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Night Nurse (comics)

Night Nurse (comics)

Night Nurse is the name of a Marvel Comics title published in the early 1970's and the name of a character (Linda Carter) in the Marvel Comics universe known for her willingness to help injured superheroes, who first appeared (as Night Nurse) in Daredevil vol. 2, #58 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Although she uses the word "nurse" as part of her codename, she claims to now be a doctor.

Publication history

Night Nurse was a Marvel Comics title that lasted four issues in late 1972 and early 1973. The series, which straddled several different genres, focused on the adventures of three female roommates who worked the night shift at the fictional Metropolitan General Hospital in New York City: Linda Carter, Georgia Jenkins, and Christine Palmer.

Night Nurse was introduced in one of a trio of Marvel Comics aimed at a female audience, alongside Claws of the Cat and Shanna the She-Devil. Marvel writer-editor Roy Thomas recalled in 2007 that editor-in-chief Stan Lee "had the idea, and I think the names, for all three. He wanted to do some books that would have special appeal to girls. We were always looking for way to expand our franchise. My idea ... was to try to get women to write them".

The series was written by Jean Thomas, then the wife of comics writer and editor Roy Thomas, and drawn by Winslow Mortimer. The stories, unlike most of Marvel's offerings at the time, contain no superheroes or fantastic elements. However, the night nurses do encounter a fair amount of "danger, drama and death", as the cover tag proclaims, as they work to foil bomb plots, malpracticing surgeons, and mob hitmen. Night Nurse, like the "relevant comics" of the early 1970s, also attempted to address real-world social issues; Night Nurse #1 features a scene where a character asking why his poor neighborhood is the one always experiencing power outages. "Why not Park Avenue for a change?".

Night Nurse #4 is the only issue of the series that takes place away from Metro General and New York City. This story shifts away from the urban drama of the first three issues and instead features Christine embroiled in a suspenseful gothic adventure, complete with a foreboding mansion, dusty secret passageways, and mysterious lights.

While it was unclear during the original publication of Night Nurse whether it took place in the Marvel Universe or in the "real world", Christine Palmer reappeared in Nightcrawler vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 2004 — 31 years after her last appearance, in Night Nurse #4). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer of Nightcrawler, said in an interview that he was "a huge fan" of Night Nurse, and wanted to bring back the character when he realized that his first Nightcrawler story would take place in a hospital. Linda also re-appeared in 2004, this time sporting Night Nurse as an actual codename.

Prior to Night Nurse, the series Linda Carter, Student Nurse was published by Atlas Comics, a precursor to Marvel Comics. This series ran from 1961 to 1963. No specific connection has been drawn between the two characters.

The night nurses

While the three roommates initially bicker amongst themselves, they soon bond with each other over their shared loneliness, and become best friends.

Linda Carter is the daughter of a doctor in Allentown, New York. In Night Nurse #1, she meets and falls in love with Marshall Michaels, a wealthy businessman. However, he forces her to choose between marrying him or staying at Metro General as a nurse. She makes her decision and tearfully watches him walk away. In the following two issues of the series, Linda demonstrates that her skills are not limited to nursing practice, as she performs detective work to help expose an incompetent surgeon and also prevents a hitman from murdering one of her patients. By the time the series was cancelled, she had started a budding romance with Dr. Jack Tryon, a young resident doctor.

Georgia Jenkins is an African American nurse who comes from an inner-city neighborhood, blocks away from Metro General Hospital. On her days off from work, she provides free medical care to the people on her old block. In Night Nurse #1, she discovers that her older brother Ben was conned into nearly blowing up the hospital generator. Even though Ben has a change of heart, and is shot while trying to protect the nurses, Georgia finds out in issue #3 that Ben has been sentenced to 10-to-20 years in prison. She angrily compares the harshness of his sentence with the fact that powerful mob criminals walk around free.

In Night Nurse #1, Christine Palmer leaves her home in "an exclusive Midwestern suburb" against her father's wishes, intending to "make a new life without her father's money". In issue #2, her father comes to New York to try and convince her to return to her life as a debutante, threatening "if you don't come home by Thanksgiving, then don't come home at all!" Though she considers his offer, she elects to stay in New York and becomes a surgical nurse for Dr. William Sutton. When Dr. Sutton's career ends in disaster, she leaves New York City and her friends behind, and travels the country, finding a job as a private nurse for a paraplegic at a spooky mansion. However, this particular position is short-lived.

Christine ended up returning to Metropolitan General Hospital, where she first encountered Storm and Nightcrawler of the X-Men. It is revealed in the Nightcrawler series that her mother lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Linda is often considered to be the main character of the series, as she is portrayed prominently on three of the covers, and hers is the sole headshot featured in the "corner circle" on the cover design. However, Christine is the protagonist of Night Nurse #4, with Linda only making a one-panel cameo, and Georgia not appearing at all in the issue.

Originally, none of the three nurses then used "night nurse" as a label, though the "Next Issue" box in Night Nurse #1 promises, "More true-to-life adventures of Linda Carter, Night Nurse!"

Night Nurse (Linda Carter)

Some point after the conclusion of the original Night Nurse series, Carter was rescued by a superhero and afterward decided to pay the superhuman community back by ministering to their health. When she first reappeared, she took care of a seriously injured Daredevil following his defeat by the Yakuza. Later, during Nick Fury's Secret War, Night Nurse took care of a badly injured Luke Cage (whose nearly-impenetrable skin required special treatment). During this time, the Night Nurse became known for her catch phrase "go to the room on the right," which is apparently a room in her hospital where she can treat the heroes unnoticed. After this event, she was interviewed by reporter Ben Urich, where she again stated that she wanted to repay the super-hero community by taking care of their health. Daredevil apparently took a liking to Night Nurse, because after being shot by Paladin, he asked Elektra to take him to her. Shortly thereafter, even the Black Widow visited the Night Nurse with Milla Donovan. Despite Daredevil's trust, Elektra was not impressed by the "careless" way the Night Nurse took care of her patients, and even ordered her Hand agents to teleport Daredevil away so they could take care of him themselves.

During the Civil War event, the Night Nurse took Captain America's side against the registration act, and joined his resistance group. She assisted operations from SHIELD safe-house number 23. Though it was at first very hard to recognize the Night Nurse in Civil War #2, editor Tom Brevoort stated in an interview that it was her welcoming the Young Avengers at the new headquarters.

The Night Nurse teamed with Doctor Strange, in his 2006 mini series, The Oath. She appeared alongside Strange in an effort to help him recover the cure for cancer, which Doctor Strange had brought back from another dimension to help cure Wong, and had been stolen from him by a mysterious enemy. Following the destruction of her hospice by Strange's enemies, Doctor Strange offered to re-open the hospice within his magically secure sanctum sanctorum. By the end of The Oath the Nurse and the Doctor have entered into a relationship. In New Avengers #34, it is revealed that the two are still involved and that she is, in fact, Linda Carter.

Footnotes

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