Nightingale

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Nightingale
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© Juke Box Productions


AstroFacts


Status: Active
Earliest Appearance: 1982
Affiliation: partnered with Sunshrike (1980s)

partnered with Sunbird (1990s onward)

Base of Operations: Astro City


Personal Data


InfoDump


Appearances (in Publication Order): Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.1 #5

Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #1, 21
Astro City #44


Event Timeline

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Nightingale

A dark and moody hero, Nightingale is rarely seen alone, either partnered in her early years with Sunshrike, and then later, with her new teammate, Sunbird.

History

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Her dual partnerships are unique. She was the younger sidekick to Sunshrike, but seems to be the strong mentor and motherly companion to Sunbird.

During the early 1980s, a cat was also a part of their entourage, seen many times roaming the streets with them. Something not atypical of the species, but according to creator Kurt Busiek, the feline doesn't seem to be much of a team player.

Powers

In addition to being a skilled acrobat and martial artist, Nightingale can project a mist-like field of darkness, blinding her adversaries. Nightingale describes it as "shadow powers".

Observations

  • The original name conceived for the "light/sun" member of this avian team was "Sunhawk". That name appears in several promotional materials prepared before the story was complete. In the background material provided with the collected edition, Ordinary Heroes, Kurt Busiek explains how during the creative process, the name was changed to Sunshrike. Sunshrike is the only name embedded in the continuity of Astro City. Sunhawk is confine to early promotional material, and propagated to various websites covering Astro City Comics. Including this one initially.
  • According to Nightingale's first team mate, Sunshrike, there are only the two members of this avian-themed team at any one time. One representing the "bird of light" and the other the "bird of shadow". This suggests they're legacy characters, with new women taking the roles in an alternating fashion, one a mentor, the other the learning sidekick. Given the age differences, it seems to be generational. Nightingale is the younger in the 80s with Sunshrike, and she ten matures to become the elder in the 90s with Sunbird. There is also speculation a familial connection might be in play with who takes up the legacies.
  • Sunshrike also thinks it wouldn't be allowed for them to have a cat as part of the team, hinting that some external agency may be involved with selecting the pair.

Speculations, Theories

  • There seems to be an informal camaraderie among many of Astro City's street fighting superheroes. A common core of them associate with each other on many occasions. Crackerjack, Jack-in-the-Box, Quarrel, Sunbird, and Nightingale cross paths often. Depending on the time-range, you might also include Street Angel in the mix, along with the Irregulars.
  • A cat and a couple of birds don't seem to be the most compatible of partnerships, and shrikes, despite their small size, are known to be carnivorous.