From Glossy to Game: Who Is the Arkham Knight?
Ok, Batfans. I am a fan of the Arkham games, and this is by far the most interesting part of the new title, Arkham Knight. This character, a militaristic Rival to the Batman himself, is not only the title character, but presumably the main villain. Rocksteady, the game studio making the fourth installment in the series, has claimed that the Arkham Knight is going to be a completely original character made in collaboration with DC.
Naturally, the internet has exploded with theories. So, here I bring you several of the most popular theories and few of my own, that may give us the answer to this most important question; “Who is the Arkham Knight?”
Since the Joker has been the main antagonist in all three of the previous games, many assume that behind that wonderfully batty armored face mask is the horrendously grinning face of the Joker. For fans of the series, this may feel confusing. We did see him die on screen at the end of Arkham City. Not to mention, Mark Hamill, the beloved voice of the most iconic Jokers has retired from the role. There may have been a new voice for the Joker in Arkham Origins, but that was younger version of the character in an installment that had none of their really iconic voice actors from the series.
Nonetheless, people are saying that the Joker is back, and here are their two theories. The first is simply that the Joker somehow finds his way into the destroyed Lazarus Pit. You know, that thing a giant hunk of metal smashed Clayface into after the final fight of the game? The one buried in stone and filled with clay? Yeah, that pit. His dead body just fell in. I’m not buying it, but it IS a popular theory.
The second Joker theory is actually more anchored in Scarecrow than in the Joker. People believe that the fear gas will bring to life a hallucination based out of fear and shame over his failure to keep Joker alive. The Freudian implications are all there; Fighting yourself because you blame yourself, and Joker being in his top 3 greatest mistakes (I assume Talia dying and Jason Todd dying would eclipse that, but what do I know?) This holds slightly more water for me, but I would hope that isn’t the case. It would be a kind of cop out and take meaning away from the game. The only way I see this working is if you fight primarily the Arkham Knight, and his techniques change, and you find out that everyone you fought was a different villain and Batman is just losing his guano.
I have a third possibility. With Joker and the Lazarus in play, but the Joker dead we still have a way that the monstrous madman could make it his way back into the world of Arkham. Clayface. The shapeshifting menace spent the majority of his time in Arkham City pretending to be Joker AND he ended up in the Lazarus pit. Could there not be a psychosis involved with the enemy that fully becomes each form he takes? It’s possible. I don’t particularly want it, but hey, theories are theories, am I right?
There IS a fourth possibility. I only bring it up because so many comics and even a movie have touched on the subject a couple of times in the last 5-10 years. Batman’s mother, Martha Wayne, was originally an Arkham. In the Flashpoint series, in an alternate timeline, Bruce dies by Joe Chill and Thomas becomes Batman. Martha begins to laugh hysterically and becomes the Joker. This would be an interesting twist, despite the Knight looking decidedly masculine, and would make sense coming from Arkham, being crazy, and having a thing for Batman.
I don’t like this theory one bit. If you recall, Hush is Thomas Elliot, a doctor who has a background of tragedy not unlike Bruce Wayne’s at first glance. In the Arkham games, he spent an entire side quest killing inmates and grafting pieces of their faces onto his own. All that grisly cutting and sewing, so that he could become Bruce Wayne. He has the build, the face, and the money. So why do I hate this idea?
I’ll tell you why.
Hush distinguished himself as his own character apart from the Arkham experience.His particular brand of crazy is not one that was fostered in the Asylum and he has a very personal and selfish dilemma. I see the Arkham Knight as someone who is kind of spear-heading the inmates agenda, enabling them to take out the bat. So unless he finds out who Batman is, it just doesn’t Jive.
Another guess from the already existing pool of characters is the masked watcher, Azreal. Now, you’d think this would be perfect, partially because Azreal is already very Batman-esque, and in comics he WAS Batman for a short period of time. Not just Batman, but a robot armored Batman who was willing to kill. That fits the bill, right?
This character works for a specific order already, the Order of St. Dumas. Even if he IS based on the second Azreal, who really does go crazy, it feels like a stretch that they would turn him into such a morally opposed Batman. He could be an obvious contender, but I would hope that the creative team down at Rocksteady isn’t that lazy.
Ok, I am only mentioning this because it is a popular theory. The internet, in it’s infinite wisdom, is pointing the Arkham Knight finger at the Spirit of Amadeus Arkham. Sorry, the crazy bastard who was running Arkham Asylum and thought he was the Spirit of Arkham. Did I mention he killed people to cure them of their crazy? Also, the guy was created specifically for this series, so he DOES fit the bill for original character.
But come on! Look at the guy! He is like ten years of cake and wine too late to be the svelt and competent anti-Batman.
Quincy Sharp/Arkham Android
The internet has an answer for the Quincy-being-fat thing too, saying that Quincy is controlling a robot. I’m not saying it is impossible, but for this to happen, it would have to be a team up of characters, not just Quincy. The team up could be cool. I mean one robotic hero, a mish mash of all of the villains who have put their own expertise into it could be amazing. Not to mention, something like it happened in the cartoon, The Batman, with a computer program emulator named D.A.V.E.; the Dynamic Autonomous Villain Emulator. Do I think this is the answer? No. Do I wish this were the answer? Hell yeah! But mostly because my name is Dave.
Another pretty common theory involves Batman’s second side kick, Jason Todd. He was beaten by a crowbar by the Joker and blown up, because fans voted for it. That’s usually glossed over, but yes, the fans voted for the boy to die. When he was brought back as the Red Hood, everyone loved it, which is kind of ironic, but I digress.
Anyway, since his return, Jason has had a lot of incarnations, including the alter egos of several of the other Robins, even Batman. He is a hard edged vigilante, which is kind of understandable since he actually died for his cause. His opening in the comics actually has him delivering the heads of drug dealers to their bosses, which gives you a pretty good idea how ruthless he can be. He loves guns and generally uses an armored face plate, so he fits the bill of the Arkham Knight. I think this one has some merit and would make for a good failure theme for the Bat’s story.
That seems pretty vague, but there is a reason for that. There are just enough Wayne’s for us to group them all together.
The first theory is Damian Wayne, the Son of the Bat and Talia Al Ghul. The traction here comes from a few different sources. First, Talia’s love affair with Batman was a big driving force for some of the storyline in Arkham City. Second, being trained by the League of Assassin’s would give the boy a leg up in being Batman like, and the League used Arkham as a means to an end in the past (also Arkham City). Third, Damian has always been willing to take life, and putting him in a situation where he has to out Bat the Batman, I could see him rising to the challenge. Another point is that the trailer has a father-son theme, and if that carries through to the game, it really makes a lot of sense for it to be Damian. It’s a pretty awesome theory.
From Flashpoint again, I mentioned that Thomas Wayne becomes the Batman. While this is possible, it certainly doesn’t fit as a villain prototype. In both Earth 2 and Flashpoint, he becomes a hero, if a fairly tarnished one. And if that is the ORIGINAL bit of the character, I scream BOOOO. If Thomas or Martha are used, it would have to be some sort of standing conspiracy and I just don’t see it happening. What, did Alfred have the surviving parent, driven mad by grief and trauma put in the family Asylum and forgets them there? It just doesn’t seem feasible.
This third Wayne is a close second to Damian, mostly because he has only had the smallest bit of exposure in comics, and all of that only since the New 52. Thomas Wayne Junior, Bruce’s older brother is a lesser-known member of the family and Batman mythos. He was part of the Court of Owls, having risen in their ranks after being forgotten in a child asylum for disturbed boys and hidden by Martha Wayne. In Forever Evil, he is Owlman, the villainous Earth-3 counterpart to Batman.
With his already Asylum-based origin and his family connections, I could see him being the Arkham Knight. Yeah the Knight looks like a younger character, more like a Nightwing or Robin, but I suppose he could just be a leaner Wayne. If they go this direction, the Father-son theme could still be in play, more as motivation for the villainous Arkham Knight, who was forgotten and left with nothing among the mad.
Now I have two theories of my own.
The first is that it could be Arkham’s son. This could also go for Quincy Sharp’s son, assuming he has one. In Batman Beyond Universe Arkham’s son is an electricity based super villain. Since Arkham is clearly one of the major themes of the game, having a boy of that line being the new villain just makes a bit of sense to me.
My final theory is only applicable if the entire character, person and alter ego, are both original. In that case, why not Joker’s son? No, I don’t necessarily think Joker made a baby with anyone, but why not Harley Quinn? She is already shown in the game, and she might be crazy enough to twist up a boys head to make him THINK he has a crazy, green-haired father to avenge. That would also fit with the father-son theme the game seems to have.