The Heroes and Villains of Batman: Arkham City - Part Two
The gruff-voiced Caped Crusader faces more than his fair share of villains in the ongoing fight to bring peace and civility to Gotham City. Thankfully, he has a few friends on his side who can help beat up thugs and relay crucial, life-saving information straight to his cowl. Everyone knows that Gordon is the GPD's most trustworthy cop and that the Riddler is game for a good brainteaser, but do you know when they first came into cannon? How about their video game appearances? Our twenty-plus character rundown will give you all the details to fill your rogues' gallery and hero database as you traverse the open world of Arkham City.
Solomon Grundy (voice actor Fred Tatasciore)
Named after a nursery rhyme, Grundy was ushered into the DCU as an opponent for the Green Lantern Alan Scott. Since then, he's taken on the likes of Batman and Superman. A zombie, Grundy skulks the sewers below Gotham and Opal City. Despite his hulking frame, he's often portrayed as unintelligible and even peaceful. He originated in All-American Comics #61. Aside from Arkham City, he appears in DC Universe Online.
Recommended reads: Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy, Starman
Ra's al Ghul (Dee Bradley Baker)
If Batman ever married for practical reasons, Ra's al Ghul would be his father-in-law. The internationally recognized assassin, who believes his prerogative is to clean humanity's slate through the destruction of whole civilizations, is also the father of Talia al Ghul—mother, as it happens, of Damian, Bruce Wayne's son and the current Robin. Ra's himself has maintained immortality through use of the Lazarus Pits, hidden under his watchful protection. His comic book debut was in Batman #232, and his video game appearances include the Batman Begins adaptation and Dark Tomorrow.
Recommended reads: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, The Return of Bruce Wayne
Alfred Pennyworth (Martin Jarvis)
Alfred is Batman's ever faithful butler, secret-keeper, medic, and confidant. Despite his age, many comics depict Alfred as a highly capable, surprisingly spry member of the Wayne household who can land a few blows against even the toughest intruders. Whatever the portrayal, he's a mean cook and loyal servant and friend. He began his commendable career as Batman's assistant in Batman #16. He's a character in Lego Batman.
Recommended reads: Knightquest, No Man's Land, Battle for the Cowl
James Gordon (David Kaye)
Commissioner Gordon is one of Gotham's most honest cops and Batman's main source in the city's police department. Friends through worsening times, he and Batman have met on the rooftop of GPD headquarters for years, talking crime scenes and bad news. Their connection runs deeper than police matters, though. Barbara, Jim's daughter, is secretly Batgirl (Oracle in the Rocksteady games). Detective Comics #27 provided his introduction. He's appeared in Arkham Asylum, DC Universe Online, and Lego Batman.
Recommended reads: Batman: Year One, The Long Halloween, No Man's Land
Oracle (Kimberly Brooks)
Once Batgirl, the fiery redhead changed her code name to Oracle after she was crippled by the Joker in her own home. Paralyzed, she routinely puts her detective skills and computer smarts to work for the Bat-family and Gotham's other resident crime-fighters. In Arkham City, she serves alongside Alfred as Batman's radio support. Her first appearance as Oracle was in the comic Suicide Squad #23 and in video games, Batman: Dark Tomorrow.
Recommended reads: The Killing Joke, Batman: War Games
Mad Hatter (Peter MacNicol)
Modeled after the Alice in Wonderland character (there's a handful of those in Batman cannon), Jervis Tetch, otherwise known as the Mad Hatter, subjects unwilling victims to mind control via special hats. His criminal activity often involves kidnapping, tea parties, and rhymes. He was created for Batman #49. He appears in such games as Lego Batman and DC Universe Online.
Recommended reads: Haunted Knight, Batman: Life After Death, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
Calendar Man (Maurice LaMarche)
Julian Gregory Day's biggest role was in The Long Halloween, which gave him the competition of the villain Holiday. Since then, he's resided in Arkham as one of its most curious and eccentric inmates. Like his name suggests, Calendar Man is obsessed with dates, a fascination that has come in handy for Batman on the rare times he's visited. His first appearance was in Detective Comics #259—that's September 1958 if you're keeping track. His cell is shown littered with calendar pages in Arkham Asylum.
Recommended reads: The Long Halloween, Dark Victory
Azrael (Khary Payton)
The name Azrael refers to a religious assassin indoctrinated by the Order of St. Dumas. Notably, Jean-Paul Valley stepped in as Batman when Bruce Wayne was out of commission during the Knightfall, Knightquest, and Knightsend storylines (see "Bane" below). Michael Lane also took the name of Azrael, and his version shows up in Arkham City. The character first appeared in Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 and is featured in Lego Batman.
Recommended reads: Knightfall (story arc), Azrael: Death's Dark Knight
Deadshot (Chris Cox)
Weapon expert and hitman Floyd Lawton boasts an bold reputation: his aim will never miss, or so he says. He values money above all else and is known for having a death wish. Before his plot was foiled by Batman and Gordon, Deadshot sought to reign as king of Gotham's underworld. He came to comics with Batman #59 and was an enemy in the NES Batman game.
Recommended reads: Batman: Cacophony, Secret Six
Clayface (Rick D. Wasserman)
The shape-shifting Clayface has posed a serious problem for Batman in the past, even to the point where an imitation of the supposed late Jason Todd was erected and animated from the same unique clay. The original Clayface was Basil Karlo, a B-movie actor in Gotham, and there have been numerous incarnations since (the most recent is Johnny Williams). The very first comic book to feature the character was Detective Comics #40. He faces off against Batman in The Adventures of Batman and Robin and Rise of Sin Tzu, among others.
Recommended reads: Batman: Hush, No Man's Land
Bane (Fred Tatasciore)
The giant who broke Batman's back in the Knightfall comics reprises his role in Arkham City; this time acting as an unlikely ally. While hopped up on venom, Bane is nearly impossible to stop, but the masked villain has more than raw strength on his side. He's also got brains and is one of the only characters to have figured out Batman's identity. Though once a big name, Bane became an afterthought in comics until Arkham Asylum and the upcoming Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Rises, provided his comeback. His first appearance was in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1. He's a villain in the 1998 Batman and Robin and Batman: Chaos in Gotham as well as other games.
Recommended reads: Knightfall, Secret Six
Talia al Ghul (Stana Katic)
Talia is more relaxed than her father Ra's, especially toward Batman, but over the years she's grown more estranged to both him and her son Damian, whom she barely raised and then disowned after he accepted the mantle of Robin. In the past, her reasons for committing criminal acts were more tied to familial loyalty than her own interests. She's helped Batman on several occasions. She debuted in Detective Comics #411 and is seen in such games as Batman: Dark Tomorrow and Lego Batman for the DS.
Recommended reads: Son of the Demon, Batman and Robin Vol. 2
H ush (Kevin Conroy)
With his rise in popularity, it's only fitting that Hush would cameo in Arkham City. A fairly new villain, Tommy Elliot was Bruce's envious childhood friend and is now his enemy in adulthood. After Batman RIP, Elliot even underwent plastic surgery to make himself look identical to the absent Bruce Wayne. Upon first appearance in Batman #619, Hush wore bandages over his face and taunted Batman with mind games. He's a character in Lego Batman and DC Universe Online.
Recommended reads: Batman: Hush, Heart of Hush, Streets of Gotham: House of Hush
What character not mentioned here would you love to see in a Batman game?