Appearing in "Total Eclipse of the Moon...Knight!"
- Secret Empire
- Eliot Franklin
Synopsis for "Total Eclipse of the Moon...Knight!"
Spider-Man, Moon Knight, and Night Thrasher are chasing Midnight after he captured Nova in order to try to recruit him into the Secret Empire. This chase is helped thanks to a spider-tracer that Spider-Man tagged on Midnight. En route, Midnight calls back to his employers in the Secret Empire and asks for assistance in getting the pursuing heroes off his trail. As he slips into a secret passage hidden in a water tower, unaware that he is being watched by the Punisher who has been investigating the Secret Empire's connection to the drug trade. The Punisher debates going in with guns blazing when he spots Moon Knight's Moon-Copter flying by. On board, Spider-Man's spider-sense tells the others that they are near where Midnight is hiding. Night Thrasher's helmet scanners pick up the Punisher's position and the three heroes leap down to confront him. Although they quickly determine that the Punisher wouldn't be in league with the Secret Empire, he is still unhappy to see them. That's because their sudden confrontation has given away Frank Castle's position. Suddenly, they are surrounded by the members of the Secret Empire. As the heroes go into action, the Punisher asks Night Thrasher is working with soft-hearted heroes.[Continuity 1] Hearing Spider-Man's quipping through the battle, Night Thrasher jokingly questions his judgment as well.
While the Punisher is willing to use lethal force, Spider-Man is against this idea, wanting these foot soldiers to be alive to be questioned by the police. That's when Midnight leaps out of the secret entranceway and ambushed Moon Knight. Enraged, Midnight blames Moon Knight for leaving him for dead after being his faithful sidekick.[Continuity 2] Before he can eliminate his former mentor, Midnight is attacked from behind by Night Thrasher. When Night Thrasher stops and demands to know where Nova is, he is ambushed by Grasp of the Seekers, a group of mercenaries who have a strong dislike for superheroes.[Continuity 3] Sonic and Chain also join the battle, with Sonic incapacitating the Punisher with an energy leeching device that clamps onto the vigilante's chest. As Spider-Man helps his allies fight against Grasp, Sonic, and Chain, Midnight resumes his attack on Moon Knight. Having successfully stalled the heroes, the Seekers make their escape. Seeing this from the Moon-Copter, Moon Knight's assistant Frenchie asks if he should pursue, but Moon Knight tells him to stay and assist. Just then, Midnight escapes in a flying ship that was hidden in the water tower. As it takes off, it blasts the Moon-Coper forcing Frenchie to make an emergency landing on the roof.
In the aftermath of the battle, the other heroes notice that the energy leech is still attached to the Punisher and is killing him. Quick thinking, Night Thrasher cuts the device off the vigilanty using a wrist mounted blade hidden in his armor. Punisher thanks them for the quick assist, and passes out from the experience. Frenchie reports back to Moon Knight, telling him that he can have the Moon-Copter up and running again in ten minutes. Meanwhile, at the Secret Empire's headquarters, Midnight delivers Nova to his masters much to the Secret Empire's delight. Midnight suspects that there must be a tracking device on him somewhere and asks the Empire to have their technicians give him a once over. After a quick body scan, they locate Spider-Man's spider-tracer. Before the Secret Empire can examine it, Midnight impulsively crushes it. At that moment aboard the Moon-Copter, Spider-Man senses the signal suddenly cut out. Figuring out their next course of action, Spider-Man suggests that they go to the Avengers. However, the Punisher deleriously begins talking about how his family was murdered by mobsters.[Continuity 4] This admission gets each of the others heroes thinking about their own personal tragedies.[Continuity 5] Night Thrasher speaks for all of them when he suggests that they need to find Nova on their own.
Meanwhile, back at the Secret Empire's headquarters, Eliot Franklin goes over Midnight's cybernetics to prepare them for upgrades. When Number Seven asks when they can do the same for Nova, Franklin points out that since the hero's powers are natural, they need to do more research as cybernetic enhancements might actually make him weaker. This angers Midnight, as he sees himself as the leader of the Empire's army of cyborgs and he lashes out. Number Seven reminds him that they will do whatever they think is best for the organization and threatens the cyborg with a pain-enducer. This quickly changes Midnight's tone and he stands down. As Number Seven turns his attentions to other matters, Midnight realizes that there is nothing he can do to improve his situation so long as his superiors have the pain-inducer to keep them in line. Number Seven begins discussing with his associates who will succeed their recently deceased leader Number One.[Continuity 6] When Number Seven nominates himself, his associates begin to argue against his nomination. Seeing a division in the ranks, Midnight begins planning on a means of exploiting this for his own benefit. Uninterested in the future leadership of the Secret Empire, Eliot Franklin takes Midnight into the lab for his upgrades.
The cyborg is strapped to a table, he begins to scream in agony as the upgrades are being done. Among those assisting Franklin is Lynn Church the nurse who has been caring for Midnight during his transformation. She can't bring herself to watch him in pain and excuses herself from the operating theater. Outside, she bumps into a technician and orders him to install a device into one of Midnight's vertebrea. When the technician balks at this order, something in her eyes frightens him into complying. As he rushes off to carry this task, she advises him against telling anyone her orders. As the technician rushes into the operating room, Lynn's are visibly glowing amid the shadows of the hallway.
- ↑ The narrative states that the Punisher worked alongside Night Thrasher in New Warriors #7-9.
- ↑ Midnight was Moon Knight's sidekick from Marc Spector: Moon Knight #5-24 when he was seemingly killed in action. As revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #353, he survived and the Secret Empire rebuilt him into a cyborg.
- ↑ The narration notes the last two appearances of the Seekers in Iron Man #214 and Fantastic Four #342.
- ↑ The death of the Punisher's family was first chronicled in Marvel Preview #2.
- ↑ Specifically the death of Spider-Man's Uncle Ben in Amazing Fantasy #15, and the murder of Night Thrasher's father in New Warriors #25.
- ↑ Number One was killed during the events of Marc Spector: Moon Knight #24.
- This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for more info.
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