Name: Brian DeWolff
Occupation: Policeman, later vigilante, later
Identity: Known to New York City legal and judicial authorities
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record
Other Aliases: None known
Place of Birth: Unrevealed, presumably
New York City
Place of Death: New York City
Known Relatives: Phillip (father), Celia (mother), Jean (sister,
Group Affiliation: Member of New York City Police Department,
later pawn of Phillip DeWolff, later ally of Iron Man I
Base of Operations:
New York City
First Appearance: MARVEL TEAM-UP #48
AMAZING SPIDERMAN #278
Brian DeWolff was the son of Phillip DeWolff, who became police commissioner of
New York City, and was raised by Phillip after the latter's divorce from Brian's
mother Celia. (Celia received custody of Brian's sister Jean.). Brian graduated
from the New York City police academy with the highest grades in his class and
entered the city's police force. Despite their parents' separation and Phillip
DeWolff's hatred for his daughter due to her decision to join the police herself
(since Phillip did not regard women as fit for police work), Brian and Jean DeWolff
greatly loved each other.
Brian and his partner
Tim were trapped by criminals near Manhattan's South Street Seaport. Two cars
driven by criminals knocked over the police car in which Brian and Tim were riding,
killing Tim. Brian was then shot, a bullet lodge in his spine.
Learning over the
police radio that Brian's police car was under attack, Phillip DeWolff drove to
the scene and found his wounded son. Phillip took Brian to the former's home without
informing anyone; hence, when other policeman arrived, they did not know what
had happened to Brian. At his home Phillip discovered that the shooting had severed
important regions of Brian's nervous system, paralyzing him and rendering him
comatose. Unwilling to see his son live in such a state, Phillip summoned two
wealthy men he knew, banker Karl Bonn and landlord Max Vorster, in the hope that
they would finance a cure for Brian. With their help, Phillip had Brian secretly
operated upon by a surgeon.
But Phillip fantasized
doing even more for Brian. He wanted Brian to become a vigilante with superhuman
abilities who would battle crime without being restricted by the law himself.
DeWolff said, "He will be a wraith, dealing justice from beyond the grave!"
Unknown to DeWolff,
Bonn and Vorster were themselves lawbreakers and they had agreed to help Phillip
only so that they would have the police commissioner in their debt. (As it turned
out, at some point DeWolff was forced out of his job as police commissioner, apparently
by his own superiors.)
Jean DeWolff graduated
from the police academy and was immediately made assistant detective in charge
of investigating the disappearance of Brian DeWolff. Phillip DeWolff objected
to Jean's getting this position, but to no avail. After two years, however, no
trace of Brian's whereabouts had been discovered and the case was closed; the
department presumed Brian to be dead.
During those two
years Bonn and Vorster aided DeWolff in obtaining advanced scientific equipment
with which Phillip intended to restore Brian's mobility and, presumably, to endow
him with psionic powers. When Bonn insisted that Brian use his psionic powers
on behalf of himself and Vorster, Phillip finally realized that Bonn and Vorster
were themselves criminals. Furious, Phillip attacked them, but they pushed him
back into an apparatus called the revitalizer. On thus being struck, the revitalizer
bathed both Phillip and the comatose Brian with energy Bonn and Vorster fled,
assuming Phillip to be dead.
In fact, however,
the revitalizer linked the minds of Phillip and Brian, so that now Phillip could
control Brian's body, make it walk and move normally, and control Brian's psionic
powers. Phillip gave Brian the costume and identity of the Wraith and used him
to take revenge on Bonn and Vorster.
The Wraith, guided
by Phillip's consciousness, succeeded in killing both Bonn and Vorster. But the
Wraith's activities attracted the attention of Jean DeWolff and the crimefighters
Iron Man and Spider-Man, all of whom clashed with the Wraith. The sorcerer Doctor
Stephen Strange also ran afoul of the Wraith's psionic powers. Finally, Phillip
tried to have the Wraith psychically murder Jean, but Spider-Man blinded the Wraith
with his webbing, and Iron Man placed an "alpha-jammer" helmet on Phillip,
preventing him from transmitting telepathic signals to Brian. Without the link
to Phillip's mind, Brian returned to a state of catatonic helplessness.
While he and his
still comatose son were on trial, Phillip not only regained control of the Wraith,
but even projected his own mind into the Wraith's body. Doctor Strange and Iron
Man defeated the Wraith, and Phillip's mind was forced back into his own body.
Using magic to enable his hand to pass into Brian's body harmlessly, Strange removed
the bullet in Brian's spine and mystically healed his injuries, restoring Brian's
own mind to consciousness at last. The court found Brian innocent of the Wraith's
crimes but found Phillip guilty of them and sentenced Phillip to prison. Brian
and Jean were joyously reunited.
and Brian, as the Wraith, aided Iron Man in battling the multimillionaire called
Midas, who had temporarily seized control of Iron Man's company, Stark International.
Much later, while
Brian was in California, the criminal known as the Sin-Eater murdered Jean DeWolff.
Since the Sin-Eater was himself a policeman, the grief-stricken Brian irrationally
intended to take vengeance for his beloved sister's death on the entire New York
City Police Department as the Wraith. But on arriving at a New York City police
station in costume to begin his assault, the Wraith was himself shot dead by the
vigilante Scourge, who was disguised at the time as a policeman.
5 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 190 lbs.
The Wraith possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and
build who engaged in moderate regular exercise.
Powers: The Wraith possessed various psionic powers. He could take control
of the mind of one other person at a time. He could cast illusions in the minds
of one or more witnesses at once; by this means he could make reality itself appear
to change in incredible ways, or he could make himself appear to become invisible.
He could also mentally induce pain in a victim without causing him or her any
actual physical injury. He could even affect Spider-Man's mind in such a way as
to shield himself from detection by his spider-sense.
The Wraith could
also telekinetically levitate matter; the limits on this ability are unknown.
The Wraith was
also capable of reading the minds of other people.