Nighthawk - 'Marvel's Batman' - joins the Avengers

Nighthawk joins the Avengers
Nighthawk joins the Avengers (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The Avengers have a new member and his name is Nighthawk.

With Moon Knight taking up his share of media buzz, you've likely heard the character referred to as "Marvel's Batman." And though there are some fairly vague similarities between the two, Marc Spector and Bruce Wayne are pretty different in terms of personality and backstory. However, there is a Marvel character who was originally an unabashed clone of the Dark Knight, and in April 20's Avengers #55, he joins the Avengers. 

We're talking about Kyle Richmond, who in one of his incarnations was a long-time Defender.

What does "one of his incarnations" mean?"

Keep reading.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Created in 1969 by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema, Nighthawk was a member of the Squadron Sinister, an evil analogy of DC’s Justice League. The team included the Superman knockoff Hyperion, Green Lantern copy Doctor Spectrum, and Kyle Richmond, AKA Nighthawk, a non-powered, billionaire villain that mimicked Batman.

The team of villains proved fairly popular at the House of Ideas and, eventually, their villain status was changed. A heroic version of the team known as the Squadron Supreme was introduced in 1971, then reimagined once again as darker, 'mature' superpowered characters in a 2003 series by J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank published by Marvel's then adult-oriented MAX imprint. Though the characters were still "heroes," the series was a lot grittier.

[Here's both the full story of the Squadron Supreme, and Nighthawk's own complicated history that explains which Kyle Richmond joined the Avengers].

Just like the rest of his teammates, Nighthawk’s story went from supervillain to superhero to antihero, breaking out of the mature-reader book into his own series in 2016. Although this series, written by David Walker and drawn by Ramon Villalobos, was not published under Marvel MAX, it did feature a very dark version of the character who is a lot more comfortable with killing than his DC counterpart.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

With all the struggles he went through to become and stay a hero in the Marvel Universe, would you believe that Nighthawk was once again revealed to be a villain? Unfortunately, it's true, though it wasn't his fault.

Nighthawk and the rest of the latest incarnation of the Squadron, in this case, called the Squadron Supreme of America, were recently revealed in Avengers to be not just figurative, but literal clones. 

The team was bred by an evil Phil Coulson (you read that right), working for Marvel ultra-villain Mephisto (you read that right too) in a plot for world domination that involved remaking reality into a world without Avengers in the 2021 summer event story Heroes Reborn. Coulson, Mephisto, and the Squadron Supreme of America's plans were foiled after Nighthawk discovered their sinister plot and dedicated himself to ending it, despite the fact that it is the reason for his existence.

Avengers #55 follows Nighthawk on his journey to destroy the evil he encounters. Written by Jason Aaron, drawn by Javier Garrón, colored by David Curiel, and lettered by Cory Petit, Nighthawk responds to a killing spree by the Serpent Society, reptilian-themed supervillains who, in this version, are cultists who worship an ancient snake deity. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

If you haven’t already guessed, that deity is just one of the many forms that Mephisto takes - many of whom are revealed as part of the inter-Multiversal group of versions of Mephisto known as the Council of Red that was first seen in the conclusion of the aforementioned Heroes Reborn.

Though he's too late to save any lives, Nighthawk takes down the group of metahuman murderers. When the Avengers arrive moments later, he warns them to stay out of his way, but they counter with an offer. They'd like to join forces and take down Mephisto together.

After a brief council meeting at the Avengers' new HQ at the North Pole (no, they don't make toys on the side), Earth's Mightiest Heroes take a vote and make Nighthawk an official member. Though Nighthawk doesn't relish working with a team, he decides it would be beneficial to receive their help in taking down the evil that created him - meaning Mephisto - so he accepts.

With Nighthawk's addition, the current Avengers roster now consists of stalwarts Captain America, Iron Man, Thor (their current rotating field commander), and Captain Marvel, along with Jane Foster/Valkyrie, Namor, Echo/Phoenix (Maya Lopez from Disney Plus's Hawkeye), Blade (along with his ward, 'Boy-Thing', a young clone of Man-Thing), Starbrand, and Nighthawk.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

As soon as his membership is official via a full-team vote, NIghthawk gets down to brass tacks, claiming he may know a place they can find Mephisto, although it may be difficult to get there.

"We'll need a time machine," he tells them.

The effect of the new Nighthawk joining the Avengers is still to be determined. How long will he stay? And does his hint at a time machine have anything to do with the Avengers 1,000,000 BC? We know that part of the Avengers storyline is leading up to the ancient team's involvement. Whatever those answers turn out to be, be sure to keep an eye on Newsarama for a full skinny.

Batman himself once actually met the Avengers, and believe it or not, that might not have been the craziest thing that happened in comics that year. Join Newsarama in taking a look back at the insanity that was 1996.

Grant DeArmitt
Freelance writer

Grant DeArmitt is a NYC-based writer and editor who regularly contributes bylines to Newsarama. Grant is a horror aficionado, writing about the genre for Nightmare on Film Street, and has written features, reviews, and interviews for the likes of PanelxPanel and Monkeys Fighting Robots. Grant says he probably isn't a werewolf… but you can never be too careful.