Nighthawk #1 (Sept. 1998), featuring Nighthawk in various costumes.
Cover art by Richard Case.
|First appearance||Kyle (Earth-616):|
The Avengers #69 (October 1969)
The Last Defenders #1 (May 2008)
The Avengers #85 (March 1971)
Squadron Supreme: New World Order #1 (September 1998)
|Created by||Kyle Richmond: |
Roy Thomas (writer)
Sal Buscema (artist)
|Alter ego||- Kyle Richmond (616)|
- Joaquin Pennysworth (616)
|Team affiliations||Kyle (Earth-616):|
Legion of the Unliving
Mild superhuman strength
Enhanced agility and durability from dusk till dawn
Jet-powered artificial wing system
Artificial claw tips
Use of lasers and projectile weapons
Highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent
Wears special high tech suit
|Marvel Comics Alternate Universes|
|Marvel stories take place primarily in a mainstream continuity called the Marvel Universe. Some stories are set in various parallel, or alternate, realities, called the Marvel Multiverse.|
|The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Worlds 2005 designates the mainstream continuity as "Earth-616", and assigns other Earth numbers to each specific alternate reality.|
|In this article the following characters, or teams, and realities are referred to:|
Nighthawk is the name of several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. There have been six versions of the character: a supervillain-turned-superhero from the mainstream Marvel Universe continuity, Kyle Richmond, who belonged to the team Squadron Sinister; and five from alternate universes, who belonged to various incarnations of the team Squadron Supreme.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Kyle Richmond, the original Nighthawk, debuted as a supervillain in the final panel of The Avengers #69 (Oct. 1969), a superhero team book. This story is the first chapter of a three-issue story arc by writer Roy Thomas and penciller Sal Buscema. The arc introduced the supervillain team the Squadron Sinister, whose four members were loosely based on heroes in DC Comics' Justice League of America, with Nighthawk based on Batman.
Following this arc, Nighthawk pursues a solo career. In the superhero team title The Defenders #13-14 (May–July 1974), he goes to the titular supergroup for help against his former teammates, and joins the team the following issue. Defenders writer Len Wein said that adding Nighthawk to the group "gave me a character to play with who didn't have a whole lot of previous history ... [a] character I could do anything I wanted to without worrying about how it would affect any other titles that character might appear in."
Nighthawk appeared on a regular basis in The Defenders and a number of other Marvel titles. A long-range story arc in The Defenders, beginning in 1979, has Nighthawk under criminal investigation. Writer Ed Hannigan later revealed he planned to end this story arc with Nighthawk being put in prison "for good", but his run on the series ended before he could bring this to fruition.
Defenders writer David Anthony Kraft said, describing Nighthawk's role in the team, "Nighthawk so desperately wanted to be the leader. He would be telling everyone what to do, but no one would listen to him! He may be wealthy and can buy all these toys, but he still gets no respect!"
Nighthawk apparently sacrifices his life in The Defenders #106 (cover dated April 1982). The supervillain Dead Ringer impersonates him in Captain America #429 (July 1994). In the three-issue miniseries Nighthawk (Sept.-Nov. 1998) Richmond is revealed to be alive, but in a coma and brain dead. Through supernatural means, he is revived and resumes his crime-fighting career. He co-starred in the 12-issue run of The Defenders vol. 2 (March 2001 - Feb. 2002) and the miniseries The Order #1-6 (April - Sept. 2002). Nighthawk formed a short-lived version of the Defenders, with the mutant Colossus, the Blazing Skull, and She-Hulk, as part of the Initiative, depicted in the miniseries The Last Defenders #1-6 (May - Oct. 2008).
Fictional character biography
Kyle Richmond was born to two wealthy parents and was brought up by his governess while his dad is away. When Kyle's mother died in an accident, his father sent him to boarding school. Due to his family's money, Kyle got into Grayburn College where he became involved with Mindy Williams who helped him focus through his education. One night, Kyle was caught in a drunk-driving accident in which Mindy was killed, and he was kicked out of school and was unable to return. Kyle later became anti-social, and learned that Grayburn College was closed down due to a lack of funds. Kyle Richmond attempted to join the army, but was rejected due to a heart murmur. Afterwards, Kyle received word that his father died in a plane crash and that Kyle has inherited Richmond Enterprises. Kyle turned to finding a cure for his heart murmur and physically training himself.
While drunk, Kyle Richmond concocted an alchemy serum that he found in an alchemy volume. The alchemy serum enabled Kyle to gain enhanced strength at night. Kyle took on various sports activities to strengthen his natural abilities where he eventually became Nighthawk. Nighthawk and three other supervillains are brought together as the Squadron Sinister by the cosmic entity the Grandmaster to battle the superhero team the Avengers, which has been forced to act as the champions of the time-traveling conqueror Kang the Conqueror. Nighthawk battles the Avenger Captain America, who outfights the villain. The Avengers eventually defeat the Squadron.
Reunited by the alien Nebulon, the villains receive greater power in exchange for the planet Earth, and create a giant laser cannon in the Arctic with a plan to melt the polar ice caps and flood the entirety of the Earth's surface. Despite being asked to join the venture, Nighthawk asks for the aid of superhero team the Defenders, who prevent the scheme and defeat the villains and Nebulon.
The character suffers several setbacks as a superhero, including being charged with tax evasion and fraud by the United States government, and arrested by the FBI for operating as a hero while charges were pending. This stipulation was waived after he was forced to reveal his secret identity. Nighthawk's cumulative wounds from battle eventually leave him paralyzed. Recovering to the point that he can move at night, Nighthawk continues to aid the Defenders, until resigning from the team. He is advised he is to be cleared of all charges if a predetermined amount is repaid to the government.
After apparently sacrificing his life to stop an organization bent on attacking the Soviet Union, Richmond turns up alive but comatose. He has a vision of an angel that facilitates his healing and bestows on him a "second sight", which enables him to see criminal acts before they are committed. In return, he must punish the would-be criminals. Once healed, Richmond becomes Nighthawk once again and fights crime until forced into a confrontation with Daredevil, whom he kills. The "angel" then reveals itself to be the demon Mephisto, who transports Nighthawk and Daredevil's corpse to Hell, intending to claim Daredevil's soul. Nighthawk battles the demons of Hell and manages to revive Daredevil, and together they escape. A sorcerer later purges him of Mephisto's gift.[volume & issue needed]
After an adventure with Fantastic Four member the Thing Nighthawk discovers his abilities are increasing, and learns that his former Squadron Sinister teammate Speed Demon has joined the superhero team the New Thunderbolts. After encountering teammate Hyperion, apparently resurrected after being thought dead, and a new Doctor Spectrum (Alice Nugent), Nighthawk briefly joins the New Thunderbolts, but upon discovering he is being used for his fortune, leaves and rejoins the Squadron Sinister. That team learns that the Grandmaster, using an interdimensional source of superhuman abilities, the Wellspring of Power, has been increasing the team-members' powers. After a battle between the Squadron and the New Thunderbolts, Nighthawk and the other members of the Squadron Sinister scatter and escape.
Nighthawk is initially opposed to the Superhuman Registration Act during the Civil War storyline. Following the death of superhero Black Goliath at the hands of the cyborg clone of Thor on the Pro-Registration Side, Nighthawk joins the Pro-Registration Side, but is defeated in a skirmish with Anti-Registration heroes Falcon and Storm.
He later joins the US government's Fifty State Initiative of registered heroes, and forms a short-lived Initiative version of the Defenders with the mutant Colossus, the Blazing Skull, and She-Hulk. With She-Hulk and Warlord Krang, Nighthawk battles the group the Sons of the Serpent, which culminates in a confrontation with his old Defenders foe Yandroth. Yandroth manipulates time and forces Nighthawk to battle a twisted version of his old team the Squadron Sinister before being rescued by a future incarnation of the Defenders. Noting that one of the future members is Joaquin Pennyworth, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the son of the one-time leader of the Sons of the Serpent, Richmond asks him to commence training to become the new Nighthawk.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Nighthawk joins Howard the Duck, She-Hulk and Frankenstein's Monster to form the Fearsome Four when Man-Thing is driven on a rampage. They later discover a plot by Psycho-Man to use Man-Thing's volatile empathy to create a weapon.
Powers and abilities
Nighthawk is a superb athlete who, courtesy of an alchemical potion, possesses enhanced strength and increased agility and durability from dusk till dawn. He has also used several costume aids, such as a jet-powered artificial wing system, artificial claw tips, lasers and projectile weapons.
Kyle Richmond (Earth-712)
Roy Thomas and penciller John Buscema created an alternate-universe team of heroes called the Squadron Supreme, who debut in The Avengers #85 (Feb. 1971). After an initial skirmish with four Avengers, the teams unite to stop a common threat. The characters (including Nighthawk) were identical in name and appearance to the Squadron Sinister, which caused confusion in Marvel's production department, as the covers of The Avengers #85 and #141 (Nov. 1975) "cover-blurbed" appearances by the Squadron Sinister, when in fact it was the Squadron Supreme that appeared in both issues.
The heroic Nighthawk and the Squadron Supreme have another series of skirmishes with the Avengers engineered by the group the Serpent Cartel, but eventually team together and prevent the use of the artifact the Serpent Crown. The character and his teammates briefly feature in the title Thor, when the evil version of Hyperion attacks the Earth-712 version and then the Thunder God Thor.
Richmond later retires as Nighthawk, feeling that he can better serve the public good as a politician, eventually becoming President of the United States. However, President Richmond is mentally assaulted by the alien entity known as the Over-Mind, who nearly obliterates the real Richmond's mind and then embarks on a campaign of world domination via an artificial duplicate of the President. The real Richmond is rescued by a psychic entity from Earth-616 with ties to that world's Kyle Richmond, and reconstructs his mind to make him temporarily believe that he is the Nighthawk of Earth-616 (then presumed deceased by his teammates in the Defenders). When the other Squadron members, save for Hyperion, are mind-controlled by the Overmind (who itself is later revealed to be a pawn of another alien menace, Null the Living Darkness), Hyperion and Nighthawk recruit the Defenders to help free the Squadron and defeat the alien threat. When the Richmond working with the Overmind is revealed to be artificial, Nighthawk recalls his true identity and rejoins the Squadron Supreme.
The Squadron's Earth lies in shambles after the Overmind's attempt to conquer the world. Led by Hyperion, the Squadron believe they have the knowledge and power to recreate the world and create a utopia. Nighthawk resigns in protest, believing that the Squadron should serve and not rule; he also ponders assassinating Hyperion to try and halt the Squadron's plans before they begin. At a joint press conference, Richmond resigns as President of the United States and the Squadron announces its plans to the public; Richmond comes prepared to kill Hyperion, but cannot bring himself to do so. The Squadron assumes control of the United States and remakes the nation into a virtual utopia. The team implements a series of sweeping changes, including revealing their secret identities; instituting a program of behavior modification in prisons; enforcing a strict gun control policy, and developing medical technology to resurrect the dead.[volume & issue needed]
Predicting a nightmarish outcome to the Squadron's so-called "Utopia Program", Nighthawk attempts in vain to solicit the aid of the Avengers, and then recruits former Squadron foes and newly emerged superhumans to form a team called the Redeemers. They eventually confront the Squadron, and a brutal battle ensues in which several members of both teams are killed, including Nighthawk. A horrified Hyperion realizes Nighthawk was in fact right and ends the battle, and the Squadron disband and release control of the United States to the government.[volume & issue needed]
The Earth-712 Nighthawk lacks superhuman powers but possesses extensive training and uses a variety of advanced weaponry.
Neal Richmond (Earth-712)
When the remnants of the Squadron Supreme returns to their home universe in the one-shot Squadron Supreme: New World Order, they encounter a new Nighthawk, adopted son of Kyle Richmond and biological son of Kyle's foe the Huckster. The Squadron's reality is now dominated by corporations using the Squadron's own Utopia technologies, with the characters eventually reinstating democracy. For years prior to the Squadron Supreme's return, Neal had organized and supervised a resistance force dubbed the "Nighthawks" who battle the Blue Eagles enlisted by the corporate New World Order. Nighthawk later joins the Squadron.
Nighthawk and the Squadron come into conflict with a new government when interdimensional team the Exiles reveal that the government rigged the election with worldwide vote fraud. The Squadron and the Exiles depose the new government, and attempt to allow society to progress without superhuman involvement.
This character lacks powers but possesses extensive training and uses a variety of advanced weaponry.[volume & issue needed]
The mature-audience Marvel MAX imprint showcases the adventures of the Earth-31916 version of the Squadron Supreme. This version of Kyle Richmond, an African-American, first appears in the limited series Supreme Power, and utilizes his wealth to train and develop advanced weaponry and devices to aid in his campaign on crime as a vigilante. Although the character aids the loose formation of heroes that eventually become the Squadron Supreme, Nighthawk chooses to remain aloof and only interacts with them when necessary. The character also appears in the six-issue miniseries Supreme Power: Nighthawk, in which he investigates an epidemic of drug addiction in Chicago, and learns it is the work of serial killer Whiteface . Nighthawk apprehends and executes the criminal, but not before he causes the deaths of the Mayor and his family.
After the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, Richmond was transported to the regular Marvel Universe. In 2016 Marvel published a comic featuring the character titled Nighthawk, which ran for six issues. The character worked on reforming Chicago and targeted racism and police brutality with the aid of ex-supervillain Deadly Nightshade. The character also joins the local reality's Squadron Supreme.
In the Earth X series and its spin-offs, created by Alex Ross, John Paul Leon, and Jim Krueger, Kyle Richmond is an elderly retired superhero. Kyle Richmond's eyes, given by a disguised Mephisto, allow him to see into the future. He dictates what he sees to his colleague, Isaac Christians, so that a record can be kept of what will become of history. The Earth-9997 version lacks powers but possess extensive training and use a variety of advanced weaponry.
The Ultimate Marvel alternate universe title The Ultimates features a non-powered version of Nighthawk who is the leader of a version of the Defenders. Nighthawk's only attempt at heroics involves leaping from the shadows at a group of petty criminals - only to break his ankle and be severely beaten. In Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates, he and the Defenders are seen to have gained superhuman powers from a mysterious source.
Jack Norris (Earth-616)
Jackson "Jack" F. Norris and his wife worked with the original Nighthawk and the Defenders.[volume & issue needed] He later became a S.H.I.E.L.D. file-clerk,[volume & issue needed] and then agent often going by the codename Nighthawk.[volume & issue needed] He then went on to be a TV reporter for Inside America.[volume & issue needed] He helped psychiatrist Andrea Sterman uncover a conspiracy involving Roxxon Oil, the CSA, S.H.I.E.L.D., Nomad, and the Thunderbolts.
Squadron Supreme of America
An African-American variation of the Kyle Richmond version of Nighthawk appears as a member of the Squadron Supreme of America. This version is a simulacrum created by Mephisto and programmed by the Power Elite. Nighthawk was programmed to be in top physical condition while sporting some doubt and jealousy for his teammates enough for him to brood. In his personal time, he is a U.S. congressman elected to the House of Representatives to represent Washington DC.
Then the Squadron Supreme visited another oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The Squadron Supreme then made short work of Namor and the Defenders of the Deep.
During the War of the Realms storyline, Kyle was at a congressional hearing when a code red was issued that sent the representatives to the tunnels below. He and other members of the Squadron Surpreme of America were summoned to Washington D.C., where Phil Coulson brought them up to speed with Malekith the Accursed's invasion. Hyperion and the Squadron Supreme of America fight an army of Rock Trolls and Frost Giants. After the Squadron Supreme caused the Frost Giants to retreat, Phil Coulson sends them to Ohio, which has become a battleground.
Nighthawk was with the Squadron Supreme when they attempted to apprehend Black Panther, when he infiltrated the Pentagon to confront Phil Coulson.
In other media
- Nighthawk appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Whom Continuity Would Destroy!", voiced by Adam West. He is shown as a member of the Squadron Supreme. Grandmaster and Thanos pit Nighthawk against Iron Man. During the fight, Nighthawk mentioned that he once owned a pet turtle.
- Nighthawk appears in Avengers Assemble, voiced by Anthony Ruivivar. He is seen in a flashback in the episode "Hyperion" in which he is shown to be a member of Squadron Supreme on Hyperion's home world, but is stated to have died alongside the rest of the team. This is proven false when he appears in the episode "Nighthawk", when he appears in the disguise of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Kyle Richmond. Nighthawk is portrayed as a tactical strategist who thinks of his team's members as nothing more than tools.
- In 2013 Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) was released in wave 018 of the Marvel Universe toyline from Hasbro 3.75.
- Jackson Norriss appears in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Scoot McNairy. He's revealed to be a member of the Ten Rings undercover as a reporter demanding Trevor Slattery pay for his crimes impersonating The Mandarin following Iron Man 3.
- Interview with Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails in The Justice League Companion (2003) pp. 72–73
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