Comicbook: Raven

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 While at first distant, Raven began to accept them as her new adoptive family and began opening up from her withdrawn nature.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 New52, 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).

Tropes associated with Raven

  • 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.
  • 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: New 52.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Deep down, Raven is a good girl despite her dark powers.
  • 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.
  • Emotionless Girl: At first. Due to the popularity of the cartoon, she eventually evolves into a more Deadpan Snarker.
  • 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.
  • Fan Service 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.
  • 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.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door
    • New 52 seems to have finally set on Face.
  • 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 (thus committing rape by fraud), or even married her.
  • In the Hood: Raven often wears a hood over her head.
  • Lady of Black Magic
  • 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.
  • Psychic Powers
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Her dad is Trigon. Need we say more?
  • 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.
  • 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.