Nightwatch (comics)

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Nightwatch HCV.jpg
Cover art for Nightwatch #1.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics;
First appearanceAs Kevin Trench:
Web of Spider-Man #97 (February 1993)
As Nightwatch:
Web of Spider-Man #99 (April 1993)
Created byTerry Kavanagh
Alex Saviuk
Joe Rubinstein
In-story information
Full nameKevin Barry Trench
AbilitiesEnhanced strength, agility and reflexes
Hand-to-hand combatant
Flight via cape

Nightwatch is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He exists in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe. His original costume and characterization are strongly imitative of the character Spawn as seen in Image Comics.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Nightwatch's alter ego, Dr. Kevin Barry Trench, first appeared in 1993, in Web of Spider-Man #97. Trench took on the Nightwatch identity two issues later, in Web of Spider-Man #99.

Most of his appearances came in the 1990s in various titles starring Spider-Man and in his own short lived, self-titled series. One of his more prominent roles was in the Maximum Carnage crossover, a fourteen part miniseries that ran in the Spider-Man titles in 1993. The character returned in a 2014-2015 storyline in She-Hulk, where his history was significantly retconned.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Nightwatch was Doctor Kevin Trench, who witnessed a costumed man die battling some terrorists armed with invisibility-generating 'cloaking" devices, and unmasked the corpse to learn that it was an older version of himself.

Freaking out, Trench stripped the costume from "his" body and fled to a deserted island, reasoning that if he just never wore the suit or went home, he wouldn't die.[2] Events conspired to bring him back, as the criminal Alfredo stole one of the costume gloves after washing up on the island and being nursed to health by Trench.[3] After Alfredo had been dealt with, Trench decided that he couldn't avoid his destiny, and decided to investigate the costume's origins.[2]

In the interim, he battled menaces like the "Maximum Carnage" gang, who were wreaking havoc across New York and slaughtering dozens of innocent civilians. He had many allies in the fight, including, but not limited to, Captain America, Black Cat, Deathlok and Firestar.[4] He also fought the mutated Deathmask.[volume & issue needed] Graduating into his own book, Nightwatch encountered similar "cloaked" villains, and was shocked when their technology merged with and enhanced his costume.[5] In between battling menaces like Flashpoint, Cardiac (whose technology had been stolen to create the more vicious Cardiaxe), and Venom, Nightwatch discovered that an old ex-girlfriend was working for the shady Morelle Pharmaceuticals on a nanotech project.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimately, project head Phillip Morelle proved to be recklessly conducting nanotech experiments to make a replacement skin for his dying son Justin. Nightwatch fought his way onto Phillip Morelle's space station to confront him but not before Phillip sends two assassins into the past to kill Nightwatch using his nanotechnology to open a time portal. Much to both Nightwatch and Phillips surprise that same time technology allows a future version of Justin Morelle to travel into the present. Future Justin, armed with a more advanced version of Nightwatch's own suit, kills his father and reveals that the nanotechnology his father was developing produced a dangerously unstable energy matrix that in his time line devastated North America killing billions. Justin upgraded Nightwatch's armor to its final evolution and the two of them worked together to destroy the space station before the disaster could happen.[6] In the epilogue present day Justin Morelle, the son of Phillip and Trench's ex, received the nanotech skin from the project as his father had dreamed. Seeing his ex happy with her healed son Nightwatch chose to travel into the past and complete the time loop with Cardiac's help, ensuring his own death but also ensuring the cataclysm timeline would never come to pass ensuring this happy ending would be the true timeline. The series ends with Kevin's trip into the past while future Justin's fate remains unclear.[7]

Retcon death[edit]

When Nightwatch is shot in the chest by El Toro Negro,[8] he uses the last of his costume's power to go back in time to warn his past self. In the past, he is distracted by a fight with terrorists and dies before he can warn himself.[volume & issue needed]

Reappearance and reinvention[edit]

Nightwatch's storyline was significantly retconned in the 2014-2015 run of She-Hulk. In the story, Kevin Trench reappears in street clothes at the newly established law practice of Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. the She-Hulk, regarding a legal case referred to only as "the blue file", involving several costumed superhumans, including Walters and Trench, which an unrevealed agency seems determined to keep unresolved. No explanation is given regarding Trench's previously established "deaths"; instead, he is stated as " extremely low profile", using the Nightwatch nanotech sparingly while maintaining a medical practice and doing charity work. He aids Walters in beating back a sudden assault from grotesque creatures, donning the Nightwatch helmet and manifesting tentacles from the inner surface of his trench coat. A few days later, he calls Walters and informs her that he has spread word of her fledgling law practice to other "guys from back in the day--people like me who took what they could from the [superhero] game and moved on", bringing an influx of new potential clients to Walters' office.[9]

However, it is later discovered that Trench himself is behind the attempts to keep Walters from further investigating the "blue file": legal papers regarding a lawsuit filed in a North Dakota county court which names She-Hulk and a small group of heroes and villains as defendants.[10] The suit is a mystery to all involved, as none have any recollection of the plaintiff or having participated in any event in North Dakota. Furthermore, there are no records of any kind or any memories of anyone in the superhero or local community, nor any record of the town in which the actionable event was supposed to have taken place having ever existed.

In truth, the man now known and respected as the retired D-list superhero and wealthy philanthropist "Nightwatch" spent most of his career as a supervillain named "Nighteater."[11] Wishing to become a superhero for selfish reasons (respect, plus a comfortable and safe retirement), he hired Doctor Druid, The Shocker, and Vibro to aid him in casting a powerful spell that effectively "retconned" all memories and all existing documented history into believing that "Nightwatch" had worked for years in the superhero community. The spell consumed the lives of the hundreds of residents of the North Dakota town in which it was cast. It was so successful, however, that when it was complete the four heroes (She-Hulk, Tigra, Monica Rambeau, and Wyatt Wingfoot) who had been trying to save the town immediately joined "Nightwatch" in bringing Druid, Shocker, and Vibro to justice.

The spell was effective for many years. It was finally undermined when the lone survivor of the town, who had failed to convince the law enforcement or hero communities that anything had happened whatsoever, filed the civil suit, and left behind a single document that She-Hulk's paralegal was able to locate. She was able to use this document (and her own unexplained mystic powers) to break She-Hulk and her team of their convictions in Nighteater's false history.

"Nightwatch"/"Nighteater" was brought to justice.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Nightwatch's costume boosted his strength and durability by triggering his adrenal glands, and nanotechnologically repaired itself. His cape responded to his subconscious thoughts to move on its own to attack his foes as well as allowing him to glide on air. After he was boosted by the later-generation Morelle technology, the durability of the costume increased, the cape became more metallic, and he had something closer to true flight in addition to increased speed and eventually nanotech cutting blades.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Web of Spider-Man #100 (May 1993)
  3. ^ Web of Spider-Man #98-99 (March–April 1993)
  4. ^ Web of Spider-Man #103 (August 1993)
  5. ^ Nightwatch #1 (April 1994)
  6. ^ Nightwatch #2-11 (May 1994 - February 1995)
  7. ^ Nightwatch #12 (March 1995)
  8. ^ Spider-Man Unlimited #14 (December 1996)
  9. ^ She-Hulk #6 (July 2014)
  10. ^ She-Hulk #11 (January 2015).
  11. ^ She-Hulk #12 (February 2015)
  12. ^ Kit, Boris (March 4, 2016). "'Spider-Man' Spinoff 'Venom' Revived at Sony (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (March 14, 2018). "Spike Lee Eyes 'Nightwatch' Superhero Movie at Sony". Variety. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Schaefer, Sandy (October 25, 2018). "Spike Lee is Not Making Sony Marvel's Nightwatch Movie". Screen Rant. Retrieved October 26, 2018.

External links[edit]