Meet the Forgiven, Marvel's Most Virtuous Vampires
Who are the Forgiven? Read on to learn more about this group of heroic vampires, who defy their dark natures in order to defend humanity against supernatural threats.
Vampires have been a fixture of Marvel Comics for decades, with the undead bloodsuckers tracing their origins back to the earliest days of the Marvel Universe. Generally, those creatures of the night have been depicted as evil. However, some vampires fight for the light, and not all of them give into the same dark urges as their brethren.
That’s where the Forgiven comes in. With the group playing a key role in SPIDER-MAN: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1, X-MEN: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1, and CAPTAIN AMERICA: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1, here’s what you need to know about these heroic vampires.
Meet Raizo Kodo, the Forgiven’s Founder
The Forgiven’s history begins with Raizo Kodo. Introduced in TOMB OF DRACULA PRESENTS: THRONE OF BLOOD (2011) #1, Raizo hails from medieval Japan. As a samurai with the Kodo Clan, Raizo and his brother, Ryuhei, once fought the vampire Jakkaru. During their battle, Jakkaru bit Ryuhei, which turned him into a creature of the night.
Soon after, Ryuhei turned the other members of the Kodo Clan into vampires, including Suzume, Raizo’s fiancée. Although Raizo defeated Ryuhei and the Kodo Clan, Suzume bit him. In the aftermath, Raizo joined the ranks of the undead.
Raizo then studied with several different vampire clans, leaning their ways and becoming a more formidable warrior. During World War II, Raizo encountered Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, and the two struck up a long-lasting friendship. During this time, he also met Valkyrie while working against the Thule Society, an occult group affiliated with Hydra and the Nazis.
At some point following those encounters, Raizo founded the Forgiven, a group of warrior vampires dedicated to defending humanity against threats while resisting the bloodlust that comes naturally to vampires. The other members of the Forgiven include the Visigoth, a warrior who fought at the Siege of Ravenna; Inka, a deadly former member of the Siren Sect; Nighteyes, Raizo’s second-in-command; Ghost Blade, a former Hindu pandit; and Quickshot, a New Yorker who set his sights on the monsters of Wall Street. Each of them possesses a lightbender, a special type of amulet that allows them to walk in the sunlight.
The Forgiven’s Comics History
Created by Victor Gischler and Ryan Stegman, the Forgiven debuted in FEAR ITSELF: HULK VS. DRACULA (2011) #1. That three-part series was a tie-in to FEAR ITSELF (2011), which saw panic spreading across Earth due to the Serpent, the Norse God of Fear. During FEAR ITSELF, the Serpent distributed the Hammers of the Worthy to various heroes on Earth, turning them into his fear-spreading minions in the process. After receiving a hammer, the Hulk was transformed into Nul, a brutal and deadly version of the Green Goliath.
Following a battle with Thor, Nul got knocked into the Carpathian Mountains, where Dracula had established his Vampire Nation. Nul immediately set out on a campaign against the vampires, destroying many of their number. Despite being outcasts due to their heroic ways, the Forgiven offered their help to the Vampire Nation. In response, Dracula imprisoned them.
Dracula eventually relented and agreed to let the Forgiven help in the battle against Nul. Initially, the Forgiven and Dracula’s army proved ineffective against him. However, Raizo and Inka used a special mesmerization technique to trick Bruce Banner into seeing Betsy Ross. This allowed Bruce Banner and Hulk to break through and rid themselves of Nul, ending his rampage in the process. While Dracula attempted to take the Hammer of Nul for himself and exile the Forgiven again, the group stole the powerful artifact, which Raizo later gave to Valkyrie. This earned them even more of Dracula’s ire.
After Jubilee was turned into a vampire by Xarus, she joined the Forgiven, having heard about Raizo from Professor X. During her time with them, Jubilee learned to control her vampiric hunger and helped the Forgiven survive an assassination attempt by the Siren Sect.
Now, the UNFORGIVEN series is looking to change the status quo for the Forgiven in a big way, with the group learning what it means to live in a world without one of its most important members. To get the full story, pick up SPIDER-MAN: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1, X-MEN: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1, and CAPTAIN AMERICA: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1.
The latest chapter in the Forgiven's new adventure, CAPTAIN AMERICA: UNFORGIVEN (2023) #1, is now on sale!
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