Edgar William Jacobi, also known as Moloch the Mystic, was a retired supervillain and former crime lord who fought the Minutemen and other superheroes such as Doctor Manhattan and Ozymandias for several decades.
Lessons in Crime
Edgar William Jacobi was born with a physical deformity, a skinny ugly face and large pointed ears that made him look like a goblin. By all accounts, Jacobi was a smart and touch street hood who hit the big time. Somewhere along the way he picked up some university level psychology and learned the art of hypnosis.
Jacobi became a vaudevillian and adopted the name Moloch the Mystic in the late 1930s. Moving from town to town he performed three times a day but even then the money was not enough, as he had to pay any assistants he could find. He then resorted to bank robberies. Wanting to make a statement and use some style he wore a tuxedo and used his tricks to come and go. As he was making more money that way, he became a full-time criminal, and a boss of his own gang.
King of the Underworld
From 1947 to 1967, Moloch became known as the "King of the Underworld". Moloch staged bank robberies, hijackings and kidnappings. He also opened his own opium den, and while the trade was declining, he used it to introduce new drugs. His den was also a source of information as the intoxicated costumers talked too much, and addicted women would have sex with him for more. He used his money to buy or steal more impressive and lethal tricks from scientists, such as the ability to use electric lightning with his hands.
Confronting the Minutemen
In 1939, he built the Solar Mirror Weapon and threated to use it destroy the Empire State Building unless police official turned over to him a rare, hand-rendered illuminated copy of William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell worth more than $16,000,000. This scheme caught the attention of the Minutemen and he was defeated by them. The Minutemen would continue to be his frequent nemesis, and they would often foil his plans and send him to prison.
Moloch's Second Wave of Crime
Moloch would come into conflict with the second generation of costumed heroes. In 1960, he had his first encounter with Doctor Manhattan when he showed up at his vice-den, Dante's to stop his exploits and blew up the head of one of his henchmen. He escaped again and spent the decade against other costumed heroes including Rorschach, Ozymandias, and former Minutemen member The Comedian.
Moloch made a grand return in 1966 going under the title of "Satan of the Underworld". This time around, he was more careful in handling his business through a network of subordinates. Moloch would keep himself clean of incriminating evidence by setting up his own men to take the fall for him if any part of his operation is exposed. Due to past experience, Moloch was somewhat fearful of the second breed of costumed heroes and wished not to antagonize them or gain their attention any further. His return was the reason for the brief formation of the Crimebusters.
To further his criminal activities, Moloch would make anonymous donations to various radical left protest groups to encourage their operations. The actions of these protest groups would divert the attention of the police allowing Moloch to reign free in his criminal pursuits while the law remained distracted. Moloch plotted to bring shipments of drugs during an anti-war demonstration set to take place on June 12 while the protestors being funded by him would instigate a riot during the demonstration. His donations came under investigation by Captain Metropolis, who following his failure of forming the Crimebusters, plotted a scheme to have these groups investigated and frame Moloch by arranging kidnappings of people close to the Crimebusters, which would ultimately lead them to Jacobi. His penthouse apartment was broken into by Metropolis, Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II, Ozymandias, Rorschach, and the Comedian. After defeating his gang, the heroes interrogate him about the kidnappings. While Moloch admits to his June 12th plot, he maintains his innocence regarding the kidnappings, threating to call the police and his lawyers. During questioning, a piece of parchment paper, ordering his lieutenants to move the hostages to 666 Waterside Drive, is slipped discreetly into his jacket by Gardner to incriminate him. The crime lord denies any knowledge of this, calling it a frame-up. Despite his protests, the heroes arrest Moloch, but he is soon set free due to a lack of hard evidence.
Becoming a Pawn
Exiting prison, Jacobi was given a job in Dimensional Developments. Unknown to Jacobi, he had become a pawn to Adrian Veidt's master plan to get rid of Doctor Manhattan and secretly gave him cancer. Eventually his health started to deteriorate, and was diagnosed with cancer. He started trying Laetrile as a form of alternative medication.
Visited by the Comedian
When Eddie Blake discovered Adrian Veidt's horrifying plan to end the Cold War, he found the list of infected people and realized that Jacobi was one of the few people he could be certain was not a part of Veidt's plan. Drunk and hysterical, Blake broke into Jacobi's home at night and told him about the list, knowing that Jacobi would not understand. Unknown to Jacobi, Veidt had his apartment bugged and Blake's confession prompted Veidt to kill the Comedian.
Attending Eddie Blake's Funeral
At Eddie Blake's funeral, Jacobi attended incognito and put some flowers on his grave. Doctor Manhattan saw him but did not realize (or care) that it was his old enemy - unlike Rorschach who was also there without his mask.
Interrogated by Rorschach
Rorschach followed him to his apartment and threatened him. Jacobi told Rorschach that he has cancer and the story about the mysterious visit by the Comedian shortly before his death. This was witnessed by one of the guards working for Veidt so he decided to dispose of Rorschach as well.
Rorschach's Second Visit
On October 21, 1985, Jacobi was visited a second time by Rorschach following Doctor Manhattan's self-exile to Mars, and demanded that should he have any information regarding the discrediting of Doctor Manhattan, to leave a note in the trashcan opposite of the Gunga Diner.
Sacrificed by Adrian Veidt
Adrian Veidt arrived at Jacobi's apartment and shot him dead. An unknown figure dropped a message in the trashcan across the Gunga Diner causing Rorschach to return to Jacobi's home. Veidt would leave an anonymous tip to the police in order to frame Rorschach for Jacobi's murder and prevent him from interfering in his plans. Later that night, Rorschach found Jacobi murdered, and was framed for the crime, allowing Veidt to cut off another loose end.
- Moloch is named after an ancient Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice, through fire or war. Moloch has been featured in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, as a symbol of sacrifice. In particular, in “Howl,” Moloch is called “the heavy judger of men.” As Watchmen progresses, we learn part of Adrian Veidt’s plot involved giving former associates of Doctor Manhattan cancer in order to compel him into exile to further Veidt's plan. Moloch is one of the victims. Ultimately, Moloch himself is a sacrifice in more ways than one, and Veidt shoots him to frame Rorschach. His death is one of the millions Veidt committed as a “judger of men.”
- In Alan Moore's original script, Edgar Jacobi's physical appearance is described as "something like William Burroughs, if you happen to know what he looks like...a sinister old junkie with a massive intellect".