Misty Knight appeared in 1975 as one of the supporting characters of Iron Fist.
She thus appeared on the same year as Storm (Ororo Munroe). That makes them the two early, high-profile Black super-heroines.
(They’re not the first, though. IIRC that would be Butterfly (Marian Michaels), from a trashy, obscure 1971 exploitation mag.)
Roots and fate
One would naturally assume that Tamara Dobson as Cleopatra Jones was another big influence. But Mr. Isabella clarified that it was more Jim Kelly as Black Belt Jones who fed Misty’s concept.
This may be because early on Misty was a martial artist. But that was then downplayed a bit (presumably so she’d be more distinct from Colleen).
Over the decades, Misty proved that she had charisma and staying power. She gradually affirmed herself as something more important than supporting cast.
But let’s start with the beginning. An “emergent history” profile focused on how she appeared during the first such decade.
This profile is meant to be read right after Colleen Wing’s 1970s character profile. To avoid repeating information.
Like with Colleen’s writeup, this profile ends right as 1978 does (using cover dates). For these two writeups, 1979 is considered to be part of the 1980s.
- Real Name: Mercedes Knight.
- Other Aliases: Maya Korday (full fake identity).
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Nightwing Restorations.
- Base of Operations: New York City (Nightwing Restorations’ office is at the Anson Hotel, on the corner of Broadway and 72nd).
- Height: 5’7” (1.70m). Weight: 125lbs. (56 Kg.).
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Misty is a trained New York Police Department patrol officer.
She was a top student at the police academy, including in handgun operation. She also has investigative experience.
The pro from Harlem
Furthermore, she received intensive training in the martial arts (presumably Ozawa-ryu jujitsu and/or an Okinawan karate style) from her bestie, Colleen Wing.
Like Colleen, she thus operates at low cinematicThe level of power and (un)realism found in a spectacular action movie. action heroine levels. She’ll have little problem thrashing mooks.
She also seems to be developing her security skills, in an hands-on manner. Misty tends to do things hands-on.
After her accident, Misty trained to fight and shoot using her left arm. Much of this training was done with Colleen, but Misty still includes left-handed practice in her routine.
She’s a pistol, part 1
Her signature handgun is a .357 Colt Police Python.
Commercialised in 1955, this magnum revolver was a landmark design. Beyond its technical excellence, it acquired a mystique for accuracy, power, reliability – and its striking appearance.
This is an upgrade of sorts to the weapon she carried as a NYPD patrol officer (presumably a .38 special S&W Model 10). Back then, the force still was all about revolvers.
One of her Pythons has a 1970s whimsical bit of engraving — instead of “PYTHON .357” the barrel reads “MONTY”. Like most of her Pythons, it has the 6″ (15¼ cm.) barrel.
She also once produced a subcompact pistol, used for concealed carry. It likely was a typical derringer.
Misty also once packed a .45 M1911. This likely was because she couldn’t fit a 6″ barrel Python wheelgun in the small purse she was using for that cover.
She’s a pistol, part 2
On one occasion, Ms. Knight packed a specialised autoloader instead. Presumably, she was expecting a sustained gunfight where a sixgun wouldn’t suffice.
This weapon is a Model 1900 Luger pistol-carbine. Curiously, it is fed by a snail drum Luger magazine. This would indicate that this specific gun was rechambered from 7.65mm Parabellum to 9mm Parabellum.
It presumably has a unique history, given that even without alterations both a Model 1900 and a 9mm para drum magazine are rare ordnance.
In practice, this means a medium-calibre pistol with 32 rounds. Plus a longer barrel, shoulder stock and front grip facilitating shots at longer ranges.
Sister in arm
Misty’s right arm and hand are a comic book cybernetic prosthesis.
However her shoulder, back, etc. remain normal tissues. Thus, while it possesses superhuman strength, she can only apply this brawn to a limited range of motions lest she badly hurt herself.
Said range of motion includes the most useful gesture in comics – punching stuff. She seems to hit with “Class 5” power.
This prosthesis is robust, lifelike, and covered with realistic fake skin. Realising that one of her arms is artificial takes extensive examination. The fake skin is unlikely to tear even in combat.
Ms. Knight therefore often benefits from surprise when hitting with her bionic arm.
(FWIW, Misty slightly precedes the Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers). But not the Six-Million Dollar Man (Steve Austin) – nor, of course, the literary version of Steve Austin. Super-bionics were big during the 1970s.)
Misty is still on a first-name basis with an improbable number of NYPD members. The “fuzzforce”, as she affectionately calls them, treats her as if she were still one of them, unless that would too blatantly break regulations.
This is of course super-useful in her job as a P.I.. Or just as somebody associating with a super-hero.
She also has street contacts throughout New York City. In particular, she seems to have done undercover work among prostitutes. Several such sex workers decided that she was okay for a cop, and will tell her what’s on the grapevine.
We *assume* that Misty knows first aid and driving. It’s not clearly demonstrated on-page, but it’s impossible for her not to know these skills given her Police Academy scores.
She also knows how to operate a speedboat.
Furthermore, Misty knows how to operate computer terminals, for instance to query police databases. This certainly wasn’t common back during the 1970s.
Soundtrack for this profile
Mercedes “Misty” Knight, apparently a true-blue Harlemite, was born circa 1948.
She was among the earliest women allowed by the NYPD to work as a patrol officer. She likely was part of the first Police Academy promotion for which this was an option, in 1968.
(You can refer to our Lady Cop character profile for quick explanations about the history of female officers in the NYPD. Here I am using 1968, instead of the real-world class of 1973, to align with a caption in Iron Fist Vol. 1 #7. That, in the Marvel Universe, female patrol officers were authorised a few years earlier than in the real world seems reasonable.)
(As noted in Colleen’s profile — you *did* read that one first, right ? — I am using dates that align with a publication date timeline. Hence a 1948 birth. Amusingly, it means that Misty is about the same age as Pam Grier .)
Fidelis ad mortem
Apparently, being a cop had been her dream since she was a wee sprog.
Since the image of the NYPD in mid-XXth Century Harlem wasn’t… entirely positive, it seems *possible* that one of her male relatives was among the earliest African-American NYPD officers. This would have provided her with a role-model, further explaining some of her characterisation.
(You can refer to our Ace Harlem character profile for quick explanations about the history of Black officers in the NYPD.)
To prepare for a police career, Mercedes received a B.A. in criminology from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice .
She then was valedictorian at the Police Academy, which had been recently established in Manhattan.
Knight’s rabbiA senior, influential police officer who mentors younger colleagues. on the force was Lt. Rafael Scarfe, who considered her a top-shelf Recruit Officer. They both worked at the 12th precinct.
(The NYPD doesn’t have a 12th precinct. So having fictional police assigned to it — or the similarly non-existent 27th — is a minor literary tradition.)
Patrolling the Big Apple, in a skirt
Ms. Knight was once involved in a big gunfight on the West Side of Manhattan. She spotted a private detective, Ms. Colleen Wing, getting unexpectedly caught in the crossfire. Knight heroically body-tackled Wing out of a hail of automatic fire.
After this incident, the two young women became fast buddies. This was the beginning of a deep, lifelong friendship.
(“Ms. Knight” since there’s no material about her police career during this era, including rank. From the material I had the impression that it lasted for two or three years, but one caption said six. I would *imagine* that she made at least Detective 3rd, but who knows.)
During most of her NYPD career, Misty was partnered with Rafael Scarfe.
Months later, Ms. Knight intervened during a terrorist attack. She attempted to throw away a bomb before it would kill civilians. The device detonated a split-second later.
It destroyed her right hand, and her right arm had to be amputated. She only survived thanks to Scarfe’s desperate tourniquet .
Mercedes received the NYPD Medal of Honor for her extraordinary courage. But the shocked Knight considered that she was now worthless.
Badly depressed, she left the NYPD.
With a little help from my friends
However, Ms. Wing was extremely supportive. She convinced Misty to rebuild her life, offering her to become her partner as a private eye. The pair formed Nightwing Restorations, Ltd..
Colleen also trained Misty in the martial arts, including fighting with just one arm. This is presumably when people started nicknaming them the “Daughters of the Dragon”.
Now that she was on disability, Misty went looking for a smaller apartment. Whilst visiting walk-ups in Greenwich Village, she met one Jean Grey. The two became fast friends over coffee. Since a large apartment they both loved was too expensive for either of them, they decided to share it.
Le rouge et le noir
Ms. Grey came to trust Ms. Knight to such a degree that she explained that she was a superhuman mutant. Jean even confided in Misty about her adventures with the X-Men, including her apparent death and resurrection as the Phoenix.
Perhaps most importantly, Grey was a much better cook than her flatmate.
(Jean had started living in New York City part-time in 1966, when she enlisted at Metro College. As to Misty popping up as a X-Men supporting character, that was typical Chris Claremont writing. He frequently reinforced the character ties and continuity aspects between the Marvel books he was writing, strengthening the Marvel Universe.)
Misty also received her bionic arm during that span. How isn’t explained during this era. But that she knows people at Stark International is a clue.
The baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town !
In 1975, Misty found Colleen’s place in shambles, with slain men in strange garb strewn about. The strangely-garbed Iron Fist (Daniel Rand-K’ai) then came in, and she engaged him in a fight.
Rand had such trouble wrapping his head around the notion of a skilled female fighter that she had the upper hand. Still, he took her out with a nerve pinch.
Iron Fist then went on to rescue Colleen and her dad.
Attempts against the Wings continued, and Colleen was eventually captured by the forces of Master Khan.
Investigating with Iron Fist’s help, Misty was drawn into a trap. One of her friends at Stark International was actually a sleeper agent for Khan.
But Misty :
- Defeated him.
- Stopped a fight between Iron Man and Iron Fist.
- Briefed Tony Stark about infiltrators within his company.
As Knight and Rand continued investigating, she was badly wounded during a fight with the Ravager (Henri Sorel). The burns, broken bones, damage to her bionic arm, etc. prevented her from directly participating in Colleen’s rescue.
A recovered Misty then accompanied Colleen to Hong Kong, to avenge Ms. Wing’s grandpa.
Heart of the dragon !
Back in New York, Misty grew closer to Danny Rand. She found him attractive, and Colleen now lacked the time and patience to continue helping him adjust to life on Earth.
However, hanging around with Iron Fist meant trouble. Such as being briefly captured by the Wrecking Crew or being caught in an ambush by Boomerang.
Yet the clueless Danny kept missing her obvious signals.
Furthermore, he naïvely attempted to help a supposedly reformed terrorist. Fist did not get how much Misty hated the very thought ever since she lost her arm. She expelled him from her life.
Meanwhile, Firelord’s ally Eric the Red blasted Misty to kidnap Xavier’s friend the Imperatrix Lilandra of the Shi’ar. But Misty wasn’t badly hurt, and thus could help Xavier when he experienced psychic shock after the attack.
Meanwhile, the X-Men famously saved the universe from the N-galaxy within the M’Krann Crystal, before returning to Jean and Misty’s flat.
Soon after that, Misty left the US. That was in part to get away from Iron Fist.
District Attorney Blake Tower had been looking for an agent to infiltrate the John Bushmaster mob. This deadly syndicate was coming to New York City.
Several law enforcement and espionage agencies had attempted to derail Bushmaster’s operations, without any success. The agents they had sent had all been killed, making it difficult for the D.A. to obtain help from the NYPD.
Misty volunteered, against the strenuous objections of her old partner NYPD Lt. Scarfe. She received a full cover identity as “Maya Korday”, plus shreds of intel about Bushmaster being in the Caribbean.
Ms. Knight did a brilliant job as an undercover agent. She not only located Bushmaster and established contact, but the dreaded mobster was so taken with her that she became his lover.
No more love on the run
However, she had trouble stomaching this. And she was missing Danny, whom she now thought was the right man for her after all.
When she learned that Bushmaster had sold Iron Fist’s location to a man seeking to kill Rand, she cracked in disgust. She forced Bushmaster to tell her when the hit was taking place, then rushed back to New York City.
Misty barely got there in time to save Danny’s life, as he had been defeated by Steel Serpent (Davos).
She, Colleen and Spider-Man (Peter Parker) then went after Steel Serpent. They made it possible for Iron Fist to reclaim his stolen dragon chiA sort of universal life force/energy in Chinese-influenced cultures. and defeat his nemesis.
Misty and Danny then began a relationship.
(This story also has a small reference to a 1972 story, “revealing” that a nameless bystander there resembling Ms. Knight had actually been Misty. Though I can see what Chris Claremont was going for, it falls flat and the characterisation for “Misty” was off.)
Heroes for Hire
Meanwhile, John Bushmaster determined who “Maya Korday” really was.
Since she was a hard target with powerful friends, Bushmaster took hostages to force Luke Cage to work for him. Luke knocked Misty out, accidentally broke Colleen’s arm and pretty much defeated Iron Fist.
Though Bushmaster was now super-powered, Cage more or less defeated him.
Finally, someone let me out of my cage
Meanwhile, Misty located documents proving that Cage had been wrongfully imprisoned years ago. Though she didn’t particularly like him, she could see that he was an honest man and there had been a miscarriage of justice.
Misty’s proof would soon lead to a retrial, with Cage ruled innocent. During this process, Misty warmed up to Luke and came to consider him a friend.
The party celebrating the retrial was raided by Stiletto and Discus, who were after Cage. They did not fare well, especially as they underestimated the Daughters of the Dragon. Discus was left concussed after Colleen applied her left foot to his skull, and Stiletto was shot in the shoulder by Misty.
She nearly executed him as she wrongly thought he had murdered Lt. Scarfe, but Cage intercepted the bullet.
A chick with drive who don’t take no jive !
Since the op against John Bushmaster had been mostly successful, D.A. Tower hired Misty again. She brought in Iron Fist and Luke Cage as co-contractors. This time, it was at Lt. Scarfe’s suggestion.
The NYPD had been running into a mysterious new mob. Its legbreakers were powerful, disguised robots. This had meant police and bystander casualties, plus major upheaval in the Harlem underworld and the Maggia.
Investigating undercover, Misty located the new mob boss but was captured. Luke was then captured in the exact same way. They narrowly escaped death, but Misty had to be hospitalised.
However, she had mostly deduced the truth. The real mob boss was the underage apparent moll, and the apparent boss was a robot decoy. Luke and Danny thus took down Deadly Nightshade, ending her cunning robot mob plot.
Officially she’s 5’9″ (1.75m). But she’s drawn shorter during the 1970s (though she cheats a bit with the ‘fro).
In Iron Fist Vol. 1 #1, Misty has a strange outfit that resembles a super-hero costume but doesn’t work. It is promptly phased out, so let’s forget it existed.
After that she favours in the field a featureless, tight black catsuit covering her from neck to ankles. Over it she wears supple leather boots and a leather shoulder holster.
But in most cases, she works in plainclothes.
Of course, Misty frequently has blue eyes. Comic books.
Misty likes to project a tough, street-smart, decisive image.
However, she is also a youth with strong emotions. She can thus be overwhelmed by her feelings. And she wasn’t moulded from birth to be a hardarse warrior, unlike Colleen.
She is remarkably supportive and open toward her friends. And Misty will easily become friends with good people, even if they made a negative first impression. She seems to have knack for noticing ethical, courageous people.
Even though them’s the mid-1970s, Misty doesn’t come across as the hard-jivin’ tough mama archetype.
Especially under Claremont, she has more of a middle class vibe. This too *might* hint at a father with a good NYPD career.
For instance, Misty owns a number of classy cocktail dresses with matching shoes and jewels. And she never had any problem mingling with the New York City upper crust.
Oh, there’s something I ought to tell you…
Ms. Knight was devastated by losing her arm. She considered that her handicap made her worthless and but a fraction of a woman.
This persisted even after Colleen dragged her out of what seemed to be a severe depression with suicidal thoughts.
Even after she received her bionic arm, she could still have moments where she considered herself less than a person. This seemed to be accompanied by anxiety and mild flashbacks, and to be triggered by insistent reminders of the police career that could have been hers.
She prefers using her arm as a literal ace up her sleeve. So she’s not running around punching stuff – she keeps that attack in reserve.
Misty is very close to Colleen. They can count on each other for anything under any circumstance.
She also has strong ties with Lt. Rafael Scarfe, her NYPD partner of five years. He too was there for her come hail or death. Misty will invite Rafe to just about every party or social event she’s invited to.
The reasons for her attraction toward Iron Fist aren’t explored during this era (beyond him being a hunk, obvs). But she’s the driving force in their relationship.
Ms. Knight is also close to Ms. Grey. She even paid the entire rent by herself whilst Jean had to leave New York City, so Phoenix would have an apartment to return to.
Misty has met the X-Men and is on friendly terms with them, though that’s not explored yet during this era.
“You CRAZY FOOL GET DOWN !” (her first words to Colleen).
“Colleen’s my partner – Nightwing Restorations, Ltd.. And when somebody leans on my partner, they’ve got to deal with *me*.”
Colleen: “Misty, it’s a set-up !”
Misty: “Hon, your gift for stating the obvious rivals Danny Rand’s.”
“Cage, if we die in there you’re fired !”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).
I could see Misty having a weird series appearances with First Issue Special characters.
DC Heroes RPG
Misty Knight (1970s)
|Dex: 04||Str: 03||Bod: 04|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 04|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 04|
|Init: 015||HP: 015|
Iron Will: 01
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Iron Will is a Skilled Power.
- Iron Will only to resist effects that would make her betray Colleen.
Detective (Police procedure): 05, Martial artist: 05, Medicine (First aid): 03, Thief (Stealth): 03, Vehicles (Land, Sea): 03, Weaponry (Handguns): 05
Ambidextrous, Familiarity (Criminology), Leadership (w/Colleen Wing only), Schtick (Anti-mooks Schtick).
Iron Fist (High), NYPD (Low), Stark International (Low), Jean Grey (Low), Lt. Rafael Scarfe (High), Street (Low, New York City only).
Eclipsed (Iron Fist), MIA toward supporting Colleen.
- BIONIC RIGHT ARM [BODY 06 STR 04, EV 08, Limitation: STR is Fatiguing (unless the Player convincingly explains how Misty braces].
- Colt Python [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 06, R#02, Rec. STR 02, Drawback: Long Reload].
- Luger M1900 pistol carbine w/drum mag [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Range: 05, Ammo: 32, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, use the listed Range instead]. This isn’t a normal part of her kit.
Daughters in arms
When they operate as a duo, far away from their boyfriends, the Daughters of the Dragon suddenly become more competent. They’re well in the action movie/martial arts movie hero range.
Their Eclipsed drawback does the heavy lifting here. But one point is worth a reminder – they tend not to spend their Hero Points when under Eclipsed penalties.
This means that as a duo, they have a bunch of accumulated Hero Points to spend, even if it’s just what they received as Subplot rewards while they were acting as supporting cast to their boyfriends.
GMs should be on the liberal side when it comes to what Misty can do with her bionic arm without damaging her shoulder and back. After all, simple punching is iffy (equal and opposite reaction n’at) yet she can reliably do it.
I’d imagine there’s a small quantity of vibraniumA Marvel Comics metal that controls vibrations. absorbers in her arm. It’s one of the go-to explanations for such minor suspension of physics.
Using the /STR/ of the arm without taking damage usually requires favourable circumstances. Having a wall close enough to full brace herself against, lying flat on her back, having a convenient and tough object she can rest her elbow on, etc..
This sort of things isn’t done much in the actual comics, but they sure have a way to come up in RPGs.
DC Adventures RPG
Misty Knight (1970s) — Averaged PL 5.4
Closer than sisters ● 2 points ● Descriptor: Friendship is magic.
– Enhanced Advantage – Inspire, Leadership (both Limited 1 (only w/Colleen Wing)).
– Enhanced Advantages – Second chance (Anything that’d make her betray Colleen).
Bionic right arm ● 10 points (Subtle 1) ● Descriptor: Stark cybernetics.
– Enhanced Strength 2 (Limited 1 – only when properly braced).
– Blunt Damage 6.
– Enhanced advantages (Improved grab, Improved hold).
Defensive Roll 1, Improved grab, Improved hold, Improved trip, Takedown.
Benefit 1 (Ambidexterity), Benefit 1 (Privileged ties with the NYPD), Connected, Equipment 2.
Athletics 2 (+3), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+7), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise (NYPD officer) 6 (+8), Expertise (Martial arts) 3 (+5), Insight 3 (+4), Investigation 4 (+6), Perception 3 (+4), Persuasion 1 (+2), Ranged combat (Handguns) 5 (+7), Stealth 3 (+4), Vehicles 2 (+4) (Limited 2 to common land vehicles).
|Unarmed +7, Close, Damage 1.|
|Bionic punch +7, Close, Damage 7.|
|Colt Python +7, Ranged, Damage 4.|
* Without Defensive Roll.
- Straight shooter Misty fights for the common good and for justice.
- Daughters of the dragon Ms. Knight will go to any length to support Ms. Wing. And to great lengths to support any friend of hers.
- Eclipsed When the story feature Luke Cage and/or Iron Fist, Misty and Colleen do not normally spend any Hero Points.
- Six-million dollars Harlemite Misty’s bionic arm can sometimes be a problem. Or not be fully useable since the rest of her body isn’t reinforced.
- Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 7, Dodge/Toughness PL 4, Parry/Toughness PL 5, Fort/Will PL 5.
- Points total 79. Abilities 30, Defences 11, Skills 18, Powers 2, Devices 10, Advantages 8. Equiv. PL 6.
See the DCH notes.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics (primarily Iron Fist material).
Writeup completed on the 14th of June, 2018.