The Needle (Marvel Comics)



This odd, obscure Marvel character was first seen in 1979 in Spider-Woman. He’s associated with a small underground scene of old Los Angeles sort-of-villainous adventurers and superhumans.


  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Night Shift.
  • Base Of Operations: Hollywood, CA ; later the Tower of Shadows in L.A..
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: White (mostly bald).


Powers and Abilities

Though he’s an old man, the Needle has a vise-like grip. He moves with remarkable speed, strength and vitality. This abnormal alacrity makes him a solid hand-to-hand combatant and startlingly hard to hit with ranged attacks.

Furthermore, the Needle has “an almost electric presence. He learned to release it through his one good eye.” This ’evil eye‘ is a paralysing attack. It can leave normal people rigidly immobile for hours.

If the Needle’s opponent does not have either a superhuman constitution or some intelligence about how the Needle’s evil eye works, a confrontation with the Needle is likely to be short and one-sided.


The Needle was originally an elderly tailor operating a small shop in San Francisco. One night he got home late, and was assaulted for no reason by a band of hoodlums. Severely beaten, the old man was hospitalised in dire condition. Even after treatment he had lost his left eye and was mute.

It took months for him to be able to move. While locked within his immobile body he went insane – and developed a strange power that welled around his remaining eye.


After six months the old man, his bones healed, was released. He almost immediately worked on his revenge as he had imagined it while he laid immobile for so long. He tailored himself an odd costume for his gaunt frame to wear, and armed himself with a giant needed.

This… odd figure prowled the San Francisco streets for young hooligans to attack in dark alleys.

San Francisco by night

His “evil eye” could make them as immobile as he had been after the attack. Then the Needle would sew shut the mouth of his victims, leaving them as mute as he now was for a while.

One such assault on a gang member, was noticed by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jerry Hunt. But when Hunt rushed to the rescue he was paralysed and got his mouth sewed shut. Hunt’s girlfriend, Jessica Drew, started hunting the Needle down. Her first attempt failed, but she and a recovered Hunt eventually ran into the Needle again.

The Needle dodges Spider-Woman's blast (Marvel Comics)

Hunt was soon paralysed, but Spider-Woman eventually managed to overcome the Needle. That was after the combatants discovered that their bio-electrical powers had limited effect on each other. Knocked unconscious, the Needle was arrested.

Months later, the Needle was abducted by the Locksmith and placed in a special prison, along with the majority of the superhumans in the Bay Area. The Locksmith’s prison was eventually wrecked by the prisoners, led by Tigra and Spider-Woman. The Needle was likely returned to the police cell the Locksmith had broken him out of.

On the night shift

Under unclear circumstances, the Needle eventually joined the Night Shift. This a superhuman criminal syndicate on the West Coast. The Shift was composed of many of the more colourful street-level supervillains in the area. Basically, a large chunk of Spider-Woman’s old rogues gallery.

Back then it was headed by the Shroud, a super-hero who pretended to be a super-criminal. He used the Shift to weaken the hold of other criminal concerns while pretending to increase his own.

Apparently, the more severe symptoms of the Needle’s psychosis were gone. This may have been done using the hypnotic powers of Night Shift member Dansen Macabre. In any case, the Needle was now a reliable agent for the Shroud.

The Needle apparently enjoyed his job. The Night Shift’s strikes against other mobs allowed him to kill or harm many young toughs and enforcers.

And the damage done

In 1987, the Night Shift started culling the population of deformed monsters in the sewers of Los Angeles. These the product of failed Power Broker experiments. This is how they met Captain America, who was also investigating.

The Shroud arranged for Captain America to pretend to fall prey to Dansen Macabre. In this way, Cap and the Night Shift could ally without drawing suspicion. Thus, they joined forces to storm the fortified estate of the Power Broker in the San Fernando valley.

During the assault, the Needle killed at least one of the Broker’s strength-enhanced security types. He threw his giant needle into the man’s chest from behind.

The Needle (1990s costume and weapons)

Months later, Mockingbird clashed with Night Shift member Digger, and had him arrested. The rest of the Shift, in the absence of the Shroud, decided to strike back. Not knowing that Mockingbird had recently left the WCA, they stormed Avengers’s Compound. They initially met with disorganised and surprised resistance, but eventually the WCA who were present repulsed the assault.

The Needle held Yolanda, the cleaning maid, hostage using his giant needle. But she was rescued by Wonder Man who came back to the Compound late in the fight. Shroud then reached the Compound, and used his darkness to set the Shift free. All of his enforcers, including the Needle, managed to flee.


Eventually, obscure villain the Hangman ousted Shroud as the leader of the Night Shift and took over. He also expelled the Werewolf. The Hangman tricked the Night Shift members into selling their souls to Satannish. This resulted in increased power for all of them. He then has the Shift help him shoot a bizarre movie with a captured film crew.

The enhanced Night Shift clashed with the WCA, their enhanced power giving them a certain superiority. However, Doctor Strange explained to the Shift members that Satannish was stealing their souls. As a result they rejected the netherlord, even fighting it physically along with the WCA after they had been depowered.

The crisis was eventually resolved when Satannish left and took the soul of the Hangman along with it.


The Night Shift, sans Shroud, Werewolf or Hangman, still operated around L.A.. They did not have much of an apparent agenda beyond protecting each other whenever necessary. Thus, when the Needle was next seen (along with the Brothers Grimm and the Misfit) it was to come to the rescue of their fellow Night Shifter Digger, who was being interrogated by the Blazing Skull.

At this point the Needle was using a new generation of equipment. But it proved insufficient against Captain America, who had come to interrogate the Blazing Skull and ended up allying with him.

Apparently reverting to his old giant needle, the Needle was one of the old Spider-Woman villains who were defeated by the young hero Armory when she started her career in San Francisco. For some undisclosed reason, the Needle had been attacking a couple when Armory stopped him.


With his gaunt countenance, weird costume and giant needle, Needle looks like a character from a wicked fairy tale.


Initially, the Needle was utterly obsessed with sewing shut the mouth of as many young street toughs as possible – and anybody who would try to help them. A gaunt, spindly, silent, obviously psychotic figure, he was rather odd and striking. Later, he became more stable and found a sort of home with the Night Shift.

As a Night Shifter, the Needle just follows the flow and helps the rest. Since he’s mute and a bit character, there are few clues as to his current psychiatric state.

DC Universe History

A DCU version of the Night Shift would doubtlessly comprise a few forgotten 1970s cheesy horror characters from the DCU. Just like Digger was added to the actual group.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Psychopath
Int: 05 Wil: 03 Min: 04 Occupation: Criminal
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 018 HP: 025

Paralysis: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Paralysis has a Range of 02 and requires eye contact.
  • Paralysis likely only works on targets with an electrically-powered nervous system.
  • Eye contact is normally established pretty much automatically for anyone facing the Needle within Range, and thus Paralysis attacks BODY/BODY.
  • A person fighting the Needle while avoiding eye contact means the Needle receives a +1 CS to his Ovs. Accidental eye contact is still possible – treat as an Automatic Action on the Needle’s part, with Paralysis pitching a 02/09 against the target’s DEX/BODY.

Artist (Tailor): 04, Evasion (Ranged only): 07, Martial artist (EV): 05, Thief (Stealth): 05, Weaponry (Needle-themed weaponry): 06

Headquarters (his old shop in Hollywood), Lightning Reflexes.

Originally none, now Night Shift (High).

Age (Old), SPR (Mute), MPR (Missing his left eye), MIH of young toughs (though sewing their mouth shut is an OK substitute for killing them).

Initially, the Needle carried a giant sewing needle, which he used as a thrusting sword: Giant Needle [BODY 06, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist), Sharpness (EV): 02, Can Be Thrown].

Later, he switched his weapons to the following (which all count as “needle-themed” for his Weaponry):

  • Smallsword [BODY 04, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist), Sharpness (EV): 01].
  • WRIST-MOUNTED NEEDLE GUNS [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 01, Ammo: 20, Advantages – Autofire, Scattershot].

The Needle and the damage done

Spider-Woman and the Needle proved highly resilient to each other’s super-power. According to Spider-Woman, “our powers of paralysis are so similar, we’re almost immune to each other”. Since Spider-Woman’s “venom blasts” are bio-electric in nature, this likely means the Needle’s “evil eye” is, too.

The simplest approach is to divide all RAPs from bio-electricity-based Powers against the Needle by four (round to the nearest). On the other hand the RAPs from the Needle’s Paralysis are also divided by four (round to the nearest) against a person with bio-electric Powers.

For instance, if he gets 7 RAPs against Spider-Woman, he only ends up inflicting 2 RAPs.

Under the sun of Satannish

While the Needle was infused with infernal power by Satannish, he had something like DEX 07 STR 07 BODY 07. All of his Skills went up by one AP, he lost the Age (Old), and his Giant Needle acquired a BODY of 12.

Furthermore the EV of the Giant Needle was now 09, and the associated Sharpness rose to 07, making it able to pierce Iron Man’s armour or to take out Spider-Woman II with a single tip slash. He chiefly used his Giant Needle at that point, rather than his Paralysis.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Ethan Roe.