Vengeance Moth appeared in comics Gail Simone wrote for DC, from 2012 to 2014.
Since most of the stuff I’ve been working on recently has been from the 1940s and 1950s, I fig’red something from the 2010s would be a good change of pace.
I have no idea where she fitted in DC’s continuity back then. 90% of my favourite characters vanished during Flashpoint, so I’ve read very little DC material during that span.
- Real Name: Drew Fisher.
- Other Aliases: “Ven”, “Moth-chan”.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: The Movement.
- Base of Operations: Coral City.
- Height: 5’4″ (1.62m). Weight: 125 lbs. (57 Kg.).
- Eyes: Blue. Hair: Blonde.
Powers & Abilities
Vengeance Moth is smarter than the average owlbear. She has good practical intelligence, and good collaboration-and-care people skills.
Like all Movement members, she carries a cheap smartphone. She also has a tablet or a phablet when working on the go. She seems to be a power user with computers, but she’s not really a tech-head. It’s just that computers are convenient tools for many wheelchair users.
Though she dislikes violence, she’ll fight courageously to defend others.
The moth with the most
Her powers seem telekinetic in nature. She can wrap herself in a glowing, green energy field she shapes like a moth silhouette.
The demonstrated uses of this energy are :
- Allowing her to fly, though probably not at high speeds.
- Radiating bright light. It will blind most groups of opponents as long as she emits it. But this is a short-range attack.
- Emitting a barrage of shrapnel. This seems to be small, irregular, solidified pieces of her energy field (perhaps moth-shaped). This flak can hit several square metres in one blast.
- Solidifying part of her energy field to shield herself. Though she may have been absorbing energy, it’s not clear. She apparently cannot take other actions during that time, but she can stay aloft.
- Projecting her energy form around another person to telekinetically move them, even against their will.
This energy manipulation is vaguely reminiscent of that used by Armor (Ichiki Hisako).
Muscular dystrophy, part 1
MD is a general term for genetic conditions that severely affect muscles. In Ven’s case, it primarily attacks her legs, and had a gradual onset.
Some years before the story started she could still make do with crutches. But by the time she joined the Movement, she had to use a wheelchair. Early on, this presumably was because degrading muscles meant a risk of sudden falls.
In practical terms :
- She cannot use her legs. But her upper body, including her arms, are still OK. So she can still operate her wheelchair, type, handle objects, etc.. She even could punch whilst flying, or use an old crutch as a club.
- The pain and weakness from the MD are roughly comparable to severe chronic fatigue . Exertion (especially fighting) will rapidly deplete what little energy reserves her condition allows for.
She can push through using her willpower, but that will soon result in enough trembling, blinding pain and exhaustion that it serves no purpose.
- Certain movements that require her to stress her lower body (such as dragging herself back into her wheelchair) are particularly painful.
Beyond these observed effects, it’s hard to offer a general view. The myodegenerative conditions all are different, there are a lot of muscle groups in the human body, and all patients are different.
Ven might have an exercise regimen to delay degeneration, swelling tissues, muscle cramps, joint pains, breathing difficulties… Or these might be absent.
Muscular dystrophy, part 2
In many cases, a severe inborn condition such as MD results in additional health issues, piling up handicaps upon an individual.
Frex, as a kid, Vengeance Moth was afflicted with nightmares. Where her weak legs left her unable to escape and she was buried alive.
Ven received psychiatric care, lessening the symptoms. For instance, she can operate in the Movement’s underground complex without genuine anxiety. However, if it looks like she’s actually going to be buried, she’ll be incapacitated by a phobic reaction, like Storm (Ororo Munroe).
Moth mentioned being a recovering substance addict, without further precision. The two more likely possibilities are :
- Abuse of prescription painkillers. Back in the 2000s the US were already awash in abuse of opioids such a oxycodone or propoxyphene.
- Abuse of either prescription anxiety drugs (such as benzodiazepines) and/or attempts at self-medicating anxiety by drinking alcohol and/or smoking weed.
Ven did not evidence the long-term damage of, say, Xanax or Oxycontin abuse. So her addiction likely was treated quickly and efficiently.
Vengeance Moth never talked about her past. One gets the impression that she comes from a middle-class or affluent background.
She doesn’t like her real name, and prefers to go with her code name. Since it’s a mouthful, her friends usually call her “Ven”.
Movement leader Virtue once called her “Moth-chan”. So it is possible that the “Vengeance Moth” moniker was inspired by animé or manga. But for all we know Fisher meant it as a Green Hornet reference, and the “chan” was just a common cultural reference among teenage girls.
Ms. Fisher joined the Movement. This is a grassroots, radical mutual aid community in the run-down, abandoned areas of corrupt Coral City. Movement members pool their resources and effort to ensure that everyone is fed, clothed, cared for, etc. and for protection against criminals and the police.
Ven likely is the most level-headed and practical-minded core Movement member. As such, she is the most involved in running the Movement’s community support services. Such as day care, schooling, alarms and security devices, food distribution, etc..
She seems to be Virtue’s closest friend, and admires her.
Though Vengeance Moth is fairly powerful, her conditions limits her endurance in a fight. Like an early Sunspot (Roberto da Costa), she can only take a few actions during a given skirmish.
But she performed OK in a solo fight to delay the Graveyard Faction mercenaries, and was in the field on several occasions.
Ven usually wears a dull grey long-sleeved T-shirt and matching leggings. Over this is a simple green, short-sleeved mini-dress with a moth emblem on the chest. Sometimes, it looks more like a long T-shirt, a dress or a nightshirt.
She’ll normally wear nerdy glasses, and a few simple facial piercings (one or two nose rings, and a basic labret). When underground she often wears a scarf – it is likely that her body quickly loses heat.
When going in the field, she’ll have a “mask” of sorts. It is black facepaint forming a moth pattern around her eyes, on her nose and on her brow. She’ll also do her hair as twin buns on top – halfway between a “bear ears” bun style and a Minnie Mouse hairdo. And remove her glasses.
In some concept art Vengeance Moth has a body type corresponding to her inability to exercise her lower body. In the published art she has a more super-hero-comic-books-traditional, fine-waisted body.
She keeps her phone and earbuds in arm holsters – the kind usually used by joggers. A lot of products people sneer at as yuppie hipster nonsense are most useful for handicapped persons.
Vengeance Moth acts in a friendly, welcoming, kind and responsible manner.
She takes care of everyone, keeps a bunch of activities running and is in many ways the heart of the team.
She seems to have reinvented herself as her heroic Vengeance Moth persona, leaving her past behind and downplaying her limitations as much as she can.
Ven is highly invested in the Movement – she likes to help.
Agent of H.O.S.T.E.S.S.
To help with her nice and friendly image, Ven has developed the reflex of always offering some food (usually fruit snack sticks) to anybody she meets. She also makes efforts to start with positive assumptions about people.
She becomes more acidic and bitter when somebody jumps to conclusions based on the fact she’s in a wheelchair. It can’t be called aggressive given her helpful and pleasant behaviour, but there seem to be bad precedents there.
She also refuses to ever look weak.
Ven has a Bible in her pack-of-stuff, and is familiar enough with the text to quickly locate references. She also never curses, except perhaps under severe stress. The two are likely related.
(With a big smile) “Fruit snack ?”
“I may not like to fight. But my name is Vengeance Moth. And I will if I have to.”
“You know what moths love, guys ? Moths love a flame !” (uses her Flash Power).
“Because everyone in a wheelchair is automatically Stephen Hawking, right ?”
“Send all the kids to the basement. Post as many people as are willing to fight at the doorway there as a last defense. Give them clubs, knives, whatever we have. Go, Kirstin. Hurry.”
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 02||Str: 01||Bod: 02|
|Int: 04||Wil: 05||Min: 04|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 04||Spi: 04|
|Init: 009||HP: 020|
Flash: 09, Force wall: 10, Projectile weapons: 05, Telekinesis: 05
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Flash has No Range, but it has a 1-AP Area of Effect and is its own AV.
- The effects of Flash immediately vanish past the first Phase, or if the persons leave the Range.
However, Vengeance Moth can use an Automatic Action per Phase to maintain the effects. As long as she does this, the effects of Flash will continue as per the normal results of her initial Dice Action with Flash.
- Force Wall is transparent toward light, sound, gas and has No Range.
- Maintaining Force Wall eats all of Vengeance Moth’s actions.
- Force Wall cannot be much larger than her own body.
- Force Wall loses 2 APs per breach (-1).
- Projectile weapons can have a 1-AP Area of Effect.
- Telekinesis is largely restricted flying objects and people (especially herself) at (APs minus mass) speeds.
- Telekinesis is Minimal Marginal.
Accuracy (Projectile weapons, Telekinesis): 06, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget): 03, Martial Artist: 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
Martial Artist is a Powered Skill, and can only be used when Ven is telekinetically flying herself. It raises her Initiative to 011.
Familiarity (Computers, the Bible), Local Hero (Coral City’s ‘Tweens ‘hood).
The Movement (Low).
SIF of being buried alive, Mistrust, MPR (Nearsighted), SPR (unusable legs), MPR (recovering addict), SPR (chronic exhaustion – see below).
- WHEELCHAIR [BODY 02, Misc.: allows Ven to move with a land speed of 01]. Vengeance Moth is seen on several occasions on not-wheelchair-friendly terrain, but she’s moving without apparent trouble. Presumably she can make do with her friends’ help and a bit of telekinesis.
- Some concept art notes that she carries electronics supplies. But I suppose that Ms. Simone changed her mind to avoid the cliché of the wheelchair user being the techie. So in the actual story Ven’s pack has normal stuff like books, a bunch of fruit snacks, a bottle of pointlessly expensive water, etc..
Running out of spoons
Vengeance Moth’s MD means that she enters an action scene with a sort of Ammo score. She can take four Dice Actions. Once her tank is empty, taking another Dice Action takes 2 Hero Points, the next 4, the next 8, etc.
This “Ammo” score refills at a rate of one per minute once Ven can refocus, breathe, mentally work past the pain, etc..
Using her Telekinesis to fly herself doesn’t count as a Dice Action. Which also means she can maintain it when using Dice Actions (or all Actions, for her Force Wall).
But it’s still tiring and painful (Minimal Marginal), so she only uses it when in danger. In everyday circumstances, just using her wheelchair is clearly preferable.
The DEX is probably highballed in terms of Physical OV. But it makes things simpler, and if there’s trouble she’ll prolly be airborne anyway. If she gets attacked while she’s still in her wheelchair, just treat that like you’d treat any attack on a person who’s sitting, heh ?
I tried using Force Shield, but… bleh. Additive uncapped APs suck. So Force Wall it is. That’s what it’s for.
Source of Character: DC Comics’ The Movement.
Helper(s): Ethan Roe, @Idginator.
Writeup completed on the 11th of November, 2018.