Professor James Moriarty, "the Napoleon of crime" was a master criminal and arch-nemesis of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. In 1891, Moriarty was believed dead after he and Holmes both fell over the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, but he was in fact pulled from the water by his henchmen, Campion Bond and Colonel Sebastian Moran.
Unbeknownst to Holmes, Moriarty had been working for the British government all along. He had been recruited into British intelligence while in college, and was made to pose as a crime-lord through which the government could control the underworld. Seven years later, in 1898, Moriarty had become the director of Military Intelligence Division 5 or MI5. Through his intermediary Bond, Moriarty assembled a new incarnation of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to thwart the plans of the insidious Doctor Fu Manchu, a rival crime-lord. In briefings, Bond referred to Moriarty as "M" to conceal his identity, a code-name that had been passed down since the 17th century.
The League stole a sample of cavorite, an anti-gravity material, from Manchu which he had planned to use to power an airship with which to destroy Moriarty's criminal enterprise. Obtaining the cavorite, the Professor unveiled his own airship and initiated a bombardment of the Doctor's holdings instead, with the intention to wipe out the League as well in order to silence them. Manchu launched a counterattack with an army of war-kites, which the League used as a distraction to steal back the cavorite. The League's Mina Murray smashed the cavorite's casing, releasing the element into the air; Professor Moriarty, grabbing desperately at it, fell with it up into the sky. He was not seen again.
After Moriarty's second apparent death, he was succeeded as director of MI5 by his arch-rival's brother, Mycroft Holmes, who became the new M.
More than 50 years after his death, Moriarty's grandson Dean Moriarty lived as a beatnik in San Francisco. Dean inherited his grandfather's quick wit and occasional mania, but not his criminal tendencies. In the mid-1950s, Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain rescued Dean from Fu Manchu's grandson, Doctor Sachs, who still held a grudge over his grandfather's defeat in 1898.
- Moriarty was very old and frail, and had suffered numerous injuries in his fall over Reichenbach.
- Though not a great fighter, Moriarty was known to use a dagger to defend himself when pressed.
- This character is an adaptation of Professor Moriarty, a character from the novel The Final Problem by Arthur Conan Doyle published in 1893. More information can be found in the Wikipedia.org article Professor Moriarty.
- In The Final Problem, the name "James" actually belongs to Professor Moriarty's brother, Colonel James Moriarty; the Professor's first name is not given. In the Professor's second appearance, The Adventure of the Empty House, the Professor himself is named James and his brother is instead said to be a railway station manager.
- The code-name "M" references the director of MI5 in the James Bond novels by Ian Flemming. Moriarty's henchman, Campion Bond, is heavily implied to be James Bond's ancestor.
- 4 Appearances of James Moriarty (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
- 1 Images featuring James Moriarty (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
- Quotations by or about James Moriarty (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
- Character Gallery: James Moriarty (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)