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.
Joker (voice actor Mark Hamill)
The Clown Prince of Crime went on a bad trip at the end of Arkham Asylum, when he injected himself with the Titan formula and grew to monstrous proportions. Now he's back, albeit in a weakened state. The character first appeared in the first issue of Batman in 1940, and over the years he's been responsible for much tragedy in Batman's life. As Batman's most dangerous enemy, the Joker has reaped the benefits of popularity, playing the central villain in movies, TV, and countless comics. He's appeared in many Batman video games, including Batman: The Caped Crusader and various adaptations of the 1989 film.
Recommended reads: The Killing Joke, Joker, The Man Who Laughs
The Riddler (Wally Wingert)
Edward Nigma originated in Detective Comics #140. Narcissistic and flamboyant, he's presented the World's Greatest Detective with puzzles, riddles, and traps galore, forever determined to prove himself the real master thinker. He's gone from simple villain to volunteer detective and rehabilitated member of society in the comics, and has remained a common pick in animated series. Besides Arkham Asylum, he's left clues in such games as The Adventures of Batman and Robin and Batman Forever.
Recommended reads: Batman: Hush, Gotham Underground
Poison Ivy (Tasia Valenza)
Pamela Lillian Isley, better known as Poison Ivy, is the most notorious temptress in the DCU. Knowing her way around plants is only one of her talents; wrapping men around her little finger is another. Even Superman can't resist her wiles, and Batman has fallen prey to her poison lipstick more than once. She's appeared in most Batman games, including Arkham Asylum and Dark Tomorrow, and came around in comics in the mid-sixties with Batman #181.
Recommended reads: Haunted Knight, Gotham City Sirens
Jack Ryder (James Horan)
Otherwise known as the Creeper, Jack Ryder was first seen in the late sixties comic Showcase #73. A reporter and talk show host by profession, Ryder can turn at will into his maniacal alter ego, a vigilante with superhuman strength and agility. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Ryder's name could be spotted on a portable radio set as the answer to one of Riddler's puzzles. The character also cameos in DC Universe Online.
Recommended reads: Reign in Hell
Mr. Zsasz (Danny Jacobs)
Victor Zsasz tallies his kills by scarring his own flesh. By now there's little bare skin left on his entire body, but Zsasz is good at inventing new special spots—like the insides of his eyelids. His entrance into comics occurred in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 in 1992, making him one of the younger villains in Batman history. The murderous psychopath was once head of an international company and comfortably rich until misfortune struck. His happiness melted into depression, his wealth vanished in gambling, and desperation fostered violence in the now insane Mr. Zsasz. He appears in games such as Dark Tomorrow and Arkham Asylum.
Recommended reads: Battle for the Cowl, Streets of Gotham
Harley Quinn (Tara Strong)
The Joker's right-hand girl has stirred up some controversy with the release of Arkham City. She not only sports a racier look, but has picked up a new voice actor, as well. Tara Strong has replaced the original Arleen Sorkin, who helped make Harley—a character created purely for TV and to give the Joker (her "puddin'") a softer side—a fan-favorite character and later a comic book star. Harley's first print appearance was in The Batman Adventures #12. She's found in such video games as Lego Batman and Batman: Vengeance.
Recommended reads: Mad Love and Other Stories, Gotham City Sirens
Nightwing (Quinton Flynn)
Nightwing is one of the good guys. Originally the first Robin, Dick Grayson developed his own superhero identity when he and his mentor, Batman, realized their difference in ways. Grayson joined the Teen Titans and eventually took to the streets and rooftops of Gotham solo, putting the flying trapeze skills of his youth to use. Nightwing emerged onto the comics scene in 1984 with Tales of the Teen Titans #44. He appears in Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, Lego Batman, DC Universe Online, and is coming soon to Arkham City as a downloadable character.
Recommended reads: Nightwing: A Knight in Bludhaven
Robin (Crispin Freeman)
Many of Gotham's finest heroes got their start as a Boy Wonder. Tim Drake will be the one playable in Arkham City, but Dick Grayson (see above), Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne (current) have all donned the traditional red and green attire. In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, Robin was Carrie Kelly, a thirteen-year-old girl. In fact, most of the Robins have accepted their role as sidekick at an impressionable young age, resulting in negative press toward Batman concerning his wards. The character of Robin emerged in Detective Comics #38 and has starred in The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Lego Batman, and other games.
Recommended reads: A Death in the Family, All-Star Batman & Robin: The Boy Wonder, Batman and Robin
Catwoman (Grey DeLisle)
Selina Kyle strutted into Batman's life with the very first Batman issue as a petty thief. Since then she's maintained a hot and cold relationship with Batman, demonstrating a unique hold over him romantically. Morally, she walks a gray line, choosing either to work alone or with others depending on her mood and the situation at hand. She appears in the video game version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and even her own self-titled side-scroller for the Game Boy Color. You can also play as her in Arkham City.
Recommended reads: Catwoman: When in Rome, Batman: Heart of Hush, Gotham City Sirens
Hugo Strange (Corey Burton)
A master psychologist and chemist, Dr. Hugo Strange is the mad scientist creator of the cannibalistic Monster Men, hapless inmates turned doomed test subjects. He's obsessed with genetic perfection and engineering, and his experiments regularly spill into the unethical. He was introduced in Detective Comics #36 and acts as a lead villain in Batman: Arkham City, deducing the Dark Knight's true identity from afar. He's also playable in Lego Batman for the DS.
Recommended reads: Batman and the Monster Men
Two-Face (Troy Baker)
Harvey Dent was Gotham's white knight—a lawful hero in a corrupt courtroom, knocking down Gotham's mob bosses piecemeal. The crime lords return the courtesy by sneaking in a vial of acid and disfiguring Dent on one side of his body. The physical scarring brought out the uglier side of Dent's mind, and in an instant, Batman and Gordon lost their ace district attorney and gained a new foe. Two-Face begins his career of coin-flip decisions and number two-related crimes in Detective Comics #66. He stars in The Adventures of Batman and Robin and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, to name just two.
Recommended reads: Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory
The Penguin (Nolan North)
By far the squattest and most unloved member of the affluent Cobblepot family, Oswald brings a sense of class to the underground with his infamous Iceberg Lounge, a hangout for the criminal elite. The monocled villain cherishes birds and multipurpose umbrellas, and despite his bizarre countenance is quite the ladies' man at his private establishment. The Penguin started flapping around Gotham in Detective Comics #58, and he's appeared in Batman: The Caped Crusader, Batman Returns, and other games.
Recommended reads: Gotham Underground, Joker's Asylum
Mr. Freeze (Maurice LaMarche)
Victor Fries excels at delivering ice cold vengeance. Mourning the loss of his beloved Nora, whose disease he was unable to cure, Fries resorted to crime in his heartache. The victim of an extreme lab accident, he's forced to wear a cryogenic suit to stay alive. In his villainy, he's invented a number of ice guns and similar weapons to better serve his agenda. The Animated Series cartoon from the nineties was largely influential to Mr. Freeze's origin story. He premiered as Mr. Zero in Batman #121 and then again as Mr. Freeze in Detective Comics #373. He's credited in such games as Batman: Toxic Chill and Chaos in Gotham.
Recommended reads: Gotham Central, Batman: Snow
Stop by tomorrow for more declassified Batman heroes and villains.