In a movie theater in Los Angeles, Marc Spector sits between Spider-Man and Captain America. Spider-Man says the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world Santa Claus didn’t exist. Spector tells him that’s an incorrect movie quote. What’s his point? Cap states that his point, albeit garbled, is that Los Angeles has a new kingpin of crime, one currently unidentified to the world or intelligence sources. Plus there’s this serial killer loose in Hollywood – “The Claws Killer.” As the Avenger Moon Knight, he needs to find out their identities and take them down.
Spector says he’s working on it. But he’s also Marc Spector, Hollywood producer these days. He has to do some work. By the way, why isn’t Wolverine sitting with them? Cap replies that’s because he doesn’t like what they’re there to discuss. Let’s review what they know so far…
Opening up the file, Spector sees that Daken Akihiro is in Los Angeles. Crap. Cap adds that Daken was responsible for the recent Durrant armored car grab. Spector points out that the majority of the money was recovered and the perps were killed. Wolverine remarks that the L.A.P.D. say the dead gang was some super group of different L.A. crime families. Daken probably set them up, gained the families’ trust and then got his competitors wiped out in a blaze of glory. It’s his style. Kid’s real smart. He can’t trust him, understand? Spider-Man says smart’s one way of putting it. Charlie Manson was smart too, y’know what I’m saying. When Spector asks if they think Daken’s this claws killer, the people behind him tell him to shhhhh. Around him, the heroes aren’t there. Spector laments crazy. Great… thanks Cap. Crazy’s the last thing he needs.
Inside a church, Daken thanks F.B.I. agent Donna Kiel for coming. After Daken asks her why exactly they’re there, Donna readies her gun. She proceeds to say to Daken that that’s a profound question. And he doesn’t exactly strike her as the religious type. Daken tells her she’d be surprised. He takes it she’s not. He means, bringing a pistol is hardly a show of faith. Then again, she doesn’t seem to have brought the entire Los Angeles police department with her. She’s followed the instructions of his message and came alone. So perhaps this is a show of faith.
Donna tells him %#$& you. You killed cops. Good men. Daken replies good men? Do those even exist? They’re all compromised, shades of gray. Herself, for example… Clicking her gun, Donna tells him not to push me you bastard. Tell her why she shouldn’t shoot him right here for what he did with the armored car. Daken says because he doesn’t think she really cares about his actions at the armored car. If she did, she would’ve shot him there. He’s done a little research on her. She just wants to find her “Claws Killer,” doesn’t she? She’s the only one who can bring him in.
Standing up, Donna points her gun at Daken and tells him she agrees. So let’s go in. Daken says he’s not the Claws Killer; he thinks she knows that. Donna says she doesn’t know that. And even if he’s not, he’s still a multiple murderer. Daken says yes, she’s done rather a lot of research on him too, hasn’t she? To the point of obsession, he’s told. He then tells her to sit down please. She’s causing a scene. Besides, bullets can’t really…
Donna tells Daken that he looks like hell, he know that? Taskmaster really did a number on him. His healing factor’s on the fritz, right? So she’s figuring her bullets can. She saw his eyes by the armored car. Something’s happening to him and, whatever it is, he’s scared. Looking at Donna with a renewed interest, Daken asks need saving, does he? That’s… not really his thing, he’s afraid. And he has a strong feeling she’s exactly the same. No, he wants to help her. That’s why he called. He has contacts and abilities the L.A.P.D. do not. He can find this killer and stop him before he murders again. He can save lives.
Softening the look on her face, Donna asks Daken why he would do that. Silence conveys what he doesn’t tell her. Because he doesn’t know what the Heat drug is doing to him. Because he doesn’t know what happens when he blacks out, because he needs the answers. Leaving the church, Daken tells Donna that he is many things, but he is not an animal. Now is she coming or not?
Outside, Daken asks Donna to tell him about the latest victim. Donna informs him that it happened two nights ago. Happened in the early hours. Actress and singer. 22 year-old Caucasian. Party type. Same profile as the other victims. All showbiz wannabes. Audition fodder. Couple of uninspiring, very small TV parts, a few plays…
When Daken asks what her name was, Donna says it was Lucille Day. Her real name was Lucia Romanowski. She changed it when she moved to L.A. to make herself more hirable. She ran into the road about 200 yards from where they found the remains. Terrified but nothing apparently chasing her. Busy street. Lots of witnesses, even at that time of night. One car clips her. Then, according to a couple of eyewitnesses… she disappears into thin air before she even hits the road.
At the crime scene, Donna tells Daken that they find what’s left down there. And there wasn’t much of it. Ripped to little pieces. Again. Forensics found lots of traces of her and, as things stand, nothing from the killer. Which is near impossible. Much like her disappearing into thin air after being hit by a car. Donna then asks Daken if he has an enhanced sense of smell like his father. When Daken tells her no, Donna says not an animal, huh? So, if he doesn’t have daddy’s nose, what the hell are they even doing out there? Daken doesn’t tell her, but he wanted to see if he recognized this. He wanted to see if he did it. But… he just doesn’t know.
Thinking to herself, Donna says this rates pretty high on her “what the %#$@ am I doing?” list. And that’s a pretty long list. Breaking into a crime scene with Los Angeles’ most wanted man. A ruthless cop-killer. An emotionally erratic wannabe mob boss who’s definitely scared of something and suffering some form of physical decay. Alone with a murderer with claws who is the prime suspect in the Claws Killer case. Down a dark alley where a woman was eviscerated recently. At night. And she’s supposed to be smart. Question: does she think he’s the killer? This killer? No… maybe… it makes no sense for him to come to her this way. Does she think he can help her find the killer? Yes. And that’s really all that matters, isn’t it? So who’s the ruthless one here?
Watching Daken begin to walk away, Donna asks him where he’s going. Daken tells her there’s nothing there so he’s going to go find something. He’ll be in touch.
Driving down the road, Daken wonders where he was two nights ago. He doesn’t know. He was under from the Heat. He refuses to believe he would do this. Intellectually, it makes no sense. It is meaningless and random and… weak. An abhorrent word. A nauseating feeling. He tries to stay off the drug, for prudence’s sake, but it claws and scrapes at his insides, filling them with rust and tar. He actually feels impotent. This makes him very angry. So he’s going to do what any good bully does and take that out on someone…
Inside a warehouse, an older man talks with a prospective client while some thugs look on. The old man thanks the client for shopping at Mr. Meat’s store. Does he want to see the goods? Opening up the back of a van, Mr. Meat shows him a bunch of children, bound and gagged. All are in good condition. Runaways, vagrants, couple of addicts but still in the early stages. $10,000 each for the healthies. He’ll go $8,000 for the addicts. As the client pulls an envelope out of his jacket pocket, Mr. Meat asks he brought cash. Good. He loves a clean deal.
Just then, Daken shows up and kills the thugs and the client with a hail of automatic gunfire. He proceeds to tell Mr. Meat that he was going to physically attack him. He thought the workout would be stress relieving. But he’s a little off the whole claws-as-murder-weapons thing at the moment and it turns out that this is just as satisfying. The L.A. crime families, his L.A. crime families, told him about his tawdry little black market murder scene. They said if anyone had the identity of this “Claws Killer” in their rolodex it’d be Mr. Meat. So, who is it? And he suggest he answers quickly.
Mr. Meat stammers that he really doesn’t know. He honestly thought it was him. Daken knows that Mr. Meat is telling the truth. The Heat withdrawals make his reaction to this somewhat… cranky. With that, Daken shoots Mr. Meat in the head. Turning his attention the kidnapped children, Daken says to them that Hollywood is the land of dreams. Always time to dream, so keep on dreaming. “Pretty Woman?” Anyone? Slicing the restraints off of one of the young ladies, Daken tells her to free the rest of her friends if she chooses. That’s up to her. He suggests they all go home. To their families. He’s not an animal.
As Daken leaves, he takes the envelope of cash with him. Picking up his phone, Daken calls Donna and asks her if she owns a party dress. Back alleys. Dealers in atrocity. There’s nothing worthwhile down there in the underworld. So he raises his eyes up. The Heat withdrawals make the insides of his eyeballs itch, his tongue grates within his cobwebbed mouth and his guts are something fluid, black and vile. He wants the Heat but he tells himself he’s strong and threatens his weakness with violence, ordering it to shut up. But it just keeps wailing.
That night, at a party, Donna enters, wearing a party dress. Walking up to Daken, who is in a suit, she tells him that he has got to be $&%#$# kidding her. Making their way through the party, Donna asks Daken that this is his plan? Daken tells her that the Claws Killer’s victims were all at “business” parties. Stands to reason he or she attends these parties and this is the biggest party in town right now. And all evidence seems to point towards the killer being him. Perhaps that’s deliberate and they’re trying to frame him. In which case, his being there should attract them.
When Donna asks and her being there, Daken replies that, in “Jaws,” to attract the shark, the Sheriff Brody throws chunks of bloody meat over the side of the boat. Chum, he believes it’s called. Donna asks that she’s the chum in this analogy? That’s very flattering. Daken tells her indeed. All the victims have come from the lowest rung of the Hollywood scene. And she looks very out of place and uncomfortable there. Looking around, Donna says yeah. She thought the deaths were a Darwinian play. Hollywood’s own little wildlife savannah. Natural selection. The strongest picking off the weak. They’re looking for a player.
Putting his arm around Donna and pulling her close, Daken remarks undoubtedly. And she’s there to get noticed by them. So get noticed. Daken notices that Donna looks very good. For a moment, he forgets the ache. The welcome appeal of aesthetics makes the white noise fade.
But when the Heat changes hands nearby, he can smell it. And then he can think of nothing else. And his solipsism overrides fear, as ever. He tells Donna he needs the bathroom. This isn’t a lie. After taking a Heat pill from a dealer, the noise goes away. He doesn’t know what time it is when he eventually emerges. The world is welcoming and warped. It breathes warm and steady but it is not bloodstained. He’s shaking but he is in control. He just took half of the pill. Progress. He’s in the process of patting himself on the back when he notices that the majority have left the party. And Donna is nowhere to be seen.
In a darkened hallway, Donna has her gun pulled and asks where are you, you $#&%? She can hear him whispering.
Rushing up the stairs, Daken can sense that he’s here. For a millisecond he actually thinks he catches a glimpse of him in the darkness. And then his legs give away beneath him, his chest bursts and his lungs burn like they’re filling with carcinogenic blood. He wonders if he’s having a heart attack. Just then, Daken is slashed across the face. The perpetrator asks him, “Stalking girls with his claws ready to carve them up, huh? Yer a real piece of work, Daken.” When the perpetrator reveals himself as Moon Knight, brandishing a pair of Wolverine claws, he tells Daken that “it’s way past time daddy handed down some serious discipline. Bub.”