PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceAction Comics #42 (November 1941)
Created byMort Weisinger (writer)
Mort Meskin (art)
CharactersGreg Saunders
Adrian Chase
Alan Welles
Dave Winston
Patricia Trayce
Adeline Kane
Justin Powell
Dorian Chase
Donald Fairchild
Series publication information
PublisherDC Comics

Vigilante is the name used by several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Notable individuals to assume the alias include Greg Saunders and Adrian Chase.

An original incarnation of Vigilante named Vincent Sobel appears in the television series Arrow, played by Clayton Chitty and Johann Urb and voiced by Mick Wingert. Freddie Stroma plays the Adrian Chase incarnation of Vigilante in the DC Extended Universe television series Peacemaker.

Fictional character biographies

Greg Saunders

Main article: Greg Saunders

The original version of Vigilante was a western-themed hero named Greg Sanders (later retconned in the 1990s to "Saunders") who debuted in Action Comics #42 (November 1941).[1] The Vigilante had a teen sidekick introduced in 1942, Stuff the Chinatown Kid.[2]

Adrian Chase

Main article: Adrian Chase

Adrian Chase first appeared as the second version of Vigilante in The New Teen Titans Annual #2 (August 1983) by writer Marv Wolfman and penciler George Pérez.[3] Chase was a District Attorney in New York City who went rogue after his wife and children were killed by a gang boss.[4]

Alan Welles

The third person to assume the Vigilante identity was Alan Welles, a fellow judge and friend of Adrian Chase. His first appearance was in Vigilante #7, and later in Vigilante #20 as Vigilante. He secretly operated in a much more violent manner, even executing petty thieves. His mental instability eventually led him to gun down police officers and civilians. Chase though felt responsible for this threat and began a long investigation to take down Vigilante, until Chase found out he was Welles, forcing Chase to kill him.

Dave Winston

The fourth person to assume the Vigilante identity was Dave Winston, Adrian Chase's bailiff. He refused to kill and traded on the fierce reputation of Vigilante to intimidate information out of thugs. He debuted in Vigilante #23 and later as Vigilante in Vigilante #28. He believed that the Vigilante's efforts were noble and worthwhile. When Alan Welles was killed after ruining the Vigilante's reputation, Winston took up the mantle believing that the city needed the Vigilante. When Chase found out about Winston's actions, he chose to wash his hands of the affair. When Chase and girlfriend Marcia King boarded a plane for Europe, it was hijacked; Winston and Peacemaker both responded to the emergency, but Winston was killed by Peacemaker in front of Chase, making Chase believe he was unable to escape the Vigilante's legacy.

Patricia Trayce

The next Vigilante was Patricia Trayce, a rogue Gotham City police detective who teams up with Deathstroke the Terminator in the Deathstroke the Terminator series written by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. Trayce found Adrian Chase's gear and adapted the guise. She was also Deathstroke's lover. She first appeared in Deathstroke the Terminator #6. In Deathstroke the Terminator #11, Pat takes up the Vigilante uniform. She was trained by Deathstroke, and soon started to work alone.[citation needed]

Adeline Kane

See also: Adeline Kane

Justin Powell

Late in 2005, DC published a Vigilante limited series by writer Bruce Jones and artist Ben Oliver. The identity of the title character is initially left mysterious, but apparently this is a new incarnation of the character.[citation needed]

His name was Justin "Jay" Sutter. When he encountered a murderer as a child, he created a second personality in his mind, The Vigilante. At some point, he changed his name to Justin Scott Powell and would become the Vigilante subconsciously. While Powell was unaware of the Vigilante personality, the Vigilante knew about Powell. At the miniseries' end, Powell was able to reconcile the two personalities.[citation needed]

The Vigilante was last seen, alongside Wild Dog and the current Crimson Avenger, on a rooftop in the great battle of Metropolis, raining bullets down on the Trigger Twins, the Madmen, the second Spellbinder, and others in Infinite Crisis #7.[5]

Dorian Chase

The most recent Vigilante appeared in Nightwing #133–137. While he wears a costume similar to Adrian Chase's, it is a new depiction under the mask.

The Vigilante also appears in Gotham Underground, set after his initial encounter with Nightwing.[6] He is shown to be a formidable fighter, but is defeated easily by Batman.[7][8]

Following the events of Vigilante (vol. 3) #1 (February 2009), the Vigilante is seen out of costume for the first time and is referred to by his ally JJ as "Dorian". He initially operates under the identity of Joe Flynn, a small-time criminal with a rap sheet, but it is later revealed that the real Joe Flynn is dead. Dorian has the technology to graft another person's face to his own and his assistant changes the police records so his fingerprint and DNA point back to his fake identity. At the end of the first story arc, Dorian abandons the Joe Flynn identity and begins to make preparations to assume a new identity of a dead and forgotten criminal. It is also revealed that Dorian is the brother of the late Adrian Chase in Vigilante #9. Little is known about his past, but his wife is dead and he served time in prison for his work with the mob.[9]

The Vigilante plays an important role in the "Deathtrap" crossover with the Teen Titans and the Titans. He targets the unbalanced Jericho for assassination, bringing him into conflict with the various heroes. Vigilante succeeds in tracking down Jericho but, having promised Rose Wilson not to kill him, instead gouges out Jericho's eyes to stop him from using his powers.[10]

The Vigilante had been operating unseen in Europe for several years before moving back to the U.S. and going after local mobs and criminals.[9]

Donald Fairchild

In the DC Rebirth miniseries Vigilante: Southland, a new Vigilante is introduced: Donald Fairchild, a former professional basketball player. Fairchild moonlights as a janitor and by night fights crime in Los Angeles. [11]

Powers and abilities

The Vigilante is a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a brilliant marksman, and a master of the lariat.

Other versions


Pre-Crisis, there were both an Earth-1 and an Earth-2 Vigilante. Both were Greg Saunders from their respective Earths. Earth-1's Vigilante was shown for the first time in the pages (and cover) of the JLA issue where the superteam moved to their classic headquarters on an orbiting satellite.[12]

Detective Comics

In Detective Comics #493 (August 1980) it was revealed that Greg Saunders had a nephew, Michael Carter, who became a costumed crimefighter too, the Swashbuckler. The Swashbuckler was created by the issue's writer, Cary Burkett, for a fanzine he published in middle school.[13] Burkett said he made the Swashbuckler the nephew of the Vigilante because he did not have enough space to present the entire backstory he had created for the character in the fanzine.[13]

Kingdom Come

In the series Kingdom Come, artist and writer Alex Ross portrays the cowboy version of the Vigilante fighting alongside the rogue metahumans as a steampunk cyborg with a pinwheel/steam engine arm with a gatling gun on the end.[14]

Batman Beyond

The ongoing Batman Beyond comic book series introduces Jake Chill, the great-grandnephew of Joe Chill, the murderer of Thomas and Martha Wayne. He was a member of the "Quiet Squad", a secret group of four men inside Wayne-Powers security who acted as Derek Powers' personal hit and intimidation squad. He took part in the raid on Warren McGinnis' home, and is, in fact, the man who fatally shot him. When Derek Powers disappeared after being defeated by Batman and sunk to the bottom of the harbor, Quiet Squad was fired and Jake, left destitute and stricken with guilt over the murder, moves to the slums of Gotham on the ground level. He descended into alcoholism and depression but, after fighting off a gang of thieves from his apartment, finds new purpose in life and decides to become a superhero using his old Wayne-Powers security equipment in an attempt at redemption. Naming himself the Vigilante, he helps defend Gotham during the Jokerz uprising, alongside Batman, the new Catwoman, and Dick Grayson. Vigilante proved himself to be both dedicated and competent but is not yet totally trusted by the GCPD or Batman. He became a frequent partner of Batman but died from the Jokerz during the "Mark of the Phantasm" storyline. During the plot of this, Terry finds out that Jake killed his father, and though he is furious and might never forgive Jake, he appreciates his heroism and thinks he did not deserve to die the way he did. Terry later discovers that Bruce knew about Jake being Warren's killer and kept it a secret from Terry, leading to a rift between Bruce and Terry.

In other media

See also: Greg Saunders § In other media, and Adrian Chase § In other media


Johann Urb as Vincent Sobel / Vigilante as seen on Arrow.
Johann Urb as Vincent Sobel / Vigilante as seen on Arrow.


Video games


  1. ^ Markstein, Don. "Vigilante". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  2. ^ Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 148. ISBN 978-1605490892.
  3. ^ Vigilante (1983) at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived 2015-07-19 at WebCite
  4. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  5. ^ Infinite Crisis #7
  6. ^ Gotham Underground #6 (May 2008)
  7. ^ Gotham Underground #7 (June 2008)
  8. ^ Gotham Underground #8 (July 2008)
  9. ^ a b Vigilante (vol. 3) 2009-2010
  10. ^ Vigilante (vol. 3) #6 (July 2009)
  11. ^ Vigilante: Southland #1
  12. ^ Justice League of America #78
  13. ^ a b Franklin, Chris (April 2014). "Swashbuckled and Hornswoggled: The All-Too-Brief Career of the Swashbuckler". Back Issue! (71): 60–61.
  14. ^ Kingdom Come #3
  15. ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (November 10, 2017). "'Arrow' Unmasked Vigilante & The Consequences Are So Heartbreaking". Bustle. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Swann, Eric (November 11, 2020). "John Cena's Peacemaker Series Adds Another Suicide Squad Star And More". CinemaBlend. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  17. ^ White, Peter (May 28, 2021). "'Peacemaker': Freddie Stroma To Replace Chris Conrad In HBO Max's 'Suicide Squad' Spinoff". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 28, 2021. Retrieved May 28, 2021.