Painkiller (DC Comics) (Black Lightning enemy)



This superhuman hitman appeared in the 1995 Black Lightning series.

Like the 1977 one this series only ran for a dozen issues. But then it was the only Black Lightning solo material we’d had in 17 years.


  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’9” Weight: 290 lbs.
  • Eyes: White Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Painkiller has the metahuman power to anesthetize his victims. He can also rob targets of their senses.

These two abilities combined with his great strength and skill with many hand-to hand weapons make him a very effective assassin.

He has been shown using his powers on a large scale. Painkiller caused an entire police strike force to fall to the ground helpless around him as he calmly walked away.


Painkiller was high-level mob enforcer loaned to the Brothers Who Rule, a gang in the Brick City. The BWR was getting hammered by Black Lightning and needed Painkiller to stop him.

After observing Black Lighting for a while to get familiar with his modus operandi, Painkiller developed a plan to kill Black Lightning and humiliate the local police.


The trap

Painkiller set up a fake crack house with minimal drugs and a few expendable BWR teenagers. His plan was to lure Black Lightning in and call in the cops. In the ensuing fracas Black Lighting would be killed and the youths would be shot down as well, smearing the cops as child-killers.

Painkiller’s plan did not go down as he had hoped. Black Lightning’s abilities gave him some small protection from Painkiller’s powers. Furthermore, Lightning’s quick thinking averted a police massacre.

Lightning then faced Painkiller down man-to-man. A brutal feedback loop between their respective powers seriously injured Painkiller.

And then…

The leader of the Brothers Who Rule later proclaimed Painkiller had been murdered.

But given his previous exaggerated propaganda, it is quite possible Painkiller was simply incapacitated. If so he likely was shipped off to a metahuman holding facility such as Belle Reve.


Painkiller is an extremely large Black man. His eyes have no pupils: they are solid white.

His hair is pulled back in long braids, at the end of each of which is a small knife. Painkiller uses these as a weapon by simply swinging his head side to side.

His costume contains many weapons, including numerous:

  • Small and not so small knives.
  • Throwing stars.
  • Nunchaku.

Painkiller also has a tattoo on his left upper arm with a ℞ symbol (as in “prescription”) and a small skull.


Painkiller makes great use of the American societal assumption that big Black guys are stupid. Opponents may underestimate his intelligence…until it is too late. He is very bright, very observant, and very well spoken.

He will always study his opponents from a distance first if possible. He wants to learn their strengths and weaknesses. He is a cruel killer who has no problem with disposing with his enemies in very painful ways.

When things are going poorly, however, Painkiller can slip into a psychopathic rage. At this point he tends to leave himself open to attack by fighting physically and not making good use of his powers. This is how Black Lightning was able to defeat him so easily.


As he thrashes Black Lightning: “You see, you’ve lost the advantage of being the only meta-human in this provincial town, and I wonder if you’ll even be able to deduce the nature of my powers before I *kill* you.”

Youth: “You — you made it so our legs don’t work. What’s up with that ?”
Painkiller: “Well, there was always the possibility the police would fail to slaughter you according to my plan and I didn’t want to have to chase you all over the house so I could kill you myself.”
Youth: “…You can’t do us like that ! We claimin’ family !”
Painkiller: “Ah, the young. So trusting. You make such perfect martyrs.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats


Dex: 06 Str: 08 Bod: 06 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 08 Min: 08 Occupation: Enforcer
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 018 HP: 040

Mental Freeze: 12, Mind Over Matter: 06, Sensory Block: 12

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Mental Freeze has the Partial Paralysis bonus, and can *only* be used in that manner.
  • Mental Freeze can be used with an Area Effect of 1 AP. When used in this manner Painkiller can use different types of Partial Paralysis on each victim, paralyzing one person’s legs, anothers’ arms, etc..
  • Sensory Block can be used with a variable area effect, with a maximum radius of 04 APs. For every AP of radius used, Painkiller’s targets got a +1CS bonus to RV versus Sensory Block.

Weaponry (Melee, Missile): 07

Gift of Gab, Sharp Eye.

Criminal Underworld (Low).

MIA (Overconfidence), Serious Rage.


  • Painkiller uses numerous bladed weapons, throwing stars, and even spikes in his hair braids [BODY 05, EV 03].
  • He also has a pair of forearm bracers [BODY 08].
  • And a pair of nunchaku [BODY 09, EV 03 (09 w/STR)] , but Painkiller by far preferred edged weapons.

By Christopher D Tatro and Roy Cowan.

Source of Character: DCU.

Helper(s): Paul ’Z‘ Ewande.