Christine Palmer (Night Nurse)

nightnursefilmIn the last days, some merchandising from the upcoming Doctor Strange confirmed the identity of the last two characters appearing in the first trailer. Let’s start with the female lead, who we now know is Christine Palmer, portrayed by Rachel McAdams. In the movie, Palmer will be a surgeon, and a colleague of Stephen Strange: she’ll operate on him after his car accident, but it’s unknown what kind of a role she’ll have in his “magic career” afterwards. In the comics, Christine surely works in hospitals, but she’s not a doctor, rather a nurse…the nurse, actually, as she is the third Night Nurse, a supporting character popping out pretty much in any Marvel comics series. Let’s see together.

Christine Palmer was born in an exclusive suburb near TucsonArizona: the daughter of a wealthy and influent family, she had pretty much all her life decided from her birth. Growing up, however, she decided that she didn’t like the idea of becoming the debutante her parents wanted her to be, and she secretly applied for nursing school, wanting to start a new life without her dad’s money. When she received a letter of acceptance from Metro-General Hospital, Christine was ready to leave her home…thus enraging her father, who tried to stop her and failed. In New York City, Chris lived with two other nurse students, Linda Carter and Georgia Jenkins; the three girls didn’t like each other much because of their different backgrounds, and they were highly competitive with one another. One night, however, the three nurses received a call from their supervisor, Miss Brundage, who needed them for an emergency involving burnt children: during one of the hardest nights of their lives, the girls found out they had a lot in common, starting with their loneliness and a difficult situation with their families; they became fast friends, and from that night they were inseparable. During the following three years Chris, Linda and Georgia were among the best students of their class, and they were ready for graduation: that was the time Mr. Palmer decided to pay a visit nightnursecomics1to his daughter, offering her everything, money, college, expensive trips and so on, if she quit nursing and came back home with him. Christine considered the offer, but she eventually turned it down: she graduated, and decided to live with her friends even after they became true nurses. During one challenging operation, Chris managed to impress the surgeon, Dr. William Sutton, who offered her a place as his assistant: she agreed, and became his surgical nurse. Unfortunately, Sutton was an alcoholic and a drug addict, but Christine was far too smitten by him to realise this; eventually, Linda managed to expose the doctor and to convince her friend, and after Sutton killed a patient, Chris as well decided to talk, having Sutton kicked out of the hospital. Feeling betrayed, Chris decided to leave New York for a while, heading to Boston to forget about what had happened with Sutton.

Changing city wasn’t enough, as every hospital reminded Chris of her previous life. She eventually accepted a job as a private nurse in the remote Sea-Cliff Manor, where she had to take care of Derek Porter, a paralyzed man bound to a wheelchair. Chris had a good relationship with Edna Porter, Derek’s aunt and owner of the house, while the butler Harold didn’t like her for unknown reasons, and wanted her out. In the following days, Christine worked with Derek, unable to make him take the rehabilitating therapy seriously, while every night she was made suspicious by some irregular lights from the allegedly abandoned light house on the cliff. Everytime she tried to speak to a member of the Porter family of what she saw, everybody dismissed her worries, believing in some sort of dream. Sure that she wasn’t imagining things, Christine started investigating on her own, until she found a secret passage in the manor leading to the light house, and a set of footprints crossing it. Near the light house she was reached by Derek Porter in person, perfectly able to walk: he had been faking his paralysis to exploit his aunt’s tender heart, and was using the old woman’s money to run a drug smuggling business on the northern coast; obviously, he couldn’t allow Chris to ruin everything he had been up to, and he tried to push her down the cliff. Harold arrived in that moment, and used the now abandoned wheelchair to push Derek down the precipice instead, saving Christine. The girl confronted Edna, nightnursecomics2who admitted she knew her nephew was up to something bad, but saying also that she pretended not to see it, since he was the only family she had. With that, Chris decided she had had enough of the seaside, and she came back to New York City, resuming her job in the Metro-General Hospital. Here, a weird case involving the death of thirteen children in the psychiatric ward put her in contact first with the mutant Storm, than with Nightcrawler, who was investigating on what looked like a demonic invasion. Chris started cooperating with Nightcrawler, helping him in finding and restraining the demons…and with time, she realised she had developed feeling for the gentle, blue-skinned and pointy-tailed mutant. Maybe, it was indeed time for her to move on with her life.

Christine Palmer is a determined and strong woman, ready to give up a comfortable and wealthy life to realize her dreams and to make herself the one person responsible for her own destiny. As the Night Nurse, she’s a skilled and proficient healer, more than able to treat even sever wounds when necessity calls for it (and being at disposal of costumed heroes and villains for first aid, it’s often needed). Strong-willed and passionate, Chris Palmer is a self-made woman, always ready to help others, but perfectly able to take care of herself in case the patients are not that defenseless.

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