|Debut:||DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980)|
Sentinels of Magic
Raven is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980), and was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez. Raven is an empath who can teleport and control her "Soul Self", which can fight physically as well as act as Raven's eyes and ears away from her body. Raven's chronology is typically separated into three lives; her first life, 18 years, was spent in the Temple Azarath and creating The New Teen Titans. Her second life began once she started wearing the garb of White Raven, and lasted under two years. Her third life, is her current form. Unlike the transition between her first and second lives, with her third life came a new, younger body.
A minor male character known as "The Raven" was introduced in 1942 by publisher Quality Comics. This hero was more based on the bird and didn't have magical powers. Aside from assisting the heroine Spider Widow in a few cases, no further details have as yet been revealed of this character.
A character with a morbid past and origins, Raven is the half-breed daughter of a human mother named Arella and the interdimensional demon Trigon. She grew up in an alternate dimension called Azarath, with pacifistic inhabitants whose spiritual leader was the mystic Azar. In her homeland, she was taught to "control her emotions" by Azar, in order to suppress her inherited demonic powers. Essentially, it was feared that if Raven was allowed to feel any strong emotion, she could become a demon like her father.
During this time, Raven rarely saw her mother and grew detached from her. Upon Azar's death, Arella began the task of raising and teaching Raven. Around this same time, Raven's demonic heritage was revealed, as she met her father face to face for the first time. Soon after her 16th birthday, Raven learned that Trigon planned to come to her dimension, and she vowed to stop him.
Raven initially approached the Justice League, but they refused her on the advice of Zatanna, who sensed her demonic parentage. In desperation, she reformed the Titans as the New Teen Titans to fight her father. The team consisted of Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy.
Kid Flash only agreed to be a member after Raven used her powers to coerce him into loving her. On another meeting with the Justice League, Zatanna revealed this information, which caused the other Titans to turn away and mistrust Raven. Only much later is it revealed that she manipulated Kid Flash's emotions in order to save his life and removed his knowledge of the encounter  .
This separation didn't last long when Trigon kidnapped Raven to his home dimension. The team defeated Trigon and sealed him in an interdimensional prison with the help of Arella, who stayed at the interdimensional door as Trigon's Guardian. However, Raven continued to fight her father's influence as he wasn't completely destroyed. For a period of time, Raven lost control several times in high-stress situations, but managed to regain control before Trigon could assert himself.
Popular storylines such as "The Judas Contract" took place during this period. Eventually, however, Trigon escaped his prison, came to Earth, and took control of Raven, destroying Azarath in the process. The Titans came together and were forced to kill Raven, thereby allowing the souls of Azarath to possess her and guided by the spirit of Azar, who was acting through the body of the Titans' ally Lilith, used her as a channel to kill Trigon. After this battle, Raven rose again from the ashes, purged of Trigon's evil, and vanished.
Between the periods that we know to be Raven's first and second lives, Raven's whereabouts were unknown even to The Monitor, a character who has knowledge of all beings in all parallel dimensions that contain Earth. This suggests that during this period, Raven transcended Earth for a non-parallel dimension. Raven was briefly mentioned in one panel (issue #2, page 22), suggested as an alternative to Psycho-Pirate as an empath in the Monitor's plans. She was also mentioned as an alternative for the Anti-Monitor in issue #5, page 2.
Later on, the minions of the Titan's enemy, Brother Blood, captured Raven to control Nightwing (the former Robin) as part of Blood's plans of resurrection. The Titans rescued them both and prevented Brother Blood from returning. Raven then donned a white cloak to represent freedom from her father's influence.
Some time later after being free to feel, Raven found she was able to not only sense, but control others' emotions. Strangely, this power was introduced as totally new, yet she had this ability as early as the first New Teen Titans story-arc. She learned to handle this power only after unintentionally making Dick Grayson/Nightwing believe that he loved her for a brief time, when she thought that she was in love with him. It was during this incident that Starfire and Raven became close friends. Raven also fostered a relationship with technopath Eric Forrester, who was using the life force of women he seduced to regain some of his lost humanity, a result of interfacing with computers. Forrester knew that Raven's soul-self could help him to permanently retain his humanity. This attempt was cut short by the intervention of Joseph Wilson (Jericho), who helped Raven overcome her love for Forrester by destroying him and saving herself.
Raven's life went on without change until she was kidnapped by the Wildebeest Society during the Titans Hunt storyline. The Wildebeest, lead by the Trigon-possessed souls of Azarath, were going to use several Titans to bring about the return of Trigon. During a massive battle in the remains of Azarath, Raven was possessed by the evil souls and once again became the evil doppelgänger of her father. Arella, along with Danny Chase, used the power of Azar's soul to cleanse Raven; however, through the battle, her body was destroyed, and Arella and Danny joined the cleansed souls of Azarath to become Phantasm.
Now free of its bodily prison, the evil energy that was Trigon's in Raven's soul took on sentience and possessed a metahuman with a resemblance to Raven. Raven appeared possessed by her evil conscience, and attempted to implant Trigon's seed into new bodies. She interrupted Nightwing and Starfire's wedding, and implanted a seed of Trigon into Starfire. Instead of corrupting her, she actually implanted the soul of the good Raven. This caused Starfire to leave Earth in order to escape from the evil Raven, who implanted seeds into several other superheroes. The Titans were able to defeat her only because of the help they received from Phantasm.
Raven returned later, still evil, in order to destroy the good version of herself implanted in Starfire.
In this spirit form, Raven wandered Earth looking for her place in the world when Brother Blood came to claim her. Her spirit was reincarnated in the body of a teenage girl by the Church of Blood. A new incarnation of the Teen Titans discovered that the Church of Blood were worshipers of Raven's father, Trigon. They also found a prophecy which told of the marriage between Brother Blood and Raven that would result in Armageddon. The team interrupted the wedding, and Raven forced the cult to escape. She then joined the Teen Titans and enrolled at a high school as Rachel Roth in honor of her mother's birth name.
After her rebirth, Raven began developing romantic feelings for her teammate Gar Logan (a.k.a. Beast Boy), and the two recently became romantically attached, having known each other since adolescence. It has been confirmed that this relationship has been intended by writer Geoff Johns since long before the animated series began.
Due to the effects of the Spectre's destruction of magic during the Day of Vengeance storyline, Raven's magical powers weaken and slip out of her control. She continues to fight, helping the Titans both in evacuating the shattered city of Blüdhaven and battling Superboy-Prime.
During the missing year, Raven assists Steel in launching an attack on Lexcorp when Natasha was captured by Luthor. The Titans (consisting of Beast Boy, Raven, Young Frankenstein, Hawk, Dove, Zachary Zatara and Terra fight Black Adam in Greece and the Himalayas. Raven attempts to stop Black Adam, but he shatters her soul-self, and causes her to experience psychic backlash from the deaths of Young Frankenstein and Terra.
See main article: One Year Later.
Raven quits the team after she and Beast Boy end their relationship. She tells the unconscious Cyborg that Beast Boy was stressed by being team leader, and she even compares him with Nightwing. Letting the others think she's leaving because of Gar, Raven actually leaves because she's uncovered a secret of one of the other Titans.
After teleporting a whole night long, Raven runs from unseen pursuers, with a book of unclear significance. Raven has a diskette containing Jericho's soul. She performs a cleansing ritual over his soul and transfers it into a new body  before returning to the team as a full member.
Raven is later approached by Robin and Wonder Girl, in the hopes that she could resurrect Superboy like she did Jericho. Unfortunately, Raven declares that impossible since Superboy's soul had moved on to the afterlife, while Jericho's soul was kept on a computer disk. Without warning, the Titans are captured by the villainous Titans East and transported to the original Titans Island in New York, where Raven is placed in the "care" of Enigma and Duela Dent, who took to torturing her psychologically. Raven manages her escape by offering Duela membership into the true Titans group. After knocking Enigma and Risk unconscious, Raven, Duela, and Cyborg get reinforcements in the form of Nightwing, Troia, Beast Boy, and Flash (Bart Allen). After beating the East Titans, she reveals hints that she still loves Gar, but he refuses to dwell on the matter, leaving their relationship uncertain.
Following the death of Bart Allen, Raven along with the other adult Titans, decides to leave the team. Raven decides to pursue her chance at attending High School, having never gotten the opportunity before.
Raven will also star in a five-issue mini-series. Marv Wolfman will write the series with art by Damion Scott. It will take place during the missing year, following Raven's attempts at living as a normal teenage girl and attending high school. Unfortunately, she gets inadvertantely drawn into mystical fight for the lives of her classmates. According to Wolfman and Dan DiDio, the series is scheduled to start shipping in late 2007 or early 2008. In the Wizard #177 magazine, Wolfman briefly described the series:
In the latest relaunch title, Titans, Raven and a group of classmates are attacked by a demonic creature, sent by Raven's resurrected father Trigon. She soon joins Beast Boy, Donna Troy, Red Arrow, Starfire, Flash and Nightwing at New York's Titan's Island where Cyborg and his Teen Titans team were attacked by the Deathstroke and the villainous Titans East. These events lead to the creation of the newest team of Titans, which consists of the original New Teen Titans.
In the following issue, Raven discovers that Trigon had more than one child, and that a trio of children devoted to her father are behind the attacks. She is affected along with many of the other Titans by these three beings, who prey on the strongest emotions present in the group at the time (such as Nightwing and Starfire giving in to long suppressed longing for one another, and Flash and Donna Troy's mild envy taken to extremes in a usually calm social interaction). For Raven and Beast Boy, the emotion used against them is their subdued rage and insecurity towards themselves and each other. Raven is attacked at one point by an incensed Garfield, but their fight is broken up by the remaining Titans when they begin to gradually recover from the attack. Raven's three half-brothers then use her and Beast Boy to act as keys to open a portal to Trigon's realm. Raven uses her own power to influence greed in others to make her half-brothers steal what little power Trigon had left. The portal is closed, and Trigon's sons, believing they have gained great power, leave the scene.
While Raven and Beast Boy go out together on a "not-a-date", she informs him that since meeting her half-brothers, she's felt herself being tempted by her father's evil power and fears she will once again turn evil. Although Beast Boy rejects the idea, Raven fear is made reality as her half-brothers later return, and provoke her demonic side, causing to her leave the Titans and join them. However the team was able to track them down and convince Raven to join the side of good once more with the help of a mystical artifact Raven gave Donna Troy should such a situation ever arise. She later provided a number of other artifacts, all capable of killing her, to the Titans as terms for her staying with the team.
Raven aided the Titans in capturing Match, who went on a rampage with Jericho trapped inside of him. Through her powers, she discovered that Jericho was actually in control of Match, not the other way around. Before she could warn the other Titans, Jericho used a device to temporarily knock out the lights. When the back-up generator kicks in, Jericho was gone, and Nightwing deduces he must have possessed one of the Titans in the confusion.
Raven has the psionic ability of empathy, the power to absorb emotions, enabling her to feel the feelings of others. She can also use her empathy to steal emotions from others, rendering them emotionally "numb". She can absorb the pain of injured people to ease their suffering, and induce rapid healing. There is some ambiguity as to what happens to the pains Raven takes in after she has healed another person. In some sources (New Titans #50) it is stated that Raven feels these pains for the rest of her life and merely accepts them. Opposing sources (Who's Who Vol. 1) state that once Raven takes others' pains into her body, they are then expunged. She has the ability to heal herself and others, as she did when defying Trigon's curse against a young girl.
Before her second death, Raven had the ability to force outside emotions into other people, consciously or otherwise. She has used this ability many times, first notably on Wally West, in order to save his life. Later, after being freed from her father's powers and starting her second life, she had a short-lived romance with Nightwing and unintentionally used her power to make him believe that he did love her, but it ended when Starfire, who became her close friend, convinced her that she wasn't really in love with Dick Grayson as she thought. She has not demonstrated this ability since before Infinite Crisis.
With her rebirth , Raven gained the ability to fly. This power previously had only manifested when Raven gave herself completely to her father's evil power, or when she was under an evil influence such as during the Titan Plague storyline in New Titans #62-65.
Raven can manifest her "Soul-Self" through astral projection. It normally takes the form of either her human shape or a giant raven. Through the use of her soul-self, Raven can project her consciousness into the mind, for therapeutic purposes (to aid in her own meditation, or to help calm an agitated ally), or for offensive attacks, rendering her enemies unconscious (yet otherwise unharmed). It also serves as a way to travel into other dimensions. In many instances, her soul-self has also functioned as a "shield," although it seems to absorb attackers and projectiles rather than repel them. In The New Teen Titans vol. 1 #17 (1982), she used this ability a few times to absorb the objects that Francis Kane had uncontrollably drawn towards herself. These objects included all manner of household appliances, eventually progressing to other objects such as road signs and steel bars. However, Raven admitted during the issue that she could not sustain her soul self long under such conditions. Her soul self also 'regurgitated' the objects after the danger. Using her soul-self, she can convert her physical body into her 'soul-self' (see Birthmark) and carry/teleport (or rather, use portals to move between dimensions) herself and others over vast distances.
In The New Teen Titans foundation storyline, Raven explained she was able to predict Trigon's invasion of the Earth-2 dimension. She was unable to control or consciously activate it, but happens occasionally. It is unknown whether she still possesses this ability in her current body. In the animated series, during the episode "Titan Rising", when Terra runs and brushes past Raven, images past and foreign of Terra and Slade flash through Raven's mind, possibly a small precognition of Terra's eventual betrayal. Shortly after the character was introduced, she was shown to have the ability to project mental illusions into someone's memory (see Ravager in The New Teen Titans #4). She has also used this on the villainess Phobia, but this ability is usually forgotten.
In a number of instances, Raven has also displayed sorcerous abilities. In New Titans #65, the last issue of the Titan Plague arc, an infected Raven forces unconsciousness upon a then-neophyte Tim Drake with a touch of her finger, and was able to slam Nightwing aside and suspend him upside-down with imperious gestures. In The New Teen Titans Annual #4 (1988), a villain called Muse forced the Titans into individual murderous nightmares. In her dream, Raven retaliated by flying out of his reach and then releasing energies from "within the folds of her cape" that caused him to be consumed by fire. Though these abilities could be dismissed as being part only of her nightmare, it should be noted that none of the other Titans displayed abilities out of their normal powers in their nightmares.
In the Family Lost storyline of current Teen Titans continuity (Teen Titans vol. 3 #8-12), shortly after being resurrected by Brother Blood (Sebastian), a captive Raven tries to summon the Titans though ominous signs, such as possessing several psychics and Beast Boy with her soul-self, by turning a river into blood, animating the skeletal remains of her demon father Trigon, and drawing swarms of migratory birds to her location.
Like her brothers, Raven can induce and amplify one of the seven deadly sins (in her case, pride) in any living being, however doing so will cause her to suffer spells of nausea and vomiting for several days afterward.
In the Teen Titans animated series (2003-2006), Raven (voiced by Tara Strong), appears much younger than in the comic book variants (as do all the other characters), though her hooded cloak is relatively unchanged. Her skirt was, however, changed to a leotard by the animators to avoid several animation complications. She wears a chain belt around her waist as well. Instead of having normal human coloration, Raven is depicted with light gray skin, violet-blue eyes and shoulder-length violet-blue hair. The animated Arella had distinctly Asian facial features, suggesting Raven is partially of Asian ancestry  , but this is debatable. In the Teen Titans movie Trouble in Tokyo, Raven states that she knows English, German, Latin, Romanian, Ancient Sumerian, and Sanskrit.
Raven is often portrayed as the most mature member of the group, often giving sage advice to the others about various subjects, and generally stays calm even in desperate situations. She is, however, also the most emotionally-restrained of the Titans, appearing secretive and distant; she initially does not allow any of her fellow Titans into her room and hangs out all by herself, usually meditating or reading some book. The reasons for her emotional retraining is because her emotions cause her powers to run out of control, and because of her background as Trigon's means of attaining rulership over the Earth. In the course of the series, however, she gradually, if only slightly on the outside, warms up to her teammates. In several instances throughout the show, contrary to her usual behavior, she does show more emotion - such as making lovey dovey eyes along with Starfire at Aqualad in "Deep Six" -, though this is mostly used for comedic effect.
Raven is often easily annoyed with Starfire and Beast Boy, as these Titans' personalities differ drastically from her own. But despite her solitary nature, she depends on the emotional support from her friends, as she seems to lose her sense for reality after the Titans disband in "How Long is Forever?" Though there were hints of feelings for Beast Boy, the only clearly established romantic relationship Raven has in the series is with the dragon Malchior, who later betrays Raven and breaks her heart.In the episode "Nevermore", Beast Boy and Cyborg encounter personified aspects of Raven herself, kept separate from her whole self, within her subconscious. Each aspect is represented as wearing a different colored robe. The one's identified were happy (Pink), timid (gray), and brave (green, which also displayed superhuman strength). The aspect called The Rage (which has a red robe) is the one aspect Raven has the hardest struggle against and which she despises most. On occasion, when she draws on her full emotional power, her robes change from black and blue to pure white ("Nevermore", "Spellbound" and "The End").
The animated version of Raven often says the phrase "Azarath Metrion Zinthos" to help her focus her powers. As previously mentioned, Azarath is the dimension in which she was born and raised, and where she learned her powers from the monks. The words "Metrion" and "Zinthos" were created by Glen Murakami for the spell, and do not have any meaning. These words also serve as her mantra for her daily meditations, which she performs to keep her emotions in check so they do not clash with her conscious self control. When Raven is highly upset, her soul-self can also transform her half-demon body's physiology to alter her appearance to a variety of demonic forms and sizes. When she cannot control her anger, she transforms into a demonic Raven, usually with four glowing, red eyes (a trait inherited from her demon father, Trigon) and sprouting black tentacles from under her cloak. She has little control over her actions in this state, shown in especially in the episode Nevermore when she was attacking a terrified Dr. Light even after he was begging for mercy. Somewhat oddly, when Cyborg was infected with a virus, she threatened Gizmo into helping by lifting and then pulling down her hood. The face was not shown, but, judging by the shadow, it appeared to be a dragon's head with tentacles.
The animated Raven also displayed a large number of limited powers used only under special circumstances. These include teleportation (both of people and objects), telepathy, time manipulation/time travel, precognition, rapid healing (of herself and others), extremely powerful magic spells (with the aid of a spellbook), and the (accidental) creation of various monsters under the denial of fear.
In addition to an affinity for magic and spell casting, Raven possesses powerful telekinetic abilities which manifest in the form of Dark Energy (possibly an extension of her Soul-Self,) serving as her primary means of attack and defense. She can use her abilities to levitate objects (and also herself), project concussive blasts, and form simple shapes like grappling hands and razor sharp plates to use as barriers and/or restricting binds. Her power level is highly dependent on her emotional state, but even when calm her telekinesis is powerful enough to shred steel and throw cars and trucks. Raven can use her Dark Energy to create portals to phase through solid barriers like floors and walls. When her emotions aren't under her control, her powers run wild and break everything around her, in Switched when Starfire was in Raven's body, her inability to control her emotions caused her to break several street lights and blow up a car.
Raven is set to appear in the upcoming video game DC Universe Online.
Warner Bros. is in development on a Teen Titans movie. However, it is unknown if Raven will play a part as Nightwing is the only confirmed member so far.