Tilda Johnson was born into poverty, the only child of a family living in the Harlem district of New York City. At an early age, she discovered that she was gifted with a natural aptitude for science, and she chose to develop it in secret, hiding a brilliant mind behind a facade of childish behavior. By the time she was sixteen, Johnson had accumulated an extensive knowledge of genetics, cybernetics, and physics, and using her knowledge she began a career of crime, believing that this would be her fastest and most lucrative way out of the ghetto.
Johnson's activities as a budding young criminal mastermind brought her to the attention of the villainous Yellow Claw (Plan Chu), who was at the time looking for allies. Johnson and the Yellow Claw developed a costumed identity for her as "Deadly Nightshade," and the Yellow Claw helped finance her first large-scale criminal venture. Nightshade's plan was to utilize prisons as a source of manpower for the Yellow Claw through the use of chemicals which would transform convicts into obedient werewolf-like creatures. The plan was foiled by the hero Captain America and the espionage agency SHIELD, but Nightshade herself managed to escape.
Because of her failure, the Yellow Claw rejected Nightshade as an ally. In her anger, Nightshade formulated plans to avenge herself on Captain America and SHIELD. Using special pheromones to enhance her natural allure, she actually took control of a SHIELD facility for a brief time, and forced Captain America to fight his partner, the Falcon. This time, when her plan ultimately failed, Nightshade was captured.
Nightshade escaped from prison and returned to Harlem, where she turned her scientific talents toward the creation of life-like robots to serve her in an effort to take control of the criminal underworld. Once again she hid behind a childlike facade, this time as the "mistress" of rising crime-lord "R.U. Rossum" (who was actually one of her robots). Nightshade succeeded in wrestling the protection rackets from local gangs and the organized crime Maggia families, and began to look for further criminal operations to take over. The heroes Power Man and Iron Fist, however, exposed her scheme and destroyed her base of operations.
She managed to escape, however, and remained undercover for several months. She surfaced with a scheme to recruit the monstrous Hulk as an accomplice to help her acquire a unique piece of circuitry developed by the Rand-Meachum Company, which could override the access codes of any computer system. She was opposed by Power Man, Iron Fist, and the robot Machine Man and was soon apprehended end imprisoned. After serving a short sentence, she was paroled and conceived a hasty plan to acquire funds for future operations. She assembled four accomplices, Stiletto, Discus, Man-Mountain Marko, and the second Eel and went to a debutante's ball to rob its wealthy guests of their valuables. Power Man and Iron Fist again thwarted her plans and apprehended Nightshade and her four accomplices.
Nightshade is a brilliant scientist, and has constructed a number of formidable weapons and devices to aid her in her criminal activities. With the Yellow Claw's help, she once developed a chemical which allowed her to control a man's mind and influence his perceptions, but her supply of that chemical has long since exhausted. Nightshade is also an above-average athlete, and is extensively trained in martial arts and acrobatics.
Werewolves [Marvel Zombies:The Book Of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities (2007)]
A chemical created by the Tibetan Singa (they claim Linga) transformed himself and Robert Harrison into werewolf-like creatures who fought the Angel (Thomas Halloway). Nightshade has likewise developed various formulas to turn beings into werewolves (see Grimrock Prison werewolves.). Nightshade said the werewolf serum was created by Yellow Claw:Captain America vol 1#190(10/75) page 2 panel 3 ("The Yellow Claw's serum might have been able to turn men into werewolves") & page 7 panel 6 ("Like a lot of the Claw's creations,the werewolves disintegrated on death")--says Nightshade.