DCM Vertigo


Moon Knight

Wanted: Moon Knight!
by Mark Sarver

Detective Perez could wait no longer for a cigarette. She made her way downstairs and out of the main entrance to a small area the hospital obviously reserved for smokers. There were several small tables all covered by a large awning.

"Detective, we've got something here." It was a uniformed police officer racing towards her.

"What is it, officer?"

"Three people just brought in with various injuries. Two blacks - female and male. Mother and son. One white female. Eyewitnesses say it was the Moon Knight. Others reported costumed heroes battling it out."

"Moon Knight, are they sure?"

"We've got a sketch artist working with them now, but every one of them was adamant in their accusations."

"This just gets worse. Ok, put out an APB on the Moon Knight and keep me up to date. Also, find out if I can talk to any of them."

He was off leaving her alone smoking her cigarette in quiet solitude. She'd worked too many cases to not recognize presumed coincidences that weren't coincidences at all, but rather orchestrations of the same piece. Somehow, her instincts screamed at her, there was a connection between all that had happened on this long night, and she was going to get to the bottom of it one way or another.

Jonathan Crane finished packing up his meager belongings. He believed it was good to travel light when speed of exit was a factor of any kind. For him, that was most of the time. He had his own home in Gotham - but for this operation, he decided it was better to be on top of the action as it developed to direct as necessary the pawns and bit players.

The phone rang. He picked it up before the first ring finished and said, "Yes."


He recognized the voice - Darkhawk.


"Crane, I know it's you. I'm scrambling the phone from my end as I know you are doing as well."


"Continue . . . sure thing, Bond, James Bond. Bad Betty has completed the transfer. Our deal is complete."

A smug smile of satisfaction came over his face. The plan was flawless. His plan was flawless.

"Our relationship is ended then. Thank you, Darkhawk."

Before Darkhawk could reply, Crane hung up the phone and rubbed his hands together. He would make one international call and then be off to initiate the final phase.

They found the room empty except for him still chained to the chair in the middle of the room, the television sitting in front of him still on a local all news channel. His head was slumped over and they could hear sobbing as they entered the room quietly in case a foe still lurked in the shadows.

Dr. Mid-Nite moved swiftly to the chained man while Vigilante performed a quick run through of the house making sure they were alone.

"He has been paralyzed. He's coming out of it slowly. Pulse is weak and heart rate is very low." He lifted Moon Knight's head and looked into his wide open eyes.

"NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" he screamed staring through Dr. Mid-Nite and struggling uselessly against the chains that still bound him to the chair.

"Help me get him out of these chains, Vigilante. We've got to prevent him from going into shock. He's fixated on something. His reality is not ours at the moment."

Moon Knight continued to sob and whimper with his eyes locked on something else outside the here and the now. Vigilante shot off the lock holding the chains. With the slackening of the chains, Moon Knight slumped to the floor where he lay in a heap.

"Get me some cold water and pour it over his head. I'm going to hold him down. I've got no idea how he's going to come out of this."

Five minutes later, Moon Knight sat on the couch - face and hair damp from the cold water Vigilante had poured over his head. He'd bolted up out of the grasp of Dr. Mid-Nite ready to do battle with anyone and everyone. They both had to calm him down to get him to sit and tell them what had happened. He did so while he removed the moustache that was a part of his Jake Lockley identity.

"I don't know you, Mr. Spector, or this Marlene you speak of, but I'm truly sorry for your loss."

"As am I," Vigilante added.

"I'm going to kill every one of them - starting now." Marc Spector stood and walked over to the television - which he proceeded to pick up over his head before smashing it against the wall.

"They must be brought to justice - that much is without doubt."

"Justice will be at my hands, Dr. Mid-Nite. Just stay out of my way."

"We're here to help, Spector."

Spector waved them both off as he stormed outside looking for his cab. They followed him outside and watched as he transformed into Moon Knight, after retrieving various costume items from Jake Lockley's cab.

"I'm going to see my friend in the hospital. I'll start there."

"I had several of my associates follow HYDRA. I will contact them. Vigilante and I can work from that end."

"I want Crane and Bushman. The rest are icing - but they'll all pay." Moon Knight threw Jake Lockley's attire to the ground and got into the cab. In no time he was squealing tires speeding out of the drive in headed towards the hospital.

"Crane is elusive. We must corner his associates to get to him." Dr. Mid-Nite walked away slowly attempting to contact his associates to find out where they could begin.

Moon Knight parked the cab several blocks away from the hospital. He entered through the utility entrance underground and made his way up the stairs to the floor where he knew Frenchie's room was. At this early morning hour, this area of the hospital would be quiet except for an occasional nurse making their rounds.

A peek down the hall told him that they still had two police officers waiting outside Frenchie's door. He would have to get in through the window.

Moon Knight went up one more flight and made his way quietly into the room directly above Frenchie. Affixing his grappling hook to the ledge he made his way slowly down until he was level with the window to Frenchie's room.

Suddenly the image of Marlene and Bushman flashed in his mind and he was once again floating downstream in a river of rage - all coherent thought escaping his being. He opened his mouth to scream her name - do something to save her. Then he felt himself fall and reached out with both hands for anything to save him as reality flooded back in.

The ledge was just wide enough for a decent grip, but too small for an extended hold even if his muscles didn't give out long before he slipped.

Moon Knight looked up and saw that the window was partially open. Thank God, he thought as he reached up with one gauntlet covered hand to open it further. Once it was open wide enough for him to fit through, he swung himself up and in with one smooth motion, landing silently on the tiled hospital room floor.

"Frenchie, it's Marc."

Frenchie was partially awake as he opened his eyes groggily. A large smile came onto his face as he said, "Marc, my friend. How happy I am to see you."

"Frenchie, I don't have time now. I just need to know who did this to you."

Frenchie turned his head from side to side as the smile left his face to be replaced with a look of apprehension, "I do not know who it was."

"Anything, anything at all."

"Marc, it was zee monster."

"Monster, what kind of monster?" Spector didn't want to tell his best friend about Marlene. It would only complicate the situation and add more pain to an already suffering Jean Paul Duchamp.

"Blue monster, Marc. White boots. Zee grotesque white helmet." Frenchie was still shaking his head back and forth remembering the events of earlier in the evening.


"Yes, a big monster with zee white 'A' on zee chest. Marc, I could do nothing. I'm sorry, my friend."

Marc Spector took a step back and thought for a moment. It came to him in a flash of memory of a long ago fought battle - a villain he had defeated - a villain who called himself Avalanche. Not a monster - a mutant.

"They're inside, Pieter."

"Good. Return to the lair and await further instructions," Dr. Mid-Nite said to his loyal compatriot - Nite Lite. The young black man smiled and removed himself quickly into the night.

"It sounds like Cheshire. She was in charge at the safe house," Vigilante remarked.

"Not one I'm familiar with. Any ideas?"

They were on the roof of an abandoned warehouse near the waterfront. They peered into the empty building through a large skylight set off to the side out of sight of those on the inside. Inside the dimly lit large empty room were about a dozen HYDRA thugs milling about. In the middle of them all sat Cheshire with her legs crossed obviously berating the others.

Vigilante took in the scene and said, "You work best in the dark, let's make it so. I'll kill the lights from the outside. You go in this way. I'll wait by the exit for any who decide to make a run for it."

"Sounds good. Our main objective is Cheshire, remember that."

Crane finished with his international call just as the phone rang with another incoming call. Once again he answered it carefully, "Yes."

"Crane, this is Leila O'Toole. Is this a secure line?"

"Go ahead."

"HYDRA failed. They're all still alive. The boy and his mother are in the hospital with minor wounds as is Wendy Conrad. The one called Vigilante escaped injury altogether."

"HYDRA failed - you failed. I will need your services no longer, Ms. O'Toole."

"You jerk! We had a deal. You can break it all you want. I'm still going after Moon Knight and his people myself. My Knights of the Moon will finish this at the hospital."

"Just don't get in my way, Ms. O'Toole. I'm already beginning to see you as an impediment to be removed."

"Go to hell, you bastard!"

Crane heard the click as Leila O'Toole hung up the phone and the connection went suddenly dead.

The plan was still flawless as far as he was concerned. Contingencies were par for the course. And this was planned for contingency.

Moon Knight waited outside the building where it was known that mutants congregated - mostly mutants with evil inclinations towards the rest of humanity. He would wait until he could get the drop on one leaving and then find out where Avalanche was. Avalanche was working for someone. It was the only possibility that made sense. He was not a lone operator and would work as part of a team of mutants or for hire doing a job at the direction of some other diabolical entity.

He didn't have to wait long. In the faint light from the sign above the alley door he recognized the slithering form of Tanya Sealy, known super-villain Black Mamba. She was alone wearing a trenchcoat heading somewhere in a hurry.

Moon Knight soared through the dark night into the alley coming at Black Mamba from behind. He struck her hard in the back of her head with the heel of his boot as he went into a roll and landed on his feet ready to do combat facing her from mere feet away.

Black Mamba tumbled to the ground with a shriek and a curse. Recovering rapidly, she rolled back into a crouch facing the silver and jet avenger of Khonshu.

"Moon Knight, how dare you!" Her voice had a slight hiss to it and it seemed that her tongue flicked out at him while she spoke.

She threw off her trenchcoat and stared directly at Moon Knight - her hypnotic eyes reaching out to him with images of Marlene - a living breathing Marlene beckoning to him with her own beautiful face, deep lovely eyes, sensuous lips and curves perfect in every way. She moved towards him slowly - seductively.

Moon Knight felt the tension leave his body as he relaxed and waited for her approach. He longed to feel her body against his own. He longed to kiss her lips and make love to her for hours on end.



Suddenly he was there biting into her neck - tearing at the flesh.

Marlene was no more!

"No, she's dead! This isn't real!" Moon Knight dropped to one knee and in one fluid motion flung two crescent darts across the alley at Black Mamba.

"Ahhhhh!" The toned attractive brunette Tanya Sealy screamed as one dart impaled itself in her left arm and the other in her right leg.

She backed up looking for a way out. Moon Knight leapt across the alley somersaulting over the villainous Black Mamba to land behind her. He grabbed her head and held her facing away from him in deadly headlock.

"I want Avalanche. You're nothing to me, snake." His voice seethed with the hatred and rage he felt towards all who were against him this dark night.

"That selfish boy. Why didn't you just say so, Moon Knight?"

"Where is he?" He was right in her ear breathing hard and speaking in a loud forceful whisper.

"Dominic has gone onto bigger and better things. A man was here earlier to see him about a job. I heard he promised him to put in a good word with the Star Chamber if he did a good job. I guess he didn't need us anymore. Good riddance to the Cretan cretin."

Moon Knight released Black Mamba with a shove to the ground and was out of the alley on his way before she had time to turn around and look for her captor - lost to the dark of the night.

Vigilante killed the lights at the exact moment Dr. Mid-Nite crashed through the skylight to the floor below. He landed right behind Cheshire, still seated looking angry at the world. She couldn't make out her assailant in the dark - but he could see her plain as day.

Around the room he heard yells and shrieks and the pounding of running feet. They were scattering - what more could one expect from cheap hoods afraid of the dark.

The dark - the ally of Dr. Mid-Nite.

Above him he heard the fluttering wings of his faithful Owl - Hooty - creating more confusion and havoc among the HYDRA criminals in the warehouse.

Dr. Mid-Nite reached out and grabbed Cheshire by her long black hair, tipping the chair over backwards as he pulled her towards him. She didn't resist. It was as if she knew her time was up and she was tired of fighting anyway.

"We have some questions for you, Cheshire."

"They didn't pay me enough for this anyway." Cheshire was on her feet facing him now.

The lights came on and Dr. Mid-Nite saw the other HYDRA thugs exiting the building any way they could - like rats in the light.

Vigilante strolled into the warehouse holding up two unconscious members of HYDRA who had failed to escape past her trap. "The rest got away," she said with a big grin.

Next Issue: Moon Knight searches for Avalanche and Cheshire becomes a fly in the web.