Copperhead (DC Comics)
Copperhead's first appearance
|First appearance||Brave and the Bold #78 (June 1968)|
|Created by||Bob Haney (writer)
Bob Brown (artist)
|Alter ego||(I) Unknown
(II) Nathan Prince
(III) Larissa Diaz
|Team affiliations||(I) Secret Society of Super Villains
Black Lantern Corps
(II) Terror Titans
Prehensile serpentine tail
Secretes deadly poison
Fictional character biography
The criminal known as Copperhead first appeared in Gotham City in a copperhead costume. He committed numerous thefts before finally being apprehended by Batman and the first Batgirl. Copperhead then turned to more deadly pursuits as a super-assassin, constricting victims to a suffocating death with his costume's tail. During this time, he would become obsessive about his target and think of nothing until the target was dead, which proved to be a weakness at times as he would ignore anything he did not consider immediately relevant. Copperhead used the travel opportunities his freelance career afforded him to pursue his hobby of collecting transistor radios.
Although a master contortionist, Copperhead was largely powerless without his snake-skin costume.
During the Blackest Night storyline, Copperhead has been identified as one of the deceased entombed below the Hall of Justice. He is listed as "John Doe", as his real name had never been discovered. He was reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps. Copperhead is destroyed by the combined efforts of seven Lanterns during the Black Lantern Corps' attack on Coast City.
Teen Titans #56 featured a team of villains called the "Terror Titans", legacy villains whose mantles are inherited from older villains. One of the members shown is identified as Copperhead and appears visually as the character prior to the deal with Neron. The story did not reveal any information about the character or provide context with regard to previous stories.
In the subsequent Terror Titans miniseries, it is revealed that the second Copperhead's true identity is "Nathan Prince", and he is the only member of the Terror Titans who does not have a family connection to his predecessor. As a child, Nathan drowned his baby sibling out of jealousy, and even attempted to kill his parents. Unable to go through with it, he instead ran away to live on the streets, where he would solicit himself, having sex with older men, after which he would kill and rob them. It is still unknown how Prince came to work for Clock King. During The Dark Side Club's metahuman battles, the heroine TNTeena is badly injured, and Clock King tasks Copperhead with watching over her as she recuperates. Copperhead complies, and over time, falls in love with her. However, Nathan is later forced by Clock King to kill her. Nate and the rest of the Terror Titans are then sent to assist the Martyr Militia, a group of brainwashed metahumans, in destroying Los Angeles, but the tables are turned by Ravager and Miss Martian, who uses her telepathy to undo the brainwashing. The Terror Titans flee to their base, only for Clock King to kill Disruptor, and leave them to be apprehended by the metahumans. Two weeks later, Nate breaks his fellow Terror Titans out of custody, and the group swear revenge on Clock King.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Copperhead has been radically changed. Although this appears to be the "John Doe" version of Copperhead, he is depicted as an anthropomorphic snake man as opposed to being a villain wearing a snake costume. Copperhead appears as a member of the Secret Society of Super Villains. He knocks out Catwoman after she had knocked out Professor Ivo while in the Secret Society of Super Villains' hideout.
During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Steve Trevor encounters Copperhead, Deathstroke, and Shadow Thief at the White House when he is looking for the President. Later, Copperhead, Deathstroke, Shadow Thief, Blockbuster, and Giganta turn up in Wayne Industries with Power Ring to fight Batman, Lex Luthor, and other heroes and villains who are against the Crime Syndicate. Copperhead is about to kill Batman when Deathstroke betrays them and kills Copperhead by shooting him in the head.
Powers and abilities
Copperhead's contortionist skills allow him to fit himself into incredibly small spaces (such as chimneys). He originally wore a snake-themed costume. The suit was a weave of metallic and elastic fibers coated in vulnerable points (such as the chest) with Kevlar, making it bulletproof and impenetrable to almost any cutting edged weapon. The costume had been treated with a highly slippery water- and heat-proof silicon gel, allowing Copperhead to slide along any surface and slip out of tight spots. The tail could be stretched several feet and was strong enough to snap bone and shatter stone. The suit's helmet contained two seven-inch-long fangs which were capable of piercing human skin, and were coated in a potent neurotoxin derived from copperhead snakes. The toxin could paralyze a person almost instantly, and death would follow within 30 minutes. Later, Copperhead sold his soul to the demon Neron and was transformed into a human-snake hybrid. His reflexes and agility were greatly increased, and he gained venomous fangs, a forked tongue, claws, and a prehensile tail.
The Copperhead from "The New 52" was similar to the John Doe version, but is an anthropomorphic snake with snake-like abilities.
In other media
- Copperhead appears in the Justice League TV series voiced by Efrain Figueroa and later voiced by Jose Yenque. He is similar to the comic version with a poisonous bite and prehensile tail. Copperhead is generally portrayed as an acrobatic idiot, consistently outsmarting himself in almost every appearance. He is not cowardly, however, having once mocked Superman while the latter attempted to interrogate him. He has been seen as a member of both Lex Luthor's and Aresia's Injustice Gang. He also appears briefly in "Only a Dream" in which he fights with Hawkgirl after he, Firefly, Volcana, Luminus, and Solomon Grundy escape from Stryker's Island.
- Copperhead also appeared in Justice League Unlimited. He appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Kids Stuff", during which Morgaine le Fey's son Mordred used an ancient amulet to transport all of the adults in the world to another dimension, so he could rule the world as king of the kids. When the spell took effect, Copperhead, Blockbuster, Cheetah, and KGBeast were fighting Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman at Fort Knox. When they were teleported to the other dimension Copperhead believed that it was judgement day and they all went to the "bad place", though he is confused when he sees the heroes there. Later on in the series, Copperhead appears is a member of the expanded Secret Society led by Gorilla Grodd. During the mutiny within the Secret Society, he sided with Gorilla Grodd against Luthor. Like the other mutineers, Copperhead was subsequently both frozen solid by Killer Frost and apparently blown up by Darkseid.
- Copperhead appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Legends of the Dark Mite." He is seen robbing a museum only to be thwarted by Green Arrow.
- A female version of the character appears in Gotham portrayed by Lesley-Ann Brandt. Her real name is Larissa Diaz and she is a professional assassin who specializes in contortionism and hand-to-hand combat. She first appeared in "Lovecraft" where she and two unnamed assassins are sent by an as-yet-unknown person to target Selina Kyle after killing Wayne Manor's groundskeeper. While one of the unnamed assassins was killed in a gunfight with Alfred Pennyworth, Copperhead and the other assassin went after Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne. In a discussion with James Gordon, Harvey Dent suspects Dick Lovecraft hired the assassins. When at Dick Lovecraft's condo, Copperhead and the unnamed assassin attacked James Gordon and Dick Lovecraft. Copperhead managed to knock out James Gordon with her contortionist moves. By the time James Gordon regained conscious, he found that Copperhead and the other assassin had managed to kill Dick Lovecraft. Copperhead and the other assassin are tipped off of Selina Kyle's location by her fence Clyde. After the other assassin was knocked out by Selina Kyle, Copperhead held Bruce Wayne at gunpoint asking where Selina Kyle is. Upon Alfred's arrival, Copperhead gets away.
- Copperhead appears in the animated movie Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. He is among the villains that attack Batman and Superman.
- A redesigned female version of Copperhead appears in Batman: Arkham Origins voiced by Rosa Salazar. DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has said that this new incarnation and daughter of Copperhead would appear as a villain in the New 52 "after the game's release." Copperhead is among the eight assassins that are hired by Black Mask to kill Batman. She is portrayed as a skilled contortionist and escape artist wearing metal, clawed gloves coated with a toxin that makes those she scratches experience intense hallucinations before dying. Despite it being the middle of winter, she wears only a revealing vest and pants; even one of Penguin's goons says she's "wearing nothing but ink." This version is also implied to be part of a group of South American assassins who all use the moniker "Copperhead", as Batman is surprised that this Copperhead is a woman as previous versions were supposed to be male. Copperhead first appears in the Sionis Steel Mill, killing some of the Joker's men before attacking Batman as he interrogates Roman Sionis about Joker (who has been posing as Black Mask). Black Mask offers to pay Copperhead double Joker's rate for killing Batman, but Copperhead calls him a fallen king with no money stating that she knows about the Joker causing Black Mask to flee. Copperhead catches Batman by surprise and slips away after she slashes him with a hallucinogenic poison. While infected, Batman experiences visions of Alfred Pennyworth dismissing him as a failure, a female bank manager that Joker killed saying it was his fault for letting her die, and Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb saying he wasn't a real hero for letting him die. Copperhead later attacks him head-on using the toxin to its full advantage as Batman is forced to fight dozens of Copperhead illusions along with the original, fighting more and more Copperheads as the poison weakens him. Eventually, Alfred delivers a cure into the Steel Mill, allowing Batman to easily defeat her and throw her into one of the shipping containers. She tries to bargain for freedom by revealing that a meeting between all the assassins enlisted by "Black Mask" had been called, but Batman leaves her in the shipping yard anyway tracing the meeting using the electromagnetic pulse from Electrocutioner's gloves. Batman later tells Alfred to send an anonymous tip for Captain James Gordon about Copperhead's location. If the player listens in to corrupt cops, they say that Copperhead was put in a cell without bars to prevent her escape (most likely similar to the one Clayface would be put in years later).
- Copperhead's first toy released was an action figure in the Justice League Unlimited toyline with Lex Luthor and Mirror Master. He reappeared as a single figure with a snake as an accessory.
- Copperhead appears in Wave 12 of the DC Universe Classics line of action figures.
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Copperhead", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 87, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Underworld Unleashed #1 (November 1995)
- Damage #18 (November 1995)
- Manhunter #1 (October 2004)
- Blackest Night #1
- Blackest Night #3
- Green Lantern (vol. 4) #50
- Terror Titans #4
- Terror Titans #5
- Terror Titans #6
- Justice League of America vol. 3 #4
- Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1
- Forever Evil #5
- Teen Titans #59
- Siegel, Lucas (July 18, 2013). "SDCC '13: BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS Panel Reveals COPPERHEAD, More.". Newsarama. Retrieved July 18, 2013.