the underworld. The original Killer Moth was Drury Walker, but there have been multiple incarnations of the character operating under different aliases during Batman's career.
Much like Batman, Killer Moth's textual history has undergone several major revisions but a few fixed themes have emerged, namely the fact that he was a petty ex-convict who dreamed up a scheme to become the patron saint of Gotham criminals by protecting them from law enforcement. Donning a garish costume, the self-styled "Killer Moth" used his skills to help other miscreants evade capture in exchange for a share of their ill-gotten wealth. This brought Moth into several confrontations with Batman, nearly always resulting in his defeat and return to incarceration. During a botched attempt to kidnap Bruce Wayne, Moth was thwarted in his efforts by the intervention of Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham police commissioner James Gordon. This experience helped establish Barbara as the fledgling heroine Batgirl. While Killer Moth was originally considered a threat in his own right, his reputation declined thereafter and he went from being a consistent regular of Batman's Rogues Gallery to an obscure washout who struggled to be taken seriously.
Like many super villains introduced during the Golden Age of Comic Books, Killer Moth's flamboyant persona and spectacularly bizarre, often impractical schemes were regarded as being unsuitable for the increasingly dark and gritty Batman stories which began appearing during the late 1960s and early 1970s onwards. Interest in Killer Moth diminished quickly with the end of the Silver Age of Comic Books. With a new audience invested in more realistic, noir themes, the more cartoonish Golden and Silver Age villains disappeared from Batman's cases. Having survived this trend, Killer Moth was nevertheless a rare exception to the rule; Batman himself once described him as a relic of a bygone era, much like others such as Crazy Quilt and the Cavalier, who continued to resurface on occasion in futile attempts to reassert themselves as successful criminals. Part of the reason for the character's continued survival was the pivotal role he has traditionally played in Barbara Gordon's career as Batgirl, making him an inseparable part of her past in most incarnations.
The shift in themes and storytelling led to Batman literature and media becoming more psycho-analytical in nature, as most of the Bat-Family and the Rogues Gallery possessed no superhuman abilities. This led to new ideas surrounding the psychology of the characters, and why they pursued the lives they did. For example, books like Batman: The Killing Joke dwelt on the deconstruction of the Joker and the disturbing psychological connection he shared with the Dark Knight. Although Killer Moth had long been relegated to the periphery of the Rogues Gallery, he was subject to the same treatment. Storylines like Batgirl: Year One and Underworld Unleashed dwelt on his resentment at his "second string" status, low tolerance for ridicule, and obsession with inspiring fear like Batman.
Although Killer Moth was originally conceived as human, after the Golden Age he was almost never shown out of costume, leading to some ambiguity concerning his true nature. During the Bronze Age of Comic Books, he appeared to exhibit some genuinely animalistic characteristics, such as a set of razor sharp teeth he used to saw through Batgirl's grapnel line. This theme has resurfaced a few times since, namely in the Teen Titans and The Batman animated series as well as the Underworld Unleashed storyline, in which Moth is transformed into a humanoid monster known as "Charaxes". Since the original character was never named, Killer Moth's true identity was also the topic of some dispute; compounding the confusion was the fact that he used a variety of aliases. Moth was alternatively referred to as Arthur Leland, Cameron van Cleer, Laszlo Furlenbach, and Drury Walker, with the latter being used with the most consistency. Further adding to the ambiguity was the sheer number of outright impostors and those with unverifiable claims about having assumed the Killer Moth persona at one point or another, suggesting the supervillain gave rise to a cult following.
Killer Moth was initially introduced as a chain-smoking convict known only by his prison identification number, 235026. Every week, the convict visited the library at Gotham state penitentiary and scoured the recent periodicals for articles about Batman. In time he came to amass an incredible wealth of knowledge concerning the Dark Knight and his crime-fighting arsenal. After regaining his freedom, the ex-felon adopted the fake identity of millionaire philanthropist Cameron van Cleer, socializing with Gotham City's rich and powerful. In this guise, "van Cleer" sits on the board of directors for the Gotham municipal museum, purchases a large manor on the outskirts of the city, and is introduced to other prominent society figures such as Bruce Wayne. By night, however, the supposedly distinguished socialite dons a bizarre helmet and costume, becoming Killer Moth - an alter ego which the convict swore would "mean to the underworld what Batman has meant to the world of law and order!"
Moth's scheme soon became clear: he propositioned Gotham's organized crime rackets, giving each mobster an infrared "Moth-Signal", which would summon him to their assistance in exchange for a fixed percentage of their loot. Tapping into Batman mythology, he also created a "Mothmobile," a high-powered car modeled after Batman's own Batmobile, and used the hidden proceeds of his crimes to build a "Mothcave" modeled on description and artists' impressions of the Batcave, which he'd accumulated behind bars. Killer Moth's grotesque costume was complete with a utility belt, a "steel strand" which resembled Batman's grapnel gun, and a helmet sporting twin antennae capable of picking up police band radio. Unlike Batman, Moth also carried firearms and had no qualms about using deadly force. During his first job, he rescues some mobsters from the police, only to be pursued by Batman and Robin. The supervillain then releases a jet of anesthetic gas from the exhaust in his Mothmobile, which renders the Dynamic Duo unconscious.
Killer Moth kidnaps Robin, whose life he wishes to exchange for an opportunity to visit the Batcave and pick up a few more ideas for his own criminal career. Batman agrees, but Robin escapes on his own and contacts his mentor from a police band radio at the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) headquarters. Moth picks up the message on his helmet receiver and attempts to make a getaway, leading to a climatic showdown on the cable supports of the Gotham Bridge. Ever resourceful, he uses a grease canister to oil the supports, causing Batman to his lose his balance before countering with his own grease solvent. This battle of wits ends abruptly when Moth plunges one thousand feet into the river to his apparent doom. (Batman #63, February 1951)
Unknown to Batman, Moth was able to break his fall with his winged costume and escape into a storm drain. Emerging from the sewers, he flags down a ride from a group of petty crooks who recognize and ridicule him. Word soon spreads around the underworld of Killer Moth's defeat at Batman's hands, and as Moth became a laughing stock among the city's mobsters he adopted what would deepen into a lifelong obsession with salvaging his reputation and being taken seriously again. Using his influence as Cameron van Cleer, Moth persuades the Gotham Museum's board of directors to import a collection of Mesoamerican moth artifacts for an exhibit while secretly planning to pilfer them and revive his own shattered image. The subsequent disappearance of these artifacts from a storage vault known only to the museum staff attracts Batman's attention, however, and the latter deduces that Killer Moth is one of the board members. At the same time, "van Cleer" makes a slip revealing his own identity, allowing Batman and Robin to finally unearth his alias and have him arrested at his home. (Batman #64, March 1951)
Several months later, Killer Moth escapes the state penitentiary but finds it difficult to resume his criminal activities without a hideout, an alter ego, or cash. Since he couldn't afford to build up a new, respectable identity, he decides to steal one from an existing socialite, Bruce Wayne, whom he kidnaps and imprisons in a vault. Rather than ransoming his hostage, Moth hires a plastic surgeon to alter his features to resemble Wayne's. Arriving at Wayne Manor, the canny super-villain dupes Dick Grayson into believing he is Bruce and learns all of Batman's secrets. Marveling at his good fortune, Moth goes out as Batman and obligingly assists Robin with breaking up the rackets of notorious gangster Whitey Casey; however, he then visits Casey as Moth and blackmails him for protection money. Meanwhile, Wayne escapes, changes to Batman, and attacks the Casey gang. Convinced he has been double-crossed, Casey guns down Moth with a Thompson sub-machine gun. Moth's face was wrecked by the bullets, forcing him to undergo a reconstructive procedure, and the resulting cranial injury caused amnesia regarding recent events. (Detective Comics #173, July 1951)
Killer Moth's helmet and costume were subsequently transferred to a police evidence locker in Meadow City, along with those of several other known opponents of the Justice League of America. The costumes were animated by the Demons Three, who sent them on a crime spree. Thinking he was battling the real Killer Moth, Batman arrived on the scene and grabbed the villain by his legs, slamming him into a wall as he attempted to fly away. The Dark Knight was now faced with another quandary: prison officials had informed the Justice League that Killer Moth was still incarcerated. The "second" Killer Moth quickly broke free and Batman discovered to his astonishment that he was grappling with an empty costume. During the ensuing melee, he remembered that Killer Moth had once used a silken cord to swing from building to building. Batman groped for the cord on Moth's utility belt and used it to yank the costume back to earth as it attempted to escape. Using his own batrope, Batman then overpowered the costume and left the struggling bundle of cloth trussed up in a ball. (Justice League of America #35, May 1965)
It was not until two years later that the real Killer Moth returned to action. His latest scheme involved extorting protection money from the same Gotham millionaires he'd once socialized with as Cameron van Cleer. Those who refused him were brutally assaulted by Moth and his "Moth-Mob", two henchmen in similar garish uniforms. Moth was encountered by fledgling heroine Barbara Gordon, also known as Batgirl, on her way to a costume ball while attempting to waylay Bruce Wayne with his latest gadget: a "cocoon gun" that emitted sticky mesh. Batgirl distracted the Moth-Mob long enough for Wayne to escape, then return as Batman, forcing Killer Moth to beat a hasty retreat.
The following day Moth delivered a threatening letter to Wayne Manor, demanding $100,000. When Bruce bluntly refused, Moth became determined to murder him for his insolence. Batman and Robin staked out the manor for the next three days, arranging mannequins resembling Bruce Wayne in various lifelike positions. Once Killer Moth was satisfied he'd eliminated Bruce, they could then tail him to his hideout. Though Moth's assassination attempt was interrupted by Batgirl, the Dynamic Duo implanted a tracking device on the Mothmobile and were able to locate his headquarters anyway. They were initially trapped in an anti-gravity chamber by the Moth-Mob, but Batgirl is able to ground herself using a powerful magnet and free them. Killer Moth vanishes and is only apprehended when Batgirl locates his hiding place by the scent of her perfume, which had lingered on his costume after their clash at Wayne Manor. (Detective Comics #359, January 1967)
A little over a year later, Killer Moth was free again, robbing armored cars for enough money to rebuild his gang and finance his arsenal. The Scarecrow, who was then leaving clues to his own crimes on other villains, planted four white straws on Moth's costume, which were recovered after his arrest. The straws helped lead Batman and Robin to the scene of Scarecrow's next heist. (Batman #200, March 1968)
Killer Moth returned as an antagonist of Batgirl following a lengthy incarceration, pairing himself with another former Gotham millionaire, the Cavalier. Now referred to as an "old timer", he appeared sporting a new helmet with sharpened incisors that allowed him to gnaw through ropes and cables. Moth and the Cavalier relocated their operations to Provincetown, Massachusetts, a little town at the top of Cape Cod, planning the use the illusions from a nearby amusement park in a crime spree. Their rampage culminated in a bizarre attempt to hijack the U.S.S. Constitution, then anchored off Provincetown's coastline. Riding on a giant mechanical moths, the duo attacked the ship and created the illusion they had trapped it in a bottle. This scheme was thwarted by the timely intervention of Batgirl and Batwoman, who ensnared Moth with his own cocoon gun. (Batman Family #10, April 1977)
When rumors abounded of Batman's apparent death, Killer Moth broke out of prison in Massachusetts and returned to Gotham City for a trial held by Ra's al Ghul to determine who killed the Dark Knight. During the trial, Moth stepped forward to challenge Catwoman's claim that she had committed the murder, expressing awareness of her personal code against taking human life. (Batman #291, September 1977) Later in the trial he seized the opportunity to have his photograph taken with the Joker and Lex Luthor. (Batman #292, October 1977)
Killer Moth soon took up company with the Cavalier again as they plotted their revenge on the Dynamic Duo. Moth's fixation with learning the location of the Batcave and gaining access to Batman's secrets resurfaced; he was convinced he could pry that information from Batgirl. The Cavalier disagreed, pointing out that Robin was much more closely associated with Batman and would have greater access to that information. Moth bet $10,000 that he could trick Batgirl into revealing the location of the Batcave, and the Cavalier set out to prove him wrong by targeting Robin in a similar manner. For a week, Moth intentionally bungled attempts on Batgirl's life, warning that he would kill Batman next. The purpose of this exercise was to force Batgirl to alert Batman directly at the Batcave, while Moth tailed her and learned its location. Barbara soon deduced Moth's plan and led him on a wild goose chase. When Moth entered the wrong cave, she amused herself by allowing him to wander listlessly about after stealing his cocoon gun. Realizing Batgirl was mocking him, Moth attempted to kill her with his bare hands but was knocked into an underground pool. (Batman Family #15, January 1978)
The Secret Society of Super-Villains made the decision to recruit Killer Moth for a mission to assassinate the Freedom Fighters, although some members of the Society expressed misgivings over his "second rate" reputation and status. Nevertheless, the Silver Ghost, who hired the Society for the mission, remained adamant that Moth was well-suited for his purposes. (Secret Society of Super-Villains, July 1978) Working in conjunction with Quakemaster, another minor supervillain, Moth initially managed to defeat one of the Freedom Fighters, the Ray; he later proved his worth by going head to head with the Human Bomb. It is revealed that the specially engineered mesh in Moth's cocoon gun was one of the few substances capable of neutralizing the Human Bomb's explosive powers. (Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2, September 1978) In the wake of the debacle with the Freedom Fighters, Moth moved to Washington, D.C. where he returned to his roots as a paid defender of the criminal element. He and Batgirl briefly clashed at the Jefferson Memorial before she knocked him unconscious with a well-aimed batarang. (Batman #311, May 1979) Having long plotted to "make a comeback as crime's protector", the villain next sold his services to the Bolton crime family in the capital district. This scheme was simply a new take on an old formula: when cornered by costumed heroes or the police, Moth's clients summoned him, albeit via a radio beacon rather than the Moth-Signal. Batgirl stumbled onto his latest racket while investigating the suspicious murder of a local shoemaker, a Mr. Halsey. Halsey was working on a project for "Cameron van Cleer" when he died, which coincided with Killer Moth's latest appearances in Washington. Batgirl deduced that the Boltons were contacting Moth through miniature transmitters hidden in their shoes, allowing them to send out distress signals whenever they were in danger of being apprehended. She confiscated the shoes of two imprisoned Bolton gangsters and transmitted a false signal to Moth, luring him into an ambush. (Detective Comics #486, November 1979)
Two years later, the Joker called Killer Moth back to Gotham for an emergency conference of Batman's longstanding opponents. He drew attention to Killer Croc's recent vendetta against the Dark Knight and insisted that they combine their talents to eliminate Batman first, then Croc, who was widely perceived as unwanted competition. However, the Joker played both sides, hoping Croc and the other villains would simply kill each other off and leave him standing as Batman's sole nemesis. Moth, Two-Face, Gentleman Ghost, and Clayface were recruited as part of the Joker's hit squad to assassinate Croc during the final phase of his plan. During this time, Moth displayed a begrudging respect for the Joker's somewhat byzantine plot, simultaneously describing him as a "fruitcake", yet also "a real genius". Croc's thugs were less impressed by Moth himself, reacting with incredulity at that "weirdo with a gun". The latter dryly suggested they read up on local history as he shot them in cold blood. At some point Croc was apprehended by Batman, while Batgirl and Robin handled the would-be assassins. (Detective Comics #526, May 1983)
Killer Moth was one of the hundreds of supervillains addressed by Lex Luthor aboard Braniac's starship during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He was present when Luthor proposed they hold the parallel Earths hostage. (Crisis on Infinite Earths, December 1985)
Reality was permanently following the Crisis, although most aspects of Killer Moth's past and personality remained intact. A file in the Batcomputer reiterated his early activities in Gotham and how he'd once assisted mobsters for fees. It also made note of Moth's fake identity as Cameron van Cleer, as well as his unique arsenal including the Moth-Signal, Mothmobile, utility belt, and cocoon gun. Batman described him to Jason Todd as an opportunist who was motivated by greed rather than psychosis or any particular enmity with the Dynamic Duo. (Detective Comics #566, September 1986) Killer Moth's initial exploits, which took place during the first year of Dick Grayson's career as Robin, again involved extorting money from the criminal underworld in exchange for protection; however, unlike previous incarnations he preferred to swindle his clients and make off with their exorbitant fees rather than deliver them from law enforcement. Moth's short-sighted intemperance finally caught up to him when angry mob organizations began demanding their money back and he found himself hunted by scores of contract killers. The Dynamic Duo swiftly took down the mobsters and apprehended Killer Moth not long afterwards. Over the course of this encounter, Batman disclosed that Moth's real name was Drury Walker, although he operated under a string of aliases. (Robin: Year One #2, November 2000)
Walker soon launched a daring escape from Blackgate Penitentiary, demonstrating a newfound propensity for violence, especially against those who ridiculed his costumed persona. He borrowed half a million dollars from crimelord Anthony Bressi and invested the funds into am ambitious revival of his criminal career, recruiting a gang, overseeing the construction of an elaborate hideout, and commissioning a new "Moth-copter" modeled after the Batcopter. Walker intended to pay Bressi back by kidnapping Bruce Wayne during one of the billionaire's frequent appearances at a fundraising event for the GCPD, then holding him for ransom. He was thwarted during the attempt in question by the sudden appearance of Barbara Gordon, the new Batgirl, who demonstrated her prowess as a martial artist on Moth and his new gang to good effect. (Batgirl: Year One #2, March 2003)
Due to his failure to clear his debt with Bressi, Walker was beaten up by loan sharks. His gang abandoned him, and the government foreclosed on his new hideout for unpaid property taxes. Batgirl predicted that these repeated setbacks would force Killer Moth into early retirement, which seemed likely until a chance encounter at an underworld bar brought Walker into contact with Garfield Lynns, also known as Firefly. Firefly later helped Moth get revenge on Bressi by burning down his prize nightclub. (Batgirl: Year One #5, June 2003) Nevertheless, their alliance began to crumble as Walker realized the full extent of Lynns's obsessive pyromania and feared for his own well-being. Batgirl deduced that Firefly was in fact emerging as the larger threat, since he was only interested in spreading indiscriminate terror. The pair she described as the "Psycho Bug Twins" were finally stopped when she moored the Moth-copter to a water tower with her grapnel gun, causing it to crash. Walker was arrested and charged by the police as an accomplice in Firefly's arsons. For the first time he was also certified as insane and committed to Arkham Asylum. (Batgirl: Year One #9, October 2003)
Moth's unorthodox rackets won him the media spotlight, and news coverage of his grandiose schemes portrayed him as a daring outsider shaking up traditional organized crime. His minor celebrity status declined after the debut of the Joker and a new generation of deadlier costumed super-villains. (Batman: The Widening Gyre #4, February 2010) In the distant future, an unscrupulous time traveler named Wiley Dalbert read up on his crimes and decided to use Walker for a heist of several mystical Egyptian relics that were once on display at the Gotham Museum of Antiquities. He traveled to the past, infiltrated the Mothcave, and handed Killer Moth the schematics for the museum, promising to compensate him in cash for the specific artifacts he wished to acquire. Unfortunately for Dalbert, he was thwarted by the intervention of Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, and his time-traveling device was shattered. This drastically altered history, erasing the heroes and Killer Moth from existence. Booster Gold investigated the anomaly and learned that Dalbert was supposed to succeed and settle as a millionaire philanthropist in the distant past. In this role he would finance Gotham City's first children's hospital. Without Dalbert, the hospital did not exist until decades later, when Thomas Wayne would come up with the same idea and begin funding its construction. Wayne's commitment to that project set into a motion of chain of events that ensured he and his wife Martha were never murdered in Crime Alley. Without their deaths, their son Bruce did not adopt the alter ego of Batman. The absence of a Batman, in turn, meant he never inspired the personas of Robin, Batgirl, and ironically, Killer Moth. (Booster Gold Volume Two #11, October 2008)
Booster Gold believed the only way to repair history was to go back in time, pose as Killer Moth, and ensure the botched robbery succeeded. Using his knowledge of past and future events, he was able to knock out Walker in the Moth cave, steal his costume, then incapacitate Batman, Robin, and Batgirl when they arrived at the museum. Dalbert is allowed to depart unmolested, with his share of the loot. This has the unintended consequence of giving Killer Moth street credit and allowing him to become a successful supervillain, which imperils Gotham's future. Booster thus resolves to go back one final time and ensure Dalbert escapes with the loot while avoiding the impression that Moth achieved a major victory over Batman. He accomplishes by stealing the Batmobile and Barbara Gordon's Batgirl costume, which prevents the trio from reaching the museum in time. (Booster Gold Volume Two #12, November 2008)
Walker later paired himself with the Joker, Penguin, Cavalier, Mad Hatter, Deadshot, and Dagger to take hostage the entire Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) after being liberated from Arkham as part of a mass jailbreak engineered by Ra's al Ghul. The rogues broke into GCPD headquarters, and after taking Commissioner James Gordon and his officers prisoner, demanded a large ransom for their release. In the ensuing siege the Joker proved rather dismissive of Moth, whom he castigated as a "bumbler". Despite this, the latter was posted on the roof of the building with a radio and instructions to watch for Batman. Robin was able to draw Moth's fire by dropping a dummy from the Batplane, which distracted him long enough for the real Batman to land elsewhere unmolested and subdue him with a kick to the jaw. (Batman #400, October 1986) Leaving Gotham temporarily behind, Walker worked out of Opal City for a while, where he clashed with Ted Knight, the first Starman. (Starman #1000000, November 1998)
The Joker reunited with Killer Moth, Penguin, and the Mad Hatter when he solicited them, along with the Scarecrow, Two-Face, and the Riddler, for a plot to assassinate Batman. The entire conspiracy hinged on Two-Face, who would request a meeting with the Dark Knight after supposedly reconsidering his life of crime. Moth and the Joker, who masterminded the details, believed that Batman would jump at any chance to redeem Harvey Dent due to the close relationship they'd enjoyed during his tenure as Gotham district attorney. Ultimately, Two-Face opted out of the cabal after a coin toss. (Detective Comics #779, April 2003) The other villains were undeterred, with Killer Moth suggesting that they could proceed as planned, only hiring a professional actor to fulfill Dent's role. He recalled meeting one of the long-running leading men of Gotham theater in his identity as Cameron van Cleer, Paul Sloane, and recommended him for the job. Sloane had no criminal record but had a reputation for integrating himself with difficult parts simply for the challenge of it. (Detective Comics #780, May 2003)
To prepare Sloane for assuming the role, Moth shadowed the real Two-Face and let Sloane observe his mannerisms and habits. Sloane became so fixated with Two-Face that he even attempted a duality themed heist while disguised as latter, claiming he needed to know how it felt. The Joker, who had gotten bored with the "overrated" team effort, decided to sabotage Sloane's crime by tipping off Batman. The ensuing battle made headlines in Gotham City and attracted the ire of the real Two-Face, who kidnapped Sloane and tortured him nearly to death before dumping him at the Joker's hideout. Disappointed, Moth and the other rogues parted ways, leaving Scarecrow to dispose of Sloane. (Detective Comics #781, June 2003)
The Dark Knight did not encounter Killer Moth again until he made yet another attempt to kidnap Bruce Wayne, this time with a group of minor supervillains he termed "the Misfits", including Calendar Man, Catman, and an accomplished Texan thief known only as Chancer. Moth described them as "misfits, second-class operators, the mugs who get caught while the big guys like Joker hog the limelight an' get all the best crimes!" He reasoned that they were vulnerable on their own but stood a better chance of succeeding if they combined their abilities and talents. (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7, December 1992) The Misfits' first scheme was to kidnap the city's three leading public figures: Wayne, Mayor Armand Krol, and Commissioner Gordon for ransom. They locked the trio in a shipping container while they awaited the delivery of a ransom by Detective Sarah Essen. Unknown to his other partners, however, Moth planned to drown their hostages by submerging the container in the Gotham Bay. Tim Drake, the third Robin, was able to locate them in time. The Misfits were later taken into custody with the assistance of a new vigilante, Nimrod the Hunter, who had tracked Chancer from Dallas. (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #9, February 1993)
Following the Misfits debacle, Killer Moth was returned to Arkham Asylum, where he was haunted by nightmares of being mocked and scorned by heroes and villains alike. This fueled his egocentric obsession with the belief that everybody from Batman and Commissioner Gordon to his fellow inmates at Arkham were laughing at him behind his back. Walker vowed that he "would show them" and made a solemn promise to one day inspire fear among those he felt had ridiculed him. (Robin Volume Four #23, December 1995)
Walker was one of several onetime foes of Batman solicited by the demonic entity Neron, who informed them he could grant their "darkest fantasies" and "deepest desires" in exchange for their souls. During the course of this encounter, the former had an opportunity to connect with Major Disaster and Copperhead, two other supervillains who felt they were regarded as "jokes" and hoped Neron could elevate their status. Walker asks to become feared, and is transformed into a monster resembling a vaguely humanoid, brown moth. (Underworld Unleashed #1, November 1995)
Following his metamorphosis, the creature broke out of Arkham, eviscerating and partly devouring four orderlies in the process. In his new form he secreted a weblike mesh similar to that emitted from his cocoon gun, as well as a highly acidic compound capable of burning through solid stone. He spun cocoons to entrap potential human prey, before draining them of their fluids with an extended proboscis. Driven by primal hunger, Walker went on a blood-soaked rampage in rural Gotham County. When authorities addressed him as 'Killer Moth', the seemingly lucid creature dismissed that moniker as a "ludicrous concept" and retorted that "I am Charaxes! I am fear!" (Robin Volume Four #23, December 1995)
Batman initially did not respond to Walker's reported escape, as he believed the police were more than capable of tracking down Killer Moth. Robin, who had judged Walker as "a real lightweight" during their previous encounter, went in his stead, only to be abducted by Charaxes. He was saved by the intervention of another vigilante, Lock-Up, who subdued his captor with an electrified net. Both Lock-Up and Charaxes had vanished by the time Batman arrived on the scene minutes later. (Robin Volume Four #23, January 1996) Robin submitted a report on the incident, which attracted the attention of Barbara Gordon, now working as Batman's information broker Oracle. Barbara was slightly skeptical that Charaxes and Killer Moth could be the same individual, but wondered at what could've effected the transformation. She theorized that there was a possible link to Hellgrammite, another insectoid beast which had clashed with Batman and the Creeper in the past. (Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear, December 1995)
Charaxes became the first of several criminals detained by Lock-Up in his own private penitentiary, namely those who had recently evaded lengthy prison terms through acquittal, legal technicalities, or insanity pleas. When Lock-Up occasionally refrained from feeding his prisoners, Charaxes was able to subsist on a diet of rodents. (Detective Comics #698, June 1996) Robin later infiltrated Lock-Up's lair by disguising himself as a minor crook, Alvin Draper, and allowing himself to be captured. His homing transmitter led Nightwing to the location, an abandoned coastal artillery emplacement overlooking the Gotham Bay. At this point, Charaxes appeared to have undergone a dramatic deterioration of his mental state, although whether or not this can be directly linked to his time in Lock-Up's captivity is unknown. The monster no longer possessed reasoning faculties and only communicated in the third person when he spoke at all. After Lock-Up began flooding the cells in a last ditch attempt to kill the prisoners, Charaxes floundered in the water, lacking the capacity to swim. Nightwing took advantage of the situation to restrain Charaxes with a large chain, after which he and Lock-Up were delivered to the GCPD. (Detective Comics #699, July 1996) He briefly escaped again, only to be re-apprehended by Donna Troy and Starfire. (Titans: Secret Files and Origins #1, March 1999) Deeming the local corrections facilities in Gotham to be insufficient for holding the self-styled "insect god", the United States government took custody of Charaxes and transferred him to a federal prison in Louisiana, Belle Reeve, designed for the incarceration of metahuman offenders. Charaxes was subsequently liberated during a riot at Belle Reeve and massacred several guards. (JLA #34, October 1999)
In the wake of the Belle Reeve riots, Charaxes was returned briefly to Arkham Asylum. The asylum's inmates were liberated by Two-Face as part of an orchestrated plot to ignite a turf war between the local supervillains and some of Superman's rogues gallery who were encroaching on Gotham. Charaxes sparred with Hellgrammite after they got into an argument over a captive pedestrian. Both were vanquished by Superman with the assistance of Nightwing, who distracted them with a can of insecticide. (World's Finest Volume Three #10, January 2000)
Arkham's latest failure to contain Charaxes resulted in his being surrendered to the federal government again; this time the Department of Justice transferred him to Slabside Penitentiary off the coast of New Jersey. Much like Belle Reeve, Slabside was built explicitly to house metahumans, resulting in unique procedures, schedules, restraints, and cells for each inmate tailored for their specific abilities. Charaxes was confined to a cell comprised of energy grids, with dissuaded him from attempting to damage stone or concrete walls with his acidic secretions; while moving him from place to place the guards first rendered him unconscious with an electric shock and secured him with a full-body restraining device. Slabside officials also kept Charaxes segregated from the general inmate population. They learned, presumably from Arkham Asylum records, that Drury Walker had undergone a pupal metamorphosis stage during his transition to Charaxes, and attempted to manipulate his physiology into inducing that state again. Slabside's experiments were interrupted when the Joker took control of the facility by infecting all its residents with Joker Venom. (Joker: Last Laugh Secret Files and Origins, December 2001)
Less than two years later, rumors began emerging from Gotham's most notorious slums of a string of murders and abductions. Few police reports were filed, as most of the victims were vagrants squatting in abandoned buildings. Furthermore, the GCPD had its hands full with a wave of shoplifting, trespasses, petty burglaries, and assaults being committed by dozens of similar suspects all matching the description of a single middle-aged white male with receding, reddish brown hair and green eyes. The individuals in question also shared a limited vocabulary, apparent mental retardation, and what appeared to be a speech impediment. (Robin Volume Four #107, December 2002) After one of the suspects was apprehended, Robin positively identified him as Drury Walker. This posed a number of questions, as Walker had no living family members. One theory held that Charaxes had permanently reverted to human form. Another was that Walker had gained the ability to mutate into Charaxes at will while retaining his humanity, similar to Man-Bat. Robin eventually tracked what he believed was Walker to Gotham's old YMCA building, where he stumbled upon Charaxes laying dozens of eggs, all of which hatched into clones of Walker. It is revealed that Charaxes had been killing Gotham's homeless en masse to provide food for his progeny, which he despises but is unable to destroy. The clones aged rapidly and had relatively short lifespans. When they reached adult size, they set off on their own, resulting in the rash of crimes across the city. (Robin Volume Four #108, January 2003) Representatives from law enforcement, Gotham social services, S.T.A.R. labs, the crew of a reality show, and an extermination company then arrived at the YMCA, each hoping to be granted custody of the clones. The S.T.A.R. personnel wanted to study them in a controlled environment, Detective Crispus Allen wanted to charge them with Walker's crimes, and the television producers wanted to house the clones on a single property and film their everyday interactions. As the various parties argue, the clones attack a scientist, and are killed through the combined efforts of the exterminators, policemen, and S.T.A.R. security officers. Charaxes flew off, pursued by a self-styled "monster hunter" known as Jaeger. (Robin Volume Four #110, March 2003)
Remanded once more to Arkham, Charaxes found himself kept under heavy sedation, bedridden and reduced to a perpetually comatose state. As the asylum had twice failed to contain him under normal circumstances, this was considered the only viable means of keeping his formidable capabilities in check. (Birds of Prey #52, April 2003) During the Infinite Crisis, the Secret Society of Super Villains declared war on heroes everywhere and began liberating every super-powered criminal they could find for an attack on Metropolis, Superman's home city. Charaxes was sprung from Arkham by the Society for this purpose; however, during the battle for Metropolis he was ripped in half and decapitated by Superboy-Prime. (Infinite Crisis #7, June 2006)
Charaxes is subsequently reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, which is comprised of deceased individuals that continue to hold some special significance for a living hero or villain. He joins forces with the other zombified remains of Superboy-Prime's victims and they travel across the multiverse to exact their revenge on him from beyond the grave. Superboy-Prime responds by putting on a Black Lantern power ring himself. The ring cycles through his range of emotions and self-destructs under the pressure, disintegrating all the nearby Black Lanterns, including Charaxes. (Adventure Comics Volume Two #5, February 2010)
Killer Moth imposters
Following Drury Walker's metamorphosis and subsequent death at the hands of Superboy-Prime, a surprisingly large number of other villains clad in similar costumes surfaced, each claiming they were Killer Moth. The circumstances behind this situation have never been revealed; some were believed to be merely impersonating Moth for monetary gain, a few genuinely considered themselves Walker's successors, while the motives of others remain unknown.
It is possible that at least one of the new Killer Moth personas was adopted by the sole surviving clone of Drury Walker, as one was already imprisoned in GCPD headquarters when the others were destroyed. However, the short life span of the other clones would seem to discount that. (Robin Volume Four #110, March 2003)
Another theory is that Walker gave rise to a posthumous cult following. This was evidenced by the fact that three of the new Killer Moths were sighted working in concert, suggesting they represented an organization as opposed to being otherwise unconnected, lone individuals. (Secret Six Volume Three #7, May 2009)
A third explanation was advanced by an amateur art thief named Danko Twag, who claimed there were actually multiple Killer Moths throughout Walker's career, although the latter used that persona most consistently. Twag infiltrated Barbara Gordon's apartment and disclosed his knowledge of her past identity as Batgirl as well as her current one as Oracle. He insisted he was the original Killer Moth, "not that ridiculous, misshapen human insect", and that Walker had been an imposter. Oracle stated that Twag was merely a former henchman of Captain Cold, Toyman, and General Immortus. According to Twag's account, after spending several years honing his skills under those supervillains, he resolved to strike out on his own and became the first Killer Moth. Twag was never captured, and later his identity was stolen by Walker, who was imprisoned for his initial crime spree. The truth remained uncertain, because Twag committed suicide before Oracle had an opportunity to probe him further. (Birds of Prey #52, April 2003) Some years earlier, this hypothesis was lent some credence by Oracle herself, as her own files noted that at one Killer Moth's real identity was believed to be Arthur Leland, another petty crook. According to her, Leland was the individual who first used the alias of Cameron van Cleer. (Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear, December 1995) Prior to Walker's first capture, Batman, too, mentioned that Moth had once called himself "Laszlo Furlenbach", although he suspected it was an alias. (Robin: Year One #2, November 2000) Tim Drake was more explicit, stating with regards to Killer Moth: "the man and the costume change from time to time, so you can never really be sure." (Red Robin #9, April 2010) Compounding matters further was the fact that "Cameron van Cleer" was once also logged in the Batcomputer as Killer Moth's true identity as opposed to an alias, suggesting that the alter ego of van Cleer may have been at least based on a real person. (Detective Comics #566, September 1986)
Batman first encountered the phenomenon of multiple Killer Moths when investigating the murder of one such doppelgänger, a former convict named Lenny Weinstein. During his stay in Blackgate Penitentiary, Weinstein had received word that an old acquaintance of Killer Moth was looking to offer him a potentially lucrative assignment. Having formerly served in Walker's gang, Weinstein knew where some old Killer Moth costumes were stashed. Upon his release he hoped to impersonate Moth, take the new contract, and hopefully profit from the massive windfall he envisioned. Unfortunately, the acquaintance in question was Paul Sloane, who had survived his torture at the hands of Two-Face and now returned to seek revenge on his former partners in crime. Sloane was surprised to learn that Weinstein was not the real Killer Moth, but shot him anyway, muttering that "life is full of disappointments". (Detective Comics #777, February 2003)
Around the same time that Charaxes was killed by Superboy-Prime, Commissioner Gordon received word of yet another Killer Moth—this one attired in a decidedly armored version of Walker's original costume—robbing a jewelry store. Batman, who was busy with another case, dispatched Robin to stop the heist; both of them spoke dismissively of the new Killer Moth as "strictly small time". Nevertheless, he demonstrated none of Walker's reliance on firearms, displaying considerable athletic ability and aggressiveness in hand-to-hand combat. The wild melee ended when Robin allowed Moth to take flight with his loot before using his own momentum to slam him headfirst into a glass display case. (Batman #652, September 2006)
After the death of Black Mask, Peyton Riley, the second Ventriloquist, assembled Firefly, Lock-Up, and the armored Killer Moth, suggesting they combine forces to take the opportunity to fill the current power vacuum in Gotham's underworld and seize control of the existing rackets. Riley believed this was the chance for the "losers" among the criminal populace to move up and get their own slices of the action, especially since the Suicide Squad had been rounding up most of the "heavy hitters" such as Two-Face, who would otherwise be serious competition. (Gotham Underground #2, January 2008) Their first course of action was to assassinate the Penguin, whom Riley accused of working with the Suicide Squad, before the Squad ensured they were taken out of circulation as well. Moth, Lock-Up, and Firefly joined her in an ill-advised attack on the Iceberg Lounge, where they were quickly driven off by a team of other supervillains Penguin had hired to protect him. The somewhat luckless rogues then stumbled into Tobias Whale and his gang, who were tired of costumed criminals trying to muscle in on the mob in Gotham. Moth was gunned down in the crossfire. (Gotham Underground #4, February 2008)
A few months later, the armored Killer Moth reappeared, having hired a gang of local crooks to break into a museum in Los Angeles and steal a mystical Egyptian artifact for him. The robbery was foiled by Hawkman, who intercepted and captured Moth as he loitered a few blocks away. It was implied that Moth and at least one other minor Gotham supervillain, Nocturna, had been contracted by an unknown third party to procure these relics for some unknown purpose. Hawkman continued his investigation, leaving Moth for the Los Angeles police. (Trinity #6, July 2008)
When the Secret Six acquired the "Get out of hell free card", an artifact manufactured by Neron for reclaiming one soul from hell, they were pursued by countless supervillains hoping to get their hands on it. Somewhere on the road between Lincoln, Nebraska and Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Six were ambushed by no less than three criminals in identical Killer Moth costumes. Deadshot killed one by striking him with their car. (Secret Six Volume Three #7, May 2009)
Working out of Albuquerque not long afterwards, a Killer Moth—likely one of the trio encountered by the Secret Six—kidnapped and tortured Mike Dante, assistant to a certain Professor Hyatt believed to be in possession of sensitive technology. This incarnation of Moth was a bald, brown-eyed individual who bore little resemblance to Drury Walker, although he was attired in Walker's classic costume. His clumsy efforts at interrogating Dante for information on Hyatt's work resulted in the former's death. One of Dante's friends, retired Atom Ray Palmer as well as the fourth Atom, Ryan Choi, retaliated by tracking Moth down. Palmer suggested that "[Killer Moth] was never the brains behind anything" and that he was little better than the goons who worked for him. He correctly deduced that Dante's kidnapping and death had been masterminded by somebody else. After Moth refused to talk, Palmer shrunk to microscopic proportions and gradually expanded inside his skull, putting him in great pain until he gave up the name of his employer: Prometheus. (Justice League: Cry for Justice #1, September 2009)
When Tim Drake made his return to Gotham City as Red Robin, he interrupted a bank robbery by Killer Moth, who was using explosives to cover his tracks. Drake expresses awareness of the fact that he was facing yet another villain operating under the same persona, one he hasn't encountered before. Moth, now sporting flashbangs, combat webbing, and a utility belt, says he "doesn't have a problem" with Red Robin, but is desperate to leave Gotham. He eventually flies into a panicked rage, demanding to know if Red Robin knows the Atom and is planning to torture him as well. Drake ties him up and hands him to Detective Harvey Bullock and the GCPD, who incorrectly attribute his assistance to Doctor Mid-Nite. (Red Robin #9, April 2010)
Unfortunately for this Killer Moth, he never got the opportunity to leave Gotham and was stranded in the city after Brainiac trapped it beneath a giant dome. Moth attempted to mug Stephanie Brown and one of her coworkers while they were taking a few minutes off from their jobs as physician's assistants at the local hospital. Stephanie was nonplussed and simply told Moth he had an image problem. According to her, he was insecure about his looks, had poor social skills, and was tired of being ignored by others. He liked terrifying people because it was easier than having to go the extra mile to get other forms of attention from them. The two women then returned to their jobs, ignoring Moth as he protested they couldn't just walk away. Stephanie remarked that not every potentially dangerous situation needed to end in a showdown. (Convergence: Batgirl #1, June 2015)
Realities merged during the Flashpoint paradox, in which the Flash altered history by going back in time to prevent the murder of his mother, with repercussions on the lives of his allies and everybody associated with them. History was set back ten years prior to the events of Underworld Unleashed and the Infinite Crisis, resurrecting Drury Walker. This version of Walker was introduced as a youthful delinquent who eschewed the flamboyant colors and helmet of previous incarnations for a simple gas mask and twin air guns. (Green Arrow #25, January 2014) No longer fixated with gaining respect from the underworld, Walker seemed to be largely indifferent to his status as a "C-list" supervillain. (Green Arrow #33, September 2014) His psychosis was more focused on an irrational obsession with moths, to the point that he even consumed clothing fabrics. (Legends of Tomorrow #1, May 2016)
As Killer Moth, Walker retained his penchant for extortion and ransom kidnappings; his first target was Moira Queen, mother of Oliver Queen, also known as the Green Arrow. Moth botched the kidnapping attempt and was beaten into submission by Green Arrow and Batman. (Green Arrow #25, January 2014) He was later drawn into a gang of minor supervillains attempting to claim a bounty on Green Arrow's head for Richard Dragon. Killer Moth initially succeeded in cornering the hero on a rooftop, but was defeated by a specialized arrow designed to counter his air guns. (Green Arrow #33, September 2014)
Killer Moth's significance to Batgirl and her early career reemerged when he attempted to hold up a charity event sponsored by Wayne Enterprises, this time armed with a new cocoon gun and a small army of henchmen. Dick Grayson, who was present, attempted to single-handedly thwart the scheme as Robin. Killer Moth succeeded in incapacitating him, but was knocked unconscious by Batgirl. Although this was not Batgirl's debut in the altered timeline, it was noteworthy for being the first occasion Barbara met Dick Grayson. (Batgirl #45, November 2015) He remained a thorn in Batgirl's side for some time afterwards, being solicited by a mysterious figure known as "the Fugue" who had discovered her secret identity. The Fugue offered to sell this information to anybody he was able to track down with a grudge against Batgirl, including Killer Moth. In exchange, he requested assistance with a plan to brainwash the population of Gotham's Burnside district with a mind-wiping frequency. Moth was instructed to plant a pylon at the Burnside Museum, which would help amplify the frequency across the city. Batgirl, however, was able to deduce their plan and dispatched Bluebird to intercept him. (Batgirl #50, June 2016)
While being conditioned for service in the Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn relived several memories of her past life as a psychiatrist, including an attempt to organize group therapy sessions for members of the Rogues Gallery. Quinn offered to help Killer Moth work through his fixation with moths in a typically unorthodox manner, exposing him to the Scarecrow's fear toxin. This experience revealed that a deep-seated fear of moths was at the root of his obsession. According to Amanda Waller, however, it was unclear whether Quinn's memories were an accurate reflection of reality or whether they occurred solely in her imagination. (Harley Quinn & the Suicide Squad #1, September 2016)
At one point Alfred Pennyworth hired private investigators Sugar and Spike to track down a number of old and obsolete Batsuits, which had inexplicably gone missing. Most of the missing Batsuits were designed for peculiar situations; they were only worn once before being relegated to warehouse storage and forgotten. Sugar and Spike learned that the costumes had been stolen by Killer Moth, who was actually eating the fabric. (Legends of Tomorrow #1, May 2016)
Yet another shift in the increasingly volatile multiverse resulted in the pre-Flashpoint and post-Flashpoint timelines being merged, restoring many characters to their classic characterizations, including Killer Moth. He was again depicted as a garishly costumed rogue from a bygone era who had sold his services to the underworld and was resentful of his increasingly irrelevant status. (Detective Comics #969, January 2018)
In an ironic twist of fate, Bruce Wayne found himself sharing a poker table with Drury Walker at the Iceberg Lounge when he visited that establishment to attend one of Zatanna's performances. Wayne recognized Walker at once, but there was no indication that this was reciprocated. The latter grumbled that he'd ben forced to leave his cocoon gun with the club staff as collateral. (Detective Comics #958, August 2017)
Killer Moth followed with interest the growing number of costumed heroes in Gotham, which he perceived as an opportunity to make his long-delayed comeback. He formed a new gang consisting of Ratcatcher, Victor Zsasz, Solomon Grundy, and Firefly, and marketed them to the city's organized crime families as a means toward countering this trend. The gang demanded half a million dollars a week as a retainer. They were immediately apprehended by Robin, Batwoman, Orphan, Spoiler, and a reformed Clayrface, who had impersonated Grundy to infiltrate Moth's organization. (Detective Comics #969, January 2018)
As Bruce Wayne once observed, Killer Moth possessed no specific enmity towards Batman or any other members of the Batman Family, with the possible exception of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl. He initially looked at Batman solely as a rival rather than a nemesis, and perceived their clashes as an informal competition of skills between equals. This was a consequence of the fact that Moth had studied the Dark Knight closely enough to appreciate his methods. (Detective Comics #566, September 1986) On at least one occasion, he conceded that he'd admired Batman for years. (Batman #400, October 1986) A definitive feature of all Killer Moth's incarnations has been that the character derived his costumed persona directly from the concept of a "reverse" Batman. (Batman #63, February 1951) Booster Gold once discovered that without a Batman to inspire Drury Walker, his alter ego of Killer Moth would've never existed. (Booster Gold Volume Two #11, October 2008)
Despite their similarities, the primary difference between Batman and Killer Moth has always been motive. While Bruce Wayne was driven by a personal crusade against injustice, Moth's only incentive was greed. (Detective Comics #566, September 1986) An unrelated characteristic he began to develop following his early defeats at the hands of Batman was an egocentric obsession with his public image. At first, this stemmed from mere pragmatism: Moth had poured a small fortune into launching his criminal career, and when his failures began to affect his reputation with the underworld, he had no way of profiting from his enterprise. (Batman #64, March 1951) However, following Walker's first brush with Batgirl, his ego took a massive blow from what he perceived as an unprecedented humiliation at the hands of a teenage, amateur heroine. He became increasingly sensitive to ridicule or mockery, claiming that she was the reason he could not garner the same amount of respect as Batman. (Batgirl: Year One #5, June 2003) The facts were much simpler: not long after Moth's initial foray into Gotham crime, a new generation of deadlier supervillains began to reach the height of infamy in the city, such as the Joker, the Penguin, and Two-Face. Walker could not compete with their body count or the scale of their operations, and his reputation as a costumed criminal was overshadowed accordingly. (Batman: The Widening Gyre #4, February 2010) Despite attracting lucrative media publicity for his early rackets, within a number of years few people in Gotham and fewer still further abroad could even recall Killer Moth. He later accepted his status as a "second string operator" although continuing to dream of a caper that would catapult him to the "big time". (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7, December 1992)
Unlike most of Batman's other foes, Walker was not considered especially psychotic. For a number of years he was incarcerated in Blackgate Penitentiary. After being implicated in Firefly's arsons, however, he was certified as insane and transferred to Arkham Asylum for observation. (Batgirl: Year One #9, October 2003) Gotham courts seemed unable to determine whether Walker was faking insanity to get off an extended sentence; depending on the judge, he was consistently bounced back and forth between Arkham and Blackgate after being apprehended by Batman. (Robin Volume Four #108, January 2003) After a few years, he appeared to have permanently crossed the line into madness, and became one of Arkham's permanent residents. Instrumental in Walker's breakdown was the culmination of his obsession with his image; for instance, he suffered from waking hallucinations of heroes and villains alike mocking and ridiculing him. (Robin Volume Four #23, December 1995)
Killer Moth had no compunction with using firearms and although he rarely took human life simply for the sake of it, he had no difficulty resorting to murder as it suited him. Moth often killed civilians around him when they either ridiculed his costumed identity or possessed insider knowledge of his operations. For example, he killed the original architects of the Moth-Cave. (Batman #63, February, 1951) On another occasion, Moth also assassinated three engineers and scientists who had helped him produce his gadgets. (Detective Comics #486, November 1979) He even attempted to drown Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, and Gotham mayor Armand Krol after soliciting a ransom for their release, claiming he could not leave any witnesses. (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #9, February 1993)
Opinions on Killer Moth varied greatly. Batman once intimated that Moth "wasn't very good" at being a career criminal. (Robin: Year One #2, November 2000) In later years, he ceased responding to Walker's escapes altogether, believing the police were competent enough to handle him whenever he surfaced. Tim Drake, the third Robin, concurred, deriding Killer Moth as "a real lightweight". (Robin Volume Four #23, December 1995) Drake later described Walker as a combination of "inept criminal schemes and luckless humanity". (Robin Volume Four #108, January 2003) Dick Grayson, the first Robin, described him as a lame thug with "a glass jaw" and gadgets "straight outta the back of a comic book". (Robin: Year One #2, November 2000) By far the most detailed files on Walker were maintained by Barbara Gordon, who continued to follow his career long after their first encounter. (Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear, December 1995) Barbara claimed that Walker was both "crazy and stupid", calling him a "hyperactive goofball". (Batgirl: Year One #9, October 2003) She correctly deduced that he was eager to "flit around the spotlight" and predicted that one day he would "sizzle his antennas getting too close to the limelight". (Batgirl: Year One #5, June 2003)
Powers and Abilities
Although unable to compete with Batman, Batgirl, and other accomplished martial artists, Drury Walker was a skilled gymnast who also demonstrated a surprising degree of competence at unarmed fighting. In one of Batman's many dossiers on Killer Moth, the Dark Knight observed that he was "extremely athletic and accomplished in hand-to-hand combat." (Detective Comics #566, September 1986) Nevertheless, Moth was quick to acknowledge his inferiority to Batman in this regard, preferring to depend on firearms and other paraphernalia. When disarmed his instinctive reaction was to flee and regroup rather than resort to fistcuffs. (Detective Comics #359, January 1967) During his first encounter with Dick Grayson Moth was downed by a single, glancing blow to his chin, which prompted Grayson to later comment on his "glass jaw". (Robin: Year One #2, November 2000) On other occasions Walker was able to trade blows with Batman, although in all incarnations he was almost always rather slow-witted as a brawler. (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #9, February 1993)
Drawing on the extensive knowledge he'd amassed of Batman's state-of-the-art weapons and gadgetry while incarcerated, Killer Moth was able to develop his own sophisticated arsenal. (Batman #63, February 1951) Much of his equipment—from the Mothmobile to the Moth-Copter and his utility belt—were customized, cutting edge designs patterned directly after those utilized by Batman or one of his allies. While Killer Moth lacked the technical resources and manpower of an entity like Wayne Enterprises to fund and research his bizarre paraphernalia, he was able to subcontract scientists and engineers on an individual basis for this purpose. Moth then assassinated them once their usefulness had expired. (Detective Comics #486, November 1979) It was established that Walker depended on both large caches of stolen loot he'd incarcerated prior to launching his costumed career, as well as loans from various underworld figures such as Anthony Bressi, to finance the maintenance and further development of his technology. Walker had a particular penchant for ransom kidnappings and extortion, which he utilized to pay off these debts and invest further in his gadgets. (Batgirl: Year One #2, March 2003)
In a notable contrast to Batman, who possessed a zero-tolerance policy towards guns, Killer Moth had no qualms with carrying a variety of firearms. During his debut, Moth wore a holster on his utility belt and used a Colt Official Police revolver, of which he boasted: "Batman never carries a gun, but this is my assistant - and it's worth six Robins!" (Batman #63, February 1951) Moth later adopted a customized Walther PP, which was impounded upon his capture and relegated to a police evidence locker in Meadow City. (Justice League of America #35, May 1965) When he formed his first gang, Moth armed them with Browning Hi-Powers and carried one himself, which he used in a botched murder attempt on Bruce Wayne. (Detective Comics #359, January 1967) Late in his career, Walker's weapon of choice was a sawed off, double-barrel shotgun. (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #9, February 1993)
Killer Moth's most ambitious attempt to tap into Batman's mythology was his construction of a "Moth-Cave", hidden beneath a mansion he'd purchased under the guise of Cameron van Cleer. This bore an eerie resemblance to the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor, and was based on a series of conjectural articles written on the topic by various Gotham journalists. Like the Batcave, the Moth-Cave could be accessed by a secret elevator which descended from the surface. However, it was considerably smaller and was not a natural cavern, having been constructed by "van Cleer" at his own expense. The original Moth-Cave included a "trophy room" of glass display cases which housed souvenirs from successful robberies, a forensic laboratory where Moth labored on various inventions to make crimes unsolvable, and a vehicle hangar. (Batman #63, February 1951)
Following his initial capture and the loss of his van Cleer alias, Moth relocated to "Moth Mansion", a large and dilapidated mansion. The Moth Mansion included various security and surveillance systems for thwarting police raids, including a chamber for simulating anti-gravity conditions. (Detective Comics #359, January 1967) The final specialized hideout Moth adopted was known simply as "The Cocoon" and was by far the most spacious. It was converted from an abandoned warehouse he'd one purchased as Cameron van Cleer, just beyond the northern outskirts of Gotham City in a former industrial park. The Cocoon included a shooting gallery, a fax machine, and a vehicle bay where the Mothmobile and Moth-Copter were stored. (Batgirl: Year One #5, June 2003) It also included a supercomputer which alerted Moth whenever one of his criminal clients sought to contact him. (Detective Comics #486, November 1979) Another feature of The Cocoon was a costume gallery modeled after that in the Batcave. (Booster Gold Volume Two #12, November 2008) The federal government and the Gotham County Sheriff's Department foreclosed on The Cocoon due to unpaid property taxes, prompting Moth to abandon it on Firefly's advice. (Batgirl: Year One #5, June 2003)
Killer Moth almost never used conventional firearms again after his acquisition of the multi-purpose "cocoon gun", which quickly became the most ubiquitous weapon in his arsenal. While its precise design varied from model to model, the cocoon gun fired a specially engineered gooey mesh from a round, externally mounted cylinder, capable of ensnaring people and objects. The substance was so dense and form-fitting that it could even contain the Human Bomb. (Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2, September 1978) The gun was also configured to fire normal bullets of an unknown caliber, although it was severely hampered by its lack of a conventional feed mechanism. Interestingly, Moth was never able to fire more than two rounds from the cocoon gun without stopping to reload. (Batman #311, May 1979; Detective Comics #526, May 1983) One variant of the cocoon gun was also able to fire darts; this model was fitted with a detachable single-shot, under-barrel grenade launcher. (Batgirl: Year One #2, March 2003) Another fired a lightweight steel cable, similar to Batman's grapnel gun. (Detective Comics #566, September 1986)
The first cocoon guns were compact, painted bright red, and appeared custom made; they were apparently fed from a small cylinder near the end of the barrel. (Detective Comics #359, January 1967; Batman Family #10, April 1977) The second generation of red cocoon guns possessed much longer barrels and were about the size of a normal handgun; these also fired pistol ammunition and utilized the same barrel cylinder. (Batman #311, May 1979; Detective Comics #526, May 1983) The third was gray; it appeared to have built on the frame of a revolver but retained the same approximate dimensions and barrel design, although the external cylinder appeared to have been removed or much reduced in size. (Booster Gold Volume Two #11, October 2008) The fourth mark was much larger and bulkier, incorporating twin external cylinders which made the gun rather unwieldy. This green design was particularly prone to malfunction, and the cocoon substance often jammed the firing mechanism, which Moth blamed on a poor manufacturing standard. (Robin: Year One #2, November 2000) The fifth type of cocoon gun was the largest yet, about the size of a submachine gun. It used the same twin cylinder design found on the fourth variant and was painted a similar green color. (Batgirl: Year One #2, March 2003)
In the altered New 52 reality created after the Flashpoint storyline, Moth's cocoon gun was re-imagined as a rather unwieldy weapon resembling a modified semi-automatic pistol; it was fed from two cylinders carried on Moth's back. Walker referred to it as "the Stinger". (Green Arrow #25, January 2014)
Taking a cue from Batman's use of an iconic motif, Killer Moth likewise tailored his identity and costumed persona in the hopes it would become a symbol of underworld defiance against the Dark Knight and law enforcement. While Bruce Wayne cultivated the legend of Batman to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, Drury Walker became Killer Moth out of a desire for attention, respect, and the desire to "shake up" traditional organized crime. (Batman: The Widening Gyre #4, February 2010) This was reflected in his garish and flamboyant costume, which was designed to draw attention to the wearer rather than blend with the shadows like the Batsuit. Various incarnations of Killer Moth wore capes or alternatively, translucent wings sewn into the costume, which allowed the supervillain to imitate Batman's ability to glide through open space.(Batman #63, February 1951) During his debut, Moth carried a side arm and a holster on the left, suggesting he was left handed. (Batman #63, February 1951) In all his subsequent appearances, however, the holster was worn on the right. (Justice League of America #35, May 1965)
The most distinctive part of Killer Moth's traditional costume was a large, domed helmet, which concealed a hidden radio receiver and headphones, infrared lenses, and a device for projecting razor-sharp sonar waves. (Justice League of America #35, May 1965) The dual antennae on the helmet were capable of intercepting shortwave radio transmissions, and Moth often used them for monitoring police band. (Batman #63, February 1951) They were also capable of detecting and amplifying distant conversations, similar to a laser microphone, although they must be specifically pointed at a given target to achieve this. (Batman Family #15, January 1978) Audio signals picked up by the antennae were transmitted to a pair of integral headphones inside the helmet, which appeared as external knobs covering Moth's ears. (Batman #63, February 1951) The helmet's infrared lenses could be switched on and off and were used to view the Moth-Signal, which was conceived as an infrared beacon. (Batman #63, February 1951) Walker could use the lenses to track opponents that were otherwise invisible to the naked eye, such as metahumans or individuals using stealth cloaking technology. (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #9, February 1993)
The Moth-Signal was an adaptation of the Bat-Signal, which criminals employed to summon Killer Moth to their assistance. (Batman #63, February 1951) While one purpose of the Bat-Signal was to inspire hope in Gotham, and to serve as a public reminder of its iconic caped crimefighter, the Moth-Signal was more discreet. For example, it could only be viewed through an infrared filter. Killer Moth depended on the infrared lenses in his helmet to spot the Moth-Signal whenever it was lit. (Batman #63, February 1951) A simplified variant of the Moth-Signal consisting of a normal spotlight was known as the Moth-Lantern. Although much cheaper than the Moth-Signal, it was rejected for widespread use because switching it on would almost certainly attract unwanted attention from either Batman or the Gotham City Police Department. (Batgirl: Year One #3, April 2003)
Due to the Moth-Signal's impracticality and high production cost, as well as the fact that each crook had to be issued with an individual signal device, Moth later experimented with more efficient, economical methods, such as giving his clients miniature electronic beacons. Whenever a beacon was switched on, it would send an alert to Moth's computer or a radar map in the Mothmobile, indicating the client's location. (Detective Comics #486, November 1979)
- See: Killer Moth/Gallery
In Other Media
Batman (1960s series)
Killer Moth was featured in an unaired episode of the 1960s Batman television series which featured the debut of Yvonne Craig as Batgirl and was loosely based on the premise of Detective Comics #359. The character was portrayed by Tim Herbert. Killer Moth and his Moth-Mob attempt to kidnap a millionaire friend of Bruce Wayne's at the Gotham City Library and hold him for ransom; they are subsequently confronted by Batman and Robin. While Moth initially suceeds in incapacitating the heroes with his cocoon gun, the unexpected arrival of Batgirl tips the scales and together the trio beat Moth into submission.
Killer Moth appears in the animated television show Teen Titans, voiced by Thomas Haden Church and later voiced by Marc Worden. This incarnation of Moth doubles as a bio-geneticist whose schemes revolve around utilizing an army of giant mutant moths for his crimes. In the process he bred thousands of mutated caterpillars, one of which was adopted by the Teen Titans as their unofficial mascot. This incarnation of Killer Moth resembles a costumed humanoid who possessed some of the metahuman powers and abilities of Charaxes, perhaps as a result of experiments performed on himself. He was often accompanied by his spoiled daughter, Kitten, for whom Moth shows unexpectedly genuine affection.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Killer Moth appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Legends of the Dark Mite." He, along with The Joker, The Riddler, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Kite Man, Mad Hatter, Penguin, Catwoman, Catman, Tiger Shark, and several other villains are shown briefly in Bat-Mite's imagination. Later, Killer Moth also makes a cameo in the episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister!" as one of the many costumed rogues caught under the hypnotic spell of the Music Meister and forced to sing a song for the amusement of the musical villain. It is mentioned in the episode "Color of Revenge" that he was robbing a train. In "Sidekicks Assemble!", A robotic duplicate of Killer Moth is shown as a training model at the Justice League of America's orbiting headquarters for heroes to practice and test their skills on. Killer Moth has also appeared in the episode "A Bat Divided!" at a bar with many other minor villains. He was pummeled by two atomic counterparts of Batman after he attempted to attack them with his cocoon gun. Most recently, Killer Moth's latest (and non-speaking) appearance appeared in the form of Moth's counterpart from an alternate reality, glimpsed in "The Super-Batman of Planet X!". The Killer Moth portrayed in this episode is an archenemy of a doppelganger Batman on the planet of Zurr En Arrh. When the Earth Batman pays a visit to Zurr En Arrh, he discovered that he had become imbued with superpowers due to the planet's unique atmosphere. Testing out his new powers on Zurr En Arrh's Killer Moth, the Batman of Earth easily thwarted an attempt by the villain and his moth-men to rob the Gothtropolis bank. Bending an iron rod into manacles, the Earth Batman pinned the entire Moth gang to a nearby wall, leaving them to be taken into custody by the interplanetary police. In the episode "The Last Patrol" he and his gang capture Batman and put him in a big tank. He send out giant moths on him until Batgirl arrives and defeats him.
Batman: Assault on Arkham
Although he does not directly appear in Batman: Assault on Arkham, he is indirectly alluded to when the Suicide Squad is rummaging through Arkham Asylum's evidence locker, where they found his apparel. King Shark claimed he never heard of the criminal before.
The Lego Batman Movie
Killer Moth makes a cameo appearance in the film, The Lego Batman Movie alongside other Batman villains.
Killer Moth appears at the end of the first stage of the NES's loosely movie-based Batman game, in a suit of flying insect-like armor. He appears alongside villains Firebug and Electrocutioner
Batman: Arkham Series
While Killer Moth does not actually appear in Batman: Arkham Asylum, his bio can be unlocked by scanning a human corpse in the Aviary of Arkham's Botanical Gardens, adhered to the wall in what appears to be a cocoon. In Batman: Arkham Knight, it is mentioned by one of Black Mask's men that Killer Moth was killed by the Red Hood.