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Nightrider

Alias: David, Dagon

Team Titans Member
Joined: 
New Titans #79 [1991]

Related Links:  Comics Scene Yearbook Article
Wizard #25 Titans Article  • Phil Jimenez Looks Back
Team Titans FAQ

Nightrider Quick Bio: Once human, David was transformed into a vampire during one of Lord Chaos’ macabre experiments. Adopting the vampiric name of Dagon – and the heroic name of Nightrider – David joined the Team Titans, who helped control his bloodlust. Dagon was erased from time during the Zero Hour time crisis.

Team Titans File Photo:

Team Titans Group Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

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History


The Children Are Our Future

In an alternate future, the world was ruled by a cruel and barbarous demigod with powers from beyond the stars. He was Lord Chaos, and he would enslave or kill all who would oppose him. But one group did challenge Lord Chaos’ authority – a collection of underground freedom fighters inspired by the legendary Teen Titans. Galvanized by a mysterious leader, dozens of these super-powered recruits collectively became known as the Team Titans.

To combat these paranormal rebels, Lord Chaos sought to create his own meta-human army. One such recruit was a young British boy named David. After being struck by a car, Chaos’ scientists subjected David to a battery of tests and experiments.

At seventeen years old, David was taken to Transylvania for a very special experiment. One of Chaos’ macabre scientists, Commander Stalg, extracted Dracula’s DNA infused it into David. But the night Stalg chose to conduct this grotesque experiment angered an ancient demon, who rose up during David’s transformation. With David’s vampiric metamorphosis complete, he felt an affinity to the demon. Now a “blood-hungering Dagon,” David terrorized Stalg as the demon claimed the lives of all the soldiers with the sole exception of the remorseful Charlie Watkins.

David insisted on being called “Dagon” after his transformation. With his frightening new abilities, he joined the Team Titans’ rebellion as Nightrider.

A Dagon is born, in TEAM TITANS #1 [1992]. 

Total Chaos

Shortly thereafter, the Team Titans’ leader gave one of his super-powered squads a critical mission. Mirage, Killowat, Dagon, Terra, Redwing and Prester Jon were sent back to Earth’s past to find Lord Chaos’ mother – Donna Troy of the New Titans – and slay her before she bore her demonic son. Hurdled through time on a one-way trip, the Team Titans infiltrated the Titans but Donna Troy gave birth before they could intervene. Total turmoil erupted when Lord Chaos arrived, determined to insure his own future. At that point, both teams united to end Chaos and spare Donna’s life at the same time.

During this encounter, Nightrider’s attack on Starfire gave him an infusion of her solar powers. This enabled the young vampire to walk freely during the day, no longer needing to shun sunlight.

 

The Team Titans begin  their deadly mission in NEW TITANS #80 [1991].

With their mission now completed, the Team Titans found themselves stranded in the past with no future ahead. Donna Troy provided a new home for the time-lost teenagers at her New Jersey farmhouse, where she could help them find their place in a world that was still so strange to them.

One of Nightrider’s greatest challenges was in controlling his bloodlust. That struggle was put to the ultimate test when Dagon was invited to join a group of scientifically created vampires. Ultimately, Dagon recognized them for the monsters they were, as the mysterious Kole used her crystal spinning powers to refract the sunlight to destroy them.

ABOVE: Dagon and Pantha compare eating habits, in TEAM TITANS #1 [1992].
BELOW: Nightrider encounters a unique group of vampires in TEAM TITANS #9 [1993].

Countdown To Zero Hour

Suddenly, the Team Titans became engulfed in a crisis wherein time itself began to unravel. The time-warping Extant and power-mad Parallax plotted to hasten this breakdown to create an entirely new reality of their own design. As the dreaded zero hour approached, scores of heroes from various eras were drawn to the literal Ground Zero, the beginning of time.

There, Extant revealed that his past self, Monarch, had engineered the Team Titans’ timeline to create his own army of super-powered assassins. Through their wristbands, Extant activated his sleeper agent Team Titans to attack the heroes and preserve his “Zero Hour” objective. But as their incongruous timeline faded, the Team Titans themselves were erased from existence.

ABOVE: The Team Titans cease to exist in ZERO HOUR #2  [1994].
BELOW: 
The Time Trapper reveals the truth behind
the Team Titans’ timeline in 
NEW TITANS ANNUAL #11 [1995].

 

Inexplicably, three individuals survived the collapse of the Team Titans’ timeline: Mirage, Terra and Deathwing. With no home to call their own, Mirage and Terra joined Arsenal’s New Titans team. There, the group received a strange orb from the calculating Time Trapper, revealing the three survivors – Mirage, Terra and Deathwing – originated from this timeline. 

Powers & Abilities


Dagon possessed enhanced senses, strength, speed and durability. Dagon also had the ability to change his shape at will, transforming into mist or morphing into a human/bat-like creature. He also had to feed on the blood of others. A taste of Starfire’s blood neutralized his weakness to sunlight (since Starfire’s body acts as a solar battery). Dagon was also immortal. It was also stated that vampires had control over over the elements, but Dagon did not use that ability to any degree.


Essential Reading


New Titans #79 [1991]: A mysterious group of teenagers try to track down Donna Troy in an attempt to kill her. This issue features the first appearance of the Team Titans. Story continued in New Titans Annual #7 [which establishes the back story of the Team Titans].
New Titans Annual #7 and New Titans #80 [1991]: Waverider leaves an unconscious Nightwing to meet Joe Wilson, while in the future, the mysterious leader details his plans to the Team Titans on how they will go back in time to eliminate Donna Troy before she can give birth to her son, who will turn out to be Lord Chaos.
Total Chaos: New Titans #90-92, Team Titans #1-3, Deathstroke #14-16 [1992]: The Team Titans have been sent to the past to kill the pregnant Troia before she gives birth to her son, who could become a god-powered dictator named Lord Chaos in the future. The Team is defeated, and Troia, having lost her powers, gives birth to a normal baby boy. Mirage of the Team Titans kidnaps Starfire and impersonates her so that she can date Nightwing. Team Titans #1 is released in five different versions, but unlike variant cover gimmicks, all five are double-sized while selling for the regular price. Although all contain a common story, each also includes a different full-length origin story for a group member [Origins of Mirage, Terra II, Nightrider, Redwing and Killowat].
Team Titans #6 [1993]: The Team Titans celebrate the holidays, by going in search of their pasts, here In the present. Redwing discovers that the Levines had twin girls, instead of boy/girl twins (Carrie and Jon Levine). Kilowatt finds the counterparts to the aunt and uncle that raised him – but discovered they were African American; It seemed unlikely he existed in this timeline at all. Dagon prevents his younger self from experiencing the accident he did as a child. Battalion tracks down his future-wife, Essie, only to find she is engaged to another man. Phantasm eases Terra’s and Mirage’s pains. Both Titans teams unite for a holiday gathering.
Team Titans #8 [1993]: The Teamers investigate a rash of vampire attacks and encounter a mysterious woman that bears a strong resemblance to the dead-Titan, Kole. As they investigate further, they come across a nest of vampires.
Team Titans #9-10 [1993]: A new group of scientifically created vampire hordes tempt Dagon to join them. The Teamers battle the vampires as Dagon resists them. Kole enters the fray, using her crystal spinning powers to refract the sunlight to destroy the vampires.
Team Titans #24 [1994] FINAL ISSUE: Monarch rants about how the Teamers have been pawns all along and their true role will become apparent soon. The Teamers battle against all the havoc wrought by Zero Hour time glitches. Continued in the pages of Zero Hour.
Zero Hour #4-0 [1994]:
 Time continues to collapse, erasing the false timelines that had emerged. As a result, all the Team Titans are erased from existence! ‘Death’ of Battalion, Killowat, Dagon, Redwing, Prestor Jon and all the Team Titans. Mirage & Terra mysteriously survive.

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A convention sketch of Nightrider by NEW TITANS artist Kerry Gammill,
who helped to introduce the Team Titans in NEW TITANS #80.

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 Team Titans Series Overview


Team Titans #1 to 24
September 1992 to September 1994

The Future Is Now

The “Titans Hunt” storyline featured the debut of the Team Titans, a group of time-tossed teenagers from a bleak future ruled by Lord Chaos. Introduced in New Titans #79 [1991], this mysterious group of teenagers was tracking Donna Troy in an attempt to kill her. On the last page, the Team Titans membership is revealed: Mirage, Redwing, Nightrider, Killowat and – inexplicably –Terra! This last page shocker was followed up in New Titans Annual #7, where the alternate future world of the Team Titans was established. Given orders by a mysterious leader, The Team Titans were sent back in time to eliminate Donna Troy before she could give birth to her son, who will turn out to be Lord Chaos. The Teamers’ arrival in the present is detailed in New Titans #80.

When the Team Titans were created for the 1991 New Titans Annual, writer Marv Wolfman said he had no idea that the group would get their own title. Editor Jonathan Peterson suggested that the annual feature Nightwing leading a Titans group in the future. “I didn’t just want to have him lead a group fighting Monarch, and I realized it would be more exciting to develop a parallel story,” recalled Wolfman. “Rarely can you come up with many characters all at once that work, but in this case, all the characters and their origins jelled quickly. It was very much like when I did the original Teen Titans group. They came one right after another. The Team Titans were all designed by [artist] Tom Grummett, and we realized we had more than an annual story. There was immediate interest at DC, because the characters worked. So, we figured out a way to bring these characters back into our present.”

The Team (then Teen) Titans, from DC’s Who’s Who Series.

The Team Titans continued to track Donna Troy in New Titans #85-89 [1992], as Terra II made herself known to Changeling, while Mirage made her own plans to win the heart of Nightwing. As Donna’s pregnancy accelerated, it led into a final three-way conflict with the Team Titans, New Titans and Lord Chaos. Team Titans #1-3 featured a crossover with New Titans #90-92 andDeathstroke #14-16 entitled “Total Chaos.” The Team Titans first clashed and then teamed up with the Titans to ultimately defeat Lord Chaos.

Team Titans was written by Marv Wolfman and #1-3 featured art by Kevin Maguire. Later, Phil Jimenez became the title’s artist with issue #7. Wolfman left the series with issue #12.

Wolfman later reflected on his Team Titans tenure in a titanstower.com interview: ” Jonathan Peterson asked me to do a one-shot annual featuring these alternate universe characters. I came up with them for a one-shot only and somehow they get put into their own book. Had I known that was going to happen I would have spent a lot more time working on them so they could sustain a book. I never thought they should be their own title as they were a one-note concept. The Team Titans title was not one of my favorites. I did like the individual members, though, and I really liked what I did with their origin stories. It’s just the book itself never should have been published.”

Kevin Maguire’s Team Titans, from DC’s Who’s Who Series.

X-Force-Fitting The Team Titans

Jeff Jensen and Phil Jimenez co-wrote the Team Titans starting with #13 until its cancellation with #24 in 1994. The last few issues of the book featured art by Terry Dodson.

The series seemed to be conceived as an answer to Marvel’s popular X-Force, with its teenage warriors and tough drill sergeant mentor (Battalion patterned after X-Force’s Cable). The concept never caught on with readers and the book was ultimately canceled. The Team Titans’ fate was revealed in the pages of Zero Hour, where their timeline collapsed, thus erasing all the characters from existence (except Terra, Mirage and Deathwing).

Phil Jimenez later reflected of his Team Titans tenure during an AOL chat: “I signed on to do a particular kind of self-aware, kitschy project while the higher ups wanted the new X-Force – and everything we had planned got screwed up by Zero Hour – none of which were particularly good for the team, DC Comics, or my career. We had originally intended to explore various things with the Team; Mirage’s psycho pregnancy; Killowat’s subtle racism, the possibility that Terra was a lesbian earth elemental. Kole was Marv’s doing, not mine and we had to explain her away. In our original plan, the Team Titans were from an alternate time line and Terra was that time line’s Earth elemental and she was going to be a lesbian.”

Jimenez continued, “Mirage was going to go nuts during her pregnancy, and try to shape change it out of existence and it would be invulnerable to that, and she’d eventually kill herself. Mirage was never a favorite. But I found the drama of her after-rape period ripe with possibilities.”

“We were going to explore the Joker’s Daughter angle,” Jimenez noted, “We were going to find out that the Joker’s Daughter was insane – that her memories of the Titans (now non-continuity) were just ravings in her head. She was going to steal the Time Commander’s hourglass and reshape Manhattan into the island that she remembered, recreating a 70’s world of heroes, villains, and icons that the Titans would find themselves in.”

The Team Titans by Phil Jimenez, from DC Cosmic Card Set.

Alternate Futures

The Team Titans seemed full of possibilities – and missed opportunities. Kole returned in the pages of Team Titans only to mysteriously disappear. Phil Jimenez’s plans for the book were contrary to DC’s vision. The Joker’s Daughter appeared in issue #13 – and was never seen again. And then there’s the Team Titans leader…

The idea of Monarch as the leader of the Team Titans seemed like a last minute Zero Hour shuffle – and it was. Phil Jimenez revealed as much, “We were told to write that this second Kole, as well as nearly every other character we introduced in Team Titans, was a creation of Extant/Monarch, in order to lead the Titans down the path they would need to be super-powered assassins. So Kole was nothing more than an Extant-created construct.”

But who was intended as the original Team Titans leader? It was actually the much-loathed Danny Chase. “That was part of the idea of making Danny Chase tolerable,” editor Jonathan Peterson admitted in a 2005 interview with titanstower.com. “We could make him like John Conner from Terminator 2. He goes from whiny kid to leader of the rebellion.”

Extant’s manipulations of the
Team Titans unfold in ZERO HOUR #2 [1994].

Perhaps the most interesting angle to the Team Titans was editor Jonathan Peterson’s original plan, ” I thought, if Marvel has X-Men and New Mutants, we should do the same, so Marv said, “Okay, so we’ll have a new Teen Titans,” and then Kevin Maguire suggested we alter it, and call it Team Titans. ”

“[…] I wanted to get the Teen Titans back, so I explained my whacked out idea. I really wanted Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Changeling, Raven, Starfire and Cyborg back to what they were originally, so I wanted to do an alternate dimension or timeline, and I turned to Kevin and said “You get to launch an all-new Titans book and design them from the ground up.” Not only that, but this alternate universe would have an alternate young Robin, and alternate young Starfire and all the rest. The plan for Team Titans was a secret one. With the first Team Titans Annual, or at the end of the first 12 issues, I told Kevin he would then be re-launching the Teen Titans with alternate versions of the core-seven members.”

“My plan there was to have those members slowly grow in those twelve issues. They would grow or move on or be phased out. That would lead into the first Annual. That Annual would introduce our alternate [universe], younger Teen Titans. The book would change it’s title to Teen Titans and feature the alternate, younger versions of those core-seven Titans. That was the plan.”

Short List of Notable Appearances

Team Titans #1-24
Team Titans Annual #1-2
New Titans #79-80, 85-92
New Titans Annual #7
Deathstroke #14-16
Zero Hour #0-4


Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Binder Series, supplemented by titanstower.com


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