The DC character Raven had risen in popularity due to her appearance on television shows like Teen Titans in 2003. However, her appeal traces back to its original origins in comic books. This helps us understand the character more, being able to cite different mediums in order to help answer one question: What are Raven’s powers, and why do they make her one of the most powerful heroes within DC? To answer these questions, we need to take a deep look at not only her abilities, but the kind of character she is, and the weight that she bares that helps define her decisions.
Raven’s powers came from Trigon, her father. Although her father may be much more powerful, She still managed to inherit many of his abilities. Many of them are due to her being a half demon, since her mother, Arella, is human and her father, Trigon, is demonic. These two conflicting traits characterize Raven so that she is not only powerful with unworldly abilities, but has a human connection that allows her to have empathy and the will to do good and help others. Here is a list of some of Raven’s powers so that you can get an idea of what she is capable of.
Spell Casting and Magic
As a powerful sorceress, Raven has studied many spells that give her a wide range of abilities. This alone is possibly the reason why she is the among the most powerful heroes within DC. Since she has to speak the spells out loud, anything that could prevent her from doing so could be a problem. This can be seen in the episode “Masks” from season one of Teen Titans. In this episode, Robin poses as a bad guy called Red X in order to gain the trust of the villain Slade. When he does this, he has to prove to Slade that he can take on the Teen Titans by exploiting their weaknesses. When it came down to Raven, her mouth was covered, effectively gagging her so that she couldn’t perform any spells.
A similar DC character, who is powerful for the same spell-casting and magical abilities, is Zatanna. Like Raven, not being able to speak prevents her from effectively performing spells. This is shown in the storyline Identity Crisis, when Deathstroke (Slade) is battling members of The Justice League. He hits Zatanna in a spot that induces vomiting, preventing her from speaking. He even points out that, as the most powerful one of the group, that she had to be disabled first. This goes to show that Spell-casting is one of Raven’s powers that is universally prevailing.
Raven is able to project her soul in the form of a dark Raven, allowing her to observe from a distance. This is seen in season three in an episode titled, “Haunted”. When Robin tries to flee from his fellow Titans due to hallucinations of Slade, Raven projects herself to find Robin. When she finds him, she communicates with him telepathically. She then proceeds to see through his eyes in order to see what he sees.
Many of Raven’s powers have to do with her supernatural nature. As a half-demon, she inherited dark mystical powers that are controlled by emotion. We know this from the Teen Titans episode “Switched” from season one. Raven explains to Starfire that staying calm and being focused, such as by meditating, controls her powers. Meditating to “find your center” is often used to manifest psychic abilities.
Some of her abilities align with spiritual abilities that some people believe may exist in actual reality. Having an “out-of-body experience”, for example, allows someone to instantly travel, fly, or observe any person or area invisibly. Like Raven, one could “remote view” to see the future, thus having precognitive powers. Scientist Russell Targ wrote extensively about this in books like Limitless Mind. (Affiliate link)
Being able to predict the future has got to be one of the most useful supernatural abilities. We know this is one of Raven’s powers because in the episode “Titan Rising” from season 2, the character Terra (known for the popular story arc called The Judas Contract) accidentally touches Raven while running past her. Raven instantly sees a series of images, one of them being the enemy Slade. The images serve as foreshadowing that Terra is a traitor to the Titans. This also creates enormous distrust between the two of them during the episode.
In the comic series New Teen Titans, the first issue not only shows Raven projecting herself to different areas, but also influencing others like Robin by entering his dreams. She also predicts the future by knowing about Starfire arriving on Earth. Since this happened in the first issue, it’s apparent that the intention was for the reader to know what she was capable of doing, thus removing any doubt that she has these abilities.
Raven’s Powers of Empathy
As a psychic, Raven can sense the way people feel. (Like that character Deanna Troi in the show Star Trek.) In the episode “Haunted”, Robin is mentally tortured by his hallucinations. The stress is destroying his body. While this happening elsewhere, Raven is able to “feel him”, and sensed that he wasn’t going to make it without help. In the first season of Teen Titans, the episode “Nevermore” spends a significant amount of time exploring Raven’s inner feelings, which are running wild. Through frequent meditation, she can grasp on to those feelings and take control of them.
The episode “Nevermore” also serves as a good example of Raven’s power to change or alter darkness and shadows. Part of these abilities involve also creating pure darkness and altering it to take form. While battling Doctor Light (the villain recognized for assaulting Sue Dibny during the Identity Crisis comic storyline) Raven was teased about being afraid of the light. In return, she manipulates darkness from underneath her cloak to extend itself like tentacles that grab Doctor Light to drag him into the blackness. She teases him back, asking him if he is afraid of the dark.
Another example is the episode “Spellbound”, another classic episode from season three of Teen Titans. After inadvertently studying dark magic, Raven seems to vomit an all encompassing darkness that threatens the life of everything within it. In “Masks”, she creates a giant hand that reaches up from the ground in an effort to grab the villain Red X. Her shadow and darkness manipulation is perhaps the most practical power that Raven possesses, since she is able to throw around darkness in the form of projectiles.
It is no secret that Raven can fly. Episode seven in season one, titled “Switched”, explains that she levitates by chanting “azarath metrion zinthos”. This phrase seems to be used a lot in the Teen Titan animated series, and seems to be a precursor to many of her magical abilities. This makes her vulnerable, since its usage relies on her speaking. To control the flight, the same episode explains that she has to think about her intentions of landing when she is finished flying.
Raven is not the only Teen Titan that can fly. Starfire, when feeling “unbridled joy” of flight, allows her to take flight. The other members on the Teen Titans show, such as Beast Boy and Cyborg, could improvise their abilities to gain flight as well. In the case of Beast Boy, for example, he could turn into a paradactyl dinosaur. Robin would have a problem, though, since he has no special powers, and would have to rely on his ingenuity or gadgets.
What is interesting is that one of Raven’s Powers is the ability to heal. In the very first episode of the animated series, Beast Boy is injured during battle. She then sticks out both of her hands and hovers them over his injured leg. A bright light shines from her hands and Beast Boy is healed. This instance creates the start of a bond between these two Titan members.
Being able to heal people with her hands seems to be similar to Reiki. This is a healing process where positive energy flows through the injured area. Since the scene with Best Boy has Raven using a white light, which is notably different from her typical use of darkness, might confirm that she is using a positive energy technique.
When combining all of these variations of Raven’s powers, we get a clearer picture of why she may be among the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. Her psychic abilities give her a tactical advantage whenever a battle takes place, and her sorcery skills help put her plans into play. Being able to project herself to other areas, predict the future, and perform healing techniques are just the tip of the iceberg that helps us understand why Raven is so powerful.
Her greatest achievement of all, however, have nothing to do with her powers. Being able to work as a team, despite her troubles and demons (literally) show that being a team player is more than what special abilities a person might have. For example, look at Robin. He has no super-powers at all. In fact, it’s kind of a miracle that he was never killed. Although there was that time when he was shot in the head.