Moon Knight #1
Elvin Moods was a fifteen year old girl living in New York City. She had lived in Hell’s Kitchen as long as she could remember, but she was born in Queens. Living in the Kitchen meant she faced some rather rough neighborhoods day to day on her way to school, so her father had placed her in karate classes when she was just a little girl. He worked as security for Stark Industries and felt he was an expert on the subject of protection. Elvin would call it more over-protective. But despite the dark corners and the shady characters in those shadows, Elvin loved Hell’s Kitchen. She could not imagine growing up anywhere else, at least for now while she was still in high school. Once she was out, she was going to move closer to Manhattan. That’s where the action was. That where the super heroes lived.
A few times she had caught glimpses of Spider-Man when he was swinging through chasing some villain hoping to avoid the Avengers or the Fantastic Four in the City proper. She swore she had seen Daredevil once leaping across the rooftops of the Park West Hotel and the Orpheum Theater. One time, she even saw the Punisher. And her last trip to Manhattan, she had seen Iron Man fly by. She had hoped to see the Fantastic Four or more of the Avengers some day. And that was why she wanted to move to the real City. She wanted to be among the Earth’s mightiest heroes. And deep down, she knew that one day, she would be.
Elvin walked down the busy lunch hour sidewalk with her best friend, Cassie. Cassie and Elvin had been inseparable since the first day of kindergarten when they both showed up wearing Doctor Who backpacks. They had been the two “weirdos”. They basically ended up becoming friends because no one really liked either of them. And they had stayed dorks together ever since. Cassie was a huge nerd for history and reading. Elvin was a geek for sci-fi movies and fantasy books; she had even attempted to write a few of her own novels and movies, though she had never been able to finish any.
As the pair walked down the street licking ice cream cones, they imagined the strange and sorted lives of those they passed. A man on his cellphone arguing with someone while he tried to eat a hotdog was actually a retired ballet dancer who had let himself go. A woman dragging two screaming kids along was secretly a witch whose cover was going to be blown any moment. The cabbie arguing with his fair was actually a fallen angel who had lost his memory. And on and on the two girls would fantasize with one another, inseparable, the best of friends. There was no one Elvin cared for more.
Elvin brushed her red hair out of her icy blue eyes and said, “I’m starving. We should get lunch.”
“We’re eating ice cream. How are you hungry still?” Cassie laughed.
Elvin shrugged. “You know I’m eating, and I know I’m eating, but apparently my stomach hasn’t heard yet. So, pizza or Mexican?”
Cassie turned and looked at her best friend with her sparkling green eyes, “You’re such a nerd.”
“No I’m not,” Elvin said.
“Well, your stomach is.”
Elvin looked down at her stomach and patted it, “Don’t listen to her, Tum-tum.”
Cassie looked at Elvin’s stomach and leaned closer to it. “What’s that?” she asked cartoonishly. “Oh?” Cassie looked at Elvin with serious eyes. “Your Tum-tum has requested you refer to her as Senorita Tum-tum.”
“Mexican it is!” Elvin declared and waved her pointer finger over her head.
The two girls laughed and headed down the street to the Mexican place next to Everett’s Bar.
As they rounded the corner, the atmosphere of the day changed. The energy of the people walking past them was tense, and as Elvin took notice of a small pair of women running by, there was a loud scream from down the street ahead. Elvin’s attention snapped to the sound, Cassie’s hand gripped Elvin’s, and the two stopped in their tracks. More people were running past and around Elvin screaming. Elvin and Cassie searched through the sea of people, scared, but not sure what of. They didn’t know why people were freaking out.
“El, we should–“
“No, I want to see,” Elvin pulled her hand free and began pushing forward.
Cassie hesitated, but she quickly followed after her friend.
The crowd began to thin, and Elvin found herself in an intersection with overturned cars and the upper floors of a pair of apartment buildings on fire. She looked all about trying to find the source of the commotion, her heart thumping at the thrill of seeing a superhero. And then she heard an awful, terrible cackle; Elvin looked to the sky.
Floating a five stories above her on a thin, glistening metal slab with two coughing exhaust of flames keeping the thing afloat was a monstrous, green humanoid creature. Elvin’s heart stopped. She knew who it was. She had seen him online and on the news: The Green Goblin. The thrill vanished. Elvin felt fear now, and she was frozen by it looking up at the maniac on the floating board.
“And for my next trick,” the Goblin shrieked, “I need a healthy volunteer!” He laughed terribly and began to glide closer to the ground — closer to Elvin and Cassie.
“El! Come on!” Cassie yelped.
Elvin turned to her friend finally finding the ability to move. Cassie’s face was pale with fear. Elvin nodded, but she was confused in the moment. Fear had taken her. She couldn’t move.
“Run!” Cassie grabbed Elvin by the wrist and pulled her.
The girls ran, and above, the Goblin jerked his attention to the shout. His yellow, slobbering mouth turned in a jack-o-lantern’s grin, cruel and dangerous. “Ah! There we are!”
Elvin’s breath came in gulps, her heart thumping in panic. She and Cassie were now running with the others fleeing the Goblin. Cassie’s grip on her was tight, and the two friends ran side-by-side. Elvin had a moment of regret; she hated herself for running toward the incident. People had been escaping something, and all she had wondered was which superhero would be around the corner. And now, she was running for her life with her best friend.
“Oh, you two will do nicely!” came the sinister voice just behind them. A maniacal laugh echoed as both felt the backs of their shirts yanked upwards. The madman had them, and he carried them high above the streets. They screamed as he flew off.
Elvin flailed her arms for a moment before realizing she would fall to her death if he let go of her. Her mind raced. Will someone save us? What could they do? What was HE going to do? What does he want? Where are we going? Who will be the first to realize I’m gone? She wanted to cry, but her eyes caught Cassie’s face in a glimpse as their bodies flailed in the Goblin’s grip; Cassie was sobbing between screams, “Oh my God! Help!” Elvin gritted her teeth and stopped waving her arms. She reached back with one hand and gripped the Goblin’s wrist; her other hand grabbed Cassie’s hand tightly. If he was going to let go, she would hold on to both of them with all her might.
The sound was faint in the rush of the wind and Cassie’s screams, but Elvin heard it, and somehow, she recognized the odd noise. Her heart leaped. A blue and red figure streaked out of the corner of her eye, and a cheerful voice shouted, “There’s easier ways to get a date, Gobby! And come on, man, they’re half your age!”
Spider-man soared through the air and deftly plucked Elvin from the Goblin’s hands as simply as if he were plucking an apple from a branch. Elvin lit up with pure exhilaration. She was being rescued by none other than Spider-man! She let out a slight cry of joy as she fell into the hero’s arms. He held her closely and landed gently on a rooftop. “It’s okay, you’re safe now,” he told her.
She had seen him on TV and on the Daily Bugle, but here he was now, alive and real, and he had saved her. She was speechless. She wanted to hug him again, let him hold her again. No one was going to believe this! No one. She couldn’t even begin to imagine how she was going to tell everyone. Spider-man, here, saving her and–
“Cassie!” Elvin snapped back to reality so suddenly she actually lost her footing. Spider-man reached out and stopped her from falling. “He still has her!” she yelled.
“Don’t worry, I‘m going to get her too. I promise! Stay here! I’ll be right back.” He flipped from the rooftop and swung after the Green Goblin.
Elvin stood on the roof watching Spider-Man swing into the distance. She knew she could trust him to save her friend. She stared in the direction he’d swung with wide, unblinking eyes. And she waited.
And she waited.
* * *
Elvin Moods stood on that rooftop for hours. The emergency vehicles below put out the apartment fires. The police roped off the scene and were interviewing witnesses, though way up here, Elvin could only watch; she couldn’t hear. Whenever she found herself staring to long at the scene below, which was gradually dying down and returning to the norm of the Kitchen — traffic was already rolling through again; people moved about as though there hadn’t been an attack by a super villain or a rescue by one of the city’s finest heroes — Elvin would shake her head and return her gaze in the direction he’d swung. She was in shock, and she knew Spidey would be back any second with Cas, and then she could hug him, and thank him.
At some point, she had pulled her phone out, but she hadn’t called anyone. Why would she? Spider-man was taking care of it. He’ll be right back, she told herself. He’ll be right back.
Elvin watched the sun go down and the moon come up before finally seeing the silhouette of Spider-Man swinging back. Relief washed over her, her friend was safe! Spider-Man got closer and Elvin was able to see him better. Her smile slipped away, and a curious concern fell upon her. He didn’t have Cassie in his arms. Elvin felt a sinking guilt in her gut, and as he landed, truly there without Cassie in his arms. Cassie was not there with him beaming from the thrill and joy of the adventure and ready to tell Elvin everything that had happened. Elvin swallowed dryly.
Maybe she was in the hospital being checked on. Maybe Spider-man had dropped her at home. Maybe…
He stood there on the rooftop and started to say “I’m sorry,” but she cut him off.
“No!” she took a step away from him. “No! You – you saved her! You promised you’d save her! Don’t say sorry. You don’t say sorry after you save someone!“ and she burst into tear. She tried to hide it but she couldn’t stop.
“I’m…” Spider-Man sound small. He sounded… human. “I tried, but, he kept fighting. He got away and…” he wasn’t smiling or joking. The cool spark in his voice wasn’t there.
“No,” Elvin whispered.
“Can I,” he cleared his throat. He sounded sad. He sounded like a failure. His head was titled down, and he asked lamely, “Can I take you home?”
He stepped closer as if to hug her, but she shoved him away. “No! Go away! You couldn’t save her! Just leave me alone!” Elvin shouted, but was barely able to say the last word because she was crying so much. She turned and ran away from him. She climbed down the fire escape, sobbing, blinking through her tears. As she began to climb down, she was able to make out Spider-Man on the other side of the roof with his mask off and his head resting in his hands, he wiped his face and put back on his mask before jumping away.
* * *
Elvin Moods awoke in a cold sweat to the “BE BE BEEP” of her alarm clock. It was 4:00 AM as she slapped it off and groaned. She lay there, scowling at the ceiling, the echoes of her dreams still rattling in the edges of her mind. She muttered to herself groggily and crawled out of bed, heading to the bathroom to brush her hair and teeth.
Why did she relive it every time she dreamed? It had been three months, and she thought about Cassie every day, every night. The more Elvin thought about what had happened, the more she realized it made perfect sense to visit that day again and again. Something like that? It stays with a person. And reminders were everywhere. Cassie’s sweater hung on the back of El’s desk chair. Her locker was still covered in stickers at school; her seat in classes remained empty.
Just the other day, some guy named Ben Urich approached her about Cassie. He was from the Bugle, and he was doing a piece on victims of super villains. Elvin lied and said she didn’t know anything about it.
“I wasn’t there,” Elvin told the reporter.
Mr. Urich looked down at this small notepad in his hand. “Says here you and Cassie were best friends?”
Elvin shrugged and looked at her feet. She made a noncommittal grunt.
Urich sighed and closed his notepad slowly. He sniffed and stared at Elvin until she looked up at him. He held out a business card. “If you change your mind, give me a call. People need to know how these people impact the lives of victims and innocents.”
The business card was still sitting on her bedroom desk. She had thought about calling him a few times. She had seen stories about the people hurt when the Shield ship crashed, or from the Stark building blowing up, and she wanted to tell her story — Cassie’s story. But she never called. It didn’t matter. People at school didn’t even care anymore, why would anyone else?
The clock now glowed 4″05″. She quickly got ready for the day in about twenty minutes.
Elvin cracked the door to her dad’s room and called, “Hey dad, I’m heading out”. He muttered something in response but she didn’t catch it.
Dad had been laid off a couple months back. Howard Stark was cleaning another mess after his tower blew up, and a large amount of lower-level employees had been let go to save the company money. Dad’s security job was one of the many cuts.
He had found new work as a guard at the Plaza near their house. He rode around in a golf cart pointing his flashlight at teenagers smoking weed in the parking lot or homeless people wandering around mall shopper’s cars at night. It was a job far below his ability; Elvin knew he hated it, but it was work.
He wasn’t around much now, not that he ever had been. He was providing the best he could. He still worked all night, and Elvin had basically raised herself anyway after her mom had left. The most Dad had done was get El into the fighting classes. She already took care of herself around the house, so he figured he had better be sure she could take care of herself on the streets. It was those classes he had credited to her making it through the incident.
“You got those instinct. Glad I got you those classes,” Dad had grunted over dinner a few nights after Cassie had vanished. “Good job,” he gave her an awkward pat on the shoulder; he’d never been the touchy-feely type.
“If I was better, I could’ve stopped him from kidnapping her,” Cassie said.
Dad looked at her with sadness. It was the same look everyone gave her when she talked about Cassie’s kidnapping. Pity. Look at the poor girl in denial.
But they were wrong. It wasn’t denial. Elvin believed in her heart that it was a kidnapping, not a murder. She refused to think differently. Cassie was still out there, she knew it. She was certain of it, and she was going to prove it. That was the reason she had been waking up so early every morning. That was why she was practicing her karate more and more.
Elvin exited the house through her kitchen window, but she didn’t climb the fire escape down to the street, she climbed up to the roof. She looked out over Hell’s Kitchen and took a long, deep breath of the crisp morning air. She was fully awake now, pulled her sweater’s hood over her head, and was ready to begin her routine.
She dashed across the roof, and as she reached the edge, she flung herself forward, drifted over the gap between apartments, and deftly rolled into a landing on the next building. She was on her feet in an instant and sprinting.
Every night from ten to midnight she practiced her karate in her room, and every morning from four-thirty to seven, Elvin Moods raced over the City. Her heart pounded with the thump of her boots. Her gloved hands flexed as she reached forward to grip ledges and edges. She felt alive – more alive than she’d ever felt before. She wasn’t marveling at the heroes, she was determined to become one. She had perfected this high-flying parkour over the past months, not to avenge the loss of Cassie but to find her, to find the Green Goblin and take him down.
As she swooped over another ledge and bounced to the next, she thought about what she would say to Cassie’s parents when she brought her home. The last time they had spoken, it had been difficult to say the least.
“El,” Mrs. Sandsmark said in a weak voice, tears still in her eyes from the service. “Thank you for always being there for Cassie.”
“Welcome,” Elvin muttered.
The funeral had been a waste. Cassie’s parents had done a complete Catholic ceremony. There had been a mass, and a blessing, and the caravan to the cemetery, and the burial. Cassie would have hated it, and El wanted so badly to tell Mrs. Sandsmark, but she didn’t.
“Will you still come by sometimes?” Mrs. Sandsmark asked in a shaking voice.
Elvin gave a weak smile that comforted the mourning woman. “Of course,” El said, “where else am I going to have that many cereal options?”
Mrs. Sandsmark hugged Elvin for a long time, and as the poor woman wept, El made a decision. She was finally going to put her so far wasted training in martial arts to use. She was going to do what Spider-man had failed to do. She was going to find her best friend and bring her home.
Elvin had spent weeks looking for any place at all to start. She searched the Bugle’s site for articles about the Green Goblin. She wasn’t surprised to see how many of them were written by Mr. Urich. There wasn’t much help until she was going through a folder of archived photos of encounters between Spider-man and the Goblin. El’s attention was drawn to the board the Goblin flew around on – his glider. It was an older image from about two years ago, but there was a logo on the edge Elvin recognized; the glider had an OsCorp emblem on it. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe it was the exact place to start she needed.
* * *
The mask itched a little, but the longer she wore it, the more comfortable it felt on her face. It made her feel… Well, it made her feel different. She felt more powerful with her face hidden, even if it was a mask of her own making. She felt intimidating and had proven to be as much on her journey to this moment. People had talked, and her karate had helped make them talk, more than she had expected to be honest. She wondered if the fear Daredevil had put into the underground had bled to anyone wearing a masks. She wondered if she’d meet him one of these nights.
Sitting in the dark alley on the first level of the fire escape, she waited for her target to appear. There was a gambling ring running out of the back of the laundry mat, and the exit was just below. She knew this guy — this Dr. Kingsley — would stumble out soon a little drunk and a lot more broke. She knew he was a loser, and the only thing that had kept him from losing everything was all the back alley deals he’d made over the years selling off OsCorp tech he held minor patents on. This Dr. Kingsley had developed some tech similar to the Goblin’s fancy little hover board, and he was a vain man by all accounts — a man who took pride in his accomplishments and boasted about them often. Elvin had some questions for him.
“Better luck next week, Rod!” came a harsh laugh from the door as it thudded open and a haggard looking man walked out.
“Yeah, yeah,” the man said with a wave. “You guys laugh it up. My luck’s gonna change.” As the door slammed shut, the man added, “Assholes.”
Elvin took a deep, calming breath. She relaxed her muscles and cricked her neck twice. She pushed herself gently forward and dropped like a stone as Dr. Kingsley shuffled underneath the fire escape.
“Ah!” Kingsley yelped as the masked figure landed directly in his path. A foot flew out and connected with his stomach, and four hours of booze ejected from his mouth. The figure spun about and chopped her hand into the side of his neck sending him toppling forward and face first into his sick. Hands grabbed the back of his coat and yanked him off the wet concrete and slamming into the dumpster.
“Roderick Kingsley!” Elvin growled in as deep a voice as she could muster. “I have some questions!”
Kingsley spluttered, vomit still dribbling down his chin, “W-what the h-hell?” He looked down at Elvin. She was at least 8-inches shorter than he was. He gave a short pained laugh and snorted “Are you a – a girl?”
Elvin hit him in the face smashing his nose. He yelped and, and she stopped him from falling over by pinning him against the dumpster. “I said I have some questions, Doctor. Then you talk.”
“What? What do you want? I’ll answer! Just don’t hit me again! Tell me what you want!”
“The Green Goblin,” Elvin growled in her roughest tone, “What do you know about his glider?”
“The-the glider?” the man was flabbergasted.
Elvin hit him in the sternum. He grunted in pain. She pointed a finger in his face. “You’re not an idiot. You’re a prideful piece of garbage. You wouldn’t just let your tech go and not keep tabs on it. I know you helped develop the glider! I want to know how to find it!”
“The-the Goblin has it! I don’t have it! I don’t know how to–” Elvin raised her fist to strike again, and Kingsley flinched. “Okay! Okay!”
“I can track it. I track all my stuff in case–in case some nutcase uses it to, you know, be a terrorist or something.”
“It has been used by a terrorist,” Elvin hissed angrily.
“I know! I know, dammit,” Kingsley whimpered. “I know.”
Elvin was ready to continue this intimidation when she heard a shriek. “Help! Oh my God, help me!” It was a scream of terror, a woman pleading for her life.
“Dammit,” Elvin looked in the direction of the scream. “Dammit,” she repeated and shifted away from Kingsley. She had a choice to make, and she had an instant to make it. Was she going to ignore the cry and continue to punish this jerk? Was she going to try and save someone or ignore them for her own purposes? Was she an avenging vigilante or was she going to be a hero?
:Help me!” the voice rang out, and Elvin drew a breath. That woman screaming was going to get home to her family tonight.
“Get out of my face,” Elvin growled at Kingsley. “I’ll be in touch.”
Dr. Kingsley ran away as fast as his bull-legs could carry his fat frame. Elvin raced in the other direction toward the shouts. She was irritated. Why did criminals always have to be bad at the most inconvenient moments?
She streaked across the street leaping over the hood of a car waiting in a row of vehicles at a stoplight. In a flash, she was racing into another alley and rounding a corner into a small parking lot where a man was holding a woman by the neck. Elvin didn’t even slow down; she ran right at the man, sizing him up as she rapidly approached.
He was surprisingly small — well, short anyways, though he was very large and muscular. He wore an undershirt and was bald. Kind of like if Vin Diesel got hit by a shrink ray. She had just an instant to hear him growling at the woman, “Give me your money, lady!” with a knife at her throat. The next instant, Elvin was kick-flipping through the air, planting her foot directly into his head and sending him toppling to the ground. The man grunted in pain and slammed into the garbage cans; his knife clattered onto the ground. Elvin gave Vin a second kick straight to his ass and he flopped forward hitting his head on the base of the stone alley wall. She waited with fists ready for him to move, but he was still, knocked unconscious.
“That’s right, you picked the wrong night, pal!” Elvin realized how cheesy that sounded and sighed at herself. Better add quips to my practice, she thought.
Elvin helped the woman to her feet. The woman embraced Elvin sobbing.“It’s alright ma’am,”El patted her back. “You’re okay now.”
The woman continued to cry and thank El as they walked together to the woman’s flat. She thanked her one last time, and Elvin slipped back into the shadows of the buildings. As she ran, her mind raced. She thought of the mugger and how easily she had stopped him — saved the woman. She thought of Kingsley and how difficult it was going to be to track him down again; she thought of Cassie and the Goblin, and her resolve grew all the more in strength. She had saved that woman — stopped a crook. She was empowered.
Elvin Moods, superhero, ran off into the night.
* * *
“Ho-ho! Zey tell me zis is a city of spectacular heroz, and I get zome leetle girl?”
“Oh jeez, you’re French?”
It was one week later. The sun was barely cracking the horizon, and Elvin stood in the middle of the street just outside of the Hell’s Kitchen Credit Union. It was Saturday morning, so the bank was closed, which meant Frenchy here had thought it the perfect time to rob the vault. He had blown a hole in the front of the building and was holding an elderly woman hostage, her arm twisted behind her back and his arm around her neck. Elvin had been patrolling the next block over chasing a lead on Kingsley when the explosion had shook the pavement. She was now facing this weirdo, and there was a mix of emotions. On one hand, she was excited that she was about to face her first costumed villain; on the other hand, she was annoyed to have left her Kingsley lead to face this idiot. He looked utterly ridiculous. He had a pencil-thin mustache and a bright orange and purple leotard that was stretched tightly over his large, muscular frame. He was so cartoonish, Elvin couldn’t help but laugh. He was like a Disney villain. And God, could that suit be any tighter? Gross.
“Why don’t you let the nice lady go?” Elvin said coolly, her heart thumping from adrenaline.
“Ow dare yoo, leetle one! I am worthy of zo much more zan yoo!” He declared and raised his free arm to the sky. “I demand zee Avengers! I demand the Fantasteek Four! I demand–“
His obviously prepared speech was cut short as Elvin’s first crossed his face. She reeled about and kicked him in the chest as he fell away from the old woman.
“Get out of here!” Elvin ordered to her.
Frenchy rolled across the ground. His head snapped up angrily. “Ow dare yoo!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Elvin snorted. “I dare. That accent real, or, like, part of this how thing you got going on?”
Frenchy hopped to his feet quite deftly, and Elvin got nervous. He moved like a fighter; he carried himself with skill. This wasn’t going to be easy, and it definitely wasn’t going to be like sparring in class. She readied herself.
A purple and orange leg came sweeping for Elvin. She dodged it and spun a roundhouse right at his chest, but his arms crossed blocking the blow. He caught her ankle and twisted it sharply. She spun about and would have landed face first into the pavement if she hadn’t thrown her hands out and bounced a handspring away from the Frenchman. As she found her footing, and twirled around to face him again. A fist was already flying at her head. She ducked, balled up all her strength in her torso and launched herself up with her fists connecting directly into the man’s pointy chin. His teeth clattered audibly and he reeled back. He rallied and struck Elvin in the chest.
It was a significant blow. This was not like sparring in the least. He was not holding back. He had really hit her hard. She swore she felt her sternum vibrate, but she had no time to consider the hit as his foot came rocketing to her face. She threw up her arms and took the kick into her forearms.
Ow, Elvin thought.
“Geet over ‘ere, leetle girl!” He was coming again, fast.
Elvin ducked under his swinging arms and spun around him; her elbow found his back as hard as she could throw it. As he stumbled forward, Elvin got her footing. He whipped around to attack, but Elvin and threw herself at the Frenchman pummeling his solar-plexus with as many punches as her “leetle” fists could unleash.
The orange and purple Frenchman wobbled on his feet gasping for breath. Elvin smiled behind her mask. She took a running start, leaped, and kicked him in the head. As she landed on both feet, he landed in an unconscious heap on the pavement.
Her body hurt all over, and she could feel where the worst of the bruises would certainly already be forming, but it didn’t matter; the adrenaline was rushing through her veins. She was still smiling. She had just defeated her first villain!
Sirens were approaching quickly, and after a happy wave to the old lady and the few others watching the scene, Elvin dashed away. She made her way through the Kitchen as the sun came up. She slipped off her mask and climbed off the rooftop, down the fire escape, and was through her window into her room. As exhilarating as it had been, she was thankful it was Saturday and that she could sleep until Monday morning if she wanted to, and by the burning all over her body, she knew she just might need that mini-coma.
* * *
“Hey, Elvin!” Calvin Enderson was Elvin’s only other real friend. He was a year younger and a freshman. He had started following El and Cassie around the first week of school when he found them playing Magic: the Gathering and arguing over their favorite Adult Swim shows during lunch. He became their annoying little brother. He was always trying to impress them with new DS games or the videos he was always filming with his camera for his You Tube channel (El and Cass were his only viewers) where he talked about events involving metas and villains, and a month ago, he had begun dyeing his hair blue. He was loud and excitable and annoying, and El enjoyed his presence despite all of that. She didn’t have anyone else.
Elvin was sitting against the windows in the Commons Area at Midtown High eating her lunch and trying not to wince every time she moved.
“El!” Calvin was scurrying across the Commons with his standard dopey grin, braces glimmering. He skirted around a few towering football payers and slid next to El waving his phone.
“Hey, dude,” Elvin smiled and bit into her sandwich.
“Did you see this!” Cal waved his phone in her face. “Look!”
“All I see is a blur of your dumb phone.” El grabbed it and looked at the screen. The Daily Bugle website was showing an article titled “Hell’s Kitchen Heist Halted“.
Calvin said excitedly, “There was this bank robbery Saturday morning, and this mystery hero came out of nowhere and kicked the butt of this bad guy called Fancy Dan!”
“That’s a pretty dumb name,” Elvin said dryly and started reading the article. It detailed the fight pretty well, although the writer was calling her “The Masked Girl”.
“Yeah, I know, right? She needs to come up with something cooler.”
“What? No, I was talking about the French guy,” Elvin muttered still reading. No one had been hurt, and French — or rather Fancy Dan — had been arrested and sent off to Rikers.
“No one knows who she is,” Calvin went on babbling, “but people are saying she’s been running around Hell’s Kitchen and West Queens for weeks! And she’s wearing, like, a homemade mask and gloves and boots and,” Calvin chopped the air, “she uses, like, karate! Wham!” He acted out some moves making punching noises. “No one has a picture or anything, but people are giving pretty good descriptions, and I think I know what sort of look she’s going for. It’s, like, a retro look. Old school, right? Very cool. And she’s obviously sticking around if she’s been already doing this for weeks. She’s gotta have a name.” He leaned back and looked at the ceiling. “I wonder if I should do any episode on her.”
Elvin was barely listening. She hadn’t put much thought into a name, but Calvin was right, she needed to be going by something if this was going to be her life now. As Calvin continued to talk, she thought about all the names of heroes she could think of: Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron-Man, the Human Torch… A lot of cool names, but all so different. She needed something that embodied her, out in the night fighting her crusade to find Cassie.
She paused. Something Calvin said struck her: retro. She pulled out her phone and went to Google. She poked her screen and searched “retired superheroes”. Names scrolled by: Patsy Walker, Hellstrom, Shade, Judgement. She hadn’t heard of any of them. Her thumb pushed the screen lazily, and then she stopped. A name caught her eye, leaped out at her even: “Moon Knight”.
Moon Knight, she thought. She let the name turn in her mind. It called to her. It was her. She grinned, slowly realizing that she loved it. She clicked on a link and looked at old photos of a man in a mask and hood, not that different from her mask and her hood. His was white and grey with triangular slits for eyes and a deep hood. She could buy new pieces and probably replicate this outfit pretty easily. A trip to the fabric store, some more pads from the sports chalet, and a few additions from Goodwill, and she could do this.
Exhilaration filled her. She wanted to laugh at the thrill of it all, but Calvin was still there talking about god knows what. Her heart sank. She suddenly missed Cassie so much. But that was why she was doing all this — Cassie was the reason for all of this. Elvin felt more sure than ever that she was going to find her friend. This was it. This was how.
* * *
Later that night, standing on the roof of her apartment and looking out into Hell’s Kitchen, Elvin gripped her new mask in her hand with pure determination and the strength her new costume was filling her with. Somehow, despite all the nights she had been out there beating up criminals and seeking answers, this night felt like the first real night in her new life as a crime fighter — as a hero. Everything had led to this. All her training and learning to do what she was doing had come to this first night stepping out in this costume with a name Hell’s Kitchen would soon know well.
Somewhere out there, the Green Goblin was hiding, and Cassie was scared and alone, and Elvin Moods, Moon Knight, was going to find her.
She leaped off the roof and into the shadows.
To be continued next time in
Marvel Rebooted: Moon Knight #2
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