Raven is one of the longest serving members of the Teen Titans, in various incarnations of the team. Raven owes her heroic role (as well as an evil role) to a darker past - she is the daughter of a human mother named Arella and an inter-dimensional demon known as Trigon. Raven's demonic lineage was hidden from her for most of her early years. She was raised in an alternate dimension called Azarath, where she learned with a greater degree of skill to control her emotions by the goddess Azar. This was intended to control the influence of Trigon on Earth as her demonic powers would facilitate his ability to conquer the planet. Due to this training she rarely saw her mother and the two grew apart. Upon Azar's death she discovered for the first time her demonic heritage as she met her father face-to-face for the first time. This eventually caused her to leave Azarath and take residence on Earth where, after being rejected by the Justice League of America, she helped to create an incarnation of the Teen Titans.
Raven first appeared in an issue of DC Comics Presents in 1980. The series was commonly used as a way to highlight characters or reintroduce somewhat forgotten ones by pairing them with Superman. In this particular case, a new version of the Teen Titans was shown in a bonus section, of which Raven was one of the new members.
The timing was right for the new team, as youth oriented books were quite popular in the medium (the leader at the time was the X-Men at Marvel.) This led to these new characters becoming very popular themselves and very much established in the DC Universe.
Two of her early creators described her after her creation:
George Pérez: When I came to DC I came in strictly to do the Justice league. At the time Dick Dillin was still alive, so I just wanted to do one issue of it. Marv had asked me to do something for DC and suggested the Teen Titans. You know how hard it was to tell the people at Marvel what I was going to do at DC? "Oh, they finally got you doing work there, what are you going to be doing?" "Well, I'm doing the TEEN TITANS... (very low, embarrassed voice)" (laughter.) I did not think that book was gonna go. I loved the original, I hated the second version... and I thought it was going to die. Marv had already decided on Cyborg. Basically, he had all the things worked out on him. Same thing with Starfire. Raven ... while Marv conceived the character, it was Len's idea to put a mystical character in there. Marv didn't want Raven in.
Marv Wolfman: Len didn't specify Raven, he wanted a female mystical character. I just didn't want to do that because my first thought was Dr. Strange and my second thought was the Phantom Stranger. I didn't want to do anything like that. Len said, "Come up with something different." This was before Zatanna became a member of the JLA. And there were no mystical type characters in any group book. I had to figure out a character that would be completely different. from Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate or Zatanna. The name Raven came from the comic strip that I had done with Ross Andru. There was a girl in there named Raven Winters. And the last name went on to become the Baron's last name in Night Force. Raven sort of appeared that way. The characters held no interest for me until a George did a visual. We talked about it and I was still very reluctant. While I knew about her background, I still didn't care about her because I don't like writing about mystics. He did the visual and I just went... "Wow." I knew what the face looked like, but at that point we had no intention or showing what her face looked like.
Modern Age: New Earth
As is common with any character that first appeared as a teenager, Raven has matured substantially throughout her time as a hero. When first seen she was shy and withdrawn, but this was also as a result of not wanting to use her powers to their full capacity (or else her father would control her body.) Keeping her distance and her secretive nature made her hard to trust. Initially she was also a total pacifist and refused to actively engage directly in fights, but provided transportation and healing to her teammates. Although Raven began maturing as a character, unlike the rest of the characters on the Titans, this development came at the cost of potentially releasing her father upon Earth. As she accessed her emotions more often they came to affect her physical appearance and after she became completely corrupted she took on a demonic form and finally summoned her father to Earth. After his defeat she was revived and her normal appearance returned. During this time she struggled to better relate to other people.
For some time after the Titans Hunt story arc Raven was replaced with Evil Raven, an evil version of herself. However, it was later revealed that her true spirit lay bound to Starfire. Evil Raven was eventually reduced to ash and Raven's spirit for the first time was free of her father's influence. She would later be revived again by Sebastian Blood who needed her as a bride. After being rescued from this fate by her friends she developed more of a personality and even developed a Goth inspired fashion sense. After the events of One Year Later she decided for the first time to lead the team, alongside Beast Boy who were in a relationship together at the time (though they would break up from the strain the team placed on them). She later reformed the team alone (and began to wear a new costume inspired by the animated version.) It was soon after revealed that Raven had two brothers. In searching many worlds and dimensions for her father. On one her soul self partially detached from her leading to a sort of offspring, the Wyld. Lately, both Garfield and Raven have moved on from their failed relationship, though Raven feels great unease by the very presence of the newest member; Solstice, who's powers seem to drive Raven away or causing her to violently lash out.
Due to her odd powers and the potential for harm with unleashing her emotions her relationships have been somewhat abnormal. As well as her upbringing left her poorly in touch with her humanity, she at times manipulated the feelings of other to her own benefit. Her most enduring relationships have been with Beast Boy, though it has been well known that Wally West had feelings for her at different points. As well her relationships as a teammate have evolved over time and specifically to characters. She found much in common with Jericho and thus they shared a bond, which caused many people, like Deathstroke and Arella, thought the two are in a romantic relationship. At one point, she found herself in love with Dick Grayson and unintentionally manipulated his emotions into loving her (similar to what she had done to Wally West), the two shared a passionate kiss. Though with the help of Starfire, Raven realized that she is not in love with Dick and moved on with her life. The dark side of her character also left her open to manipulation by evil forces including Eric Forrester and Brother Blood. She also later developed a sort of flirtatious friendship with Zachary Zatara.
After an absence of a year in the new 52, Raven finally appeared in the pages of Phantom Stranger as a teenager living in fear of becoming like her father. Phantom Stranger intervenes and seems to be interested in protecting her, but instead delivers her to her awaiting father despite her pleas. During the issue it is revealed Raven had escaped to Earth when her father Trigon had invaded Azerath some time ago, ending up at Stonehenge that serves as a portal between Earth and Azerath. It wasn't specified how long ago this exodus was or what Raven had been doing since then other than trying to help people with her empathic powers and avoiding the Church of Blood, Trigons earthly followers.
Major Story Arcs
The New Teen Titans
From around the time she reached adulthood Raven began exploring her mother's home world so that she would be able to deal with the various emotions she would come across. As she would reveal later on to the Titans, she had known for years that Trigon would invade Earth and that she had tried to coax Azarath into action, but their beliefs in total pacifism wouldn't allow it. Eventually Raven's patience with Azarath ended and she left its tranquility in favor of Earth, hoping the heroes dwelling there would aid her. However, Raven's heritage resulted in her request for aid from the JLA being rejected because Zatanna could sense the evil within her. Withdrawing, Raven instead looked elsewhere for allies to combat her father, finding the people she needed in those who were once called the Teen Titans, who had parted years ago. Dick Grayson was haunted by visions sent by Raven that allowed him to know of her and the others in advance, Wally West was saved from freezing to death on a mountainside by her before she had him fall in love with her, Donna Troy would suddenly find her old Wonder Girl outfit in her bag when she saw a mugger escape into a burnt down building, finding it to be her childhood home Wonder Woman had saved her from. She would ignite a spark of power in the alien princess Starfire that would allow her to free herself. Offer companionship to Victor Stone and inspire his father to build a suitable home for them. And finally she would subdue the anger Garfield Logan felt at how his life had turned out.
At first she hid her demonic past from her new friends but after encountering the Justice League of America (who had previously turned down her request for aid), Zatanna revealed this to her team. They felt betrayed at first but soon after Raven was kidnapped by her father. The team subsequently rescued her and imprisoned Trigon, though Raven still battled remnants of his power. In the period following these events Raven would occasionally lose control of her powers in high stress situations, though with her father's increased control of her she could regain control. This was also at times a difficult era for the team as for instance Deathstroke infiltrated the team with an agent, Terra. Trigon would eventually return and took control of Raven, destroying Azarath in the process. her team was forced to kill her so that her spirit could be directed to kill her father. She rose again, purged of her father's influence, but was not seen for a while (she was absent during the Crisis on Infinite Earths,)
Some time later Raven returned, this time donning a white cloak. She developed new control of her powers at this time, which included emotional manipulation. She also became close friends with Starfire at this point. During the Titans Hunt story arc she was captured by the Wildebeest Society who intended to use her to revive Trigon. Her body was eventually destroyed again after being possessed. It appeared initially that she had been corrupted into Evil Raven. Later at the wedding of Nightwing and Starfire she arrived and implanted the good portion of her spirit on Starfire. After finally defeating Evil Raven, the good version returned as a being of golden energy without a physical body.
Raven was eventually returned to corporeal form by Brother Blood. He had plans to marry her in order to return her father to life. Her former team intervened and saved her from this fate and she subsequently rejoined them. She also started a normal life by enrolling in a high school under the name of Rachel Roth, which was the name of her biological mother. It was also during this time that she developed the most lasting relationship of her life, after she and Beast Boy began dating. Another conflict with Brother Blood and his own team of reanimated Titans led to Raven and Beast Boy traveling to the afterlife where with the aid of Kid Eternity they managed to stop the threat.
In the events leading up to Infinite Crisis and due to the effects of the Specter's destruction of magic during the Day of Vengeance storyline, Raven's powers have weakened and slipped out of her control. She continued to fight, helping the Titans both in evacuating the shattered city of Blüdhaven and battling Superboy-Prime. During the missing year, Raven assists Steel in launching an attack on Lexcorp when Natasha was captured by Lex Luthor. The Titans fight Black Adam in Greece and the Himalayas. Raven attempts to stop Black Adam, but he shatters her soul-self, and causes her to experience psychic backlash from the deaths of Young Frankenstein and Terra. Raven also attended school sometime during the missing year. After inadvertently getting drawn into a mystical battle with an object known as the Medusa Mask. Raven quits the team after she and Beast Boy end their relationship. She tells the unconscious Cyborg that Beast Boy was stressed by being team leader. This turns out to be short absence though as she has left the team to perform certain mystical feats including the purging of Jericho's soul. Raven is later approached by Robin and Wonder Girl, in the hopes that she could resurrect Superboy like she did Jericho. Unfortunately, Raven declares that impossible since Superboy's soul had moved on to the afterlife, while Jericho's soul was kept on a computer disk. Without warning, the Titans are captured by the villainous Titans East and transported to the original Titans Island in New York, where Raven is placed in the "care" of Enigma and Duela Dent, who took to torturing her psychologically. Raven manages her escape by offering Duela membership into the true Titans group. After beating the Titans East, she reveals hints that she still loves Garfield, but he refuses to dwell on the matter, leaving their relationship uncertain. Following the death of Bart Allen, Raven along with the other adult Titans, decides to leave the team. Raven decides to pursue her chance at attending High School, having never gotten the opportunity before.
In yet another relaunch of the team, Raven rejoins with many of her original teammates as they deal with the return of her father among other threats. She also at this point meets her half-brothers and reveals that their presence tempts her with corruption. She is eventually corrupted by them and forms an alliance with them, forming the seven deadly sins. She is eventually successful in freeing herself, though after returning she is so unsure of her control that she provides the team with a magical item which can kill her if need be. Soon after she is forced to intervene with her old friend Jericho, by separating him from Match.
Raven -while on patrol in the North of Gotham - felt fear from someone. She went to a cemetery where a cult was trying to sacrifice an unknown girl. For the first time in her life, Raven demonstrated she is a good fighter when she wants to be. She defeated all of them and after that she ran with the girl to a church. She felt as though she knew that place. After thinking about it she remembered that was the church were she was conceived. The girl, without thinking of it twice attacked her. She said she was the spitting image of her mother (Arella) when she was young. The girl transformed herself and revealed her true identity: Envy. She was her brother who wanted Raven to join the rest of the family. She refused his proposal because she said she has her own family now (The Titans). She won the battle easily with her powers. She subsequently felt out of touch with emotion for a brief time.
Raven rejoined the Teen Titans around the same time as Garfield, after first being attacked by the monstrous Wyld that aimed to feed off her empathic powers. She was found by the Titans but didn't regain consciousness before the Wyld came for her again, where she managed to beat it back. The Wyld would soon return however and brought Raven to its world of origin, where it revealed it was her son, of sorts. The Wyld explained it was an amalgam of monsters that were fused together by Raven's soulself as she had passed though its world in a search for Trigon.
Recently she has been seen as the only Titan openly defending Damian Wayne's admission onto the team, besides Cassandra. Also she attempts to calm the angered Headcase, a bullied youth granted telekinetic powers by Dr. Caligan, succeeding in doing so until Damian decided to intervene resulting in Headcase's escape. With the addition of Solstice to the team, Raven has felt slightly outed, as there is something about Kiran that drives Raven away from her. During their initial mission together, Raven snapped twice at Solstice, once because she felt suffocated by her presence, resulting a in a blastwave of power erupting from her. Later on openly attacking Kiran after being released along with the other Titans by her and Beast Boy, before Garfield was able to calm her down and direct her to wipe out an oncoming horde of demons. When Superboy-Prime finally returned to take out Superboy once and for all, Raven came face to face with Headcase again, this time claiming he was prepared to absorb her knowledge of the Dark Arts which he imagined would make him into a god. However, as with their second encounter, as Red Robin put it; 'He got into her head, big mistake.' This time he was brought into her personal space, where he was again caught, unprepared seeing an illusion of a demonic-looking Raven.
Powers and Abilities
Over the years Raven has been portrayed as having a variety of powers, but due to her nature and need for control, many of them remain virtually unknown even to this day. Once unleashed however, Raven is a formidable opponent.
Raven has been described by Dr. Mid-Night as a very powerful empath, a person able to sense and control the emotions of others for different effects. As she forcibly have made both Wally West and Nightwing fall in love with her, though in Wally's case it was to save his life and make him join the New Teen Titans and accidental in Nightwing's, due to her own failings in understanding love. As a counter point, she can also choose to rob a person of all emotions, this ability has been shown to be enough to render entire crowds emotionally numb, but it was insufficient to halt a rampaging Dr. Light, however it can be suspected that she couldn't take it all without turning evil as a result. During the Titans/JLA crossover, Raven was free of Trigon's corruption and in this shape she seemed to effortlessly being able to calm the New God Orion, something that usually takes up most of the power of the Mother Box he always carries to curb his rage.
Her best known ability regarding her empathy is her ability to absorb the pains of others into herself, inducing rapid healing. However the cost is that she will feel the pain she absorbs, once this nearly killed her when called upon to save a gravely wounded child, also this sets a limit on the injuries she can heal in this fashion as she cannot heal fatal wounds or dangerous diseases. However Black Alice once channeled this particular power after one of her school mates was injured, citing Raven is one of the best healers around.
Raven's most visual ability, the power to separate her soul from her body, taking the shape of a huge bird, usually black, occasionally white. One she was taught to master as a part of Azarath's grand scheme to destroy Trigon.
With this Raven is able to walk between dimensions or over vast distances in the same dimension in a short span of time, if there are any limitations to her reach with this ability it has not been clearly defined. During the Crisis on Infinite Earth's both the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor considered her a suitable herald if they could not use Harbinger or the Psycho-Pirate respectively, but neither could locate her. As the Monitor is a being that is aware of the whereabouts of all beings in all parallel dimensions it has been suspected she traveled to a non-parallel dimension during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Also she has used this ability defensively, using it to absorb items aimed at herself or others before regurgitating them later on, having been seen transporting sections of bridges away in this manner.
Normally however Raven uses her soul-self as a means of attack and containment of her adversaries within it, or as a scout for the rest of the team. Being contained within Raven's Soul-Self has often proven traumatic if she chooses as they come face to face with their own worst nightmares, some however have managed to physically battled their way out of her embrace, like Supergirl (though Raven admitted later on to Kara she wasn't really trying) and Black Adam who managed to shatter it with a punch during World War 3.
As all of her powers are, the use of her Soul-Self is linked to her emotional control, normally enforced by the fear of falling to her fathers control, if allowed to feel normally her powers increase. As seen in the Our Worlds at War story line, Raven assisted in containing Darkseid as Wonder Woman worked to reignite his omega powers, as Raven was a bodiless spirit, free of Trigon, she managed to contain Darkseid when he was enraged shortly after being repowered.
There is also a therapeutic aspect of Raven's Soul-Self, one she only displayed once when she subjected Superboy to first his greatest fears; being considered a dangerous weapon rather than a person, turning into Luthor's minion or becoming the Superman of Titans Tomorrow, before he was shown his own soul, which was something he had feared he did not posses as a clone.
Raven has limited precognition which allows her to predict future events that are about to happen. She displays it when she was able to predict that Trigon was going to invade Earth-Two. However, she cannot control this ability and use it whenever she desires, which is why it is only limited, as it only happens randomly.
Flight (Third Life)
Raven has the ability to fly in her third body, an ability she previously only manifested when she succumbed to Trigon.
Due to her nature and fear of falling to her demonic heritage, Raven has manifested a number of abilities while turned or that she does not usually employ, though some have appeared at other times when she has not been influenced by Trigon or otherwise turned evil.
Magic is one of these rarely seen abilities, but strongly hinted at being in her possession, as she has displayed when inducing unconsciousness on a young Tim Drake with a touch, firing balls of fire from the folds of her cloak or hurling electric blasts strong enough to take down all of her brothers and all of the adult Titans. Recently having been shown to completely annihilate the demon army of Rankor numbering more than three thousand individuals and which contained powerful individual demons that had taken the Titans down in ambushes previously.
Telekinesis; as she's twice displayed casually, once throwing Nightwing into a wall and suspending a struggling group of Titans in mid air.
Hand-to-Hand combat; a very rarely seen ability that has only really been displayed once and hinted at in another. The hint came when Raven was brainwashed by the previous Brother Blood, where she boldly claimed she was Donna Troy's equal but they were interrupted before her claim could be proven. The proven instance came when she took down an armed group of occultists through a mix of combat skills and teleportation later taking down her brother Envy in the same manner, during the struggle she was seen hurling occultists though tombstones and Envy though the stone floor of a church, however it is not known is this was pure physical strength or telekinesis is not known. In her demon shape she has also displayed an above human level of strength by holding both Nightwing and Starfire above her head, however, this could also be telekinesis.
Seeding; Only seen when she's turned evil, first during the Darkening, Raven had the ability to impregnate others with the Seed of Trigon, the spirits of his hundred dead children who came before Raven. However the Seeds needed superhuman hosts as Raven found out when a human carrier simply exploded in her asylum cell. Both Starfire and Garfield were subjected to this treatment, driving Garfield mad and causing Starfire to return to Tamaran, unknowingly containing Raven's pure soul. A different version of the Seeding was later shown when she attempted to implant the power of the remaining Six Deadly Sins into the bodies of the Titans, using Garfield as a conduct who would not survive the full implantation had it been successful.
- Height : 5' 10" (178 cm)
- Weight: 110 lbs (49 kg.)
- Eyes: Indigo (once blue)
- Hair: Black
- Citizenship: Azarathian
- Occupations: Superhero, Student
Raven appeared along with the rest of the Wolfman/Perez-era Teen Titans as part of Chimera's dream fuelled plot to make Wildstorms, normally very brutal heroes act like his dream heroes from the DC Universe. Initial appearance had the original Titans Tower appear out of nowhere on top of the Riker's Island prison facility. Mr. Majestic is sent in to investigate but is brought low by a Starbolt and a single touch from Raven before most of the Titans make their escape. She next appears along the other Teen Titans as they engage the members of Gen 13. As the heroes of DC, animated as they are, realize they are being used by Chimera and cease fighting and revert to a more cautious approach to the world around them, Chimera decides to dream up villains such as Doomsday to continue with his wishes before resorting to hatching a Sun-Eater inside the moon. While most of the heroes capable travel to the moon to prevent the Sun-Eater destroying it, Raven along with the Midnighter, independently of each other, deducts where Chimera hiding through Edgar Allan Poe's Purloined Letter, both deducting that Chimera was hiding in plain sight. After a brief fight with the Shadow-Thief, brought low by a glimpse into Raven's mind, they eventually find the shrunken Chimera before waking him up, causing all of the DC characters to disappear, but leaving the damage behind.
Teen Titans Animated Series (2003 - 2006)
Raven appeared in the Teen Titans animated series, voiced by Tara Strong and the continuation Teen Titans Go! comic, as a member of the team. She is drawn with gray skin and is very distant to her teammates but later on she starts to open up towards them. Some of Raven's most important stories like " Terror of Trigon", is based on the Trigon plot from the original New Teen Titans series.
Unlike her comic counterpart, the animated version of Raven relies on the ability of telekinesis, the ability of moving inanimate objects with only one's mind. Ranging from being able to move smaller items such as books to, while under stress, being able to move two multi-story buildings at once.
Also she is portrayed as an experienced mage as her room contains many mystic books and ingredients, this became even more prominent when the dragon Malchior added his own dark knowledge and collection of books to hers, however she had difficulty controlling these new spells.
The animated version of Raven often says the phrase "Azarath Metrion Zinthos" to help her meditate or use her powers. In the episode "Nevermore", Beast Boy and Cyborg encounter personified aspects of Raven, which she kept separate from her whole self, within her subconscious. Each aspect is represented as wearing a different colored robe; the aspect called The Rage (which has a red robe and the four eyes like her father is the one aspect Raven has the hardest struggle against and which she despises most. On occasion, when she draws on her full emotional power, her robe changes from black and blue to pure white ("Nevermore", "Spellbound" & "The End").
Instead of having normal human coloration, Raven is depicted with light gray skin, violet-blue eyes and shoulder-length violet-blue hair. The animated Arella had distinctly Asian facial features, suggesting Raven is partially of Asian ancestry, but this is debatable, however she also shared Raven's hair color. In the Teen Titans movie Trouble in Tokyo, Raven states that she knows English, German, Latin, Romanian, Ancient Sumerian, and Sanskrit.
Raven is often portrayed as the most mature member of the group, often giving sage advice to the others about various subjects. She is, however, also the most emotionally-restrained of the Titans, appearing secretive and distant; she initially does not allow any of her fellow Titans into her room and hangs out all by herself, usually meditating or reading some book. In the course of the series, however, she gradually, if only slightly on the outside, warms up to her teammates. In several instances throughout the show, however, contrary to her usual behavior, she does show more emotion - such as making sheep's eyes along with Starfire at Aqualad in "Deep Six" -, though this is mostly used for comedic effect.
Raven is often easily annoyed with Starfire and Beast Boy, as these Titans' personalities differ drastically from her own. But despite her solitary nature, she depends on the emotional support from her friends, as she seems to lose her sense for reality after the Titans disband in "How Long is Forever?" While her relationship with Beast Boy is on the outside usually antagonistic, they come to each others side in emotional moments ("Nevermore", "Spellbound", "The Beast Within", "The End"). The only clearly established romantic relationship Raven has in the series is with the dragon Malchior, who later betrays Raven and breaks her heart, similar to what Eric Forrester had done.
During season 5 of Teen Titans, she was seen battling the Brotherhood of Evil.
DC Universe Online
She appears in the game both in a possessed form and later as an ally depending on the allegiance of the player. Both sides revolve around the same story line, where Circe intends on aiding Brother Blood in his efforts to summon Trigon through Raven, while Wonder Woman and Dr. Fate battle to prevent it with the aid of Raven and the Titans.
Through small info clips found throughout the game the player will learn that Circe is quite aggravated that Raven refuses to give in and desires her punished once she has what she wants. While Wonder Woman considers her a true hero for containing the dark forces within her and continuing the struggle against it.
Outside of the main story Raven is located in the Watchtower's Magic Wing where she is a vendor of the Tier 1 armor set for the magically aligned heroes. If clicked repeatedly she will remark on how she is not always sarcastic when she speaks.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
A Trigon possessed version of Raven has been confirmed as a playable fighter in NetherRealm Studios DC Fighter game. Tara Strong will be reprising voicing her.