He was formerly a captain in the British Special Air Service, later working for MI5. He underwent behavioural modifications so he could go deep undercover, but the conditioning caused him to forget his past and became bodyguard for Kenneth Irons. He killed Sara’s partner in Witchblade #01. Ian was raised from childhood by Kenneth Irons to be the perfect warrior, learning several forms of combat and studying Sun Tzu's Art of War. As an adult, Irons retains Nottingham in his employ with a seven-figure salary, and access to Irons' extensive laserdisc collection. While still under Irons' employ, he becomes romantically involved with Sara Pezzini (wielder of the Witchblade, which Irons covets). In any event, their relationship is often troubled by a basic clash in personalities; Pezzini tends to be impulsive and hot-headed, whereas Nottingham is cold and calculating. He remains infatuated with her even after she breaks it off by saying that he "creeps her out". Sara's rejection drives Ian back to Irons until he becomes concerned for her safety again.
The latest update of Ian finds him in prison after having been arrested by Sara on two separate occasions. The first time after using her to kill a Yakuza mob boss, the second time he escaped prison only be sent back after being defeated by Sara in a fight.
Even before he acquired other powers, he displayed superhuman abilities such as cutting cars in half with his sword and catching bullets in his hands. Ian has above average intelligence and has enhanced speed and strength. Ian is also an accomplished martial artist and swordsman--his preferred weapon is a katana-- and he has had Black Operation training.
When sent on a mission to Japan to kill a woman, Nottingham fell in love with his target and with the Japanese culture. The tumultuous end of that love affair had a hand in making him so cold, so controlled. "Never again." became his motto.
Nottingham was indebted to both the Yakuza and to Kenneth Irons. He's considered a member of a Yakuza family, not unlike Jackie Estacado of the Darkness who is the adopted son of a Mafia family. He has attained a high rank in the Yakuza, yet remains a ronin of sorts, working for whomever he chooses.
Ian undergoes a constant internal battle between his feelings for Sara Pezzini, and his loyalty to his mentor, Kenneth Irons. His relationship with Irons can now only be qualified as a hate-use relationship, although Nottingham once considered Irons to be his friend. Obviously that was not the case. Irons volunteered Ian's body for super secret government testing under the aegis of PROJECT ODIN. The experiments have fused Nottingham's adult DNA with some undisclosed element. Because of the testing and certain special conditioning, Nottingham has been the only man to "successfully" wear the Witchblade. Ian has been shown to possess a number of mystical powers, including enhanced speed and strength.
The odd markings on his right hand, courtesy of Irons, allows him to bond with both the Witchblade and the Darkness powers. And for a short time both powers preferred him over Pezzini and Estacado. As the villainous Sonatine put it, Nottingham's body and soul were built to absorb mass quantities of power, "whether voluntarily or not." He didn't ask for the Witchblade. Sonatine, the nemesis of Jackie Estacado, asked Nottingham to take the Darkness. When he said no, Sonatine bewitched him and suddenly Nottingham was a puppet.
In a strange twist of fate, Estacado and Pezzini encountered Nottingham in a museum, and police detective and Mafia hitman had to work together to save the world from him. Apparently when the Witchblade and the Darkness powers -- both fairly malevolent entities -- meet in one soul, they transform that soul into a doomsday machine. Together the Witchblade and the Darkness are Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Which roughly translates into one of the Seven Seals of Armageddon.
When Irons' obsession with the Witchblade sucked him in, Nottingham was deeply curious about how the gauntlet would feel on his arm. But once the rune met the stone, he quickly came to wish he had not been curious at all. Because the Witchblade is a sentient power, ungovernable by any who have not been born to wield it -- and even difficult to those chosen women. And Nottingham, despite his extreme cool, his self-possession, and his strength, could not bend the Witchblade to his will. In fact, the gauntlet controlled him. He eventually lost the Witchblade to Pezzinni in a battle which gave him serious injuries.
He was nursed back to his health by a Japanese girl called Setsuke. After she made an attempt at Gavin Taylor's (a famous rock star turned guru with connections to Kenneth Irons) life, Irons made him kill her, and Ian angrily obeyed.
Recently, Ian has acquired Excalibur which has brought a new edge to Ian's life. The depths of this newfound power, and its effects on Ian's life have yet to fully manifest themselves. He cannot really control it yet either. If he uses Excalibur, he gives in to it and it takes him over, pretty much just like the Witchblade did. Ian Nottingham believes in the power of the human will and that through sheer force of will almost anything can be accomplished. Ian also has the belief that all life is chaos and that the control of life is fleeting at best. These beliefs have proven themselves time and again throughout his life. Now, in the possession of Excalibur, Ian is forced to struggle even harder to control that life.
Ian, with Excalibur, killed Tora No Shi during the Deathpool storyline.
Ian lost Excalibur to Sara after she beat him senseless in a fight. 
Ian has recently reappeared, pursued by Yakuza assassins and begging Sara for help. He also seems to have lost Excalibur since he never uses it to defend himself, was asking if he could borrow the Witchblade, and later is seen stealing a cursed katana from the Curator's Artifact shop. He uses the cursed katana to kill off any opposition and take control of the local Yakuza and when Sara shows up invites her to join him in his life of crime. Sara is not impressed. After arresting Nottingham, she returned the cursed katana to the Curator's shop. Ian promptly escapes prison in Witchblade # 101.
Ian's stay in jail was a rather short one because in Witchblade issue 101, Ian escaped Ryker's prison and then had a Central Park battle with Sara in issue 102. Ian offered Sara to follow him so they can live a life of love, making reference to Sara's current life that was full of stress and constant battles because of the Witchblade. Sara refused, causing tension between the two character which resulted in one of the best fight scenes during the series. After hitting pregnant Sara a few times, one with a crude haymaker to the face, the other a side-stepping kick to the stomach, Ian makes a sexist comment before Sara disposes of him using the Witchblade. Detective Pezzini arrests Ian and sends him back to prison. It should be noted that Sara decided to give up the Witchblade because of this battle.
In the Witchblade television series, Ian is portrayed by Eric Etebari. Ian is the result of a cloning experiment where he was created from the tissue of Elizabeth Brontë (a former wielder of the Witchblade who Sara Pezzini may be a descendant or reincarnation of). Ian is shown as an enigmatic figure dressed in black that appears before Sara to give her cryptic advice (usually veiled warnings of what his boss has planned for her) and then disappears into the shadows. In the TV show Ian also is infatuated with Sara and when he cannot have her he turns his attention to her doppelganger, Aras.
There have also been two separate action figures released of Ian. The first was the 1997 release of the Witchblade action figure series which depicted Ian in the full battle armor that he adorned in Witchblade issues 1-8. The second figure was in the Witchblade series II action figures that had Ian bare-chested and was released in 1999.