- "And remember, my fast friend, these outfits we wear are just another suit of clothes, not another man."
- —Desmond Powell on his costumed life.[src]
Desmond Powell was a vigilante known as Nightshade.
After returning home from the Korean War, Desmond Powell found his home of Central City caught between the mafia and a corrupt administration. The city needed a hero, and he intended to give it to them. Knowing he'd be a black man working outside the law, Desmond designed a costume and equipment and took to the streets as the masked mystery man, Nightshade. During his career, Nightshade faced all manner of criminals, ranging from mob bosses to modern-day pirates in dive-suits scuttling ships in the city harbor, to costumed criminals like the Aviator and his greatest nemesis, the Ghost. Despite his vigilante status, Nightshade became a hero to the common people of his city.
Fighting the Ghost
In 1955, Nightshade had his last big confrontation with the Ghost. The telecommunication terrorist had used his technology to turn the televisions across Central City into bombs with the intent to hold the city for a million dollar ransom. Nightshade broke into the Ghost's hideout and found himself in a showdown with his nemesis and well as the criminal's female accomplice, Belle. Using a signal jammer of his own invention, Nightshade destroyed the Ghost's plan and caused his equipment to explode! Dragging Belle out, Nightshade never saw the Ghost retreat to a secret bunker under his lab and slip into a cryogenic chamber, where he was frozen alive. Not long after, Desmond retired his costumed persona and Nightshade faded into obscurity.
Back from retirement
Thirty-five years later, the Ghost returned and Desmond had no choice but to come out of retirement and team up with his spiritual successor, the Flash to end his enemy's reign of terror once and for all.
He then aided the Flash once more when facing off against his replacement, the Deadly Nightshade. However, he wasn't aware that Curtis Bohannan was the one who idolized him and corrupted his mission. Despite not being able to convince Curtis that his acts of terror were wrong, Powell still managed to stop him with the help of Barry Allen. This time retiring for good.
- Nightshade suit: Powell wore a protective suit for his vigilante activities as Nightshade.
- Nightshade's car
- Dart gun
Behind the scenes
- Desmond Powell uses elements of several DC comics characters including Clipper, Wesley Dodds/The Sandman, Spaulding/Mikado and Nightshade.