Black Orchid (comics)

Black Orchid is the name of four superheroes published by DC Comics . The original version of the character first appeared in Adventure Comics # 428 ( cover-dated July 1973). [1]

Fictional character biographies

Susan Linden-Thorne

Black Orchid’s debut: Adventure Comics # 428 (Aug. 1973). Cover art by Bob Oksner .

Although she has a number of superpowers (including flight, super-strength, and invulnerability to bullets) her main ability is a mastery of disguise. She may well be one of the most influential people in her life. (Eg a maid, a secretary, someone’s girlfriend) and the other characters only discover her involvement at the end of the story. abandoned disguise with her calling card, a black orchid .

After appearing in Adventure Comics # 428-430, a feature starring feature in The Phantom Stranger # 31-32, 35-36, and 38-41 (1974-1976). Black Orchid also appeared sporadically, including occasional cameos in the Crisis on Infinite Earths 12-issue limited series, Blue Devil Annual # 1, Deadshot # 1, and Invasion! # 2. She had a larger role in Suicide Squad as a member of the team in issues # 4, 7, 11-12, and 22 (1987-1988). She also had an appearance in the non-continuous childrens comic book Super Friends # 31.

While Adventure Comics # 428 proclaimed on its cover, it was an “origin issue,” not even her name. [2] Until Neil Gaiman described her origin, the character is known for her lack of an origin. Instead, writers teased the audience with several possible origins, all refuted. In Adventure Comics # 429, Barry DeMorte hypothesizes That Either yoga master Lucinda “Cindy” Harper anti-gravity gold specialist Daphne Wingate is Black Orchid, and he kidnaps both. When Black Orchid comes to the rescue, he learns otherwise. In The Phantom Stranger # 38, writer Michael FleisherRonnie Kuhn has a possible secret identity for Black Orchid. In the following issue, Kuhn is revealed to be an admirer of Black Orchid, who is soon to be seduced into “The Black Orchid Legion” ( molecular chemist Karen Jensen, astrophysicistStefanie Tower, olympic gymnast and acrobat Barbie Henderson, criminologist Janet Grant, and psychologist and martial artist Lisa Patrick), a group of criminals who would have been mocking Black Orchid’s powers, because of her father’s status as president of the World Bank , claiming that they are helping her to protect her from Communists. They bind to the safe door, which they have set with explosives. Black Orchid rescues her, and when the police arrest the Legion, one mistakes Kuhn for Black Orchid, claiming to “know how it is with you superheroes.” [3] ALTHOUGH Super Friends Was never regarded barrel writer E. Nelson Bridwell made it did, anyway. His story was written by Lisa Patrick, who bought a large chunk of kryptonite on the black market . Black Orchid is a Kryptonian . Patrick tries to lure her to the meteorite display at the Gotham City Museum of Natural History, attracting the Justice League . Black Orchid placesforce to protect the kryptonite Superman , but the force field harms her instead, further convincing Patrick that she is Kryptonian, not noting the lack of effect on Superman. Superman takes the kryptonite into space, and Black Orchid follows him to take care of him so that the fragments will not kill him. When she survives the explosion, Superman inquires where she is. She answers, “Earth”. [4]

In Blue Devil Annual # 1, the usually reliable Xanadu and Phantom Stranger provide competitive origins for Black Orchid. Xanadu identified her as Madeleine Moorcock, and her origin is a parody of Daredevil , while the Stranger identified her as Paula Porter, Whose origin parodies Spider-Man .

Her appearances as an auxiliary member of the Suicide Squad are generally limited to brief rescues or bits of spying. Perhaps The Most revealing outcome is # 19 in qui she does not Actually APPEAR, goal black orchid is found as evidence That She has-been tapping into Task Force X’s mainframe computer , qui arouses suspicion, as she is there as carrier Rather than have a rehabilitated criminal. Her disappearance was eventually noted by the Squad.

In 1988, the character was relaunched in the three-issue miniseries Black Orchid , written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean . The miniseries of the body greatly improved, providing an origin story which explained how and why it became known as Black Orchid. Susan Linden-Thorne, also gives the character to a civilian name. Instead of being a normal super-powered human (or metahuman in the DC Universe ), it has been changed to a human-plant hybrid with ties to the Green . In this way it has become related to other such human-plant hybrids as the Swamp Thing , Floronic Man , andPoison Ivy . [1]

Susan Linden had been killed by an abusive husband named Carl Thorne, whom she puts in a croupier in Monaco . She had been a teenage crush of botanist Philip Sylvain, who later became a colleague to Pamela Isley , Alec (Holland Swamp Thing) and Linda Holland. When Thorne became abusive, she retreated to Sylvain, who cared for her until Thorne succeeded in killing her. Sylvain used Linden’s DNA as the source for plant / human hybrids, and kept an entire greenhouse full of them. While working with the Suicide Squad, Flo Crowley caught Black Orchid, or rather her calling card, after she accessed Task Force X’s mainframes. [5] She had been attempting to infiltrate Lexcorp, but her ruse was discovered. She had been masquerading as a secretary, but her wig and mask were removed to reveal her in her classic costume. She was bound to a chair inside a burning building. Black Orchid undid her bindings purpose died of smoke inhalation before She Could escape. Her unrecognizable body was determined by the fire department. Linden’s consciousness was again killed by Thorne, this time was planted that she thought Linden. [6] Thorne destroyed the greenhouse and killed Sylvain, leaving only two surviving hybrids. [7] Thorne pursued the survivors to Brazil. A squad, feels by Lex Luthor to capture the hybrids, Thorne kills in self-defense. The survivors, enamored by Black Orchid, bury Thorne and leave. [8]

Flora Black

The surviving Black Orchids, both having the consciousness and the limitations of Linden, are more likely to be smaller and younger than the other, and are more likely to be affected by these problems. The elder goes under the alias of Flora Black to meet with Sherilyn Sommers, her closest friend. [9]

An ongoing Black Orchid series, published under the newly created Vertigo imprint, featuring the new Black Orchid, ran for 22 issues from 1993 to 1995. Written by Dick Foreman , pheromone manipulation as mind control to become a femme fatale , breaking and marrying millionaire Elliot Weems to claim his fortune and company business as her own. She then became the series’ major villain in the closing story arc, before perishing in the final issue. Her companion, a child of Black Orchid heretofore nicknamed “Suzy”, had matured over the course of the series, taking the mantle of Black Orchid as a young adult. Suzy features prominently inThe Black Orchid Annual # 1 , part 2 of Vertigo’s Children’s Crusade crossover. The Annual was published between issues # 4 and # 5 of the ongoing series. [10]


The grown-up Suzy is unique to her sister and carries on the tradition in both the DC Universe and related Vertigo titles. [1] She has appeared in four event titles: 1999’s One-shot Totems , 2001’s Justice Leagues limited series, 2005’s Day of Vengeance limited series, and 2006’s Infinite Crisis limited series. She is at present an ally of the Shadowpact and the Birds of Prey .

An unidentified Black Orchid recently appeared in the weekly Trinity series, as a member of an alternate universe Justice League .

The New 52 / Alba Garcia

A new Black Orchid resembling the original (with a slightly modernized costume) appears in The New 52 . She is assigned to the Dark Justice League by Steve Trevor and is an agent of ARGUS. Her name has been revealed to Alba Garcia , formerly an army whose arms had been amputated. [11] She transforms into a monstrous purple Swamp Thing-like creature during her time in a magical alternate dimension where each member of the Justice League Dark suffers the effects of the new environment. The argument is that it is linked to an elemental force, anagolous to “the Green”, considering Swamp Thing’s physical form of manifestation to his connection to the Green.

Powers and abilities

The first Black Orchid had super strength, a degree of invulnerability, flight, and was a master of disguise. The second and third Black Orchids had super strength, flight, and can absorb nutrients from the air. The second generation could be seduced by pheromones and changes in skin pigmentation, as well as in skin color, and color was easy to adjust (presumably linking back to her predecessors disguise ability).

  • The New 52 version of the character seemingly possesses all of these abilities, providing a modern explanation for the elaborate disguises of the original.
  • Her manipulation of the Red and the Green, and stretch her body to extreme lengths.

Other versions

JLA: The Nail

In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail , a captive Black Orchid Makes an appearance in Professor Hamilton ‘s Cadmus Labs . [12]


The original Black Orchid briefly appears in the 2011 limited series Flashpoint: Secret Seven . [13] She is a member of the original Secret Seven who had been killed years earlier. Black Orchid is a teammate Shade, the Changing Man , but is a monster who had just assumed Orchid’s form. [14]

In other media


  • Black Orchid appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “The Mask of Matches Malone!” In keeping with her mysterious nature, Black Orchid has no dialogue or credited voice actress. In this show, she has plant control powers instead of her powers from the comics. She rescues Batman by assuming the identity of one of Poison Ivy’s henchwomen and infiltrating her gang. After helping Batman stop Poison Ivy, she disappears without a trace, prompting Batman to how “Now I know how Commissioner Gordon feels.” Black Orchid makes a cameo appearance in the final series, “Mitefall!” She is shown with The Creeper at the show’s wrap party.
  • Black Orchid makes a cameo appearance as a high school student in the DC Super Hero Girls web series .
  • Black Orchid was going to appear in an episode of Constantine before being canceled. [15]


  • Black Orchid appears in the animated film Justice League Dark , voiced by Colleen Villard . [16] [17] This version is depicted as a manifestation of the House of Mystery’s magical aura with a desire to experience human nature. As a result of that experiment, she and Deadman formally join spirits.

Video games

  • Black Orchid makes a non-canon cameo in the game Fallout: New Vegas , on the cover of the Skill Magazine ¡The Fantoma! . The magazine cover itself is a mirrored and re-colored version of Black Orchid’s debut on the cover of Adventure Comics # 428.

See also

  • List of feminist comic books
  • Portrayal of women in comics


  1. ^ Jump up to:c Jimenez, Phil (2008), “Black Orchid”, in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia , London: Dorling Kindersley , p. 52, ISBN  0-7566-4119-5
  2. Jump up^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010), “1970s”, DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle , Dorling Kindersley , p. 156, ISBN  978-0-7566-6742-9 , Very little known to the Black Orchid, even after writer Sheldon Mayer and artist Tony DeZuniga presented her so-called “origin issue” in Adventure Comics .
  3. Jump up^ The Phantom Stranger(vol.2) # 40-41
  4. Jump up^ Super Friends # 31
  5. Jump up^ Suicide Squad# 19
  6. Jump up^ Black Orchid# 1
  7. Jump up^ Black Orchid# 2
  8. Jump up^ Black Orchid# 3
  9. Jump up^ Irvine, Alex (2008), “Black Orchid”, in Dougall, Alastair, The Vertigo Encyclopedia , New York: Dorling Kindersley , pp. 32-34, ISBN  0-7566-4122-5 , OCLC  213309015
  10. Jump up^ The Continuity Pages: Swamp Thing,Hellblazerand Black Orchid Accessed January 11, 2008
  11. Jump up^ Justice League Dark# 14
  12. Jump up^ JLA: The Nail# 3
  13. Jump up^ “Flashpoint: Secret Seven # 1 (Preview)” . May 27, 2011 . Retrieved February 7, 2017 .
  14. Jump up^ Flashpoint: Secret Seven# 1
  15. Jump up^ Schaefer, Sandy (16 October 2014). “David S. Goyer Talks ‘Constantine’, Dark Justice League & DC TV Show Crossovers” . Screen Rant . Retrieved 16 October 2014 .
  16. Jump up^ Perry, Spencer (July 26, 2016). “Justice League Dark Featurette Reveals Matt Ryan Returns As Constantine!” . Superhero Hype.
  17. Jump up^ OShaughnessy, Colleen [@VOColleen] (November 29, 2016). “Sweet trailer for #JusticeLeagueDark movie! That’s me at the end, talking to #batman … via @youtube” (Tweet) . Retrieved January 7, 2017 – via Twitter .

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