Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the infamous billionaire orphan turned vigilante: Nighthawk
Appearances in Heroclix: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD, Sinister
First Appearance: Avengers #69
Team Affiliations: Squadron Sinister, Defenders, Thunderbolts, Legion of the Unliving, Fearsome Four, Squadron Supreme
Created By: Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema
Kyle Richmond is the son of two wealthy parents raised by his governness while his father is away. When Kyle’s mother dies in an accident, his father sends him to boarding school. Kyle eventually gets into Grayburn College where he meets and falls in love with Mindy Williams. Eventually, Kyle has a horrific drunk-driving accident that kills Mindy. This leads to his expulsion from school which then leads to Kyle becoming incredibly anti-social. He tries to join the army but is rejected because of a heart murmur. Soon after, Kyle learns that his father has died in a plane crash and Kyle has inherited Richmond Enterprises. Kyle begins searching for a cure for his heart murmur and engages in intense physical training.
While drunk, Kyle successfully creates a working serum from an old alchemy book. The serum gives Kyle enhanced strength at night. This strength, combined with his training, allows him to become Nightawk. Nighthawk is a founding member of the Squadron Sinister brought together by the Grandmaster to fight the Avengers. In this first confrontation, Nighthawk battles and loses to Captain America.
When Nebulon reforms the Squadron and grants them greater power in exchange for the Earth, they create a giant laser cannon in the Arctic in order to melt the polar ice caps and flood the Earth. Thought Nighthawk is recruited to this new Squadron, he asks for the help of the Defenders to stop the plot. Alongside the heroes, Nighthawk and the Defenders successfully thwart the plot and defeat the villains.
Nighthawk then joins the Defenders, but faces several setbacks. He is charged with tax evasion and fraud by the United States government. The FBI then arrests him for operating as a vigilante while charges are pending. Once he reveals his secret identity, he is allowed to continue to adventure. Eventually, the wounds he has received during his adventures leave him paralyzed and force him into extensive physical therapy. He eventually recovers enough to move at night and continues to aid the Defenders for a time.
Eventually he resigns and is informed that if he pays reparations to the government, he can be cleared of all previous charges.
He seemingly sacrifices his life to stop an organization bent on attacking the Soviet Union but resurfaces alive but in a coma. He has a vision of an angel that visits him and heals his wounds while granting him the ability to see criminal acts before they are committed. In return, he must punish the would-be criminals. He again dons his Nighthawk garb and fights crime until he is forced to confront Daredevil and kills the hero. The angel then returns and reveals itself to be Mephisto, who then transports Nighthawk and Daredevil’s corpse to Hell. Mephisto states his intention to claim Daredevil’s soul but Nighthawk rebels and battles many demons before reviving Daredevil and escaping together. A sorcerer later cures Nighthawk of this tainted gift.
Nighthawk later learns that his powers, at the same time he learns that Speed Demon has joined the superhero team the New Thunderbolts. After learning that Hyperion is still alive and meeting the new Dr. Spectrum, Nighthawk decides to join the New Thunderbolts. He soon learns that they are using him for his fortune and abandons the heroes to rejoin the Squadron Sinister. They battle the New Thunderbolts and soon scatter after a scathing defeat.
Nighthawk initially opposes the Superhuman Registration Act but joins the Registration side following the death of Black Goliath. He then joins the Fifty State initiative and forms a new version of the Defenders with Colossus, Blazing Skull and She-Hulk. After this team disbands, Nighthawk battles the Sons of the Serpent as well as Yandroth. The confrontation with Yandroth leads to a travel through time, leading to Kyle meeting a future version of Nighthawk with Joaquinn Pennyworth under the mask. When he returns to the present, he seeks out the current SHIELD agent and begins training the young man.
Kyle is among the initial heroes of the Squadron Supreme that mistakenly battle the Avengers on several occaisions. The heroic teams eventually join forces and become friends. After this, Richmond retires as a super-hero and becomes a politician for the greater good. He is elected President of the United States of his world and is soon attacked and replaced by the Over-Mind. The real Kyle is rescued by an entity from Earth 616 and made to believe he is the Nighthawk of 616. Once the other Squadron Supreme members, except Hyperion, are controlled by Over-Mind, Hyperion and Nighthawk recruit the Defenders to free the Squadron Supreme’s world. Once the fake Richmond is exposed, Nighthawk remembers his true identity and returns home.
In the aftermath of Over-Mind’s attempt at world domination, Hyperion leads the Squadron in an attempt to rebuild the Earth as a Utopia. Nightawk resigns in protest, believing that their role are as guardians of society and not as rulers. Though the Squadron’s plans seem to be working, Nighthawk still believes that the “Utopia Program,” will result in a horrible end.
He travels to the 616 universe to recruit the help of the Avengers but is turned away. Nighthawk eventually confronts the Squadron with a team called the Redeemers, made up of former Squadron foes and newly emerged superhumans. The massive battle that follows leads to the death of several members of both teams, including Nighthawk. Nighthawk’s death is not in vain, however, as it makes Hyperion realize that his friend was right and so Hyperion ends the battle. The Squadron step down as world rulers and return governance to the people.