What the D'ast? Moonstone
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
Anyone who has kept up with this column has known that there are heroes that I have not exactly cottoned to cosmically. On the reverse end, there are those considered in the villain’s camp whom I have adored (Mercurio, Nebulus). Here is another; don’t ask me why.
Even after the evil that was done in Roger Stern’s brilliant story of the takeover of AvengersMansionby the Masters of Evil (which included a hard-hearted Moonstone) and following the terrible Dark Reign, Dr. Karla Sofen has always been a favorite of mine. Her origin is cosmic in nature and I wish she were used that way more often.
Karla grew up in the mansionof Hollywoodproducer Charles Stockbridge, the child of Stockbridge's butler, Karl Sofen. After her father died, her mother Marion worked three jobs to put her daughter through college, and Karla vowed never to end up like her mother, to never put another's needs before her own. (We later learn Karla murdered her mother by suffocating her and then setting her house on fire.) Despite building a successful practice as a psychologist and psychiatrist, Karla so disliked being dependent on her patients for income that she entered the super-criminal world as an aide to Doctor Faustus. (During her career as a psychologist and psychiatrist, Karl convinved depressed patients to kill themselves while she watched.)
Learning of the original Moonstone, Lloyd Bloch, she became his psychologist and manipulated him into rejecting the source of his powers, an extraterrestrial gem of considerable power, which she then acquired and absorbed to gain the powers of Moonstone.
Moonstone's powers are derived from a Kree gravity stone (found on Earth's moon) which is charged with unknown energy and bonded to her nervous system. She can use the stone to fly and to become intangible so as to pass through solid objects. She can project laser-like energy beams from her hands (able to penetrate steel plate) and has also shown the ability to discharge non-coherent light omni-directionally in a blinding flash. Additionally, her bond with the stone grants her superhuman strength, stamina, speed and reflexes. Moonstone is vulnerable to astrally-projected beings and energy forms even while in her intangible state. It was revealed that Moonstone's gravity stone is also connected to her own life force. If she is separated from it for more than a period of 72 hours, she would die without its support.
Moonstone is among four Thunderbolts members present during an attack on Thunderbolts Mountain by a renegade Skrull sleeper, Khn’nr, who has taken the form of Captain Marvel but has refused to follow his programming and has pledged to defend the human race. During the battle, Khn'nr reveals that Moondragon’s stone is of Kree origin and uses his energy-controlling abilities to shut it down. When the Thunderbolts attack and board a Skrull ship, Swordsman confronts a group of them with his newly-returned sister. Moonstone painfully immobilizes the Swordsman, and suggests an alliance to the Skrulls and Andrea. Andrea turns out not to be a Skrull, however, and attacks Moonstone, although Bullseye kills Andrea from behind. He tries to kill Moonstone as well, although she becomes intangible and threatens him in order to keep him in line.
As Norman Osborn (the former Green Goblin) comes into power following the end of Secret Invasion, he is given the U.S. government’s seal of approval to establish his own Avengers team. Osborn invites Sofen to become a member of these so-called Dark Avengers as Ms. Marvel, since Carol Danvers has been fired after refusing to follow orders. The Dark Avengers become the “official” team and this gives rise to a long late-night TV talk war between Osborn and Clint Barton, leader of the outlaw New Avengers.
Shortly after Osborn’s failed attempt to seize Asgard, Moonstone, along with the other members of the Dark Avengers, are arrested by the team of heroes assembled by a returned Steve Rogers. Thereafter, Luke Cage visits the women’s section of the Vault, where he recruits Moonstone to become a member of his own team of new Thunderbolts. Sofen tells Cage that “it is about time” and that her “costume should be pressed.”
Let’s hope this new Thunderbolts member gets to grapple with some visiting aliens at some juncture and we may learn more about the origin of her stone of power. (Moonstone to the moon to meet some Kree-created Inhumans, perhaps?)