Nyssa Raatko

Heir to the DemonThis week’s Arrow episode Heir to the Demon introduced quite a cool antagonist, Nyssa Raatko, portrayed by Katrina Law. In the show, she’s the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, and an important member of the League of Assassins. She arrives to Starling City to retrieve her rogue teammate (and lover…) Sara Lance, but obviously finds quite anobstacle in the city’s vigilante, Green Arrow, who’s also Sara’s ex lover (man, what a triangle…). Well, her origins in the comics surely are the same, but the evolution of the character is quite different. Let’s see together.

Nyssa Raatko was born in Russia, at the end of the XVIII century, from a woman Ra’s al Ghul loved while he was crossing the country. Nyssa was raised by her mother, who told her a lot of romantic stories about her father, who became a hero from a fairy tail in the young girl’s mind. Grown up, Nyssa was more than determined to find her father, and started searching for him all over the country. She soon realised Ra’s wasn’t in Russia anymore, and she nyssaraatkocomics1travelled the world, always on the tracks of the League of the Assassins, the sect her father was the leader of. Finally, Nyssa managed to locate the League’s headquarter in North Africa, and presented herself to Ra’s al Ghul. The man was truly impressed by the girl’s skills, by her determination, by the ability it required finding him…and also by the warrior’s skills she had mastered during her quest. He acknowledged her as a daughter, and welcomed her into the League. He also introduced Nyssa to her half-sister, Talia, and rewarded her with a rank almost on par with his other daughter. Finally, Nyssa had found the man of her childhood dreams, and had become his right-hand along with a sister she didn’t know anything about. Ra’s was so satisfied with Nyssa that he allowed her to use the Lazarus Pits, his source of immortality. He also taught her the way of the League, along with his philosophy of cleansing the Earth from evil through aimed assassinations and manipulated revolutions. Nyssa stayed with her father and learnt everything…until she started feeling unsatisfied with his teachings and philosophy. The real Ra’s didn’t match up with the ones of her romantic dreams.

Nyssa decided to leave the League, something that Ra’s allowed, since he was certain she would have come back to become his heir, she or her descendants. Nyssa was given a Lazarus Pit, which was actually useless after the first use…until she managed to find a way to recharge it, much to his father’s surprise (later, also Ra’s would have used this technique). Nyssa left the country and got married, she also had two children. She made clear to Ra’s that neither she or her children would have ever joined him again, and he, upset, disowned her and her legacy. Years passed, and Nyssa lived with her nyssaraatkocomics2family in Europe. In 1936, Germany started World War II, and she started traveling from country to country in order to avoid the conflict. This proved to be a pointless effort, and Nyssa and her entire family were caught and brought to a Concentration Camp (she was of Russian nationality, and her husband from North Africa). The four of them were used for abominable experiments, and Nyssa became sterile as a result; her husband and children got killed. Until the Russians arrived in the camp, Nyssa kept hoping her father would have come to the rescue, but Ra’s al Ghul wasn’t interested to the fate of his disinherited daughter, and left her to die. When the Nazis were finally defeated, Nyssa was freed from her prisony, alone and full of anger towards her father. After recovering from the war times’ traumas and from her wounds thanks to her Lazarus Pit, Nyssa decided the aim of her life would have been taking her revenge on Ra’s al Ghul, and decided to use the only person he still loved in the world to do the killing: Talia al Ghul, his favorite daughter. With centuries of experience and a soul made ruthless by pain, Nyssa was a perfect adversary for her father.

Nyssa Raatko, also known by the names Nyssa al Ghul and Nyssa Head, is an extremely cunning and intelligent woman, gifted by a unique determination that makes her pursue an objective with all her energy. She is an extremely skilled warrior, a trained hand-to-hand combatant and a lethal swordswoman; she’s also a smart tactician, able to be a challenge for her father or Batman with her plans and schemes. With the virtual immortality granted to her by the Lazarus Pit, Nyssa has had two centuries to plan her revenge, and is now driven by anger and revenge only: an avenging angel who won’t stop until her father will lay dead at her feet.



  1. […] one. In The Magician, in fact, we finally meet the leader of the League of Assassins, father to Nyssa and master to both Sarah Lance and Malcolm Merlyn (the latter of which he is now hunting down to […]

  2. […] died despite her husband’s efforts. The possibility to restore her back to life arrived when Nyssa Raatko, the eldest daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, formed an alliance with Mister Freeze: he would have […]

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