Rachel Roth: 1989 - 2003
Angela Roth was an abused foster kid. When she could no longer run away from her problems, she began using drugs and it was not long before she was twenty years old and already at rock-bottom. Wanting to retake control of her life, Angela turned to religion, looking for answers. Unfortunately, instead of religion, she found a cult.
The cult catered to Angela’s every need, intending for Angela to be their “vessel,” which Angela learned meant she was to be married to an extra-dimensional being as part of a ritual. Brainwashed and manipulated into participating in the ritual, Angela came to her senses in the middle of the ritual, but by then it was too late as the extra-dimensional being proved itself to be real, taking material form and then taking Angela to be his wife. The morning after, Angela fled the cult and returned to life on the streets, traumatized by what had happened to her.
Within a week, Angela was found by a group calling themselves the Followers of Azar. Realizing she was with child, Angela allowed them to offer aid. The Followers of Azar led Angela to a realm not of this Earth, through a magical portal, to the city of Azarath. It took some time for Angela to learn the language, but the people of Azarath were patient and helpful and as she learned their words and ways, she came to see that "Azarath" meant peace... and so it was.
Azarath existed in an interdimensional realm that existed on the outskirts of known reality, a place known as Limbo. The city itself was a veritable paradise with shining blue-green skies and crimson clouds. The streets were paved in solid marble and the buildings were accented with columns of pure gold.
Hundreds upon hundreds of years ago, a mysterious woman known as Azar convinced a group of Earth humans to abandon the ways of man and embrace a world of peace and prosperity. Leading her charges from Earth to Azarath, Azar guided and taught them the ways of peace for more than two centuries. These men and women established the Temple of Azarath and formed a mystic society.
Ages ago, they decided to purge their bodies of all evil. Using mystical incantations, they exorcised the darker passions from the souls and cast it out beyond the barriers of the city and into Limbo, the realm that existed outside of Azarath. These discarded dark emotions did not dissipate into the ether however. They coalesced and merged together, flowing between the endless dimensions beyond the Wall of Azarath.
These dark forces eventually took physical form for the first time and a being called Trigon came into existence and proved to be an incomprehensibly strong and powerful interdimensional demon of the highest order. Within a single generation, Trigon had conquered all the nations of Limbo, except the City of Peace whose barrier proved too strong for even him to breach. Which was fortunate as Azarath possessed the dimensional gateway to Earth and without the ability to conquer Azarath, Trigon was contained to Limbo, only able to assert his influence on Earthlings through powerful psionic means and only able to leave Limbo for brief periods of time through magical rituals. Under the rule of Trigon, Limbo became a wasteland, a hellish place, and one that would not look out of place on a heavy metal album cover.
Upon hearing the tales of his countenance, Angela knew that this Trigon was the father of her child. But Angela was not afraid, for she knew the Followers of Azar would protect her and her child. So, in the City of Peace, Angela gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Though the Azarathian monks had called the child “the Raven” (a euphemism for “omen”), Angela gave her daughter the name Rachel. As Angela and Rachel lived in Azarath, Rachel learned of her father's identity and demonstrated that she was instinctively aware of why her father had sired her: she possessed the power to remove the seals on the barrier which protected the city, she had the power to let Trigon in.
As Rachel grew, her demonic powers increased and she was likewise taught Azarathian techniques of meditation and mystical rituals which, if used correctly, could counteract Trigon’s influence over her; but she would never be able to completely escape Trigon's influence. When she was thirteen, Rachel began having disturbing nightmares of Trigon escaping from the prison and laying waste to Azarath. The Elders of Azarath insisted she need not be concerned so long as she kept up her meditations, but on her fourteenth birthday, her nightmares became all too real as Trigon breached the seal with the aid of six of Raven's half-siblings.
In the midst of the infernal invasion, Rachel was brought before the Elders, who managed to spirit Rachel back to Earth with a two-part mission: Place a seal on the passage between Earth and Azarath, locking the demon away from Earth; and go somewhere that Trigon could never find her. Though, Raven reluctantly completed the first with tears in her eyes as she thought about the things Trigon might be doing to the Followers of Azar and so Rachel strayed from her second task, instead deciding that she would find allies to help her destroy Trigon for good.
Raven: 2003 - Present
Upon arriving in Earth, Rachel was surprised to find it not so mundane a place as her mother had described. She found it to be a fantastical world with men and women who crossed the skies in capes and dark knights who fought for the ideals of justice. Surely such people would aid her, right? Wrong. Before Rachel could contact these heroes of Earth, a tentacled alien invaded Earth and these heroes were conscripted into the service of the United States government.
Afraid of governments, having heard stories of wars and fearing that the government would only be interested in Azarath in order to invade it themselves, Rachel chose not to plead her case to them and instead went looking for other heroes. She found the Titans, having shown up shortly after Titans Tower was completed.
Rachel was certainly an anomaly among the first five Titans. Where the others had been recruited or had a hand in the creation of the Titans, Rachel just kind of showed up, demonstrated her powers, and we said “Why not?” Looking back at it, we probably should have asked “Is your dad literally Satan?” but we were young and foolish.
While Dick and I would return to Gotham regularly, Rachel would live at the Tower with Vic and Gar and I guess she mostly kept to herself, quietly practicing her abilities in secret, preparing herself for her confrontation with her father. It was not until Kori joined the team that Rachel began to open up more about her true purpose in showing up uninvited that day.
Once she informed the Titans about her dad and Azarath and all that, the team decided they were going to help her plead her case to the JLA and assured her that her trepidation about government involvement was misplaced. But the meeting did not go over very well. The JLA advised caution, wishing to investigate the matter themselves, but Raven thought there was already too much time wasted, and when Robin attempted to coerce the JLA on her behalf, he got a chewing out from Batman himself and… well… let's just say the media camped outside the Hall of Justice caught five rather disgruntled teens storming out of the meeting mumbling a solid twelve seconds of audio that had to be heavily censored. So, yeah, it didn’t go good.
Later that day, when the Titans were discussing the matter, they received reports of demonic monsters running rampant in cities all across the East Coast of the United States. From the comfort of their television, the Titans watched as the JLA went to investigate but in the process, had become possessed by the creatures, becoming vessels of Trigon’s servants.
At once, Rachel knew what this meant and explained that the seal she had put in place must had been weakened due to her emotional surge at the Hall of Justice, but before she could beat herself up about it, Robin rallied the Titans (he even convinced me to help out despite how pissed off I was with him at the time) and we went to exorcise the demons from the JLA. Having done that, we then defied the JLA's orders and followed Raven into the breach, going to Azarath where we joined the local resistance and helped fight Trigon back long enough for Raven to use her powers to repair the damage to the wall.
We were on the verge of being defeated when Rachel's own mother joined the fight, having been in hiding since the invasion. She begged for Trigon to spare us and in return she would give herself to him, but she miscalculated her use to Trigon and for it she was eviscerated before our very own eyes. That was actually the worst thing Trigon could have done as it didn't break Rachel, so much as it angered her, causing her to summon the rage she had worked so hard to contain and unleashed it all upon Trigon in one tremendous blast of eldritch energy that seemingly disintegrated him.
After regaining her composure, Raven finished repairing and strengthening the barrier and thus returned Azarath to the city of peace and prosperity it was once. But without her mother there, the city no longer held its luster and so she chose to return to Earth with the Titans as we were the only family she felt she still had.
Yeah, so not only did Rachel help us save the JLA and Earth, but also a whole other dimension. So, after that, not only did the Titans stand together as friends, but we were finally a team. With Trigon sent back to his infernal realm, contained behind the barrier once more, all was right with the world!
Rachel stayed with the Titans, joined the JLA, went back to the Titans, became a mentor in the Titans, dated Beast Boy, became an Outsider, and now works as Assistant Headmistress of the Titans, assisting Cyborg in overseeing the next generation of heroes.
Though her father Trigon was disintegrated, we learned he was not so easily killed and has returned to threaten Earth many times, but Rachel has demonstrated time and time again that she will be there to stop him and so far, she hasn't failed... and I pray she never does.
- Soul-Self Projection: The basis of almost all of Raven's psionic powers are derived from her soul-self. She is able to project her own spirit from her body into a ghostly form, using it to interact with the physical world, affect others mentally, and to traverse through space. Her soul-self usually takes the form of a double of her own body, or more commonly, a large black raven. She is capable of changing it's shape and mass at will, and can alter her own appearance with her soul-self, like increasing her size or making her face hideous.
- Telepathy: Raven is able to project her soul-self into the minds of others to communicate, facilitate calm or to force people into submission with a devastating mental attack. Though normally composed of energy that is colored black, Raven's soul-self can change color depending on her emotional state, usually manifesting as red or white.
- Telekinesis: Raven can merge a small part of her soul-self into objects in order to take control of them, with the object essentially becoming an extension of her soul-self ; this may be the reason why she prefers to take control of inanimate objects rather than people. The limit to how much matter she is able to control is unknown, though it ranges well into hundreds of tons, allowing her to hurl city buses, mounds of rubble or even uprooting whole slabs of pavement. Whenever she takes control of something, it is covered in the same dark energy that composes her soul-self.
- Telekinetic Constructs: With her soul-self able to be molded into any shape, Raven often creates simple domes or walls that acts as barriers against attack. She can project solid bolts to be used as projectiles, or a steady stream of solid force. She has been shown making razor sharp blades to cut through obstacles, coils that can restrain foes, and floating platforms to ride on.
- Telekinetic Force-Fields: She can erect unusually strong shields of sheer telekinetic and dark energy around herself and others for protection.
- Astral Travel: In conjunction with her telekinesis, Raven's soul-self is able to envelop her (along with at least four other people) and travel to a personal pocket dimension and then 'sidestep' our own reality to reappear elsewhere. She can use this technique to travel vast distances on Earth, or to teleport by momentarily displacing herself and then re-appearing in another location. She can pass through walls and obstacles by simply teleporting past them, giving the illusion of intangibility. At times, Raven has been shown creating portals with her dark energy in order to travel, rather than utilizing her soul-self.
- Empathy: Raven has the psionic ability to sense the emotions of others, allowing her to gain insight into their thoughts and intentions, and even experience their own feelings. This also enables her to sense the mental state of others, as she has stated that she would know if someone's mind had been tampered with.
- Empathic Healing: Raven can absorb the pain of others into her own body in order to induce rapid healing for them, and can heal herself by going into a trance of emotional calm. She can receive flashes of extreme clarity which often helps her predict the future when exposed to extreme emotion. By using her empathy to guide her, she can track others with her soul-self. At one point, she had used this ability to empathically enter Robin's subconscious mind; therefore giving the two an unusually strong physic link afterwards.
- Levitation: Raven can levitate off the ground and hover, without visible projection of her dark energy as is shown when she utilizes telekinesis.
- Half-Demon Physiology: Raven's physicality levels put her on par with an above average human of her height and build, without zero physical training. Raven has also shown a high tolerance to heat and cold.
- Multilingualism: Raven is a skilled polyglot, capable of fluently speaking English, German, Latin, Romanian, Ancient Sumerian, and Sanskrit. She can even speak the language of her own people, Azarathian.
- Magic: Though only occasionally used, Raven has displayed a wide arcane knowledge, possessing a vast library of mystic tomes, spell books and ancient scrolls. She has been shown making potions, using mystical objects like charms and talismans, and has performed elaborate magical rituals. She abstains from overusing her occult talent as it draws upon her demonic heritage.
- Anger Management: Raven's main weakness is letting go of her emotions, especially rage. Even though giving in to her rage seems to make her much more powerful, it could potentially corrupt her, leaving her very vulnerable to attacks which affect demons adversely. Also, while her powers can become more powerful during times of emotional outburst, it can be more difficult to rein her powers in as her demonic nature becomes more pronounced and may take control. Also, during such moments, she tends to have little regard for self-preservation and puts little emphasis on defense.
- Eldritch Physiology: As a half-demon, Raven is susceptible to demonic weaknesses (such as 'holy water'), particularly when she is giving in to that infernal power.
Trivia and Notes
- Raven joined the Justice League of America in 2006 nominated by Wonder Woman.
- Raven is Beast Boy's ex-girlfriend. Earth-27's Beast Boy is still basically a teenage boy despite his chronological age, the two stopped dating when Raven was college aged. They remain close friends.
- Raven's mantra of "Azarath Metrion Zinthos" is made of the Azarathian words for 'Peace, Balance (or Measured), and Power', effectively reminding herself that "My soul is peace, my mind is balanced, give me power" as a meditative practice. This is not an actual spell incantation, which often leads people to believing that she can be gagged to prevent her powers.
- Raven has a crush on Aquaman, and to a lesser degree the two Aqualads.
- Raven finds kids to be obnoxious.
- Raven refused to eat waffles for months upon arriving on Earth, seeing no appeal to their appearance. However when force-fed them, she had a change of heart and now describes them as "better than life itself."
- Raven's eyes glow when using her powers. When she is balanced, her eyes glow white and her aura shows up as black. If giving in her demonic nature, both glow red. She also has a second set of mystical eyes that open on her forehead when such power is called upon.
- Raven has some incredible legs.
- Raven's demonic name is "Pride" as she has proven to be the most powerful of Trigon's heirs (a title given to his most powerful offspring, each named after one of the seven deadly sins).
- Raven hates dresses.
- Raven's Earthly heritage is a quarter Korean and quarter German, by way of her mother.
- Raven is allergic to chicken feathers.
- Raven cuts her own hair as a way to ensure it will always be short as she cannot stand it being long.
- Raven will often not laugh at things most people will, yet will crack up at the worst dad jokes in the history of dad jokes. Go figure, huh?
- Raven hates it when foods are made to taste or look like other foods. It's a personal pet peeve of hers.
- Her identity as Raven is known to the public.
- Raven's Titan look is inspired by her appearance in Rebirth while her adult look is more or less her appearance from the Teen Titans TV series.