Johann Dietrich Meinhoff was a vicious bully on the streets of Munich long before he joined the Nazi elite SS in 1938. This made him just the type of recruit Heinrich Himmler and his aide Wilhelm Kantor sought for their Übersoldaten. In 1939, Kantor subjected Johann to various arcane rituals that grafted a magical ring onto his left hand, allowing him to command shadows and fire bolts of black energy. Johann became Nacht-Krieger, the newest of Kantor’s super-soldiers.
He remained one of the weaker ones until 1941, when Kantor and the Thule Society sacrificed a crippled member of the Übersoldaten, using a mystic ritual to transfer his powers to Nacht-Krieger. From then on, Nacht-Krieger became a formidable foe, striking with surgical precision by assassinating important targets, sabotaging needed installations, and spying all over Nazi- occupied territories as well as far behind enemy lines. He avoided direct conflict with the Allies of Freedom and the Liberty League, using his powers to escape rather than fight.
Ordered to flee the crumbling Reich and rebuild it from strongholds in South America and elsewhere, Kantor and Nacht-Krieger held one last ritual in Germany to boost their powers and use the ritual suicide of numerous SS officers to their advantage. Despite precautions, their escape nearly failed when the Allies of Freedom caught up with them. Nacht-Krieger killed most of the members of the group, and gave Kantor time to escape. Gunner’s boast that “The heroes of Freedom City’d still kick your butt, ratzi!” gave Nacht-Krieger a new target.
White Rose and White Thorn pursued Nacht-Krieger across the Atlantic. The twins caught up with him near Freedom City, and their mid-air battle forced all three into the sea. In some undersea caves, and the twins caged the Nazi, despite his amplified powers, in a prison of light. The force of their struggle, however, caused the caverns around them to collapse, sealing Nacht-Krieger in a small cave and instantly crushing the Light-bearers. A portion of their powers rose from the depths to empower the hero Beacon. During years of isolation buried beneath thousands of tons of rock, Nacht-Krieger went mad as the shadows that gave him power infected his mind. They also opened a path- way between his mind and the Shattenwelt. Wilhelm Kantor was the leader of SHADOW by 1967 and able to reach his protégé through the shadow world and pull him out of his prison. Nacht-Krieger fought the Scarab and Beacon, but the heroes defeated and imprisoned him again, this time beneath Pyramid Plaza where the Scarab could watch him. From 1967 until 1993, Nacht-Krieger remained imprisoned. Scarab had to aban- don attempts to drain his powers, as the shadows were now linked to Meinhoff’s life force. Kantor again was able to communicate with him through the shadow world, and convinced his protégé to shatter the ring that gave him his powers. That act left him permanently in his shadow- form but allowed him to escape into the Shattenwelt. By 1994, Kantor retrieved Nacht-Krieger from the depths of the shadow world and, since
then, he’s been one of SHADOW most active super-agents.