Vigilante (comics)

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Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearance(Greg Saunders)
Action Comics #42 (November 1941)
(Adrian Chase)
New Teen Titans Annual #2 (August 1983)
(Alan Welles)
Vigilante #7 (June 1984)
Vigilante #20 (August 1985; as Vigilante)
(Dave Winston)
Vigilante #23 (November 1985)
Vigilante #28 (April 1986; as Vigilante)
(Patricia Trayce)
Deathstroke the Terminator #6 (April 1992)
(Justin Powell)
Vigilante vol. 2, #1 (November 2005)
(Dorian Chase)
Nightwing vol. 2 #133 (August 2007)
Created by(Greg Saunders)
Mort Weisinger
Mort Meskin
(Adrian Chase)
Marv Wolfman
George Pérez
In-story information
Alter egoGreg Saunders
Adrian Chase
Alan Welles
Dave Winston
Patricia Trayce
Justin Powell
Vincent Sobel (Arrow)
Team affiliations(Greg Saunders)
Seven Soldiers of Victory
All-Star Squadron
Justice League
(Adrian Chase)
Partnerships(Vincent Sobel)
Black Canary (Dinah Drake)
AbilitiesBrilliant marksman
Superb hand-to-hand combatant
(Greg Saunders)
Brilliant marksman
Master of the lariat
Excellent horseman
(Vincent Sobel)
Healing factor

Vigilante is the name used by several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Notable individuals to assume the alias include Greg Saunders and Adrian Chase.

An original incarnation of Vigilante appears in The CW series Arrow, played by Clayton Chitty and Johann Urb and voiced by Mick Wingert. Adrian Chase also appears in the series as a separate character, played by Josh Segarra.

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Greg Saunders[edit]

The original version of Vigilante was a western-themed hero who debuted in Action Comics #42 (November 1941): Greg Sanders but the spelling was changed to Greg Saunders in the 1990s.

Adrian Chase[edit]

Adrian Chase first appeared as the second version of Vigilante in New Teen Titans Annual #2 (August 1983) by writer Marv Wolfman and penciler George Pérez.[1]

Alan Welles[edit]

The third person to assume the Vigilante identity was Alan Welles, a fellow judge and friend of Adrian Chase. His first appearance was in Vigilante #7, and later in Vigilante #20 as Vigilante. He secretly operated in a much more violent manner, even executing petty thieves. His mental instability eventually led him to gun down police officers and civilians. Chase though felt responsible for this threat and began a long investigation to take down Vigilante, until Chase found out he was Welles, forcing Chase to kill him.

Dave Winston[edit]

The fourth person to assume the Vigilante identity was Dave Winston, Adrian Chase's bailiff. He refused to kill and traded on the fierce reputation of Vigilante to intimidate information out of thugs. He debuted in Vigilante #23 and later as Vigilante in Vigilante #28. He believed that the Vigilante's efforts were noble and worthwhile. When Alan Welles was killed after ruining the Vigilante's reputation, Winston took up the mantle believing that the city needed the Vigilante. When Chase found out about Winston's actions, he chose to wash his hands of the affair. When Chase and girlfriend Marcia King boarded a plane for Europe, it was hijacked; Winston and Peacemaker both responded to the emergency, but Winston was killed by Peacemaker in front of Chase, making Chase believe he was unable to escape the Vigilante's legacy.

Pat Trayce[edit]

The next Vigilante was Patricia Trayce, a rogue Gotham City police detective who teams up with Deathstroke the Terminator in the Deathstroke the Terminator series written by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. Trayce found Adrian Chase's gear and adapted the guise. She was also Deathstroke's lover. She first appeared in Deathstroke the Terminator #6. In Deathstroke the Terminator #11, Pat takes up the Vigilante uniform. She was trained by Deathstroke, and soon started to work alone.[citation needed]

Adeline Kane[edit]

Justin Powell[edit]

Late in 2005, DC published a Vigilante limited series by writer Bruce Jones and artist Ben Oliver. The identity of the title character is initially left mysterious, but apparently this is a new incarnation of the character.[citation needed]

His name was Justin "Jay" Sutter. When he encountered a murderer as a child, he created a second personality in his mind, The Vigilante. At some point, he changed his name to Justin Scott Powell and would become the Vigilante subconsciously. While Powell was unaware of the Vigilante personality, the Vigilante knew about Powell. At the miniseries' end, Powell was able to reconcile the two personalities.[citation needed]

The Vigilante was last seen, alongside Wild Dog and the current Crimson Avenger, on a rooftop in the great battle of Metropolis, raining bullets down on the Trigger Twins, the Madmen, the second Spellbinder, and others in Infinite Crisis #7.[citation needed]

Dorian Chase[edit]

The most recent Vigilante appeared in Nightwing #133–137. While he wears a costume similar to Adrian Chase's, it is a new depiction under the mask. Note that Marv Wolfman has pointed out the "321 Days" arc was cut short by two issues due to Batman R.I.P. which required the Nightwing title to feature in it, so the final story as seen ended without any clear closure for any of the characters.[citation needed]

The Vigilante also appears in Gotham Underground, set after his initial encounter with Nightwing.[2] He is shown to be a formidable fighter, but is defeated easily by Batman.[3][4]

Following the events of Vigilante #1 (February 2009), the Vigilante is seen out of costume for the first time and is referred to by his ally JJ as "Dorian". He initially operates under the identity of Joe Flynn, a small-time criminal with a rap sheet, but it is later revealed that the real Joe Flynn is dead. Dorian has the technology to graft another person's face to his own and his assistant changes the police records so his fingerprint and DNA point back to his fake identity. At the end of the first story arc, Dorian abandons the Joe Flynn identity and begins to make preparations to assume a new identity of a dead and forgotten criminal. It is also revealed that Dorian is the brother of the late Adrian Chase in Vigilante #9. Little is known about his past, but his wife is dead and he served time in prison for his work with the mob.[5]

At one point, JJ warns Vigilante about the dangers of pushing himself to the point of destruction, commenting that he "saw it happen" with Adrian. Vigilante describes his predecessor as a fool.[citation needed]

The Vigilante plays an important role in the "Deathtrap" crossover with the Teen Titans and the Titans. He targets the unbalanced Jericho for assassination, bringing him into conflict with the various heroes. Vigilante succeeds in tracking down Jericho but, having promised Rose Wilson not to kill him, instead gouges out Jericho's eyes to stop him from using his powers.[6]

The Vigilante had been operating unseen in Europe for several years before moving back to the U.S. and going after local mobs and criminals.[5]

Donald Fairchild[edit]

In the DC Rebirth miniseries Vigilante: Southland, a new Vigilante is introduced: Donald Fairchild, a former professional basketball player.

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Vigilante is a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a brilliant marksman, and a master of the lariat.

Other versions[edit]


Pre-Crisis, there were both an Earth-1 and an Earth-2 Vigilante. Both were Greg Saunders from their respective Earths. Earth-1's Vigilante was shown for the first time in the pages (and cover) of the JLA issue where the superteam moved to their classic headquarters on an orbiting satellite (Justice League of America volume 1 #78).

Detective Comics[edit]

In Detective Comics #493 (August 1980) it was revealed that Greg Saunders had a nephew, Michael Carter, who became a costumed crimefighter too, the Swashbuckler. The Swashbuckler was created by the issue's writer, Cary Burkett, for a fanzine he published in middle school.[7] Burkett said he made the Swashbuckler the nephew of the Vigilante because he didn't have enough space to present the entire backstory he'd created for the character in the fanzine.[7]

Kingdom Come[edit]

In the series Kingdom Come, artist and writer Alex Ross portrays the cowboy version of the Vigilante fighting alongside the rogue metahumans as a steampunk cyborg with a pinwheel/steam engine arm with a Gatling gun on the end.[8]

Batman Beyond[edit]

The ongoing Batman Beyond comic book series introduces Jake Chill, the great-grandnephew of Joe Chill, the murderer of Thomas and Martha Wayne. He was a member of the "Quiet Squad", a secret group of four men inside Wayne-Powers security who acted as Derek Powers' personal hit and intimidation squad. He took part in the raid on Warren McGinnis' home, and is, in fact, the man who fatally shot him. When Derek Powers disappeared after being defeated by Batman and sunk to the bottom of the harbor, Quiet Squad was fired and Jake, left destitute and stricken with guilt over the murder, moves to the slums of Gotham on the ground level. He descended into alcoholism and depression but, after fighting off a gang of thieves from his apartment, finds new purpose in life and decides to become a superhero using his old Wayne-Powers security equipment in an attempt at redemption. Naming himself the Vigilante, he helps defend Gotham during the Jokerz uprising, alongside Batman, the new Catwoman, and Dick Grayson. Vigilante proved himself to be both dedicated and competent but is not yet totally trusted by the GCPD or Batman. He became a frequent partner of Batman but died from the Jokerz during the "Mark of the Phantasm" storyline. During the plot of this, Terry finds out that Jake killed his father, and though he's furious and might never forgive Jake, he appreciates his heroism and thinks he didn't deserve to die the way he did.

In other media[edit]



Johann Urb as Vincent Sobel / Vigilante as seen on Arrow

An original incarnation of Vigilante named Vincent Sobel, appears in Arrow, portrayed by Clayton Chitty (season five) and by Johann Urb (season six) while the character's disguised voice is provided by Mick Wingert.[9] Adrian Chase is an alias used by Prometheus, portrayed by Josh Segarra, to cover up his real name Simon Morrison. Vincent was a former Central City Police Department working undercover alongside Dinah Drake, who were secretly in a relationship. A group of criminals capture Vincent and Dinah who both eventually get hit from the dark matter explosion, from Harrison Wells' particle accelerator, and Vincent was presumed dead. Four years later, Vincent, now with the ability to self regenerate, became a vigilante, nicknamed "Vigilante", and begins targeting criminals by killing them. He later targets Oliver Queen after a public scandal about covering up the murder of detective Billy Malone, but is stopped by Oliver and Team Arrow. In the sixth season, Vigilante tries to kill councilwoman Emily Pollard due to an anti-vigilante bill. He is thwarted by Dinah, who learns that Vigilante is Vincent. Vincent tries to reconcile his relationship with Dinah despite their differences in the fight against crime. He is revealed to be a member of Cayden James's criminal cabal alongside Black Siren, Ricardo Diaz, Anatoly Knyazev, and Sheck, but is working as a double agent who informs Team Arrow of their activities, primarily because of his love for Dinah. When his partners find out about his betrayal, Vincent is killed by Black Siren.



  • In 1947 Columbia Pictures released a 15-chapter serial, loosely based on the original Greg Saunders character, called The Vigilante which starred Ralph Byrd in the title role but changed several aspects. In the serial, The Vigilante is a masked government agent undercover as a playboy actor starring in Westerns. His mission in the serial is to investigate the disappearance, and possible smuggling into America, of a string of rare blood red pearls. The costume has been slightly changed as well but The Vigilante still rides a motorcycle and wields a gun.
  • The Greg Saunders version of Vigilante makes a brief cameo appearance in Justice League: The New Frontier.

Video games[edit]

  • The Vincent Sobel version of Vigilante appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains.He appears as part of the "DC Super Villains: TV Series DLC Character Pack". The Arrowverse "Adrian Chase"/Prometheus appears as a playable character in the same pack as well.


  1. ^ Vigilante (1983) at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived 2015-07-19 at WebCite from the original on July 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Gotham Underground #6 (May 2008)
  3. ^ Gotham Underground #7 (June 2008)
  4. ^ Gotham Underground #8 (July 2008)
  5. ^ a b Vigilante series, Volume 3, 2009-2010
  6. ^ Vigilante Vol. 3 #6 (July 2009)
  7. ^ a b Franklin, Chris (April 2014). "Swashbuckled and Hornswoggled: The All-Too-Brief Career of the Swashbuckler". Back Issue! (71): 60–61.
  8. ^ Kingdom Come #3
  9. ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (November 10, 2017). "'Arrow' Unmasked Vigilante & The Consequences Are So Heartbreaking". Bustle. Retrieved March 1, 2018.

External links[edit]

← The first Green Lantern series was debuted. See Green Lantern (comic book) for more info and the previous timeline. Timeline of DC Comics (1940s)
November 1941 (See also: Greg Saunders)
The characters Green Arrow and the first Speedy was debuted by Mort Weisinger and George Papp. See Green Arrow, Roy Harper (character), Speedy (comics) and Queen Industries for more info and next timeline. →