(Karla Sofen) (Profile #3 - early Thunderbolts)
This profile is part of a chronological series, which should be read in order ! The profiles are :
- Karla Sofen (early).
- Moonstone (classic villainous career).
- The Thunderbolts team profile.
- Meteorite (early Thunderbolts era) – this here profile.
- Moonstone (double Moongem era).
- Moonstone (Osborn’s Thunderbolts era).
The previous profiles were used as the rough starting point for this one. This profile covers the period from her taking on the Meteorite identity, up until she receives the second Moongem on Counter-Earth (Thunderbolts #68). She doesn’t keep the Meteorite name for long, but it’s useful for differentiating the entries.
It builds on the pre-Meteorite profiles, which provides a special sections dealing with her using her psychological skills to manipulate people, a note on the debate over whether she’s a psychologist or psychiatrist, and other bits that this entry builds on.
Since the stone which powers her is called both the Moongem and the Moonstone, I’ve used the former when referring to it so as to differentiate it from her costumed identity.
- Real Name: Karla Sofen.
- Other Aliases: Moonstone, Kate Sorenson.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: Karl Sofen (father, deceased), Marion Sofen (mother, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: Thunderbolts; former member of the Masters of Evil III and IV, the Corporation, & Superia’s Femizons.
- Base of Operations: Various.
- Height: 5’11″ Weight: 130 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Blonde
Powers & Abilities
(See the Moonstone (classic villainous career) writeup for her basic powers.)
Karla has grown stronger and tougher. Although her costume is now less protective, more prone to ripping in combat. Since she can alter and repair it at will, this poses little difficulty. She can also change her costume into other clothes, allowing her to disguise herself to a degree.
In DC Heroes RPG terms I’ve therefore dropped the Insta-Change and costume from the earlier version, replacing it with Chameleon, limited to her clothing.
She’s also faster, flying at speeds of around 500mph.
Her phasing ability has also developed, and has become one of her primary weapons in combat (although she didn’t initially use it as Meteorite in order to preserve her secret). As well as phasing herself, she’s now capable of phasing others, usually by touch, but did phase arrows in flight at one point.
When possessed by the Moongem’s previous (Kree) wielder, she phased two groups of combatants. This ended the fight as they could no longer attack each other.
Her phasing abilities don’t protect her from all damage. Pure energies can still harm her when phased, as can sonic attacks, wind, gravity manipulation. Furthermore, she can be attacked by astral travellers while phased. Magic swords, however, pass through her as easily as regular ones.
She’s shown herself able to pilot a Skrull spacecraft, commenting that it was similar enough to Kree for her to operate. She’s also later exhibited knowledge of the Kree language. These probably leaked into her consciousness following her merging with the Moongem’s previous (Kree) wielder.
(Her earlier history can be found in the previous profiles, and a general history of her time on the Thunderbolts can be found in the team entry. This section assumes that you’re familiar with the main Thunderbolts events explained in the team entry.)
Justice, Like Lightning
Adopting the Meteorite identity, Karla changed her costume for the role. However her personality didn’t change much, and she began subtly undermining Zemo. He was familiar enough with her by now to be wary, though. That didn’t stop her machinations, such as when she manoeuvred him into accepting Jolt onto the team.
Karla adopted Jolt as a kind of surrogate younger sister, probably as someone who’d be easily manipulated at first. But she did seem to come to genuinely care for her, no matter how much she tried to pretend otherwise.
Her inability to admit this was probably the reason Jolt remained so suspicious of her later, after the truth was revealed. Jolt seemed to come to terms with the others, but Karla, who she’d quickly become close to, she never quite forgave.
When their cover was finally blown, Karla was the fastest of those not expecting it to adapt to the change, ready to go on the run. Yet when everything turned, and Zemo’s plot appeared successful, she allowed herself to be talked into turning against him.
She claimed to be turning against him because ruling the world would be too much work, but this doesn’t sound like a valid reason for her.
On the Run
With their ruse revealed, Karla soon reverted to calling herself Moonstone. As the strongest personality among the remaining Thunderbolts, Karla assumed command. This was more due to the others letting her than any particular aptitude. While her decisiveness proved useful, some of her decisions would ultimately prove wrong, or short-sighted.
On Kosmos her only interest was getting back to Earth, so killing the King meant nothing to her. She’d probably have let all the natives die without concern as long as she got home.
During the confrontation with Graviton, Karla sole interest lay in surviving against an obviously overpowering opponent. Thus her convincing him that he lacked any true goal served her immediate needs, despite Jolt’s protests that they should have tried to stop him.
Under New Management
Pretending to defect to the Cowl’s Masters of Evil, Karla kept debating with herself whether she would actually switch sides. Even after giving the Thunderbolts’ presence away, she still hadn’t reached a decision.
This lasted until the last moment, when she acted without knowing why, foiling the Cowl’s plot.
Initially irritated at Hawkeye’s usurpation of command of the team, Karla nevertheless came to acknowledge his skill as a field leader. She decided she preferred being the power behind the throne anyway.
Unfortunately, he proved less than malleable, and too impulsive. While beginning a relationship with him may have started out a way to gain control, she developed genuine feelings for him. This may have contributed to her desire to become a better person.
Having to again confront Graviton as his captive, in a far worse situation this time, she found he was trying to impress her, to prove that he’d become better than when last they’d met. To her surprise as much as his, she laughed in his face. She told him that he was still trying to prove himself to others, and insisted she’d rather die alongside her teammates than rule by his side.
Shaken by Jolt’s death, she typically suppressed her feelings, but the stress may well have added to the anxieties she was undergoing with her identity.
She began having visions of herself as a blue Kree warrior – an evolution of bad dreams she’d started having before Hawkeye joined. This vision had been pushing her strongly towards redemption. The struggle between them reached a point where this persona partially took over.
She abandoned the Thunderbolts to search for an answer, although her unwillingness to ask for help slowed the process. Subtly guided by the Kree Supreme Intelligence, she travelled to a S.H.I.E.L.D. base on the moon where he was being held. From him she learned part of the history of the Moongem.
Offered help to deal with the problem on Titan, Karla learned about the personality of the stone’s previous wielder. It had taken over due to her own confusion over the changes she was experiencing, as she tried to change her sense of self.
Mentor and ISACC altered the stone so the stored personality would no longer be accessed. Still, they had reservations about allowing Karla to continue possessing the stone, and were only convinced by Hawkeye and Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell) arguing for her.
Pardoned, she was barred from using her powers. Unable to get a decent job due to her reputation, Karla showed little enthusiasm for such anyway. She was sure that returning to her previous profession would only be a disappointment after her former life.
Graviton offered her the opportunity to help him overcome his drawbacks. Sofen allowed herself to be persuaded, even though she knew it was wrong. This was likely due to having no other options which wouldn’t involve hard work. So, lost and alone, with neither Jolt nor Hawkeye there to guide her, she fell back on old habits, taking the easy option.
Despite his willingness to accept her advice, she found it difficult to manipulate Graviton. She was thrown off guard by some of his actions, such as when he lifted a pebble from the other side of the world and used it to kill someone in Australia. It was only later, when he was fighting the Thunderbolts, that he told her his victim had been Karla’s childhood “friend” Deanna Stockbridge.
While this threw her off momentarily, Karla never actually managed to make a decision on her loyalties during the fight. She sat on the fence until the true threat became obvious, as she was unwilling to risk her survival by turning against the near-omnipotent Graviton.
Brave New World
Karla enjoyed her role of reshaping the minds of a world’s leaders, creating a new way of thinking for the new world they had to build. She was wary of this Counter-Earth’s Lloyd Bloch, known as Phantom Eagle, but he seemed as easily manipulated as the original.
Later on she recognised the MO of a murder on Attilan as being similar to her powers. The victim also bore a resemblance to her. Sofen confronted Bloch. She used her greater experience with the Moongem to pull his from his body, absorbing it into her own. The second Moongem greatly amplified her abilities.
She also learned that the stone itself had been driving him insane due to his incompatibility. It would soon have killed him, as it would the original Bloch if Karla hadn’t taken his stone.
Her relationship with Zemo changed during this time. Both of them had changed, and while they retained an aloof distance, there was a greater trust. Or at least less likelihood of them working against each other, as they came to better understand their similarities.
History of the Lifestones
Millennia ago, when the Kree race was still young, a stone of power was discovered on Kree-Lar. Splitting the stone, the Kree unleashed tremendous forces of order and chaos, resulting in the death of thousands. They dubbed the halves Ke-Thai (Alpha, life) and Vi-Sha (Omega, death). Their existence drew the attention of more advanced races.
The diverse races brought their own artifacts of power, seeking a common link among them. They found that the various artifacts were geological survivors of the Big Bang. When linked together, they could advance the evolutionary traits of all living things in the universe.
The Hellfire Helix was a conduit for the other-dimensional energies funnelled through the Alpha and Omega stones, into the array of smaller gems brought by the visitors. These were sculpted together into the Lifestone Tree, which manifested facets of the elements (air, water, fire, and earth), the spirits (life, death, and anima), creation, entropy, and gravity.
Eight were chosen (by the stones themselves) from among the races. These chosen were reborn, their bodies genetically remade by their stone, and joined together as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Kree, Ajes’Ha, was empowered by the fundamental force of gravity, a sliver of which would later become the Moongem. She served the cause of galactic peace for over two centuries.
No more Guardians
Eventually four of the Guardians died in battle, two of old age, one retired, and the fate of the final one is unrevealed. With the Chosen gone, the galactic peace eventually collapsed.
The Lifestones were taken from Kree-Lar to prevent intergalactic pirates stealing them. The plan failed, and when the ark was attacked, the implosion of its warp drive caused a fissure in space, through which the ship and stones were spread across the galaxy.
One spatial anomaly opened on the fringes of Earth’s solar system, and slivers and fragments of the various Lifestones seeded the planets. Over time these fragments came into the possession of Terrans, such as Moonstone, Doctor Spectrum, Man-Wolf, Basilisk, Bloodstone, the Sphinx, Blue Diamond, and others.
Never intended to be worn, the original stones served as the source for their Chosen’s transformation. Still, they retained a link which allowed biosynaptic processors to record the Chosen’s memories.
In Nova #33-35 the Sphinx gathered a group of champions from various time periods, consisting of Moonstone, Man-Wolf, Basilisk, Bloodstone, and Gyre of the Raptors (the Fraternity of the Raptors are the source of Darkhawk’s armour).
Since the others summoned have Lifestones from the same source as the Sphinx, it’s likely the stones powering the Raptors are also Lifestones.
Drawing their power from victims held in crystals growing on a large tree, the Raptors had lain dormant for 6100 years until some were recently awoken. Since the history of the Lifestones isn’t specific about when they were around, the timelines may match.
(See also the personality notes of the earlier writeup.)
Starting out with the Thunderbolts, Karla was pretty much the same as in her previous incarnation. Her Meteorite persona was a measured façade that gave nothing away, always playing to the media. At heart though, she remained unchanged. She still had a seeming compulsive need to manipulate everyone, to assure herself of her superiority.
This need also led her to lead the team after Zemo was gone. However, she was smart enough to realize Hawkeye was better suited to the role.
Despite her intelligence, her lack of long-term goals means she rarely thinks beyond the short-term. Karla frequently takes the easy option, not necessarily thinking through the consequences.
It was a while before she began to want to change. Or before she admitted it to herself, anyway. She seemed to initially stay with the others for the safety of numbers. The desire to redeem herself was so different from her normal way of being and thinking that it took a long time, and intervention by an alien intelligence, to make her understand that she actually wanted it.
She never quite got the being a hero part though. Karla constantly questioned herself about whether she was simply doing what others wanted her to.
She developed a big-sisterly affection for Jolt, and romantic feelings towards Hawkeye, both of which could have influenced her path. Indeed, she worried it was Hawkeye’s influence in particular which had guided her down this path. This doubt may have stopped her being as committed to the relationship as she might otherwise have been.
Ultimately she could only admit she loved him to herself.
Her superiority and need for independence make it difficult for her to ask others for help. There have been occasions where her pride has become self-destructive, such as:
- When the personality of the former wielder of the Moongem’s power was taking her over.
- When Moonstone tried breaking into the Fantastic Four’s computers rather than ask Mr. Fantastic for help.
She seems to hold grudges against both the Hulk and Leonard Samson, more so for the latter. The Hulk she feels an intellectual superiority to, but her early defeats at his hand have left their mark. Moonstone feels that the Hulk was responsible for her being stuck in flunky roles for so long. Her enmity for Samson is more pronounced, and likely also involves some jealousy of his professional reputation.
[Goading Graviton] “You’re kidding. I knew you were pathetic, but this is too much. I stung your ego before — so now you want validation ? You want me to say you’re a big, scary, powerful man ? Well, you’re not — you’re still floundering — which is why you’ve assembled this collection of clichés, with losers and hooligans to worship you — it’s all you could think of !”
Jolt: “We have to show him — and anyone connected to this conspiracy — how wrong they are about us !”
Moonstone: “Thereby currying the good will of the superhuman community ?”
Jolt: “That’s not what I meant !”
[Thoughts] “I hate being… normal. Just a week ago I was so much more ! I was Moonstone ! Did we make a mistake accepting the Commission’s pardon ? Was Hawkeye right to surrender himself in exchange for our exoneration ? I don’t know if our freedom was worth the price of being… bored ?”
“What are you doing, Karla ? Pick a side !”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 06||Str: 11||Bod: 09||Motivation: Power Lust/Responsibility of Power|
|Int: 06||Wil: 06||Min: 04||Occupation: Super-Hero/Villain|
|Inf: 06||Aur: 05||Spi: 04||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 018||HP: 060|
Bomb: 06, Chameleon: 04, Energy Blast: 12, Flash: 12, Flight: 09, Intangibility: 09, Laser Beam: 12, Regeneration: 01, Sealed Systems: 12
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Bomb, Energy blast and Flash are Contingent upon Laser Beam (-1).
- Bomb, Energy blast, Flash and Laser Beam have no AV (-1 or -0 depending on house rules).
- Bomb and Flash may have the Combined Power Usage Bonus (+2).
- Chameleon only affects her costume (-1).
- Intangibility has the Partial Intangibility Bonus (+2), can only be performed as long as she can hold her breath (-1), has Range (+1), offers no protection against pure energy, wind, or sonic attacks (-0), cannot be used offensively (-1), and allows spirit travellers to attack her as though she were also spirit travelling (-1).
- Flash can have an Explosive Radius, but then it has No Range (+0).
- Flash can be its own AV (+1 or +0 depending on house rules), but only if it has an Explosive Radius (+0).
Accuracy (Bomb, Energy Blast, Flash, Laser Beam): 07, Acrobatics (Dodging): 05, Artist (Actress): 07, Charisma (Persuasion): 08, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 05, Medicine (Medical treatment): 06, Thief (Security Systems): 05, Thief (Stealth): 06, Vehicles (Land, Space): 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Acrobatics is Contingent upon Flight (-1).
- Medicine (Medical treatment) repairs MIN damage rather than BODY damage (+0).
Familiarity (Dr. Faustus’s technology in the 1970s; Voice modulation; Kree technology), Expertise (Psychology), Gift of Gab, Languages (Kree).
Thunderbolts (Low), Underworld (Low).
MIA toward Independence, Misc. Drawback (Energy Absorption vulnerability, see below).
Fly me to the Moon
It’s been claimed that Moonstone can fly unaided through space. There’re only a couple of scenes where she’s shown actually flying in space, and in of those she had the second Moongem. The less concrete evidence is the question of how she reached the moon to visit Supremor, and Zemo’s statement.
While it’s conceivable she may have snuck on board a S.H.I.E.L.D. shuttle that happened to be flying to their base at that time (or whatever form of transportation they used), there’s little evidence of her stealth being that high. She sneaked into a prison, but S.H.I.E.L.D. security would be far more advanced.
So it actually seems more likely that she flew there under her own power.
Zemo’s claim, while on Counter-Earth, was that even before she had the second Moongem, Karla could have flown back to Earth unaided. This would seem to imply Life Support (Doesn’t need to Breathe), at the least, and possibly no need to eat or drink either.
Given the evidence I’ve allowed her Sealed Systems, but there doesn’t seem to be enough to justify more than that.
The energies of the Moongem which powers her are susceptible to absorption by beings capable of such, and capable of detecting the energies within her.
Even if she isn’t emitting energy at the time, characters with Energy Absorption may attack Moonstone with the equivalent of Power Drain. They do not, however, gain any powers from it (unless their Energy Absorption powers Power Reserve, in which case the RAPs add to that as normal).
When suffering the worst effects of the former Moongem wielder’s personality guiding her, she developed a SID of attacking the pure of heart, getting cramps when she tried.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics.
Helper(s): Chris Cottingham, Roger, Peter Piispanen, Darci, Frank Murdock, Sébastien Andrivet, rapsheet.co.uk (images)
Writeup completed on the 09th of September, 2016.