James Craddock, better known as Gentleman Ghost, is a supervillain from DC comics who varies between being a criminal who pretends to be a ghost or an actual spirit. In both forms he is a criminal and can perform a number of spectral abilities that make him tricky to combat (such as his ability to phase through solid matter), as well as being in the comics he has appeared in the DC Animated Universe as a minor villain in Justice League.
James Craddock was born in the late 1800s to a rich father who soon abandoned both Craddock and his mother leaving them to make it on their own, as Craddock grew he wanted to make his mother proud and promised to give her all the money and jewels she could possibly want. Trying to make enough for both them originally Craddock became a pickpocket but his mother grew ill and died while still young. Left with no parents or anyone close Craddock continued to be pickpocket and eventually become a highwayman though he is told by a person known as the Gypsy Queen that he would die by hanging but unable to pass on to the afterlife, the Gypsy Queen also told him he would fight a group of his greatest enemies centuries later which should he win the duel he'd be returned to life.
Hearing this Craddock believed her crazy but travelled to the United States of America not long after. There he continued as a highwayman until he as captured by a pair of gunslingers known as Nighthawk and Cinnamon, due to Nighthawk mistaking Craddock as a attempted rapist he had Craddock hung. Due to the strange circumstances and the fact he was executed under false circumstances Craddock returned as a ghost, he is informed he was cursed to be unable to pass on the afterlife until his executioners pass on but also informed they themselves are forced to reincarnate upon death. Realizing he is doomed to never pass on Craddock takes the alias Gentleman Ghost and starts to continue to be a thief to keep himself entertained.
Over the centuries he has come across many heroes who he fought due to the thrill awaiting the day he could be reborn. Eventually that day arrives and he gains help from his deceased mother in the form of her giving him the ability to summon spirits of the fallen enemies of his own adversaries. He continues to fight the Justice League but soon finds himself being vulnerable to Stargirl who as a virgin he can't attack without a material object yet get attacked himself and Wildcat who as a descendant of royalty can attack him as well. At the end of the fight Wildcat seems to be able to banish Gentleman Ghost to the afterlife though unlikely it would be permanent due to Gentleman Ghost's curse.
Much of the Gentleman Ghost's past seems similar to that of the original except he now seems to desire an artifact called the Mortis Orb, an object said to have power over death and can raise the dead. In the first fight he tries to use the orb to summon an army of zombies but ends up defeated and the Mortis Orb supposedly rendered powerless. Desperate Gentleman Ghost retrieves the artifact and force Hawkman to help it regain power. Once he gets the Mortis Orb functional Gentleman Ghost mentions how now he can transcend death and be fully revived but at the cost of all life in the area. As the ritual starts a portal opens demanding the orb which Hawkman takes leading Gentleman Ghost to being dragged in. Eventually Gentleman Ghost somehow escaped his imprisonment and recruited for a sub-vison of the Suicide Squad.
There it is revealed he fell in love with a succubus by the name Wither who he tries to force the group to go back for when she was left behind. After fighting off a group of supernatural terrorists led by Sebastian Faust, Gentleman Ghost and Wither embrace one another. Eventually Faust offers the others a chance to join him as he claims he will destroy all magic and arcane but can grant them all their hearts desire first. While tempted by the offer Faust leaves it ambiguous enough to where Ghost feels he might be erased as well right after he finally found happiness causing him to refuse the offer while Wither was already working for him.
As Ghost helps fight the group it comes to the point that Sebastian Faust puts Wither under his complete control and forces her to suck the life force of all the other members, Ghost himself is immune due to being undead thus forced to shoot her to free her of his influence and save the others. It is there Ghost revealed the only reason he followed Waller was due to Wither but now believing she was dead didn't care who died. El Diablo talked Ghost into still fighting if only to avenge Wither and have his own revenge so Ghost shots Faust just as he was about to kill the others.
While Faust points out he's only doing this to save his wife and child, Ghost angrily points out he's been forced to see many deaths but never before was in love until Wither. Just as Ghost is about to kill Faust, Wither reveals she still exists and that in a way Faust helped reunite them, overwhelmed the lovers embrace. While the other members ask if they really won anything Ghost makes it clear he feels he won while still embracing Wither.
Gentleman Ghost is portrayed as a overall polite individual who tends to prefer just stealing with seemingly low amount of violence towards the public though he will resort to violence whenever needed or if against superheroes. In life he was a man who stole more out of necessity or greed while as a ghost he does it seemingly just to have fun as he has become bored over the years. Despite being rendered essentially immortal due to being unable to crossover he seems to not like it as he longs to either pass on or to be reborn to be able to enjoy life as a mortal.
Given his curse he seems slightly vengeful due to the fact he will target the reincarnation of those who doomed him though he also isn't above assisting his enemies if he deems it necessary or worth it. The vengeful side is arguably best shown when he attacked Faust when he thought Wither was dead despite him making it clear he didn't care who died, it is also notable he wasn't afraid when wounded with mystic arrows that seemed capable of killing him rather he seemed to welcome it further emphasizing he was tired of the mortal world.
|Justice Society Villains|
Blackfire | Copperhead | Deadline | Deathstroke | Doctor Polaris | Firefly | Gentleman Ghost | Hath-Set | Headhunter | Kite Man | Lasso | Matter Master | Mongrel | Neron | Satana | Scarecrow | Shadow Thief | Solomon Grundy | Spider | Vandal Savage