Nightshade (Marvel Comics)

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First appearance of Nightshade
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Captain America #164 (Aug 1973) (as Nightshade)
Captain America #403 (as Dr Nightshade)
Created by Steve Englehart
Alan Lee Weiss
In-story information
Alter ego Tilda Johnson
Team affiliations MODOK's 11
Partnerships Yellow Claw
Notable aliases Deadly Nightshade,[1] Doctor Nightshade,[2] Queen of the Werewolves
Abilities Extraordinary genius
Wears protective battle armor, including silver spikes
Array of advanced weaponry and humanoid robots
Use of concentrated pheromones to control men through her allure and a chemical serum that turns humans into werewolves
Chemical pheromones in her body allows her to affect the will of certain animals, including werewolves

Nightshade (Tilda Johnson), formerly known as Dr. Nightshade and Deadly Nightshade, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

Nightshade first appeared in Captain America #164 and was created by Steve Englehart and Alan Lee Weiss.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Tilda Johnson was born into poverty in New York City. At an early age, she discovered that she had a natural aptitude for science. As a teenager, she used her extensive knowledge to begin a career as a criminal scientist. The Yellow Claw helped her develop a method for turning normal humans into obedient werewolf-like creatures, and attempted to transform convicts into a werewolf army, but the pair were defeated by Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D.[3] She later took control of a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, and used pheromones to force Captain America to battle the Falcon, but was defeated.[4]

Nightshade used robots to take over the Harlem protection rackets, but was defeated by Power Man and Iron Fist.[5] She later worked with the criminals Stiletto, Discus, Man Mountain Marko, and the Eel in an attempt to rob a debutante's ball, but they were defeated and captured by Power Man and Iron Fist.[6] She later sought to make the Hulk her pawn, but wound up fighting Power Man, Iron Fist, and Machine Man, and was imprisoned again.[7]

Nightshade later appeared as second-in-command of Superia's Femizons. She helped develop a serum to transform men into women which she used on Captain America and Paladin. She also helped Superia develop her sterilization bomb.[8]

She was also involved in a scheme with Dredmund Druid, though as a double agent for Superia. She used a serum to transform Captain America and the ordinary people of Starkesboro, Massachusetts into pseudo-werewolves. She is famous in both comic-book reading circles and supervillains for having turned Captain America into a werewolf known as "Cap Wolf" for a brief period of time.[9]

Nightshade joined MODOK's 11, with the main objective of stealing the powerful Hypernova. It has been revealed after her last battle against the Black Panther, she tried to start her life over without crime. However, as she was self-taught and had no official degrees - the only medical job she could get was as a receptionist at a hospital. After she pointed out a mistake by one of the doctors, she was fired immediately and contemplated suicide, until MODOK contacted her and hired her for the heist. She'd "used up all my second chances" and couldn't afford to turn MODOK down.[10] She developed a friendship with her team-mates Armadillo and Puma, and showed this strongly when backing up Puma in saving the Living Laser's life (and secretly giving him his Puma powers back through her "werewolf serum"). The three of them were the only villains to remain loyal to MODOK and get their cash (with a bonus); they appear to be sticking together, and she's offered to help Puma with his legal defense.[11]

During the Shadowland storyline, Nightshade organized Flashmob (a group of former Luke Cage enemies consisting of Chemistro III, Cheshire Cat, Comanche, Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton, Mr. Fish II, and Spear) in order to take on the new Power Man, Victor Alvarez. Although Flashmob was defeated and incarcerated at Ryker's Island, Nightshade's solicitor Mr. Donovan mentions that he has plans to have them released from Ryker's Island.[12]

During the Spider-Island storyline, Nightshade is among the villains that have been infected by the bedbugs that bestowed spider powers on her. She alongside Cottonmouth and Flashmob ended up fighting Heroes for Hire.[13]

A reformed Nightshade later allies with the Chicago-based vigilante Nighthawk.[14]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Tilda Johnson is an extraordinary genius, and extensively self-taught in genetics, biochemistry, cybernetics, robotics and physics. She also obtained a doctoral degree from an undisclosed university while in prison.

Nightshade sometimes wears protective battle armor, including silver spikes for protection from attack by werewolves. She has created an array of advanced weaponry, and has built numbers of humanoid robots. She created a chemical serum to transform normal humans into werewolves under her control and has used concentrated pheromones to control men through her allure.

Nightshade apparently secretes chemical pheromones from her body that affect the will of certain animals, including werewolves, making them obedient to her commands.

Other Marvel characters named Nightshade[edit]

Netherworld Nightshade[edit]

The man also known as Nightshade is from the Netherworld and the twin brother of Wolfsbane. He wielded Excalibre but his sword was shattered by the Black Knight. He could transform into a giant raven and used the enchanted sword Nightbringer.[15]

Nightshade 2099[edit]

In the alternate future set in 2099 A.D., Nightshade 2099 is a research organization rivaling Alchemax. Members included Angela Daskalakis, Miss Pivot, and Travesty.[16] The team were all killed.[17]


  1. ^ Captain America #164
  2. ^ Captain America #403
  3. ^ Captain America and the Falcon #164
  4. ^ Captain America and the Falcon #189-190
  5. ^ Power Man and Iron Fist #51-53
  6. ^ Power Man and Iron Fist #110
  7. ^ Marvel Team-Up Annual #3
  8. ^ Captain America #389-391
  9. ^ Captain America #403-408
  10. ^ MODOK's 11 #3
  11. ^ MODOK's 11 #5
  12. ^ Shadowland: Power Man #2
  13. ^ Spider-Island: Heroes for Hire #1
  14. ^ David Walker (w), Ramon Villalobos (p), Ramon Villalobos (i), Tamra Bonvillain (col), VC's Joe Caramagna (let), Katie Kubert (ed). Nighthawk v2, #1 (25 May 2016), United States: Marvel Comics
  15. ^ Hulk Comic (UK) #23
  16. ^ Spider-Man 2099 #26
  17. ^ Spider-Man 2099 #29