Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Raven

Go To
Raven as of DC Rebirth Click here to see Pre-New 52 Raven 

Raven is a DC Comics character, the daughter of Trigon the Terrible, the DC Comics equivalent of Satan. Because of her parentage, she frequently slides around on the hero-villain spectrum. She was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez in Teen Titans, the comic and team which she is still most associated with. Raven has grown in popularity due to her dark nature, particularly thanks to her appearance in Teen Titans, where she is voiced by Tara Strong.

Raven was born when a human woman named Angela (or Arella) became involved with a cult and was raped by Trigon. To protect the world from her and her father, Raven was raised in the distant land of Azarath, where the Goddess Azar taught her to control her emotions to suppress her demonic powers. After Azar's death, Raven tried and failed to mobilize the pacifistic people of Azarath against Trigon. Still swearing to stop him, Raven traveled to Earth for help. She first went to the Justice League, but due to Zatanna sensing the evil power within her, she was rejected. Still desperate, Raven instead sent telepathic messages to previous Teen Titans members Dick Grayson/Robin, Wally West/Kid Flash, and Donna Troy/Wonder Girl, and new heroes Koriand'r/Starfire, Victor Stone/Cyborg, and Garfield Logan/Beast Boy, uniting them as the new Teen Titans. While at first distant, Raven eventually began to accept them as her new adoptive family and began opening up to them.


Trigon is a recurring foe of the Titans, as he cannot be killed. Raven keeps Trigon's influence within her, and eternally struggles not to let him free by accident. Partially because of this, Raven is extremely prone to the Heel–Face Revolving Door and fluctuations between life, death, and undeath, even for a comic book character.

In the New 52, Raven first appears as a confused normal girl the Phantom Stranger hands over to Trigon. She reappears later as "The Black Bird of Terror", and eventually prayed for both the Gods of light and dark to grant her and her friends strength that Justice Will Prevail.

Between the New 52 and Teen Titans (Rebirth), Raven had a self-titled miniseries (see below for tropes from that series). A direct sequel to that series, Raven, Daughter of Darkness, received a 12-issue run in 2018.


Raven is prominently featured in the Teen Titans cartoon, which made her a fan-favorite. She is also a prominent character in Teen Titans Go! and its movie. She is 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. She made her live-action debut in the DC Universe series Titans, played by Teagan Croft.

    Character Tropes 

Raven provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Type 2, Animal Alias, with a raven theme present in her name, her costume, and the appearance of her powers.
  • Anti Anti Christ: She was sent to Earth to end it, but ends up being a hero who tries to save it.
  • Apocalypse Maiden
  • 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.
  • Bald Woman: In her first appearance in the 2003 Teen Titans series. She would sport Boyish Short Hair a few issues later, then had shoulder-length hair before growing her hair long after Infinite Crisis.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: She is the daughter of the demonic Trigon and was intended to serve in destroying the world with her dark powers. Instead, she opposes him and fights for good with the other Titans.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Beast Boy in the New 52.
  • Cain and Abel: Whenever Raven is given a sibling she's the Abel to their Cain.
    • In the second Titans volume the villains of the opening arc were six previously unknown half brothers by Trigon who stole their dad's powers and tried to get Raven to join them. Their powers were based on the Seven Deadly Sins with Raven's evil side manifesting as Pride.
    • In the non-canon New Teen Titans: Games graphic novel, one of the Gamesmaster's playing pieces is revealed to be an unnamed half sister who was abandoned and cast to Earth when she was a baby. The child grew up inside Arkham Asylum and her abilities made the insanity of the other inmates even worse. Raven manages to purge her sister's madness just before she dies thanks to the self destruct device implanted in all of the playing pieces, but before she dies Raven is able to give her a name so her soul can rest in peace: Azara.
  • 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.
  • Child by Rape: She is this with the specifics depending on the version.
    • In the very first origin (written before Marv Wolfman and George Perez got their act together), Trigon took Arella, her mother, as his bride while using a human guise and didn't reveal himself until much later, making her a child of rape by fraud since Arella never would have agreed had she known what he really was.
    • The second origin, which is generally considered to be the canon (by this point, Wolfman and Perez had long settled down in their thing), Trigon brutally raped Arella.
    • In a later take on her origin (written by Geoff Johns), it used the fraud explanation, but still counts as this trope.
  • 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.
  • Color Motif:
    • Blue: Raven wears a blue dress and cloak in her first appearances. They symbolize her kindness, empathetic nature and powers and melancholy.
    • Black: Her soul-self, and, in the animated adaptations, the color of her psychokinetic powers. In the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, Raven even wears a black cloak instead of a purple one. Black also fits her name, animal motif and half-demon nature.
    • White: Her white dress and cloak symbolize her new freedom and purity after being purified from her father's presence in her soul.
    • Purple: In the animated adaptations, Raven wears a purple colak, and has purple hair and eyes.
    • Red: Her skin and eyes turn red when she unleashes her demon part or gets possessed by her father Trigon.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the Writer: Raven's heritage is generally described as "evil" but the particulars tend to waver depending on whether Trigon is considered an evil Elder God from Another Dimension or a straight-up lord of Hell. Pre-Flashpoint, writers who placed Trigon as a demon from Hell also hooked him into a few demonic family trees, which inadvertently turned Raven into Etrigan's aunt.
  • Divine Parentage: She is the daughter of the demon Trigon and a human woman, something that causes her considerable angst.
  • Emotionless Girl: At first. This was due to that fact that she had to keep her emotions under control lest her demonic father, Trigon, use those emotions to take control of her and invade her dimension. 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 voluptuous body and a much larger bust size.
  • Raven can manifest a bird made of black energy referred to as her "soul-self". It can travel long distances, become intangible, communicate telepathically and act as a shield.
  • 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.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Quiet, oftentimes emotionless, and sometimes snarky, she wears dark clothing and painted black nails even out of her superhero costume and can wield magic.
  • 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.
  • Happily Adopted: In the New 52. Raven is taken in by her human aunt and uncle at the beginning of her 2016 miniseries, and by the time it ends, she's shown to enjoy being part of their family.
  • 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. In the New 52 she is actually still a Heel. 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, turning her to 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, 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 sensed a great evil in her. So, she created a new group, reuniting the disbanded Teen Titans. And, as she explained to them, the evil that Zatanna felt was that Raven is Trigon's daughter; even when she completely refuses him and tries as much as possible to prevent his arrival. Sounds fine... but didn't she tell that to the League? After all, she never denied or concealed on purpose her relation with Trigon, if it came as a reveal it 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.)
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Appearance:
    • 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.
  • The Medic: Healing is her primary power and she is a pacifist who hates violence.
  • 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: The modern depictions of Raven have very voluptuous bodies, long shapely legs, and the tendency to wear attractive costumes (especially the dresses and unitard).
  • Multiple-Choice Past: While the Broad Strokes of her backstory are unchanged — Arella Roth fell in with a cult and was ultimately raped by Trigon — the details have changed several times.
    • Marv Wolfman's early versions had Arella as an adopted or foster 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 Geoff Johns' take, Arella had the birth name of "Angela Roth" and lived in Gotham City, until she decided to run away from home to escape her violent Catholic father, who would strike her for her rebellious anti-religious outfits and music, inadvertently falling in with the Church of Blood. Johns rather accelerates through the rest of the backstory, indicating that the Trigon's rape of Arella, the ensuing pregnancy, at least one suicide attempt, and finally the arrival and hospitality of Azarath all happened in one night.
    • 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.
    • The Daughter of Darkness miniseries, written by Wolfman again, reconciles these different takes by having Arella make Broad Strokes alluding to Johns' take but also indicating that this is a blatantly Self-Serving Memory and that in reality Arella was constantly causing her own problems.
  • 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.
  • Prefers Proper Names: Raven refers to her friends by their names. She's one of the few who call Dick "Richard". This is due to her aloof personality and upbringing.
  • Psychic Powers: She has powerful telepathic and telekinetic powers fueled by her emotions.
  • Race Lift: She is Caucasian in the main continuity, but is portrayed as a Native American in Teen Titans: Earth One.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Most depictions of Raven have her with fair skin and as a 'ravenette'.
  • Resurrected Romance: After coming back from the dead during Geoff Johns' run, she began a long and troubled romance with Beast Boy (which roughly coincided with both of their cartoon selves becoming a Fan-Preferred Couple); they spent roughly a decade passing through Will They or Won't They? and settled on They Do when Flashpoint hit.
  • 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 (or at least its fandom) 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.
  • Spirit Advisor: At the tail-end of New Titans in the mid 90s, the Gainax Ending reduced Raven to the "good part of her soul", which appeared as Raven in human form, but pure gold. She remained this way through a few re-appearances under Devin Grayson's pen through Titans volume 1note , but disappeared for several years. She was later fully reborn in the flesh (in a younger body, no less) in Teen Titans volume 3 by the Cult of Blood during Geoff Johns' run.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Zig-zagged over the years. Now in the Rebirth continuity, she's 5'10" and quite easy on the eyes.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Her standard personality in the comics for years.
  • Technical Pacifist: Being raised in 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.
  • True Blue Femininity: The color Raven has worn the most in the comics. The blue dress and cloak show her kindness, elegance and melancholy.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Her dad is Trigon. Need we say more?
  • Unstable Powered Woman: She is infamous in-universe for the number of times she has manifested a Superpowered Evil Side and betrayed the Teen Titans, often at the bidding of her father, Trigon. There have even been instances in the comics where people have regarded her as akin to a ticking time bomb, who is always at risk of being corrupted, controlled or seduced into betraying her friends.
  • Vague Age: She never quite ages out of the appropriate age of whatever current group of Teen Titans she is serving with even when her former peers have gone on to become adults.
  • 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?:
  • 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 of Azarath and the Justice League about Trigon's return, all ending up in failure because of Azarath's pacifistic nature and Zatanna's evil detection.

    Solo Series 
  • Alliterative Family: Sisters Angela and Alice Roth.
  • Alliterative Name: Raven first goes by the name "Rachel Roth" in in this title.
  • Amnesia Loop: When Raven attempts to enter and take down the White Carnival, her narration repeats as the carnival tries to force her out via Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Technically a traveling carnival.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Aunt Alice and her family don’t define their religion outside of “Christian,” but they have crucifixes in their home and talk about midnight mass on Christmas Eve, implying that they are indeed Catholic.
  • Enemy Mine: Defied. To quote Raven’s thoughts: “sometimes the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy.”
  • Ferris Wheel of Doom: Features prominently in the carnival of doom
  • Girl Posse: Raven meets with the usual squad of flat mean-girl characters. She makes them believe their worst nightmare has come true.
  • High School: According to issue #3's cover, "The Most Dangerous Dimension!"
  • Hippie Parents: Dude says he got saddled with his unique given name because of this.
  • Light Is Not Good: the carnival is mostly bright white light, causes its victims to have glowing blue-white eyes, and sends out tendrils of light.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: Aunt Alice and her family take in Raven. Raven outright calls them “Muggles” at one point in her narration.
  • Multi-Ethnic Name: Annabel Thompkins-Tang.
  • Nephewism: Raven, an established character, goes to live with her never before mentioned aunt’s family.
  • New Transfer Student: Raven is the new girl at school, although where exactly she's supposed to be transferring from is never clarified.
  • Overly Long Name: “Antt” is an abbreviation.
  • Teen Pregnancy: The Girl Posse's worst fear.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The elders of Azarath did not prepare Raven for normal high school. As a result, normal conversation, fun, and friendship are rather puzzling to her.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: An extremely literal example: one of Raven’s new friends is legally named “Dude,” thanks to his Hippie Parents.
  • Your Tradition Is Not Mine: The reason Alice and Raven don’t know anything about each other: Angela/Arella broke completely with the family over this as a teenager.


Video Example(s):


"...But You're Not"

Beast Boy gives Raven a much-needed cheering up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouAreNotAlone

Media sources:

Main / YouAreNotAlone