|The Arkham Knight|
A promotional poster featuring the Arkham Knight for the 2015 video game, Batman: Arkham Knight.
|First appearance||Batman: Arkham Knight #1 (February 2015)|
|Created by||Rocksteady Studios|
DC Comics (Geoff Johns)
|Alter ego||Jason Todd (Batman: Arkham Knight)|
Astrid Arkham (Comics)
|Notable aliases||Red Hood (Batman: Arkham Knight)|
The Arkham Knight is a fictional supervillain appearing in DC Comics media. Created by Rocksteady Studios and DC writer Geoff Johns to serve as the titular villain in the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, the character made his first appearance in the prequel comic book Batman: Arkham Knight #1 (February 2015), before receiving his own 6-issue miniseries Batman: Arkham Knight GENESIS, with #1 released on August 26, 2015. He is voiced by Troy Baker. Depicted as the mysterious commander of a vast militia of mercenaries, the Arkham Knight harbors a deep-rooted grudge against Batman and fully intends to kill the vigilante after making him suffer. To this end, he allies himself with the Scarecrow and provides a military presence in the evacuated Gotham City during the events of Batman: Arkham Knight. Towards the end of the game's main story, his true identity is revealed to be Jason Todd, the former and second Robin who was thought to have been killed years earlier by Batman's nemesis, Joker.
– Dax Ginn, marketing producer at Rocksteady Studios
In an interview with Newsarama, when asked if the Arkham Knight was either an entirely new character or simply new to the Batman: Arkham series, Rocksteady Studios developer Dax Ginn responded with, "Completely original. Batman has not encountered him before, so this is a completely original design and role that the Arkham Knight brings." In another interview, Ginn described the opportunity to create an original character in the Batman universe as "terrifying", but that developers at the studio were relishing the chance to hopefully make a mark on the Batman property that lasts beyond the tale of the games themselves.
Speaking with Game Informer, Batman: Arkham Knight's director Sefton Hill explained that, "[Rocksteady] wanted to introduce someone who could really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways."
Commemorating the eightieth anniversary of Batman's creation, DC Comics will debut a new iteration of the Arkham Knight in Detective Comics #1000 (March 2019). Taking place within the mainstream DC Universe, separate from the continuity of the Arkham games, the story was written by Peter J. Tomasi and illustrated by Doug Mahnke.
Fictional character biography
Sometime after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins, street orphan Jason Todd was taken in and trained in all forms of combat by the vigilante Batman to become the second "Robin" after Dick Grayson’s departure. Jason was ultimately captured by the Joker, who sent a video to the Dark Knight of Jason's apparent death. However, the Joker lied about killing Jason and was revealed to have held him in an abandoned wing of Arkham Asylum for over a year to break his sanity. When the Joker revealed to Jason that he had been replaced in the role of Robin by Batman, Jason snapped and found himself resenting his former mentor more than anything else.
Having succeeded in turning Jason against his nemesis, the Joker allowed Todd to escape during the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum to start planning his revenge on Batman for abandoning and replacing him. With the help of the assassin Deathstroke, Jason formed his own army of mercenary soldiers in Venezuela that he personally trained in Batman's methods. He then donned a high-tech militaristic battle suit and adopted the identity of the "Arkham Knight", a ruthless supervillain and militia leader.
The Joker's death during the events of Batman: Arkham City leaves a power vacuum in Gotham City’s criminal underbelly. As crime rates plummeted without the Clown Prince of Crime's iron grip over the city's criminals, the Arkham Knight surfaced and forged an alliance with the Scarecrow. The two united all of Gotham's masterminds, crime lords, thugs, thieves, and gangsters in an attempt to destroy Batman once and for all. Scarecrow forced Gotham's inhabitants to evacuate with his newest strain of fear toxin, allowing the Arkham Knight's militia forces to take complete control of the city.
During Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman first encounters the Arkham Knight at ACE Chemicals whilst the latter provides an escort for Scarecrow to cover the entire eastern seaboard with fear gas. Seeking to mentally break Batman, Scarecrow prevents the Arkham Knight from killing the crime-fighter. While Batman reduces the chain reaction in the central mixing chamber to stop the fear gas from being released, the Arkham Knight kidnaps Oracle from her clock tower and holds her hostage. When Batman tracks Oracle to a militia facility, the Arkham Knight subdues and shoots the vigilante in the chest before leaving the scene. The Arkham Knight later assists Scarecrow in escaping Simon Stagg's airship with the fear toxin dispersing machine, "the Cloudburst”, which he attaches to his personal tank, though Batman ultimately manages to destroy the device with the Batmobile. When Batman breaks into the militia's primary headquarters, the Arkham Knight confronts him in the excavator tunnels with a mining vehicle and manages to destroy the Batmobile. As Batman attempts to save a captured Commissioner Gordon, the Arkham Knight reveals his true identity to Batman as Jason Todd. Batman defeats the Arkham Knight and offers to help his former partner recover, but Jason states that it is too late for that and vanishes. At the end of the game, Jason prevents Scarecrow from executing Batman after the latter is publicly exposed as Bruce Wayne. After Batman's alleged death during the 'Knightfall Protocol', Todd adopts the "Red Hood" persona and becomes a murderous vigilante who uses guns and lethal force. As Red Hood, he has a DLC storyline in which he hunts down the crime lord Black Mask.
Arkham Knight first appeared in Gotham City where she plans to bring justice to Batman. The Arkham Knight begins by forming the Knights of the Sun where they are motivated by belief rather than material gain. The Knight is eventually revealed to be Astrid Arkham, daughter of Jeremiah Arkham and Ingrid Karlsson. During her birth, a riot broke out during a prison transfer at Arkham Asylum. Despite the chaos, the Joker and several inmates assisted in delivering her safely, but one of the prisoners killed Ingrid with one of Batman's batarangs. She grew up interacting with many of Arkham Asylum's patients, and sympathized with their fear of Batman. After she found footage of her mother's death, she assumed Batman murdered her and trained herself for years to take away Batman's control over Gotham. She creates an artificial sun that blinds most of Gotham in an attempt to make the people see Batman as the demon she sees and refuses to believe Batman when he tells her he didn't kill her mother. Batman and Robin stop her before she permanently blinds most of Gotham's citizens. During her transfer to Blackgate, she is freed by one of the Knights of the Sun who was posing as a GCPD officer.
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Prior to becoming the Arkham Knight, Jason Todd cared about his mentor as well as the Bat Family. However, Batman noted that Jason still possessed violent tendencies even as Robin, and feared one day that he would be bringing him in as a criminal. However, despite this, Jason still remained loyal enough to not break Batman's code.
After being tortured by Joker for over a year, Jason began to break, his mental stability worsening over time, as he initially believed that Batman would come save him before realizing that Batman had another Robin, angering him to the point that he began to hate him.
As the Arkham Knight, Jason is vengeful but patient and calculating as well. While he had the chance to kill Batman, he also decided not to, after discovering Joker's diary. In addition, the Arkham Knight never seemed to have revealed Batman's identity to his army or Scarecrow, indicating a level of reluctant respect, despite his hatred. He also had no desire to hurt Barbara and Alfred, with the two seemingly being the two people he ever cared about.
Always defending the weak and the helpless. That's what I like about you. Predictable. And that's why we're gonna win. We know your move before you do. We know how you think!— The Arkham Knight to Batman
As a military commander, the Arkham Knight is very confident in his abilities. As Albert Feliu stated in an interview, "He thinks he's better, badder and definitely cooler than the Batman himself".
Skills and abilities
The Arkham Knight is a highly skilled military tactician who possesses expert knowledge of Batman's tactics and fighting style, which can be attributed to the fact that he was personally trained by the vigilante. He is a master of hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, and marksmanship. The high tech militaristic battle suit that he wears further enhances his physical strength, speed, and durability. When Batman was ambushed by the Arkham Knight, the latter was able to knock the Dark Knight off his feet with one cobra punch.
Suit and equipment
The Arkham Knight dons a militaristic version of the Batsuit aimed to mock Batman's appearance. Many components of his suit have a significant purpose. The suit is also very durable, being able to completely survive the explosion that brought the abandoned Arkham Asylum to the ground.
Lead character artist Albert Feliu has stated that the Arkham Knight's helmet achieves a wide range of different abilities. First and foremost, it is used to conceal his true identity and robotically synthesize his voice, hiding any sense of the man underneath. Its visor also provides the Arkham Knight with a detailed heads-up display to keep track of his forces moving throughout Gotham City, giving off the impression of a ghostly and robotic figure.
The chest plate is not only a defensive component of the Arkham Knight's suit, but also a psychological one. As the Arkham Knight, he knows how much the past Arkham incidents have affected Batman and has purposefully emblazoned the Arkham symbol on his chest plate, putting the Caped Crusader at a psychological disadvantage. The angular design of the chest plate was designed not only for the A-shape of the Arkham logo, but also as a means of deflecting the Batclaw.
"Visually one of the most important things we want to communicate through the design of the Arkham Knight is the high-tech, military threat he poses to Gotham City," claimed Albert Feliu. The character artist also stated that the materials of the Arkham Knight's gauntlets, boots and armor were inspired by the design of fighter aircraft: "highly resistant, unreflective and totally intimidating". The gauntlets are also used to repel opponents' blades and are light enough to enable rapid strikes.
To distinguish himself from his similarly suited military personnel, the Arkham Knight's suit has a distinct camouflage pattern to give him the image of a military leader invading an urban space. The camouflage also grants a tactical advantage: "the dark greys interspersed with dashes of red enable him to remain concealed between the gloomy shadows and garish neons of Gotham's alleyways and rooftops".
The Arkham Knight also possesses a utility belt similar to Batman's. As he is a military commander, he is naturally resourceful. He wears his utility belt low-slung, in contrast with Batman's more organized application of field equipment.
The ears of the Arkham Knight's helmet serve as transmitters, relaying his commands to his troops and drones in the field. Like Batman his ears can also be used for sound transmission, deafening his enemies. They are also his greatest psychological attack on Batman; their psychological purpose is to mock Batman and everything he stands for.
The Arkham Knight has a tool similar to Batman's grapple gun, as seen in Batman: Arkham Knight #3, where he rappelled away from the Gotham authorities after they arrived at the site of the destroyed abandoned Arkham Asylum.
Also, the Arkham Knight's grapple gun or a tool similar to it can severely shock a man like a taser, as seen in Batman: Arkham Knight #7, when he used it on one of the two Joker thugs, who kidnapped a family.
The Arkham Knight's primary weapons are twin automatic handguns, which are able to combine and convert into a sniper rifle.
The Arkham Knight's identity and character was met with a mixed reception from critics, as they felt Todd being the Knight was too predictable and contradicted Rocksteady's statements about him being an "original character." Many have said that the Arkham Knight identity was hardly different from Todd's Red Hood persona.
IGN stated, "when the Arkham Knight was unmasked, I felt deceived – not in the good “Ah, you got me!” way, like when you’re fooled by the characters or an unreliable narrator a la Verbal Kent [sic], but in the bad way, where I’d been duped to by the storytellers themselves." Pete Haas of Cinemablend said, "The issue is that Todd fits too well. The developers could have done more to make the Arkham Knight's identity a secret. They could have tried to throw us off by teasing other characters that could be Arkham Knight. Or they could have just downplayed the similarities between Arkham Knight's costume and Red Hood's, or Batman and Arkham Knight's. Or he could've used a voice modulator that made him sound less like a twenty-something American. If you think Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight before you start playing the game, the game does nothing to challenge that assumption. That's an issue."
Some outlets, like Game Informer, praised Todd's reveal, calling it "satisfying" and "the mother of all twists". VideoGamer.com also gave a positive response to the "who is it?" nature surrounding the Knight throughout the game.
Gamesradar also took note that the torture scenes and Red Hood DLC made it easier to predict the twist. "Honestly, in the torture scenes, I'm certain that everyone who predicted Jason Todd before the game came out went, "Yeah, it's definitely him," in that moment. The pre-order DLC featuring Todd's Red Hood persona was arguably a clue, too (or, looking at it from another side, a brave bluff)."
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- Arkham Knight Novelization
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