Needless Character Analysis: Nighthawk

A long time ago, I mentioned how much I wanted Marvel to make a movie featuring Nighthawk because it would essentially be their version of a Batman film. As I felt the need to do another character analysis, I decided that not enough has been said about Nighthawk.

Nighthawk-1Kyle Richmond was a spoiled rich kid whose widower father sent him to boarding school and fixed all his problems with money. He began training himself when an undiscovered heart murmur kept him out of the military. When the cosmic being the Grandmaster created a villainous version of a super-team from an alternate reality, the Squadron Supreme, he inspired the mainstream Marvel Universe’s Kyle Richmond to create a serum that increased his natural abilities at night, which then inspired him to use his wealth to develop vehicles and devices that he then incorporated into the costumed identity of Nighthawk. Seeking thrills, he operated as a criminal joing with the Squadron Sinister and first fighting Captain America as part of the Grandmaster’s contest with Kang, and later challenging Daredevil to stop him from committing a series of crimes. When he found himself aiding the Squadron Sinister to melt the Earth’s icecaps, he had a change of heart and sought the aid of the Defenders. After seeing him willing to sacrifice his own life, the Defenders asked him to join their team.

He served with the team and worked to make it more of a formal group, providing a base of operations for the team and upon the departure of Doctor Strange, became the team leader. His business came under scrutiny after it had been run as a front for the Serpent Society and the Maggia, prompting criminal charges to be filed against him by the Justice Department for tax evasion, a series of adventures against the satanic group the Six-Fingered Hand left him paralyzed, but able to function at night. After getting through his legal troubles by paying a hefty fine for back taxes, Kyle was believed dead after stopping a group from using psychics from starting World War III.

3091338-defenders00309He recovered years later from a coma with the ability to see crimes before they happen, but by attacking people before they became criminals, he found himself in conflict with Daredevil as part of a scheme by Mephisto, where he killed Daredevil before finding a way to thwart Mephisto and resurrect Daredevil. He reunited with the Defenders before working with the Thunderbolts before a lack of trust drove him from the group. During Civil War, he sided with Captain America’s Anti-Registration forces, but defected when Goliath was killed. Afterwards, he worked to create a new Defenders team, but found his efforts rebuffed by Iron Man. He was last seen assembling a team called the Fearsome Four to stop a rampaging Man-Thing.

So why was I so keen on a Nighthawk motion picture? Nighthawk is the bad luck version of Batman. Despite having every opportunity afforded him by wealth, he continues to pay the price for his bad decisions. This was epitomized in Ultimates 2, where the character found himself defeated by his overambitious nature. He essentially fights crime with just a little better than peak human strength, a jet-pack disguised under wings, and some claws. He’s the type of character that you want to root for after seeing him fail, and whose story should end with a clear-cut happy ending, just so all of the stumbling is worth it.

Recommended Reading:
Essential Defenders, Vol. 3
Essential Defenders, Vol. 4
Essential Defenders, Vol. 5
Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders Volume 4
Marvel Masterworks: The Defenders Volume 5
The Last Defenders
Fear Itself: Deadpool/Fearsome Four