Rocksteady Games announced the finale to their epic Arkham series with the next-gen Batman: Arkham Knight.
Batman: Arkham Knight quickly made its way onto our most anticipated games list for a number of reasons, most notably the fact that the Batmobile will be completely driveable. While there have been a number of new features announced, that Batmobile keeps luring us in. Of course, the prospect of a completely new villain joining Batman’s rogues gallery also has us talking.
Rocksteady announced that the game title is also the game’s new villain, an original character created for the game series. We know very little about the Arkham Knight save for his appearance and inclusion in the game, but that doesn’t keep us from speculating on just who this new character could be.
Yes, Rocksteady has been very vocal about the fact that the Arkham Knight is an original character new to the world of the Batman. Which is true, we have never seen the Arkham Knight before this announcement. However, just because AK is a new character, doesn’t necessarily mean the person behind the mask will be.
Assuming AK is a completely original character and we will see a new face added to the Gotham rogues, then we can assume this character will have some sort of ties to either Batman or the history that has been developed in the game series itself. Of course, if we assume the man behind the mask isn’t a new character, this still leaves a lot of options as to who the Arkham Knight could be, which we will explore today.
The Arkham series has been a showcase of all the reasons we love Batman, including his cool gadgets, awesome melee fighting and exciting storylines. However, the Arkham series is also dominated by his opposite number, the Clown Prince of Crime, voiced wonderfully by Mark Hamill. We’ve seen the Joker’s plans develop over two games (and Origins, kind of), which ultimately resulted in the character’s death in Arkham City.
Or did it? As soon as we walked out of Joker’s hideout with his lifeless body in AC, fans were starting to speculate on how he might still be alive, and the Arkham Knight could be one of those reasons. Maybe the Joker, who was kept alive by his use of the Titan formula but whose body is still degrading, has to wear this special suit of armor to keep his body together, allowing him to return for the finale of a series that was as much his as the Batmans.
We kind of hope this isn’t the case, despite our insane love for Mark Hamill’s Joker, but after his satisfying death in Arkham City, it might be time to let the character rest.
Thomas Wayne Jr.
Thomas Wayne Jr. has taken a few forms across the DC Multiverse, and is usually depicted as Bruce Wayne’s older (and sometimes younger) brother who adopts the mantle of Owlman. In the New 52 continuity, we are introduced to Lincoln March and the Court of Owls, and it is eventually revealed that Lincoln March is (or believes himself to be) Thomas Wayne Jr.
Obviously introducing a long lost brother to Bruce Wayne in the Arkham universe might be a bit of a big move, but if some of the events of the Court of Owls storyline were in fact adapted for Arkham Knight, Thomas Wayne Jr. would fit almost perfectly into the armor of AK, with the Court of Owls pulling his strings.
While this would be an interesting story, Batman fans were fairly divided by the revelation of Tommy Jr., and the game might not want to devote too much time to that backstory. We just really want to see the Court of Owls and their army of Talons show up.
The Wrath has appeared a number of times in the comics and is usually regarded as the Anti-Batman. This is because he has not only modeled his villainous wardrobe and tech on Batman, but also due to the reversed similarities of their origins. Wrath was a child of burglers, who were shot down by Commissioner Gordon, who was acting in self-defense. The child then blamed the cops for his parent’s death, and set out on a life of crime to avenge his parent’s deaths.
We recently saw the return of this character in the New 52, where he was further established as E.D. Caldwell, a wealthy businessman like Bruce Wayne, who was developing a process called Scorn to create an army of soldiers. This version of Caldwell only reinforced the Anti-Batman tag, which obviously makes us think of Arkham Knight’s potentially similar role.
The main problem would be explaining the rich backstory of Caldwell while tying it into Arkham Asylum, which the character really has no connections with in any variation of the Wrath.
Thomas Elliot has been a more recent addition to Batman’s rogue gallery, and has become one of his most personal villains. Tommy Elliot grew up as Bruce’s best friend, but secretly he was out to take revenge on Bruce and his family. When he learned that Bruce was in fact Batman, the game was changed and Tommy Elliot became the villainous Hush.
We saw Hush develop in a series of moments during one of Arkham City‘s side missions, with the ending of that mission revealing that Hush has reshaped his face using his skills as a surgeon to look exactly like Bruce Wayne, which was a similar arc in the comics. This development is left hanging at the finale of Arkham City, so with so much of Hush’s backstory left unknown in the Arkham universe, we would be surprised if he wasn’t brought back to feature in Arkham City.
This certainly could be as the Arkham Knight, though there are a few other choices on this list that seem a bit more plausible.
Arkham Asylum has played such a huge role in both Rocksteady games, it’s no surprise that the newest villain will clearly have some ties to the Gotham landmark. Throughout Batman: Arkham Asylum, we learned a lot about the history of the Asylum and its founder, Amadeus Arkham, who himself succumbed to madness and became a patient at Arkham Asylum.
The game version warden of Arkham has been Quincy Sharp, who disappeared from the game after it was revealed that he was also going crazy and mistreating patients. In the comics, a recent warden of Arkham Asylum was Jeremiah Arkham, nephew of Amadeus. Jeremiah eventually takes on the role of the new Black Mask (a character we saw in Arkham Origins), and could potentially fill this same villainous role as Arkham Knight.
Chances are pretty good here, with clear ties to Arkham Asylum and a set history as a Batman villain, and the themes of the character being driven mad by the patients he is trying to cure would be an interesting storyline to play around with in the game.
The story of Jason Todd is an iconic one that has been debated among fans for years. Todd was the second Robin, who took over after Dick Grayson left the role to become Nightwing. Todd wasn’t exactly well-received by fans of Batman and Robin, and his fate was eventually determined with a vote determined by fans who called in to decide whether or not Jason Todd would be killed in the Death in a Family storyline. They voted, and Robin was killed off by the Joker.
Flash forward a few years, and it is revealed that not only is Jason Todd alive, but he has adapted the former identity of the Joker as his own and became the new Red Hood. During his earliest appearances as an adult he acted as a villain to the Bat-family, but with the dawn of the New 52 we have seen Jason Todd in a far more heroic role.
With the first few shots of the Arkham Knight revealed, it is hard not to note certain similarities between the visual design of AK and Red Hood. Add to the fact that the story of Jason Todd is obviously a very personal one for Bruce Wayne, and his inclusion in the game seems more and more likely.
We have seen a few Azrael’s over the years, with the most recent iteration of the character even appearing as a side mission in Arkham City. This version seemed to be the Michael Christopher Lane iteration, who wore the Suit of Sorrows and stalked Batman across the city to warn him of a greater danger coming that would cleanse Gotham City with fire. An interesting prophecy that we will hopefully see more of in the new game, and one we think might include the identity of the Arkham Knight.
See, Michael Lane was not the first Azrael, as the name and title were used by the Order of St. Dumas for years as their “Avenging Angel,” which was a nice way of saying assassin. Before Lane, we saw Jean Paul Valley in the role of Azrael, and learned that Valley had been brainwashed by the System to be Azrael. Seeing promise in Valley, Bruce decides to train him before he encounters Bane for the first time, which resulted in his back being broken.
Needing a replacement but not wanting to bother his former protege Dick Grayson, Bruce asks Valley to step in as Batman while Bruce leaves the city. Warped by the System, Valley redesigns the batsuit and embarks on a war of terror on Gotham City, which takes the entire Bat-family, along with a fully healed Bruce Wayne, to take back the title of Batman.
This storyline could be easily adapted to fit in Arkham Knight, with Valley donning the armor of the Arkham Knight under the control of the System and the Order of St. Dumas to fulfill the prophecy the new Azrael warned Batman about in Arkham City
Finally, when looking back at the various characters we have seen in the Arkham series that have ties not only to Batman but the Asylum and its patients, one name stands out. That character is Aaron Cash, a senior guard at Arkham who gets caught up in the events of both Asylum and City.
Perhaps Cash has seen too much mayhem at the hands of the inmates he has struggled to keep locked up, and finally snaps, donning the Arham Knight armor to make a difference, much like Batman has been trying to do. We’ve watched the character grow a bit harsher over the course of both games, so seeing him progress as the Arkham Knight makes a bit too much sense.
Whoever the Arkham Knight is, whether a new original character or even one of those mentioned on this list, we are excited to see him, Batman, and the rest of the Gotham crew in what is hopefully going to be a fitting end to Rocksteady’s Arkham series.
What do you think of our picks? Who do you think the Arkham knight is going to be? Let us know in the comments section below!
Images: Rocksteady, DC Comics