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DARK ART

Real Name: Arthur Moore

Identity/Class: Human magic user, citizen of the United States

Occupation: Mercenary, sorcerer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Fourth Wall Enterprises (Mallory Book, other unidentified members; see comments), Bran Murphy

Enemies: Bran the Blessed (Bendigeidfran, possessed Bran Murphy), She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Dork", "Doctor Strange wannabe"  (nicknames used by She-Hulk)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
                                   formerly Cleveland, Ohio 

First Appearance: She-Hulk II#28 (June, 2008) 

Powers/Abilities: Moore was a magic user who relied on various mystical talisman and jewels to perform feats like projecting incredibly lifelike illusions in the minds of others. His main source of power was the Wand of Transmutation, which he could use to transform living matter. He could also generate a protective force field to counter physical forces. The strength of his abilities appeared to be connected to his self-confidence and will power. Smug, aloof and seemingly sociopathic, Moore actually preferred to rely on guile, subterfuge and intimidation to achieve his goals (see comments).

Height: 6'3" (by approximation)
Weight: 260 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

History:

(She-Hulk II#29 (fb) - BTS) - The mystical mercenary Dark Art was hired through intermediaries by Fourth Wall Enterprises who wanted him to destroy the life of Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk. Moore was paid a substantial amount of money and decided the best way to ruin her was by taking away her law career. After robbing First National Bank and stashing the money at his house, the African American Moore allowed himself to get pulled over by a cop and subsequently arrested, with the money later found at his home. The police also found various knives that contained animal DNA, leading them to add animal cruelty to the charges. In addition to all that, numerous neighborhood children had mysteriously disappeared as well. Moore planned to get She-Hulk's law firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Book to defend him.

(She-Hulk II#29 (fb) ) - Mallory Book assigned Moore's case to Jennifer Walters, who went to meet with the surprisingly cool and collected Dark Art. All he seemed interest in was reclaiming the artifacts that the police had taken as evidence. The two had a chilling conversation in which he promised he would destroy her, just because he could... after the trial. When Moore's day in court came, Jennifer Walters was able to get his case dismissed and all charges dropped on a technicality (there was no warrant issued to search Moore's home, making it illegal to enter what they found as evidence). Now a free man, Moore received his trinkets back and wanted to thank Walters and Book for their help by showing them what he claimed was the truth. He placed a crimson ruby on his forehead and revealed to them what he'd done: kidnap neighborhood children, transforming them into animals and ritually sacrificing them (this was all an illusion, the missing children were still alive, kept in a safehouse and released immediately after the mistrial). Walters lost all composure and self-control after witnessing these horrors, she shifted into her savage She-Hulk persona and attacked Dark Art who tried his best to defend himself. Outraged, she tore through his mystical shield, grabbed the sorcerer and snapped his wand, releasing its mystical energies. In the aftermath, with no evidence to back up her claims of his true nature, Walters was charged with assault, Moore put out a restraining order against her and she was even disbarred and fired from GLK&B.

(She-Hulk II#28 - BTS) - Upon receiving anonymous death threats Moore hired a ruthless bodyguard, Bran Murphy, while the death threats were investigated by the authorities (unbeknownst to Moore Murphy was possessed by the Celtic god Bendigeidfran aka Bran the Blessed; see comments). Bran protected Moore while Bendigeidfran manifested in NYC and bombed a bar (see comments). This led Walters and her partner Jazinda, operating as bounty hunters, to chase the tattooed Irish man (both signs of Bendigeidfran's possession) across the country.

(She-Hulk II#28) - She-Hulk finally caught up with Bran in Cleveland, Ohio where he was attending a football game with Moore. Deciding to move in and arrest him without taking time to issue a proper warrant, She-Hulk was in for a nasty surprise when she tried to apprehend Bran only to find out his tattoo was missing and he'd lost his Irish brogue. To make matters worse, Moore appeared to inform her she'd violated the terms of the restraining order. As a result, the police arrested She-Hulk and took her to jail.
 
(She-Hulk II#29) - Shortly after getting She-Hulk thrown in jail, Moore had a drink with Bran (still possessed by Bendigeidfran) in his opulent mansion. As he gloated over Walters' misfortune, enjoying the fact people can be so gullible that it's almost charming, he suddenly fell ill and died, having been poisoned by who he believed was his own bodyguard.

Comments: Created by Peter David (writer), Val Semeiks (pencils), Dave Meikis & Victor Olazaba (inks).

Calling an African-American sorcerer named Art(hur) Moore "Dark Art" is... clever. 

The true dark art is figuring out the hopelessly convoluted scheme he concocted. Sure, yours truly likes a bit of guile as much as the next guy, but if you're able to cast illusions so realistic no one can tell the difference, wouldn't it have been easier to mess with She-Hulk's head without robbing a bank, kidnapping children, getting arrested and clogging up the justice system with all those shenanigans and legal hoopla? Though an enjoyable story, there are a lot of loose ends to consider, for instance: who were the ones that hired Dark Art in the first place? Also, there's no explanation given for the reason why Bendigeidfran suddenly felt the need to kill Moore. Perhaps David intended it as a call back to what Moore said earlier about not needing a reason to destroy She-Hulk: "She exists, isn't that enough?"

In She-Hulk II#38 (April, 2009) Dark Art's employers were identified as Fourth Wall Enterprises and Mallory Book as FWE's chairwoman. Bran the Blessed independently from Dark Art also worked for Fourth Wall Enterprises and very likely was the one sending death threats to Dark Art in the first place. Bran's bombing of the bar he met She-Hulk at in She-Hulk II#24 was also part of FWE's plans against She-Hulk. She-Hulk II#38 was the last issue of Peter David's She-Hulk run. At the end of the issue Book cancelled FWE's She-Hulk project.
--Markus Raymond

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Dark Art should not be confused with


images: (without ads)
She-Hulk II#29 p7, pan2 (main image)
She-Hulk II#29 p13, pans3-4 (Dark Art and his artifacts)
She-Hulk II#29 p17, pan3 (Dark Art fighting Savage She-Hulk)


Appearances:
She-Hulk II#28 (June, 2008) - Peter David (writer), Val Semeiks (pencils), Dave Meikis & Victor Olazaba (inks), Steven Wacker & Bill Rosemann (editors)
She-Hulk II#29 (July, 2008) - Peter David (writer), Val Semeiks (pencils), Dave Meikis & Victor Olazaba (inks), Steven Wacker & Bill Rosemann (editors)


Last updated: 03/23/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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