DC Database

Black Bison is a Native American given power by ancient artifacts of the Black Bison Cult. The relics drove him mad, but he was stopped by Firestorm.

A Native American man named Thunder Arrow and his wife gave birth to a son whom they named Black-Cloud-In-Morning. Black-Cloud grew up in Queens, New York, but rather than adopt the tradition of his family, he preferred the more anglicized ways of the modern world. As an adult, he legally changed his name to John Ravenhair. John became an instructor at Bradley High School where he met the head nurse, Vanessa Tremont. The two soon fell in love, much to the chagrin of John's great-grandfather, Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky.

As the years passed, Thunder Arrow passed away and John found himself taking care of his aging great-grandfather. Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky resented the fact that John changed his name and turned his back on his tribe's heritage. He tried to school John in the ways of the ancient Black Bison Cult, but John refused to cater to the bitter old man's passions.

One day, Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky discovered that John was taking his students on a school trip to the New York Museum of Natural History. An affluent New York senator named Walter Reilly had donated his private collection of Native American artifacts to the museum, several pieces of which represented the late Black Bison Cult. Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky gave John a special talisman and made him promise to wear it at all times. John reluctantly acquiesced to his ancestor's strange demands. Not long after, Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky walked to Central Park where he conducted a mystic ritual binding his own spirit to the talisman. Two muggers named Zero and Beanbag attacked the old man, accidentally killing him. Though Bison-Black-As-Midnight-Sky's body was dead, his spirit lived on. He took physical possession of John Ravenhair, transforming him into the super-villain known as Black Bison.

Black Bison 02

John Ravenhair as Black Bison

Black Bison took control of the Black Bison Cult's coup-stick and adorned himself with the ancient headdress of his people. Under the control of his evil ancestor, he began terrorizing the patrons of the Museum of Natural History. Black Bison declared vengeance against all who were responsible for stealing the heritage of his people – specifically, senator Walter Reilly. One of the high school students in attendance at the museum was Ronnie Raymond – one half of the composite super-hero known as Firestorm. Ronnie switched into his super-hero identity and began fighting Black Bison. Bison used the magic of his coup-stick to animate the remains of several stuffed animal exhibits and commanded them to run amok. While Firestorm busied himself with saving the museum's patrons, Black Bison escaped.

Summoning a white steed for himself, Black Bison rode off towards the home of Walter Reilly. He abducted Walter's daughter, Lorraine Reilly and took her to Central Park. Firestorm tracked him down and squared off with Black Bison in the Storybook Land section of the park. Black Bison animated several effigies of characters from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and commanded them to attack Firestorm. While Firestorm busied himself with the storybook creations, John Ravenhair's girlfriend, Vanessa Tremont, arrived in the park. Vanessa spoke to John with an intense passion that awakened his soul, and allowed him the strength to briefly resume control over his body. This gave Firestorm the opportunity to deprive Black Bison of his mystical weapons. He tore the talisman from his chest and threw it into a stream in a nearby zoo. Separated from the medallion, John Ravenhair ceased to be Black Bison.

Black Bison was killed in the Infinite Crisis. The Spectre went mad during Day of Vengeance and slaughtered a large number of magic users, Ravenhair included among their number.[1]


  • Martial Arts: Black Bison specializes in a Native American form of martial arts.


  • Black Bison's Coup-Stick
    • Telekinesis: Black Bison's coup-stick could animate inanimate objects and command them to do his bidding. These objects could not move of their own accord without his mystical command.
    • Weather Manipulation: Black Bison's coup-stick could also control the weather, allowing him the ability to command storms to ride in his wake.
  • Black Bison's Talisman
    • Energy Transference: Black Bison's coup-stick cannot work without being used in conjunction with his talisman, which allows him to put his mystical spirit energy within it and activate its abilities.

  • Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
  • Aside from his family's connection to the Black Bison Cult, Black Bison's tribal identity has never been revealed.


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This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of Firestorm and any of his supporting cast or members of the Firestorm Matrix. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Firestorm Villains category."