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Cover to Batman: Death and the Maidens #3.
Klaus Janson, artist
|First appearance||Detective Comics #783 (August, 2003)|
|Created by||Greg Rucka
|Team affiliations||League of Assassins
Secret Society of Supervillains
|Notable aliases||Nyssa al Ghul|
|Abilities||Uses her father's Lazarus Pits to restore life and heal wounds; knowledgeable in the study of alchemy; genius rivals that of her father.|
Fictional character biography
In Batman: Death and the Maidens, it is revealed that Ra's al Ghul had a love child born during his travels in Russia in the 19th century named Nyssa. Enamored by the romantic stories that her mother told her about Ra's as a child, Nyssa sets out to find Ra's and eventually locates him at his headquarters in North Africa.
Impressed by her beauty, her warrior skills, and the fact that she was able to locate him, she is promoted to a position similar to that later held by her half-sister, Talia. As a right hand associate, she accompanies him during his adventures. Ra's is so impressed with her abilities, he even allows Nyssa to use his Lazarus Pits. Like her sister Talia, Nyssa eventually becomes disenchanted with Ra's genocidal plans to "cleanse the Earth," and disassociates herself from her father sometime in the early 19th century. Ra's reluctantly approves this, believing that she will return to him and that she or her children will become his future heirs. To his disappointment, Nyssa refuses to give herself or her family to him, causing him to disown her permanently. He does however allow her to keep a Lazarus Pit for herself and, much to his surprise, she finds a way to reuse it, allowing her to survive until modern times.
The Second World War
During World War II, Nyssa and her family are sent to a concentration camp, where Nyssa's entire family dies and she is rendered infertile by gruesome Mengele-style experiments. At one point she begs Ra's for help, but he refuses her, stating that, while he does not agree with Hitler's ideas, his cause could only be aided by the millions who will be exterminated by Hitler's scheme.
Death and the Maidens
Broken by her horrifying experiences during this time, and enraged that Ra's has abandoned her and her family to die at the hands of the Nazis, Nyssa is finally motivated to act when her great-grandson – her last living descendent – is killed. She plots to kill Ra's by befriending, kidnapping, and brainwashing Talia and using her to kill Ra's. To this end, she captures Talia and, using a Lazarus Pit, kills and resurrects her in rapid succession, leaving Talia virtually broken from the trauma of dying again and again in so short a time. Rendered apathetic by her time in the camp, unable to feel anything, Nyssa then attempts to destroy all hope and optimism in the world by assassinating Superman with Kryptonite bullets she steals from the Batcave, hoping that, by uniting the world in one moment of tragedy, she will manage to rouse herself once more.
While Batman is successful in preventing the assassination of Superman, he is unable to stop Ra's from being killed by Nyssa. This in turn is part of a greater plan by Ra's to ensure that his daughters, both initially dissatisfied with his plans, will realize that he is right, and that they would come to accept their destinies as his heirs. Realizing and accepting this, both Nyssa and Talia become the heads of the League of Assassins. Talia disavows her love for Bruce Wayne, and both sisters declare Batman to be their enemy, Nyssa promising that she will not fail her father as Batman departs.
Nyssa is in possession of one of the world's last Lazarus Pits, which has granted her longevity and the ability to heal her wounds; she survives The Holocaust thanks to its powers. She also found the ability to use the pit multiple times. She is also extremely wealthy, especially since she assumes control of Ra's' organization and joins forces with Talia. Like her father and sister, she knows Batman's secret identity and the location of the Batcave.
In the Batcave, a Lazarus Pit was created by Batman after he learned that the Pits were necessary to maintain the stability of the world. A third seems to exist high in the Himalayas, used by Black Adam to revive Isis. A fourth Lazarus Pit was revealed to exist in the Australian outback; and a fifth in Tibet.
During "Infinite Crisis", Nyssa and her sister connive to use Talia's membership in Luthor's Secret Society of Super Villains in order to take over the planet. Nyssa tries to recruit Batgirl (as Cassandra Cain) to stand at her side as "The One Who Is All". She attempts to explain why she is working with the villains of the Society to Batgirl:
"Vast stockpiles of food rot, while people starve. Millions die from curable diseases, while drug companies rake in the billions. Our environment chokes on our waste, becoming so toxic that life fails. It's genocide by greed, apathy, and neglect. These are the real crimes. Something must change."
"But ... they're evil."
"The Society's plans are vast ... they will succeed. I can't stop them. When the world gets a true taste of violent oppression, and their heroes lie dead and broken – apathy will die. That's when you'll lead my league to sanction key society members. Leaving Talia and I to lead the revolution. A new world will be born, one of peace and equality. Millions of lives will be saved."—Batgirl #67, written by Andersen Gabrych
Cassandra refuses, and, along with Mr. Freeze, escapes from Nyssa's grasp.
In "One Year Later", Nyssa is seen in Northern Africa, planning an unknown plot with two terrorists. As she gets into her car to leave, it explodes. In the following issue, Lady Shiva reports that Nyssa Raatko is dead, probably killed by the League of Assassins.
In other media
- Nyssa appears as a recurring character in the CW series Arrow, portrayed by Katrina Law. Her existence is first hinted at in the episode "League of Assassins", when a member of the League refers to "the child of Ra's al Ghul". In "Heir to the Demon", Nyssa appears in Starling City with the intention of bringing Sara Lance, a former League of Assassins member, with whom she had a romantic relationship, back to Nanda Parbat and the League. Nyssa's last name is al Ghul, rather than Raatko (although she uses the latter name as an alias), and she is as skilled an archer as Oliver Queen/The Arrow. Because of her relationship with Nyssa, Sara was many times referred to as the "beloved", mostly by the members of the League (similarly to Batman being Talia's "beloved"). In the end, she releases Sara from her obligation to the League, and disappears. She returned in the season finale episode "Unthinkable" where she and the League assisted Oliver, Sara and Roy Harper against Slade Wilson's army in exchange for Sara's return to the League. She and Sara left the City with the League. She made an appearance at the ending of the season 3 episode "Corto Maltese" where she attacks Oliver and Roy and angrily asks about Sara, seemingly unaware of Sara's murder. She takes a larger role in the following episode, "The Magician". After learning that Sara is dead, Nyssa seeks out Malcolm Merlyn, who she believes to be Sara's killer. Nyssa succeeds in tracking Merlyn down, although he claims that he did not kill Sara, which Nyssa does not believe. After Oliver says that he will defend Malcolm for as long as he is in Starling City, Nyssa leaves, stating that Oliver has made himself an enemy of the League.
- Nyssa Raatko is referenced in Batman: Arkham Origins. She is mentioned on Lady Shiva's assassin profile as an associate of Lady Shiva alongside David Cain and Richard Dragon.
- Death and The Maidens #8 (May 2004)
- Robin (vol. 4) #148 (May 2006)
- Robin (vol. 4) #149 (June 2006)
- "The First Official Photo From The Arrow Season Finale – With A Returning Guest". Green Arrow TV. April 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-28.