As a thief, Lloyd Bloch stole a Kree Lifegem from a science installation and found himself bonded to the artefact. Developing superhuman powers and strength from the Lifegem, Bloch outfitted himself as a super-villain and dubbed himself Moonstone. As Moonstone, Bloch became an operative of the Secret Empire who helped him hone his powers and abilities.
Nefarius (originally Moonstone) was created by Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich and Sal Buscema and first appeared in Captain America #169.
Bloch's Kree Lifegem and identity was usurped not long afterwards by Karla Sofen in The Incredible Hulk. Bloch subsequently went on to receive far greater iconic powers (similar to Wonder Man's powers) and eventually returned as Nefarius in Captain America #379 where he pursued Sofen in hopes of revenge and the chance to reclaim his original powers.
Major Story Arcs
Bloch, as Moonstone, became involved in the Secret Empire's campaign to tarnish Captain America's image and take control of America. To this end, Moonstone assassinated the super-villain Tumbler in a manner which made it seem as if Captain America was responsible. With Captain America blamed for the death of the villain, the Sentinel of Liberty's reception from the general public began to sharply decline.
After Moonstone fought Captain America and his partner the Falcon, and defeated them both, the media began to pay attention to Moonstone and put him on a pedestal while Captain America became increasingly unpopular. The Secret Empire's plan was working with Moonstone usurping Captain America's support, and they began their next step to conquer the country.
The Secret Empire launched an attack on the White House, which was challenged by Captain America, Falcon and the X-Men. Facing off against Moonstone again, Captain America managed to expose his involvement with the Secret Empire to the public and Moonstone's status as a "media darling" was abruptly demolished. The Secret Empire were defeated and Moonstone was jailed for his crimes, but a demoralized Captain America wound up retiring for a time afterwards.
While imprisoned, Moonstone received support and guidance from psychiatrist Karla Sofen. Although, unbeknownst to him, Sofen was merely manipulating his emotions with her eyes set on acquiring the moonstone from which he derives his powers. After convincing him to relinquish the moonstone, Sofen stole it and bonded to it herself, leaving Moonstone powerless and imprisoned.
While in prison, Moonstone befriended a fellow inmate who by chance had discovered how to emulate the experiment which gave Count Nefaria his ionic powers. Moonstone underwent the process himself and became much more powerful than he had been before and, wearing a costume similar to Nefaria's, he renamed himself Nefarius and set out to gain revenge on Sofen.
Nefarius instead wound up crossing paths with the Avengers' Captain America and Quasar and was forced to fight the pair. Eventually managing to escape from them, Nefarius located Sofen (now a super-villain also calling herself Moonstone) and kidnapped her with the intention of killing her for her betrayal and manipulation of him. Sofen was again able to manipulate his emotions and seduced him as a means of being able to escape from his grasp.
With Nefarius in pursuit of Sofen, the pair were confronted by the Avengers who fought them both. In the midst of the fight, Nefarius was knocked unconscious by Moonstone who hoped to secure her own escape to no avail. The two were captured and sent to the superhuman prison known as The Vault.
Eventually, Nefarius broke free and ran amok in The Vault where he located Sofen but his revenge was cut short again when the Avengers arrived to stop him. Fighting the team, Nefarius appeared to have the upper-hand and bested both Giant Man and Hercules in combat. However, when Nefarius was faced with the Vision, his potential victory was halted. Able to control his own body's density, Vision made himself as solid as he possibly could and then attacked Nefarius and managed to knock the villain out. Nefarius was recontained and again imprisoned.
Prelude to Nefaria Protocols
Eventually, Nefarius again escaped The Vault and pursued Sofen, who herself had escaped earlier and was now a member of the "heroic" Thunderbolts under the new guise of Meteorite. Unbeknownst to Nefarius, he was being stalked by a resurrected Count Nefaria who now had to drain ionic energy as sustenance in order to survive.
Nefarius' attempts to defend himself against his attacker were futile and he was defeated by Nefaria who then proceeded to drain him of all his energy, killing him and leaving a lifeless shell.
Powers and Abilities
As Moonstone, Nefarius' powers were all derived from the Kree Lifegem of the same name. The moonstone imbued him with superhuman strength, speed and durability as well as the ability to fire laser beams and to phase himself through solid objects.
As Nefarius, his powers are far greater than they were as Moonstone. His strength is 10 times greater as well as massively increased durability. He also possessed the ability to levitate himself and leap great lengths.
On the Counter-Earth created by Franklin Richards, Nefarius operates under the codename Phantom Eagle as a member of Baron Zemo's Thunderbolts. This version of Nefarius still depended on the moonstone for his powers and eventually met the mainstream Karla Sofen who had become stranded on Counter-Earth. Developing an instant attraction to Sofen, he began to try and win her favor to little success. Going on a murder spree, hoping it would draw the attention of Sofen, Phantom Eagle instead found the power of his moonstone being stolen by Sofen who added it to her own moonstone powers and then left Phantom Eagle to be incarcerated.