The Black Wraith is a totem of fear which has existed throughout human history - a kind of fairy-tale idea to scare bad people with. The powers of the Wraith extend back through out this history, working as a kind of collective lineage skill-set: each holder of the mantle of the Wraith acquires all the skills of the previous holders of the role.
We see the birth of a new Black Wraith in issue two, someone picks up the mantle who may not have been first choice - someone who finds the notion of hiding around in the shadows trying to scare bad guys ridiculous. The new Black Wraith decides to have fun with the role, to fight crime with a smile and to look good while doing it.
|The Black Wraith - art by Drew Johnson|
The high concept of the character is basically 'what if John Steed from the Avengers was Batman?'
I wanted to take the elements of suave, fun-loving crime fighting with all the gadgets and skills of a man obsessed and rich enough to dedicate his life to fighting bad guys. But it's not just one life - it's a whole lineage of lives spent building these skills.
The Black Wraith is a little too much fun to write sometimes, and I had to be careful not to give him all the best lines, to have him solve all the problems and to overshadow the other characters.
I'd been sketching ideas for the character for a long time, and initially he was more like a traditional pulp character, The Shadow or The Spider - but I wanted the first story to be more modern day, so moved away from the initial 50's feel.