Nocturna from Detective Comics #530
Artist Gene Colan
|Created by||Doug Moench (writer)
Gene Colan (artist)
Natasha Natalia Knight
Natalie Metternich (alias Natalia Mitternacht)
|Team affiliations||Injustice League
Secret Society of Super Villains
|Notable aliases||Mistress of the Night|
|Abilities||expert tactician and burglar|
Nocturna is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The first storyline involving her began in Detective Comics #529 (August 1983), but her first appearance is credited to Batman #363 (September 1983), where she is first actually seen and mentioned by name. Nocturna was created by Doug Moench and Gene Colan.
Fictional character biography
Natalia Knight had a hard childhood. She grew up on the streets as a beggar. She was eventually found and taken in by Charles Knight, who adopted her and provided her with a life of luxury.
She has a passion for astronomy and the night and eventually found a job at Gotham City Observatory. While working there one night, she became victim to a radioactive laser, which drained her skin of all pigment. It also rendered her sensitive to light.
After Charles Knight was murdered, she discovered that her lifestyle was funded by criminal activity. It was then that she met Charles' son, Anton Knight, who fell in love with her. They both decided to keep the inheritance and took it upon themselves to keep them in their accustomed lifestyle through burglary, since Natalia needed expensive medical equipment to treat her hypopigmentation.
Anton, having spent much time in Asia, proved to be a highly capable martial artist. He and Natalia entered a life of crime together, he as the Thief of Night, and she as Nocturna, Mistress of the Night. However their burglary soon brought them into conflict with Batman.
After several clashes with Batman, Anton was captured and sent to prison. Nocturna remained free and continued her life of crime along with a new ally, Nightshade. Nocturna would conceive the plans of robbery and theft, Nightshade and his people would carry out the crimes. Once the scheme had run its course, Nocturna called it quits. During this time, she became an intimate friend of both Bruce Wayne and the Batman, something that made both lives more complicated, especially after they had slept together after Bruce lost custody of Jason. She also became a surrogate mother to Jason Todd, the second Robin, and even adopted him. Not wanting Bruce out of Jason's life she proposed that there was only one sensible solution. She and Bruce must get married at once.
Anton Knight finally escaped and, after being rejected by his beloved Nocturna, changed his style and became the murderous Night-Slayer. He killed Nightshade, even trading identities with a delirious Batman. After being betrayed one time too many by Nocturna, Anton vowed to kill her. However, it never came to that, as Night-Slayer was captured by Catwoman. Nocturna, having been stabbed, was last seen being put into a balloon by Jason Todd which he then set off into the air.
She first encounters Spoiler after leaving a theater where she had been playing the piano. Her music caused everyone in the theater, including Robin, to cry; with the exception of Spoiler (who was recovering from a cold). Outside the theater, she is attacked by an unknown man, but rescued by Spoiler. She refuses to share her name with Stephanie to provide to the police. This causes Spoiler to become suspicious of her, and eventually Spoiler and Robin perform a stakeout at the theater where she performs. During her performance, Spoiler cries but Robin (who has his nose plugged) is unmoved by Natalia's music. Spoiler later track Natalia to her apartment and helps her save her scientific research papers when it is discovered that her apartment is on fire.
While Natalia stays at Spoiler's house, Robin and Spoiler learn that Natalia secretes a pheromone that causes those around her to become emotional and lose their inhibitions. They deduce that the pheromones caused her attacker, a former schizophrenic patient named Dylan Arthur Prescott, to relapse and attack her. When confronted with this information, Natalia denies any knowledge of her powers. She had been an aspiring scientist that eventually quit the scientific field once she contracted her powers, which caused her to lose her inhibitions and pursue other interests (including playing the piano, acquiring a medieval sense of fashion, and other unconventional choices). Robin and Spoiler convince her to visit STAR Labs to have her powers examined.
Spoiler and Natalia developed a friendship and Spoiler shared a great amount of personal information with Natalia while her nose was not plugged. When her nose was plugged, she was able to control what she said and how she behaved around Natalia. After Spoiler contacted Natalia's estranged mother, Natalia fled from her. Robin and Spoiler eventually found her as she was being confronted by Prescott. After a mental showdown, Prescott flees from Robin and Spoiler and dies from electrocution on an underground railway. Spoiler then convinced Natalia to return to STAR Labs for further testing; otherwise, she would contact her mother again.
Although she does not assume the Nocturna identity during this storyline, the title the story in Robin #105 is "Exit Natalia, Enter... Nocturna?". Series writer Jon Lewis, who was reintroducing characters that had encountered various versions of Robin, confirmed that she is a "rebuild of Nocturna".
One Year Later, Nocturna appears in the Black Canary/Green Arrow Wedding Special #1 as a member of the Injustice League. She's next seen in Salvation Run as a member of Vandal Savage's camp, her appearance in this title borrowing from Bruce Timm's unused Batman: The Animated Series concept artwork.
Recently, she appeared in Trinity as an opponent to Hawkman, appearing in an updated version of her classic appearance and using a hot-air balloons as transportation. She then had cameos in the Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? and Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? one-shots, where she battles her former friend Spoiler (who comments that Nocturna has given up on hot air balloons) and uses stealth technology to turn invisible during their fight.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Nocturna first appears as an inmate of Arkham Asylum during the Night of the Owls storyline. Later in the Forever Evil storyline, Nocturna is among the villains recruited by the Crime Syndicate of America to join the Secret Society of Super Villains.
Nocturna appears in issue 16 of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comics. She hypnotizes Teen Titans Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Speedy into fighting Batman, until he uses high-frequency sound to snap their trances.
In other media
- Nocturna was scheduled to appear in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series as a vampire, but the episode was canceled after Fox censors objected to the storyline, which would have involved Batman being turned into a vampire and craving human blood. Producer Alan Burnett later recounted the events by saying "We also wanted to do a Nocturna story – Bruce had drawn a hot model of her - but she’s a vampire, which would’ve involved bloodletting, which was a huge no-no for kids TV."
- When asked about Nocturna appearing in The New Batman Adventures, producer and writer Paul Dini stated "We'd like to use her, but the network (WB Network) still says 'no' to vampires." Ultimately, Nocturna never appeared in the show.
- "Robin #101". Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Robin #102". Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Robin #103". Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Robin #104". Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Robin #105". Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "The Nocturna storyline: should it be collected?". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- Detective Comics vol. 2 #9
- Forever Evil #1
- "The World's Finest - Batman: The Animated Series". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-12-30.