Killer Moth was a costumed anti-Batman who aided criminals just as Batman aids the police, but only for money.
Originally, Killer Moth was known only as a prisoner identified only by his prison number, 234026. The sinister concept of Killer Moth was born in the mind of the convict, who resolved to use his hoard of stolen loot to become a virtual anti-Batman upon his release from prison, and sell his services to the underworld. After regaining his freedom, the ex-convict adopted the fake identity of millionaire philanthropist named 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, and used his ill-gotten wealth to construct the "moth mansion" residence in the suburbs of Gotham City. Tapping into Batman mythology, he also created a "mothmobile", a high-powered auto modeled after Batman's own ground transportation, the Batmoblile, and a "moth-signal", and 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's colorful costume was complete with a utility belt, and a grotesque helmet mounted with a pair of antennae, which can pick up police radio signals and trnsport them into earphones cleverly hidden inside the headpiece. In his first job, he rescues some criminals from the police and then uses his Mothmobile to defeat and capture Robin. Killer Moth holds Robin hostage, whose life he wishes to exchange for a chance to pick up a few more ideas for his moth-cave, with a visit to the original Batcave. Batman agrees, but Robin escapes on his own, so Killer Moth tries to make a getaway, knowing his hold on Batman is gone, but the duo lead Killer Moth to a climactic battle on Gotham Bridge, which ends when the villain plunges 1,000 feet into the river and disappears.
Within two months, Killer Moth had returned, using his influence as Cameron Van Cleer, on the museum board of directors to import a moth collection from South America, so he can steal it, and therefore revive Killer Moth's shattered image. He tries twice, but is thwarted. Moth then becomes suspicious of Bruce Wayne being Batman, but the Dark Knight is able to convince him otherwise. At the same time, Killer Moth makes a slip revealing his own identity, allowing for Batman to finally unearth his millionaire alias and have him arrested at his home.
With his Cameron Van Cleer alias lost to him, the Moth decided to steal the identity of a pre-existing socialite -- and chose Bruce Wayne (whom he imprisoned in a vault). However, rather than ransoming Bruce, he hires a plastic surgeon to change his face into an exact double of Wayne's. With the plastic surgery altering his looks, the Moth fooled Dick Grayson into believing he was Wayne and Dick doesn't realize at first, so the canny Killer Moth works out Wayne's secret identity as Batman. The Moth goes out as Batman, deciding to enhance his criminal alter-ego's reputation by making it appear that the Dark Knight feared the Killer Moth. Wayne escapes, just in time to see Killer Moth shot down with bullets by one of his own gang, who thinks he's been doublecrossed. Moth's face is wrecked by the bullets, and the resultant cranial injury caused amnesia regarding recent events.
By Justice League of America # 35, Killer Moth's helmet and costume had been transferred to a police evidence closet in Meadow City, U.S.A. along with the costumes of several other arch-criminals. The costume was animated by the Three Demons, who sent the empty costumes 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. Dscovering to his astonishment that he was fighting an empty costume, the battle was turning against Batman when he remembered that Killer Moth used an invisible wire to swing from building to building. Groping for the wire, Batman discovered it in the struggle and yanked the costume back down to earth as it attempted to escape. Using his own silken batrope, Batman subdued the costume and left the struggling bundle of cloth trussed up in a ball.
It was not until 1967 the actual Killer Moth returned to action. Launching a brutal protection racket in Gotham with his henchmen, Killer Moth began extorting money from the same Gotham millionaires he'd once socialized with in his identity as Cameron Van Cleer, attacking them and leaving them pummeled, demanding large sums of money in exchange for not targeting them. He was encountered by fledgling heroine Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, on her way to a costume ball while waylaying Bruce Wayne. Halting Wayne's car by emeshing it in the substances fired from their cocoon guns, Killer Moth and his moth-men found themselves, in turn, targeted by Batgirl, who gave Killer Moth and his gang a taste of their own medicine, and beating them up using her karate and judo skills. Bruce Wayne flees, only to return as Batman to face Killer Moth. Trapping Batgirl in the cocoon-like substance fired from his cocoon gun, Killer Moth delayed Batman long enough to escape. Luring Killer Moth into a trap, Bruce Wayne ignores threatening letters by Killer Moth, and openely challenges the villain, stating in a return letter he will remain in Wayne Manor. Enraged, the furious Killer Moth watches Wayne Manor for three days, then viciously guns Wayne down. Batgirl attacks and dismayed at the sight of Bruce Wayne's bullet-riddled body, hurls herself into Killer Moth, throwing him across the room using a jujitsu move. Batman and Robin grab Batgirl in the shadows, explaining to her it was only a Bruce Wayne dummy she saw Killer Moth shoot down. The Dynamic Duo then also explained that they needed to allow Killer Moth to escape, in order to follow him to his hideout and find the extortion money. Trailing the mothmobile back to Killer Moth's hideout, Batman and Robin are imprisoned in an anti-gravity room, only to have Batgirl free them. She leads the Caped Crusaders to Killer Moth's control room, where she smells out the Moth's hiding place behind one of the wall panels by tracking him using the scent of her perfume, which has remained on the villain's costume since her earlier battle with him at Wayne Manor. As a result of this issue, Killer Moth is most frequently remembered for as being the first criminal Batgirl encounters.
Killer Moth remained a persistent enemy of Batman appearing throughout the remainder of the Silver Age of comics.
He continued to be seen at all the major gatherings of villains, such as the "Batman murder trial".
Killer Moth returned to plague Batgirl once more Batman Family # 10 , pairing himself with another former Gotham millionaire, the Cavalier. The union continued for one story before the Moth took a step up by joining the Secret Society of Super-Villains. Killer Moth was soon charged with destroying the Freedom Fighters in Secret Society of Super Villains # 15. In the wake of that debacle, Killer Moth left the Society briefly to exact his revenge against Batgirl once and for all, returning to his roots as a paid defender of the criminal element in Detective Comics # 386.
Killer Moth returned in Detective Comics #526. He along with Two-Face, Gentleman Ghost, and Clayface were part of a complex triple-cross scheme concocted by The Joker to use Killer Croc to defeat Batman, then to destroy him using Moth and the others, whom in turn, would be eliminated as well. Joker's plans were preempted by the arrival of Robin and Batgirl, who quickly overpowered the villains and blocked the Joker's escape.
Killer Moth was also seen during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, amongst the many other villains taking advantage of the period of multiversal chaos.
In the 1990s, Killer Moth's real name is revealed to be Drury Walker. Before being sent to priosn, Walker was an unsuccessful criminal whom no one took seriously. After so many years of being a frequent member of Batman's Rogues Gallery, Killer Moth began regarding himself as a second-stringer.
In Batman: Shadow of the Bat, Killer Moth resurfaced. He resolved to come up with a scheme guaranteed to put him and other "misfits" like him on top by abducting and seeking a ransom on Gotham's mayor, police chief and frequent Moth target Bruce Wayne. Killer Moth sets up a team of "Misfits", comprising third-string Batman villains such as Catman and Calendar Man, to help him make the planned kidnapping attempt on Bruce Wayne, as well as the other two prominent citizens. This team proves unsuccessful, turning against Moth when they realise he plans to kill the hostages. Once again, Killer Moth's schemes had ended in failure.
During Underworld Unleashed, the lure of power offered by the demonic Neron was more than Killer Moth could resist. He had always sought power and respect, so Killer Moth was among the first villains who sold their souls to the inhuman Neron. He asks to become feared, and he is metamorphed into a moth-like monster called "Charaxes". The Killer Moth was now a huge insect-like monster with great flight and strength capabilities who discharged an acidic solution. Overpowered by the primal drive for food, the rechristened Charaxes had lost most of his reasoning faculties but had become a dangerous threat to the world around him. As Charaxes, Killer Moth resembles a vaguely humanoid, giant brown moth. He consumes humans and spins cocoons to keep his prey in.
Charaxes has since been seen almost exclusively in the company of other, more lucid villains though he did have one brief solo clash with Starfire and Troia in Titans Secret Files # 1.
Charaxes was later taken as prisoner by Lock-Up along with Two-Face, and minor rogues Croup, Veezy, Col.Vazri and later a disguised Tim Drake. When Nightwing infiltrated the prison and tried to free Tim, he unwittingly released the prisoners from their cells. Lock-Up then began to flood the jail with water in a last-ditch attempt to drown his prisoners.
Charaxes was the first to reach the staircase exit but Nightwing wrestled the moth-monster in the water, and eventually subdued him as the floundering creature couldn't swim.
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 first 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. He was later revealed to have been a crazed henchman of Felix Faust.
During the Infinite Crisis, Charaxes is ripped in half by Superboy-Prime during the Battle of Metropolis, and presumed deceased.
Booster Gold #11 and #12 explores a time disruption in the past that creates a chaotic Gotham City overwhelmed by crime led by Killer Moth altering the future before Killer Moth's transformation onto Charaxes.
In the distant past before Charaxes, Batman, Robin and Batgirl had broken up a museum heist led by Killer Moth. But history is altered when Batgirl confronts a 27th century time travelor named Wiley Dalbert and breaks a gadget of his. She then fades away, followed by her partners and Killer Moth. The only one left, the man named Dalbert, is arrested by James Gordon.
At the same time, the presnt Gotham City is altered into a chaotic city where Batman never came to be. The time-traveling hero Booster Gold decides to go back to Killer Moth's museum robbery and change events.
In the past, Dalbert had given Drury Walker the museum plans and advised him to rob it that night. After Dalbert disappears, Walker is knocked out by Booster Gold, who had arrived at that moment in the past. The hero dons the Killer Moth disguise and he assembles Killer Moth's henchmen and breaks into the museum. As before, the Dynamic Duo and Batgirl arrive, but Booster, as Killer Moth, is able to quickly defeat them. Dalbert arrives to take his share of the loot without any interference from Batgirl, and Booster departs, his job complete.
Booster arrives back in the present, but not the same one he left. The Moth Signal shines into the sky, and criminals run rampant under the command of Killer Moth. It seems that by posing as Moth and defeating Batman and his partners, Booster inadvertently gave Killer Moth street credit and allowed him to become a successful supervillain. The only way to fix the current timestream is for Booster to go back to the museum robbery again, this time as Batman.
The chaotic Gotham City ruled by Killer Moth eventually never came to be, and the timestream was returned to normal.
Face The Face
A new human Killer Moth has recently appeared in Batman: Face the Face, but the identity of this version is unknown. He is introduced in Batman #652, wherein he displays competence in hand-to-hand combat 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 unknown villains wearing Killer Moth costumes appear in Secret Six v3 #7. At least one of them is shot and killed by Deadshot.
Justice League: Cry for Justice
In the first issue of the recent miniseries Justice League: Cry for Justice, two Atoms -- Ryan Choi and Ray Palmer, are investigating the mysterious and recent murder of Ray's friend Mike Dante and find that connections to the death run straight to Killer Moth. The Atoms attack Killer Moth's hideout and defeat his gang. Between the two of them, they beat up the villain and ruthlessly torture Killer Moth into gasping out the name of the killer: ("--Prometheus!")
Powers and Abilities
In his original incarnation, Killer Moth has no superhuman abilities; he relies on the vast array of equipment he has developed. Killer Moth’s range of gimmicks includes a 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. He also achieved flight via his special winged costume.
- Moth Lantern: The Moth Lantern was Killer Moth's brief attempt to forge his own version of the Bat-signal. The lantern broke before he ever had the opportunity to use it.
- Moth Mansion: This was a large rural mansion located in Gotham City. It was the headquarters of Killer Moth and his underlings, Larva and Pupa. The mansion was outfitted with several secret panels and a trap door, which fed victims into a gravity well.
- Mothmobile: This was a custom made, convertable sports car used by Killer Moth. It's color and style were similar to the bright, pastel color scheme used in Killer Moth's costume.
-(As Killer Moth) Incapacitating cocoon gun -(As Charaxes) Razor-sonar waves
Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985-86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal. Another Killer Moth appears during the Face the Face storyline, but has made no appearance since.
In other media
Batman (1960s series)
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.
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, and several other villains are shown briefly in Bat-Mite's imagination.
- Killer Moth appears at the end of the first stage of the NES's Batman loosely movie-based Batman game, in a suit of flying insect-like armor. Killer Moth also appears as a boss character in the Nintendo video game Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
- Killer Moth (identified as Drury Walker) appears in Lego Batman: The Video Game as a boss and a playable character. He aids Joker's plot in poisoning Gotham City with his laughing gas. Like his namesake, ingame Killer Moth is attracted to bright lights,even trying to touch a lamp at the Joker's hideout with the others, but The Scarecrow stops him. He uses a handgun as a weapon. He also has the ability to glide using his wings.
- Killer Moth has been confirmed to appear in Batman: Arkham Asylum.