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Nick Necro is a powerful occultist and mage, the New York City-based teacher of John Constantine and ex-boyfriend of Zatanna Zatara who is obsessed with obtaining the alleged sources of magic, the Books of Magic.

Meeting John Constantine

Nick Necro was seen as one of New York's greatest mages, studying under such greats as Zatara and Baron Winters. Nick was a frequent visitor to the Oblivion Bar; a hangout for magicians and occultists where he first met a new student, the British John Constantine.

Nick wasn't very interested in speaking with John, particularly since his girlfriend Zatanna was about to start her performance on the Oblivion's stage, an act that mesmerized John. After the show, Nick and Zatanna prepared to leave without hearing John's pleas that he wanted to learn from the best. However, as the pair were leaving, John spotted a man with a knife preparing to attack them, and threw his pint at the back of the attacker's head. He had heard the man mention the words "cold flame", and Zatanna explained that this was a cult who used apocalyptic black magic to do evil. Her father had been fighting them for years, and they had since turned their attention to she and Nick. Given John's curiosity and his spunk, Nick agreed to let him tag along for the night, but that night turned into days and weeks together, fighting the Cult of the Cold Flame.

John and Zatanna were young and inexperience, and relied on Nick to catch them when they failed. He showed them magic beyond even what they could have dreamed of, and the more he learned, the more John realized that the Cold Flame was connected to all dark magic. To some extent, Nick had needed John to watch his back. Eventually, Nick had given John and Zatanna tattoos, using his own rune, as a type of graduation ceremony. The three were now of one coven.

However, Nick became obsessed with the idea of ultimate knowledge, and that knowledge, he thought, could only be found in the Books of Magic. These artifacts were rumoured to contain all knowledge, and may even have been the source of all magic itself. The quest for the books began to consume Nick, and as he drifted away from his pupils, they grew closer together.

Zatanna had originally been happy to be involved with Nick, because she thought they were doing real good together. Even after he started changing from the man she had loved, she felt that was worthwhile. However, they had recently begun taking more risks, and crossing the line. John claimed not to be in it for the heroics, but Zatanna assured him that she could see the goodness within him. His altruistic tendencies set him apart from Nick. Both had become dissatisfied with their mentor's behaviour, but they had both found a reason to stay: each other. As they kissed for the first time, they were caught by Nick. With a sort of resigned bitterness, he explained that he had seen John's potential to betray him for Zatanna when they had first met. John, as far as he was concerned, was a survivor, a player, and a bastard - just like him. In any case, he now wanted the Books more than the girl. John and Zatanna had learned all they could from him, with John's final lesson being to take what he wanted when he wanted it. He warned Zatanna, however, that John would one day betray her too.

Nick disappeared after that, and while John had won Zatanna, he couldn't help but wonder what he had lost in his mentor. If Nick had really been close to finding the Books of Magic, John had lost his chance to get at them. One night, though, he received a call from Nick who frantically warned that the Cult of the Cold Flame had found him.

John and Zatanna went to Nick's secret apartment in Brooklyn, and inside, they found Nick surrounded by the cultists with a knife to his throat. He knelt in the middle of a sacrificial rune they had drawn on the floor, such that anyone who died within it would be bound to Hell. He explained that the cultists wanted the daughter of their greatest enemy, while he wanted revenge on John. It was a trap. Nick had sided with the cult, giving them Zatanna in exchange for access to their knowledge and revenge on John.

Nick got up and put the knife to John's throat, as the cultists grabbed Zatanna. He pointed out that the pair of them had wanted magic from him, but when he had been getting closer to real magic, they had shied away. Gritting his teeth, John commented that Nick spent too much time talking, and not enough time searching his pockets. He whipped out his lighter, and blasted flames from it into Nick's face. Zatanna, meanwhile, managed to escape her captors in time to see one of the cultists preparing to throw a knife at John.

She cried out, and John had just enough time to grab Nick, and use him as a human shield. The wound was fatal, and because he had been standing within the rune, his soul began to be dragged through a portal into Hell. As he died, he begged John for help, but he reminded as he had once been reminded: magic always comes with a price. After his mentor's descent into Hell, John took his brown trench coat for his own as a symbol of how he would be the king among mages instead of Nick.[1]

War for the Books of Magic

 

In his temple in Peru, Felix Faust and Dr. Mist meet with Nick Necro, who has conspired with them to get the Books of Magic after escaping from Hell. While Mist wants the Book of Death, Faust wants the Book of Chaos. Their conspirator wants the other two books for himself. Faust reveals that he tricked Constantine with a false vision - that the books do not lie in Slaughter Swamp. Opening the map, they discover that the books are actually at Nanda Parbat - a place which has always held a great power.

At the House of Secrets, Nick knocks on the door, and is greeted by its keeper, Doctor Occult. The Doctor recognizes his visitor, and expresses his distaste for his methods, in comparison to those of the older occultists like himself and John Zatara. Sighing, he allows himself to be murdered, in order to let the fate of the House of Secrets be passed on.[2]

Deadman and Zatanna, formerly under attack by Blackbriar Thorn, find themselves at the House of Secrets, and, within, find Nick Necro. Nick claims that he has returned to get revenge on Zatanna and John for having betrayed him, but Zatanna responds that he was only ever really in love with the idea of getting the Books of Magic - not her. That is what drove her to John. Gleefully, Nick takes pleasure in demonstrating his superior power over Deadman and Zatanna, having learned even more powerful magic in Hell.

When John and Black Orchid arrive, they are surprised to learn the identity of their enemy. However, John's surprise soon turns to disgust as he points out that with the map to the Books in hand, there would be no need to attack he and Zatanna - which means he's still hung up on the fact that a pretty girl broke his heart. Angrily, Nick relentlessly attacks John, to the point that Zatanna cries out that she will give herself up to Nick, if he spares the others. John pleads with her to stop, but she leans over him, kisses him, and whispers that he needs to stay alive to stop Nick from getting the Books of Magic, and escapes with Nick deeper into the House of Secrets, sending gargoyles to attack and slow their quarry down, with Doctor Mist's magic sending the House of Mystery crashing in the desert.[3]

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  • Obsession: Nick Necro is completely obsessed with obtaining more power over magic, especially the Books of Magic, to the exclusion of almost anything else, including his personal relationships.
  • Nick, Zatanna and Constantine were lovers, maintaining a three-way relationship.[4]

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Footnotes


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