Nighthawk's Flight Between Death and Life

In Death is not the End, we spotlight the outlandish explanations for comic book characters (mostly super-villains) surviving seeming certain death. Today, we see how Nighthawk came back to life!

Kyle Richmond, the original Nighthawk, has had one of the more circuitous routes to becoming a superhero in the Marvel Universe (although far from the MOST circuitous, of course, as there are just way too many complicated superhero origins out there).

Introduced in Avengers #69 (by Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema and Sam Grainger), Nighthawk was a member of the Squadron Sinister...

The hook of the Squadron, of course, is that they were all stand-ins for members of the Justice League, with Nighthawk being the Batman analogue. The original intent of the comic book story was so that Roy Thomas and his friend, Denny O'Neil, could have a de facto crossover between the Avengers and the Justice League by having them sort of kind of fight each other in their respective titles at the same time. O'Neil, though, ended up not being allowed to do his story, so O'Neil instead did an interesting bit by having the Justice League fight evil duplicates of themselves with the duplicates therefore being the Avengers stand-ins (so Hawkman notes that his evil duplicate seems like he is made out of iron, wink wink).

Anyhow, Len Wein then brought Nighthawk to the pages of the Defenders, where Nighthawk warns the Defenders of a threat that his old team is causing...

Nighthawk has turned over a new leaf and wants to help the heroes stop his old teammates. They agree and he ends up joining the Defenders at the end of the story.

In Defenders #15 (like the earlier issue, by Len Wein, Sal Buscema and Klaus Janson), Nighthawk officially joins the team and debuts his new costume...

In case you are unfamiliar with the concept of the Defenders, the idea was that they were a team only in the loosest sense. They were a bunch of superheroes who hung out with Doctor Strange and that was pretty much it. Whichever superheroes answered the call that particular issue would be the Defenders. After all, the Hulk was a regular member back in his rampaging days and it is hard to expect a rampaging Hulk to become a dedicated member of a team, ya know? However, writers found that set-up to be a bit lacking, as you typically want to have SOME consistency, so Nighthawk became an important member of the team as he was the first regular team member to last longer than a year or so. Eventually, Hellcat would also become a steady member (Valkyrie and Hulk were also around a lot, but they were less dedicated as Nighthawk and Hellcat).

So while the membership of the team went all over the places over the years, Nighthawk and Hellcat remained (Doctor Strange, too, of course, but only because they used his house as their base). Nighthawk over this time, though, had a bit of a sad sack existence. He was the kind of superhero who would always have things go wrong for him. He was paralyzed, had his identity revealed, hunted by the FBI, lots of bad stuff. Therefore, when he got caught up in a group that gave people telepathic powers as part of some anti-Soviet underground organization (as part of a crossover between the Defenders and Captain America), he decided to help take down the group, even if it meant sacrificing his own life...

Nighthawk then made a few appearances over the years in those stories where superheroes fight dead superheroes and supervillains (I should probably do a bit on how many different times that's been a thing over the years).

Nighthawk remarkably spent the rest of the 1980s and almost all of the 1990s dead. This was a pretty complete commitment to the character being dead. Until...

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