Comicbook / Raven

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Raven is a DC Comics character, a superheroine that often bounces between being a heroine and a villainness due to her demonic heritage being the daughter of Trigon the Terrible, the DC Comics equivalent of Satan. She's created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez and usually associates herself with the Teen Titans, although the character herself grew in popularity due to her dark nature, further boosted with the cartoon series thanks to her Sugar and Ice Personality-peppered Deadpan Snarker portrayal (especially with Tara Strong voicing her).

Raven is born from a human woman named Arella after the latter was tricked and raped by a human-disguised Trigon. Due to her heritage, she's raised in the distant land of Azarath where she started learning to control her emotions to suppress her demonic powers by the Goddess Azar. However, she learned her heritage after Azar died, and had been trying to convince the people of Azarath to take action and stop Trigon, but Azarath's pacifistic nature prevented anyone there to comply to Raven's pleas. Swearing to stop him, Raven travelled to Earth and sought help. She first asked the help from the Justice League, but due to Zatanna sensing the evil power within her, Raven was rejected. Still desperate, Raven instead sent telepathic message to some of the previous Teen Titans members who has since split up (Dick Grayson/Robin, Wally West/Kid Flash, Donna Troy/Wonder Girl) along with some new heroes; Koriand'r/Starfire, Victor Stone/Cyborg and Garfield Logan/Beast Boy, uniting them as the new Teen Titans to help her combat Trigon. While at first distant, Raven began to accept them as her new adoptive family and began opening up from her withdrawn nature.

They eventually succeeded in sealing Trigon as he couldn't be killed, and Raven kept the Trigon influence within her, swearing to never let him get unleashed again as she continued to fight evil. However, after the Titans' first victory against Trigon, Raven has been killed, resurrected, becoming evil and turning good again and so forth for a lot of times (and also at one point, ruined a would-be marriage of Nightwing and Starfire). Her struggle against Trigon is a neverending one, any missteps would result Trigon's return and laying waste on the world, making Raven take her duties seriously. She also occasionally adopted the human identity of 'Rachel Roth'.

As of the New 52, it takes Raven one year to finally reappear, first as a confused normal girl who is reluctantly handed over by the Phantom Stranger to Trigon. She reappears later as "The Black Bird of Terror", however, despite Trigon bringing her in, Raven eventually prayed for both the Gods of light and dark grant her and her friends strength that Justice Will Prevail.

As stated above, Raven is prominently featured in the Teen Titans cartoon, in which she gained the majority of fans and made her a fan-favorite amongst DC characters. She is also one of the playable Titans in Injustice: Gods Among Us (along with Nightwing and Cyborg) and appears in the prequel comic of the same name.

Tropes associated with Raven

  • All-Encompassing Mantle
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Her aunt and uncle become this to her, though she doesn't seem to mind too much.
  • Animal Motifs: Of a raven, obviously.
  • Anti Anti Christ: She was sent to Earth to end it, but ends up being a hero who tries to save it.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the end of the "Terror of Trigon" arc, a purified Raven rises from the ashes of the battlefield and departs for places unknown, leaving her teammates wondering if she had died. She's later found, but falls into the hands of Brother Blood first.
    • At the end of New Titans, Raven's pure soul was somehow extracted from Starfire offpanel (following the defeat of her corrupted Trigon-self) and existed in a ghostly golden "spirit advisor" form. She made a few more cameos in team events, but then vanished and the Titans assumed this had happened to her. However, it turned out that she was resurrected in a new mortal body by the new Brother Blood.
  • Astral Projection: Through the use of her soul-self, Raven can project her consciousness into the mind, for therapeutic purposes (to aid in her own meditation, or to help calm an agitated ally), or for offensive attacks, rendering her enemies unconscious.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Beast Boy in the New 52.
  • Broken Bird
  • Casting a Shadow: She can control pure shadows and darkness.
  • Chekhov's Gift: Her rings, gifted by Azar at her death, turned out to be much more powerful than readers thought. They destroyed Trigon during The Terror of Trigon
  • Clever Crows: Raven is a Dark Is Not Evil hero (when not being possessed or mind-controlled by her Eldritch Abomination father) whose magical powers often use a corvid motif.
  • Dark Is Evil: In the New 52.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Raven has darkness based powers, and a Dark and Troubled Past, but is at heart a hero.
  • Demonic Possession: Occasionally, thanks to Trigon. And when that happens, terrible things tend to follow.
  • Depending on the Artist: Raven's general appearance is subject to this (see "Gonk").
    • The second version of "Dark Raven" was very dependent on the artist drawing her, with colorists either making her skin an outright red or a deep tan, giving her a gray skunk-stripe in her hair or leaving it entirely black, and one artist even giving her antlers like her father.
  • Divine Parentage: She is the daughter of the demon Trigon and a human woman, something that causes her considerable angst.
  • Emotionless Girl: At first. Due to the popularity of the cartoon, she eventually evolves into a more Deadpan Snarker.
  • Empath: Raven has the psionic power to absorb and control feelings, sensations and emotions, enabling her to feel and enter into the subconscious minds of others.
    • Empathic Healer: Could heal others, at the cost of having to feel their agony. This cannot be done to major injuries.
    • Emotion Eater: Initially could just instill and influence emotions in others, such as getting Wally West to believe he loved her. By volume 3, she'd developed the power to drain others of emotion as a way to help calm crowds.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After her evil persona was resurrected in a new body as "Dark Raven" in New Titans, she took to wearing a black Stripperiffic bikini and leather straps all over her arms and legs, along with thigh-high boots and a gray version of her cloak. She also displays a brief one-panel switch in Teen Titans volume 3, when her cloak and dress turn pitch-black when Brother Blood controls her to attack the Titans and send them to her soul-self's pocket dimension.
  • Evil Counterpart: Had this briefly with a fellow offspring of Trigon in New Teen Titans: Games. She managed to soothe the dying woman and name her "Azara", in order to give her meaning to her brief life.
  • Fanservice Pack: In a contrast to her original slimmer "dancer's build" and gaunt look in the '80s series, more modern depictions of Raven have her with a somewhat more shapely body and a much larger bust size.
  • Flight: With her new body came new powers and new and stronger abilities, the ability to fly at supersonic speeds being one of them.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: This was Raven's main power when she used the white cloak during the Wolfman era. Purified from Trigon's evil side, and no longer forced to deny emotions, she enjoyed giving happiness to everybody. Both to enemies, to make them become good guys, and to mere bystanders.
  • Gonk: Although she started out with a smoother and more average face, George Perez gradually modified his take on Raven to give her a very narrow face with protruding cheekbones and a very high forehead. This was then explained away in-story as her demonic heritage showing. However, after Perez left, Eduardo Barretto drew Raven more like her initial appearance. While later artists would bring back her narrow face, the volume 3 artists drew her to be more human-like and more beautiful, eventually averting this completely.
  • Grand Theft Me: Trigon's evil influence basically manifests as a completely separate persona within her in "The Terror of Trigon", leaving her to astral-project herself out of fear.
    • After Raven died at the end of "Titans Hunt", her evil self manifested as her own persona and managed to implant herself into a metahuman to be the second incarnation of "Dark Raven". Luckily, the evil self unknowingly implanted the soul of the good/purified Raven into Starfire. Needless to say, both "halves" of her were still equally considered Raven (the pure soul and the Trigon avatar).
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The half-demon daughter of Trigon.
  • The Heart
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Raven's demonic blood seems to turn her evil at least once a year, or give her paranoia of doing so.
    • New 52 seems to have finally set on Face.
      • Subverted, Raven is actually still a Heel in the New 52. the only difference is that Rachel has been brainwashed into being Trigon's sleeper agent in the Teen Titans, and was recently released from the mind control that was inflicted upon her.
  • Heroic Bastard: Born from Trigon raping Arella. However, this isn't consistent and some accounts state that Trigon seduced Arella before revealing his demonic nature, or even married her.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: A case in the good guys' side. When she first reunited the Titans, Wally West refused to take part in it, so Raven influenced his emotions to make him love her. It was discovered a few issues later, and gave problems for years. Thanks for nothing, Zatanna!
  • Idiot Ball: When Raven first came to Earth, she asked for help to the Justice League. They did not help her: Zatanna senses a great evil in her. So, she created a new group, reuniting the disbanded teen titans. And, as she explained them, the evil that Zatanna felt is that Raven is Trigon's daugther; even when she completely refuses him and tries as much as possible to prevent his arrival. Sounds fine... but didn't she told that to the League? After all, she never denied or concealed on purpose her relation with Trigon, if it came as a reveal was because she usually says very little.
  • In the Hood: She loves the Hood; it somehow conceals her face just as well as a mask but without that pesky glue. It even stays on when she flies (the animated version provides a possible explanation for this by giving her telekinesis, a power she lacks in the comics.)
  • Kuudere
  • Lady of Black Magic: She's dark, aloof, and has many supernatural and sorcerous powers.
  • Leotard of Power: Wore a unitard after the One Year Later timeskip that paid homage to her animated self's outfit (but covered her legs). It was later discarded in favor of her wearing a dress again.
  • The Medic: Healing is her primary power and she is a pacifist who hates violence.
  • Mediator
  • Mind Control: Subjects Beast Boy to this in her first appearance in the New 52.
  • Mind over Matter: Raven has the ability to psionically move objects with mind, seen for example when she uses this ability to levitate children out of a burning hospital in Dakota and move herself through the flames.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In the case of her conception and her mother Arella. Marv Wolfman's original origin had Arella as an adopted child who didn't know her actual parents or her birth name, and it stated that she attempted to get legal help and support after her rape until she fell into despair and was taken to Azarath. In the more modern origin, Arella had the birth name of "Angela Roth" and lived in Gotham City, where she was kicked out when she decided to rebel against her controlling father. She then wound up instantly spirited away to Azarath, after Trigon raped her and she attempted to kill herself. And according to Rebirth, Angela ran away from home due to a hatred of her family's Catholicism, and began worshipping Azar before Trigon raped her.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:In her original portrayal, she was an empath and could teleport, along with inducing feelings in others. After her revival, Geoff Johns and other writers gave her the ability to fly (to tie in with her animated version), to completely deprive others of emotions, and gradually more previously-unseen magical powers for whatever type of story they wanted to tell.
  • Psychic Powers: She has powerful telepathic and telekinetic powers fueled by her emotions.
  • Purple Eyes: She sometimes has these in her modern incarnation, in part due to the success of the animated Titans show. They relate to her magical nature. Officially, they're "indigo" and vacillate between being this or a deep blue. However, back in the '80s, her eyes were a standard blue shade.
  • Race Lift: She is Caucasian in the main continuity, but is portrayed as a Native American in Teen Titans: Earth One.
  • Ret Canon: Following the One Year Later Time Skip from Infinite Crisis, she donned a similar costume to the one from the cartoon (modified to include a bird symbol and leggings).
    • Also the concept of a romantic relationship between her and Beast Boy originated in the TV show before being ported back to the comics.
  • She's Got Legs: Raven's original dress (both blue and white) showed her legs. Perez always included a Male Gaze on them.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Her standard personality in the comics for years.
  • Technical Pacifist: Being raised on the pacifistic land of Azarath, Raven does not like fighting, as it would also get her closer to reviving Trigon. However, if push comes to shove, she will fight on.
  • Teleportation: Using her soul-self, she can teleport herself and others over vast distances.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Her dad is Trigon. Need we say more?
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Raven spent years knowing that Trigon would eventually assimilate her, and that she would eventually become a demon like him. It finally happened in The Terror of Trigon. Her soul was cleansed from Trigon's evil at the end of the story.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Warning the whole Azarath and Justice League about Trigon's return, all ending up in failure because of Azarath's pacifistic nature and Zatanna's evil detection.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: While not a complete Emotionless Girl, when purged of Trigon's influence for the first time, she had difficulty comprehending her suppressed emotions. Specifically the different branches of them. Because of this her powers were greatly influenced by her extreme emotional states. She assumed Nightwing's platonic love, was no different than romantic love and this caused her powers to make him believe he was romatically in love with her without either of them knowing the true cause. Starfire caught on to this and helped her see through her mistake.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Beast Boy.
  • Woman in White: After she defeated Trigon and wound up under Brother Blood's thrall, she began wearing white. After being freed by the Titans, she continued to wear white to symbolize her newfound purity and freedom. It didn't last.
    • At the beginning of volume 3, the resurrected Raven is dressed in a white dress and cloak by the new Brother Blood. After Beast Boy helps her get back in control of her mind and powers, she rejects Blood and her uniform magically becomes blue.

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