It’s been a few days since DC and Batman: Arkham Knight revealed the first images of the game’s titular heavy in what they’re billing as the finale to the Arkham series. And we have some thoughts on who might be under the techno cowl.
Sure, both sides are saying the Arkham Knight is a new villain, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one of Batman’s longtime rogues hasn’t decided to suit up in a new costumed identity. So here are eight characters who we think could be suiting up as the Arkham Knight – and the reasons why they might have the Dark Knight in their crosshairs.
8. Two-Face Suffers Another Personality Split
Harvey Dent might be the only villain whose alignment could be described as both lawful evil and chaotic evil. Well, maybe Typhoid Mary. And Man-E-Faces.
Anyway, what if he sprouted yet another personality that wanted to kill Batman – using the Caped Crusader’s own weapons against him? There’s precedent for this, as recently as 2006 during DC Comics’ One Year Later event in the wake of the weekly 52 comic series.
With Batman on walkabout for a year, a cured Harvey Dent was placed in charge of protecting Gotham. That is, until being accused of a series of murders pushed Harvey back over the edge and into his Two-Face persona again.
Two-Face was a second-string villain in Arkham City and is featured in the trailer for Arkham Knight – what if the Knight is a new persona (and therefore a new character) for old Harv?
Or maybe it’s just a wannabe Batman…
7. The Reaper Believes Batman Isn’t Tough Enough on Crime
The promo images released so far only show the Arkham Knight going after the Batman. What if Batman isn’t his target, but the whole Gotham underworld?
Making his debut in Detective Comics #575 (“Batman: Year Two”), the original Reaper was the socialite-turned-vigilante Judson Caspian, who used his scythe to slice and dice Gotham’s criminals. Like Batman, Caspian lost a loved one to a robbery gone wrong, but unlike Batman, the Reaper has decided that if his wife had to die, so do Gotham’s crooks.
The story surrounding the first Reaper (there have been a couple since Caspian’s death) wasn’t the greatest: it involved, among other things, Batman teaming up with Joe Chill, the man who shot his parents, to track down the vigilante. But it might provide a point of inspiration for the Knight.
Arkham Knight is set during yet another crime spree by Gotham’s costumed crazies – what if someone out there has had enough and decided to take them all on (along with the Dark Knight)?
6. Wrath, or the Anti-Batman Batman
Given the amount of crime in Gotham, chances are if you lived there, someone you loved would be the victim of a violent crime. But what about violent criminals who were victims of… justice?
That’s the story of the first Wrath, an unnamed criminal whose parents were small-time burglars shot by a rookie GCPD cop. Like Batman, the young Wrath vowed revenge, promising a war on the law (the Mike W. Barr era of Batman had a few of these mirror-image Batmen).
While initially an assassin, things get personal for Wrath when he comes home to Gotham to kill his parents’ killer: Ol’ Jimmy Gordon.
The New 52 version of the character is one E.D. Caldwell, a technology magnate who uses his fortune to yadda yadda because dead criminal parents. This time without all of the purple that marked the original Wrath, in a tech-heavy suit that doesn’t look too far off from the Arkham Knight’s design.
But Wrath’s origin story, no matter how gritty you make it, is still kind of dumb, and it’s hard to see him making his way into the game.
Also somewhat unlikely (and hated with the hate of a million suns)…
5. Prometheus Is Terrible, Could Still Show Up
This goon’s whole deal is that he’s built a database with the fighting techniques and ways to defeat the members of the Justice League, apparently predicated on the fact that we need two Wraths.
Like Wrath, the first Prometheus’ hippie ripper parents were killed by the police, and he dedicated his life to becoming blah, blah, blah.
His whole deal is that he once got one over on the whole Justice League until Catwoman showed up to (*sigh*) hit him in the groin, thus laying waste to his carefully orchestrated superhero murder.
Let’s move one.
4. Damian Wayne Returns From the Future
Ra’s and Talia al Ghul figured prominently in Arkham City, so it wouldn’t be too odd to imagine that the spawn of Batman and the daughter of his greatest enemy might somehow figure into Arkham Knight.
Damian made his debut early in Grant Morrison’s run on Batman, the product of genetic engineering and ninja training under the League of Assassins. Talia hoped that by sending Damian to live with his father, it would not only help the boy become a better fighter and leader, but that it would also wreak havoc in Bruce Wayne’s life.
Instead, Damian became a hero, and as Batman #666 showed up, the protector of Gotham, albeit with some kind of infernal deal with the devil granting him longevity.
Could it be possible that Damian saw something further down the timeline that would require him to go back and fight it out with this dad? It’d make sense to offer an anti-Batman who not only matches the Bat in the tech department, but, having trained under the real deal, knows everything about Bruce – including how to take him down.
A lot of fans didn’t care for the cocky and frankly obnoxious Damian, but I think he grew into a scary little badass as time went on, ultimately falling in battle against an evil, aged, clone of himself.
If we got him back again, even in a heel turn, it would be great.
3. Ditto, Terry McGinnis
Alright, everything I just said about Damian coming back from the future, except sub in Terry from Batman Beyond and assume that if he’s come to kick Batman’s ass, there’s a very good and clear reason.
I have no idea, by the way, why I’m hung up on time travel here, but I kind of hope Arkham Knight adds that extra layer of weirdness to its story.
Terry made his debut in the followup to Batman: The Animated Series defending a futuristic Gotham well after Bruce hung up the cowl and pretty much alienated everyone around him (and don’t get me started on the mess that Joker-ized, poor Tim Drake becomes).
As with Damian, a versus match with the Batman would pit our hero against someone who knows everything about him. At the same time, there would be less of the moral gray area involved with Terry than there would be with Damian, who was always willing to pull the trigger if a villain got out of line.
If Batman knew that his new nemesis were someone that he trusted to train, what would he do?
2. Fake Thomas Wayne Might Want to Deliver a Bat-Family Smackdown
Or more precisely, the evil Dr. Simon Hurt, who attempted to dismantle Batman and Bruce Wayne mentally and existentially in the “Batman R.I.P.” storyline.
As leader of the Black Glove and possibly-maybe Satan himself, Dr. Hurt set out to replace the Batman with a dark mirror image because, you know, reasons. Part of that involved posing as Thomas Wayne and returning to Gotham in order to ruin the name of that family and slowly drive Bruce crazy.
And it works! Dr. Hurt’s manipulations in league with the criminal organization the Black Glove pushes Batman so far that he loses his mind only to retreat into a specially-created backup personality – the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh – to battle the members of the Black Glove until Bruce’s personality was able to reset.
Maybe Dr. Hurt isn’t under the cowl, but the narration in the first trailer tells us that the shadow of Thomas Wayne looms large. What if Dr. Hurt has deployed one of his evil Batmen upon Gotham in the guise of the Gotham Knight?
And would Batman be able to survive it?
1. The Joker Rises From the Grave
After the events of Arkham City, the Joker’s dead – but that’s never stopped him from getting close the the Batman as a fellow vigilante.
What if the Joker faked his death at the end of that game and has somehow come back to get revenge on Batman, whom he blamed for his very messy demise?
The Joker did the hero thing once upon a time in the pages of Batman and Robin as the famed mystery novelist and crimefighter Oberon Sexton (while also moonlighting as a serial killer taking out the Black Glove – guys, “Batman R.I.P.” was complicated).
The Arkham Knight could be another Joker plot within a plot, a facade with which to bedevil the Batman before Joker decides to tilt the whole thing over and sign his work. Plus, it feels weird that the finale to the wildly popular Arkham games would come without some villainous grasp at immortality on the part of the Joker.
One way or another, we’ll find out who’s under the mask when Arkham Knight arrives on shelves October 14th.
Previously by Charles Webb