[Jump to menu]

(Title Logo)

[Picture of the Nightshade]
Real Name: Desmond Powell, M.D. Ph.D.
Occupation: Doctor, Chief of staff at Central City Hospital
Base of Operations: Central City
Played by: Jason Bernard

In the 1950s, Desmond Powell grew frustrated with the organized crime and corrupt administration of Central City. He donned a black trench coat, hat, mask and goggles to hide his identity and skin color, and fought crime as the Nightshade. Armed with a tranquilizer gun and an armored car, the Nightshade battled mobsters like Derek Bohannan, run-of-the mill criminals, hit men like the Aviator and high-tech criminals like the Ghost.

[Picture of Desmond Powell] One night in 1955, the Ghost was seemingly killed when the villain’s headquarters burned down. Powell began to understand the toll his secret life was taking. His health was failing, his fiancee had left him, and his family life was falling apart. He finally gave it all up. The Nightshade’s costume, weapons, and trophies collected dust in his warehouse headquarters for 35 years, and Powell pursued a career in medicine.

In 1990, the Ghost resurfaced. As the fire consumed his headquarters, he had hidden in a cryogenic chamber, frozen for 35 years. When he again threatened the city, the Nightshade came out of retirement to stop him, this time with an ally: Central City’s new hero, the Flash.

Deadly Nightshade

[Picture of the Deadly Nightshade] A few months after the Ghost’s return, a new vigilante appeared, calling himself the Deadly Nightshade. He patterned his costume and armaments after the original Nightshade, but with two key differences: glowing red goggles... and real bullets. The Deadly Nightshade embarked on a campaign murdering criminals.

[Picture of Curtis Bohannan] Powell came out of retirement again to clear his name, and the Flash joined him once again. Together, they learned that the new Nightshade was philanthropist Curtis Bohannan. Bohannan had spent his life making up for the actions of his father, a mob boss whom the original Nightshade had put away. “Inspired” by the Nightshade’s brief reappearance, he decided atonement wasn’t enough. He would wipe out the criminal stain from Central City, starting with his father’s surviving associates. Bohannan used his fortune to build a high-tech lair and to acquire weapons he might need in case the Flash did not join him in his crusade.

Powell’s secret identity came to light during the investigation, and he was briefly jailed as a suspect. He and the Flash fought the Deadly Nightshade, and in the end, the original Nightshade shot the impostor with a tranquilizer dart.

The affair left Powell with publicity, a book deal, and movie offers... and a chance to finally put the past behind him, as he considered cleaning out his old trophy room.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Images

  • Original Nightshade: Episode #9: “Ghost in the Machine”
  • All others: Episode #16: “The Deadly Nightshade”

TV Appearances


The Nightshade from the Flash TV series bears no resemblance to the Nightshade in DC Comics. He does bear a resemblance to the Golden-Age Sandman, who wore a gas mask and carried a gun that fired sleeping gas.

The Flash Companion The Flash Companion
Preview at Speed Force
Order at TwoMorrows