A half-Mohawk boy born in 1900, the future Night Raven was orphaned as a child, and, after spending some time in an orphanage, was taken in by his uncle in New England. As a teenager he lied about his age to enlist in 1915 alongside his best friend, and was subsequently sent to France, where he nearly died during the battle of Ypres. Sent home suffering from shell-shock, he was briefly institutionalized in a New England asylum. By the late 1920s he had become the vigilante Night Raven, terrorizing the New York underworld with his bone-like mask and leaving branded criminals in his wake. In 1931 he disrupted an opium shipment belonging to the Dragon Tong, drawing the ire of its leader, the immortal Yi Yang. She exposed him to a chemical that both made him immortal and ate at his flesh and mind, intending for him to spend an eternity descending into agony and insanity. In 1941 Night Raven learned there was an alleged cure, which had fallen into the hands of reporter Scoop Daly; however Daly was led to believe the cure was also a contagion, so that if Night Raven took it, he would unleash a lethal plague that would kill millions. Scoop refused to hand it over to the increasingly irrational Night Raven, and when Night Raven kidnapped Scoop's wife Sadie and threatened to kill her, Scoop shot the vigilante, who fell into the river and was washed away.
Unable to drown, Night Raven survived, but spent the next 16 years amnesiac, a vagrant. His mask was passed between collectors, until in 1957 it came into the possession of the insane Howard Bates, who wore it while committing a string of murders. When the real Night Raven saw newspaper reports of the "East Side Strangler" it triggered his buried memories; tracking down Bates, Night Raven slew him and reclaimed the mask. In 1965, after Scoop's death, he approached Sadie Daly, who gave him Yi Yang's cure, as Scoop had come to believe it was safe to use, the plague merely a tale spread by Yi Yang to torture Night Raven further; Scoop's theory proved true, and now devoid of pain, Night Raven spent decades hunting Yi Yang.
In modern times his hunt took him to Russia, where he encountered the Black Widow. When he tracked Yi Yang to her Siberian base, she attempted to flee in a helicopter; Night Raven shot the pilot, but Yi Yang steered the crashing vehicle down on top of him, and both were engulfed in the resulting explosion, though no bodies were subsequently found in the wreckage.
Powers and Abilities
Regenerative healing and immortality
Normal human strength.
- Howard Bates posed as a Night Raven impostor in 1957. He was a fanatical anti-communist who found Night Raven's mask and used it to slay liberals and communists. Howard was eventually killed by the original Night Raven because of his antics. (Marvel Super-Heroes (UK) #392)
- In Nocturne #1, a Night Raven character existed on Nocturne's Earth. He had been reputedly murdered by Dr. Hurt, but Hurt actually transformed him into his near-mindless servant Hatemare.
- Night Raven was seen among the heroes liberating Berlin in 1946, even though he was believed inactive between 1941 and 1956.
- Night Raven derives from the Shadow by Maxwell Grant and the Spider by Grant Stockbridge, both pseudonyms for, respectively, Walter Gibson and R.T.M. Scott/Norvell Page. Accordingly, writers of Night Raven text stories signed the tales as Maxwell Stockbridge.
- 82 appearance(s) of Night Raven (Vigilante) (Earth-616)
- 1 minor appearance(s) of Night Raven (Vigilante) (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Night Raven (Vigilante) (Earth-616)
- 9 image(s) of Night Raven (Vigilante) (Earth-616)