|Real name:||Natalia Knight|
|First Appearance:||Detective Comics #529|
|Created by:|| Doug Moench|
|Abilities:||expert tactician and burglar|
Natalia Knight aka Nocturna, was a jewel thief who briefly adopted Jason Todd and discovered Batman's secret identity as Bruce Wayne. What made her remarkable was that she suffered from a rare "light sensitivity" disease and her skin was bleached white.
Natalia Knight had grown up as a street person in Gotham, her parents long dead. She had had a hard childhood. She grew up on the streets as a beggar. At the age of twelve, the girl crossed paths with a millionaire named Charles Knight. The child touched Knight's paternal instincts and he took her to his palatial home to raise. Knight became a devoted father to the girl he named Natasha but he never pursued adoption procedures.
Charles Knight had many dark secrets that an adoption inquiry might have exposed. His fortune was fueled entirely from his life as a crimelord, a fact that Natasha only learned of when her father was assassinated by rivals. she was shocked when she discovered that her lavish lifestyle was funded by criminal activity. At the funeral, the young woman met Knight's son, Anton, who'd returned to Gotham after years of traveling in the Orient and becoming a martial arts master. He admitted that he was well aware of Charles' secret life, adding that "when his money runs out ... we can always follow in father's footsteps".
Long fascinated by the stars that she'd gazed at on so many nights as a child (and inspired, perhaps, by a famous astronomer named Knight in Opal City), Natasha found a rewarding career at the Gotham Astronomical Observatory. Natasha had been studying the properties of stellar light in a vacuum when "she was indirectly exposed to a high level of laser radiation" in an accident. "There was no IMMEDIATE injury, but over a period of time, her skin was gradually leached of its natural complexion." Her flesh became chalk white and she developed "a high sensitivity to light -- indeed, direct sun in anathema to her". Natalia was horrified to discover that the radioactive laser, which drained her skin of all pigment, also rendered her sensitive to light.
The Knight fortune was quickly exhausted as medical bills piled up and she finally "submitted medical bills for compensation -- mostly from dermatologists -- dating back several years to the time of the accident". Wayne Foundation bureaucrats debated over making a settlement, with Lucius Fox suggested "she might be entitled to even FURTHER compensation". Recalling Anton's suggestion at the funeral, Natasha realized that crime was her only alternative. Having tasted wealth and privilege, she vowed to her new lover that "we shall maintain the standards to which we have become accustomed". She and Anton entered a life of crime together, he as the Night-Thief, and she as "Nocturna", Mistress of the Night.
Officially, Natasha (or Nocturna) would be the brains and Anton (as the Night-Thief) would be the brawn. Nonetheless, the couple's sparring sessions as Anton built up his physique transformed Nocturna into a formidible opponent as well . Her athletic prowess was augmented by an assortment of fashion accessories, including large earrings that doubled as throwing stars, a necklace of hollow faux pearls that contained knockout gas, a stiletto hairpin, and a belt of metal crescents that could be employed as a razor-edged whip.
After the Thief of Night's initial forays proved a success, Nocturna decided to strike back at the Wayne Foundation for continuing to delay her financial restitution. At a weekend soiree for employees, Natasha met the elusive Bruce Wayne himself and the millionaire quickly found himself captivated by the pale woman and her penchant for romanticism.
"You can appreciate the sensation of dwelling in darkness around the clock," she told him. "If the night is made for dreams, you see, I prefer to experience them awake."
"And dream away the day? Which dreams, then are real?"
"The ones I choose to MAKE real ... under the stars."
"And what about the philosophy contending that darkness is evil?" Bruce asked.
"I fully agree. It IS evil."
As if on cue, the Night-Thief burst through a window, liberating the party-goers of their valuables while Bruce searched for an exit. Natasha merely smiled. Within hours, Batman paid a visit to the Knight townhouse, where Natasha didn't even attempt to deny her part in the robbery. After relating her history to the Dark Knight, Nocturna stepped back while a gun-wielding Night-Thief held the hero at bay. As a farewell, she opened her compact and blew a cloud of sleep-dust into Batman's face.
Trailing the duo to the observatory, Batman found the Thief of Night's martial arts skills to be just as dangerous as ever. "It's insane! Every time I try to counter -- he fades away -- only to return with an even deadlier attack!" Seeking to neutralize the edge that the villain had in the darkness, Batman flipped a power switch and flooded the chamber with light. As he finally succeeded in rendering his foe unconscious, the Dark Knight turned to see a balloon rising from the observatory aperture. Nocturna had escaped.
Nocturna took refuge in a cavern near Gotham where Anton had hidden their stolen treasures. It was near there that she crossed paths with a youngster named Jason Todd one evening. The Batman had had second thoughts about the boy becoming the new Robin and Jason, in response, had decided to run away. Alluding to his problems, he was advised by the mysterious woman to go back home.
Nocturna left Jason to discreetly attend Anton's trial but was spotted in the courtroom by Batman. She escaped, thanks to her knockout gas necklace, and engineered a breakout for the Night-Thief as he was driven to prison, dropping a grenade to the highway below as she watched from her airship. This time, the flight for freedom would not succeed. Batman punctured the balloon and Nocturna and the Night-Thief crashed to Earth. The love-struck Anton testified that his adoptive sister's "sole involvement was that of victim to his kidnapping" and Natasha was cleared on all charges.
With the Night-Thief in prison, Nocturna formed a new alliance with Sturges Hellstrom in 1984, a thief otherwise known as Nightshade. She conceived the plan -- a business that hosted horror theme parties as a cover for getting the layout for Gotham's palatial homes -- and Hellstrom carried out the crimes. Once the scheme had run it's course, Nocturna called it quits -- despite Nightshade's insistence on one last heist.
Nocturna still craved a partnership that would sustain her wealthy lifestyle and chanced on a new plan while reading the Gotham News. Bruce Wayne's guardianship of Jason Todd had been challenged and the pale woman decided to file adoption papers for the boy she'd met months earlier. In a confrontation outside the courtroom, the woman now known as Natalia Knight informed Bruce that he could spare himself his legal expenses by simply allowing her adoption request to go unchallenged -- and marry her afterwards.
She was unwittingly aided in her plot by two other parties, one of them the very person she sought to adopt. Jason expressed his approval of Natalia to child welfare authorities, secretly intending to expose her criminal past once the adoption had gone through. Meanwhile, Mayor Hamilton Hill, who still resented Bruce's opposition to his election, pulled strings of his own to provide Knight with custody .
Meanwhile, the Night-Thief had regained his freedom, thanks to an unexpected summer thunderstorm that temporarily rendered the prison yard as "dark as night", providing him with sufficient cover and confusion to escape. In short order, the Night-Thief killed his perceived rival, Nightshade, with a dagger to the heart. He had become, in Batman's words, "a Slayer of Night" .
Nocturna was ecstatic to see her lover -- until she learned that he'd murdered Hellstrom on her behalf. Horrified, she insisted that she "chose to steal wealth and elegance from the shadows, yes, but not death -- NEVER MURDER! You've RUINED the night, cheapened its elegance! You've murdered its allure -- its very heart of romance! Leave me, Anton -- now and forever!" She threatened to "ALSO murder the night" if he failed to do so.
Crestfallen, Anton choked, "You ... have ALREADY killed me. I am ... gone."
Later that night, Batman confronted Nocturna on her balcony, where he immediately detected the scent of a narcotic that she had perfumed herself with. "I wear it in the hours of darkness," she explained. "When I am immune to its spell, bound in the embrace of a deeper intoxication." She put her arms around the Dark Knight just as a dagger flew by his ear.
"Anton -- !"
"No, Nocturna -- merely the GHOST of Anton. You see, Batman, I have been SLAIN by Nocturna herself ... but since my love for her cannot die, I will permit NO ONE ELSE to taste that love ... and so you must ALSO become a ghost -- just as Nightshade did ... and join us both in Hell!"
The battle that followed was a brutal one and the Night-Slayer seemed to finally have the advantage as he raised his dagger to stab a reeling Batman. Aghast, Nocturna fired a bullet into Anton's back and rushed to the still delirious Dark Knight, giving him a lingering kiss.
Nocturna revealed that she knew Batman was Bruce Wayne. "I DO want to marry you -- and not just for Bruce Wayne's wealth. Now there are reasons both dark and delirious ... reasons of the moon and the stars and the night. ... I will tell NO ONE -- and to prove that I possess a certain measure of honor, I will not even use the knowledge as a lever against you. It will remain ... a secret of the shadows. Marry me and the boy will be OURS. Refuse, and we shall fight -- but only in the courts ... only as Natalia Knight versus Bruce Wayne. This I pledge". Batman was stunned at her knowledge of his secrets, but he firmly rejected the proposal, and Natalia Knight was granted custody of Jason Todd.
Meanwhile, Nocturna's ties to the Night-Thief -- proven to the authorities or not --attracted the attention of the Mad Hatter, who hoped to use his unique headgear to learn the whereabouts of their hidden treasure. The plan failed but a temporarily brainwashed Nocturna, fighting Batman in sustained combat for the first time, proved to be a fierce adversary. Garbed in a blue-black costume with matching cape and slippers, Nocturna followed Batman and Robin into their battle with the Hatter's gang, capturing the ringleader herself.
Later, Batman tracked Anton and attempted to capture him. After defeating Batman temporarily, Anton traded costumes with Batman -- failing to recognize Bruce's face -- and sent the "fugitive" running into the night.
Anton, in his new cosume, began a four night spree of terror and Batman became public enemy number one. Nocturna and Robin joined forces in an attempt to stop him but only ended up with bruises for their efforts.
"My training was interrupted by this whole adoption fiasco you started. And THAT'S why I'm so eager to spend my nights with The Batman -- to LEARN from him, and to live up to his EXAMPLE."
"While MY example," Nocturna replied, "means NOTHING to you."
"YOUR example, lady -- was summed up by the creep who just split in The Batman's costume."
Jason's anger hadn't eased when they returned to the Knight penthouse and the restless Robin began looking around his new home. He quickly located Nocturna's cache of stolen jewels and announced that he was going to place a call to Commissioner Gordon. Natalia insisted to an incredulous Robin that she'd never steal again ("You're a thief and you KNOW it -- reformed only as long as the bills are paid.") but refused to stand in the way of what he felt was right. Cooling a bit, Jason decided to postpone legal action.
Returning to her room, Nocturna was confronted by Bruce Wayne in Anton's costume, having laid low since regaining his wits. Batman requested her help and the couple left the penthouse, a departure that the Dark Knight had scheduled to coincide with the arrival of a child welfare representative. The social worker was appropriately horrified to see Natalia in the company of the notorious Night-Slayer.
After the real Anton had been captured by Batman. Nocturna arrived at the Batcave with the intention of surrendering but, for her heroic efforts, the Batman allowed her to go free. "Then I'll leave you, Jason ... HERE ... where you belong."
Nocturna and the Night-Slayer returned to Batman's life for the last time in July of 1985, even as Gotham -- and the entire world -- was threatened by a cancerous destruction of the multiverse that was reflected by red skies and fierce thunderstorms. The fugitive Night-Slayer was murdering members of the False Facers, convinced that Nocturna MUST be leading the gang since the arrest of Black Mask.
Nocturna, however, was merely in seclusion in the long-abandoned observatory. She was not exactly innocent, though, having seduced a married security guard into allowing her to go unmolested. A lonely Jason learned of Natalia's whereabouts and paid a visit, referring to her for the first time as "Mom" .
Natalia was convinced that she might be able to learn something of value about the celestial phenomenon if she could get the observatory up and running. Inspired by Anton's delusional belief, she decided that she WOULD offer to lead the False Facers. Their targets would be "politicians ... or political stooges -- who have gotten rich at the expense of the public programs and vital research".
Soon after, Batman paid a visit to the observatory, investigating the False Face connection. "It's strange," Natalia observed. "I ... I still love you so much ... as much as night itself ... and yet I just realized ... we've only kissed ONCE, on that rooftop, when you were wounded by Night-Slayer ... and probably too delirious to even FEEL it."
A beat passed and the Dark Knight spoke. "I'm fine now."
Against a crimson sky, Batman and Nocturna embraced. Regaining his composure, Bruce told her that "I just can't buy the Robin Hood rationalization". When he failed to arrest her, Nocturna challenged him, saying, "You love me because I'm dark and dangerous ... yet if I DO something dark and dangerous -- you can't love me."
Catwoman, then mapping out a career as a crimefighter, was in pursuit of the False Facers herself -- in part to clear herself of accusations that it was she who was killing their members -- and trailed their leader's balloon to the observatory. To her astonishment, Batman defended Nocturna. Standing atop the giant telescope, Catwoman told the Dark Knight that their own love affair was "finished!". Moments later, a bolt of lightning struck the telescope and Selina Kyle was nearly electrocuted.
The horrified Batman grabbed her body and rushed away from the observatory with Robin even as a quake opened up a chasm that left the structure "completely cut off". Meanwhile, the Dark Knight was in agony. "Why did he not realize how much he cared for Catwoman, for Selina Kyle? How could he forget her so quickly? Is it because ... she changed? Because she was no longer dark and dangerous? Because, God help him ... she reformed? Because she actually did what he has tried to convince Nocturna to do?"
Batman kept a vigil at Selina's bedside even as Robin stood guard in the pouring rain near the newly-created observatory cliff. The Boy Wonder was no match for the Night-Slayer, who made his way into the tower and plunged his dagger into Nocturna's shoulder. Nocturna was prepared to acquiesce until Anton knocked Robin away once more. Her maternal instincts aroused, Natalia began to fight back. Already wounded, though, she was no match for her ex-lover and survived only thanks to the fortuitous arrival of Batman, summoned by his junior partner.
Catwoman had risen from her hospital bed, as well, and arrived via a stolen helicopter that crashed into the observatory. While Robin sent the now unconscious Nocturna aloft in her balloon in the hope that she'd reach safety, Catwoman took over the fight with Night-Slayer from Batman, who had suffered a deep stab wound himself. The two combatants plunged from the burning structure into the river below and a victorious Selina dragged Anton out of the river. He was placed in his prison cell still vowing to kill Nocturna.
Nocturna was already thought dead. The balloon had sailed into the heart of the storm and the craft had been ripped to shreds. Her body was never recovered . A grief-stricken Robin could only murmur "I ... I only wanted to save you, Nocturna ... not lose you." Adding to the tragedy was the suicide of the guard who'd been infatuated with Natalia.
But Nocturna had survived the crash and soon returned. She first resurfaced in the Black Canary/Green Arrow Wedding Special #1 as a member of the Injustice League. She was then seen in Salvation Run as a member of Vandal Savage's camp, captured by the Suicide Squad and having been exiled to the prison planet. Recently, she appeared in Trinity as an opponent to Hawkman, appearing in an updated version of her classic costume and using a hot-air balloons as transportation.
Upon hearing of the apparent death of Bruce Wayne, Nocturna revisited Gotham City. She knows if Batman is really dead, then the current Wayne (Hush in disguise) is a fake. Nocturna has appeared in Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? and Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? one-shots, taking advantage of the chaos surrounding Gotham City upon Batman's disappearance.
Stephanie Brown saw a glimpse of Nocturna on her way to the hospital to walk her mother home. She witnessed the villainess attempting to escape a robbery in a hot-air balloon on the way and vowed to capture her. Dressed in her Spoiler costume, Brown defeated Nocturna and left her for the GCPD. During their battle the Spoiler commented on Nocturna using an as yet unrecorded ability of her's to melt into the shadows and reappear somewhere else.
Nocturna was in a cell in Arkham Asylum while Jeremiah Arkham is checking on all the inmates. Later, the inmates escape and assault the Talons who have come after Jeremiah. It can be presumed that she was involved in the riot.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Natalia was a brilliant astronamer and somewhat skilled at hand-to-hand combat. She often carried knock-out powder, and deadly jewelry for self-defense. She has been shown to have developed the ability to melt into shadow and travel through them reappearing elsewhere. The range of this ability is unknown.
In other mediaEdit
- Nocturna was scheduled to appear in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series as a vampiress, but the episode was scotched after Fox censors ruled out the appearance of any blood being shown on the show.