The lights are on
When we revealed Rocksteady’s final entry in the Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Knight, its title didn’t draw much scrutiny. It had Arkham in the name, and it was a clear nod to Batman. At least, that’s what we thought before getting our demo of the game. After seeing it in action, we realized that it was actually a reference to what Rocksteady says is an all-new character. Who is Arkham Knight? The team wouldn’t provide any specifics, but we’ve got a few ideas.
The image above is the best one we could pry from Rocksteady. It doesn’t show much beyond a silhouette, but we’ll help fill in some of those details. Arkham Knight’s costume is black, with red highlights, and he wields what looks like a silenced pistol. His suit is armored, with various belts and pouches, and his chestpiece is emblazoned with a stylized “A” symbol. Even if we don’t have a clear sense of his identity, the fact that Arkham Knight’s encounter with Batman ends with a gunshot shows that the pair aren’t on friendly terms, and that they have different thoughts on the use of deadly force.
Theory Number One: He’s A New CharacterThis is what Rocksteady is sticking with, and they were pretty clear about it during our visit. “He’s a new character called the Arkham Knight,” says Rocksteady’s creative lead Sefton Hill. “He’s being created by Rocksteady and Geoff Johns at DC, and that’s pretty much all we’re saying about him at the current time. He’s someone new to the Arkhamverse. He’s certainly one of the key antagonists.”
Why the theory worksThis is what Rocksteady is saying about the character, which certainly gives this tremendous credence.
Why it doesn’tEven if Arkham Knight is a new character that Rocksteady is developing in collaboration with DC, that doesn’t mean there’s not some wiggle room in the language. Arkham Knight could be an interpretation of an existing character, with enough deviation from comics lore as to qualify as being “new.”
Theory Number Two: It’s The Red HoodJason Todd took on the role of Robin after the previous Robin, Dick Grayson, moved away from the role. Todd wasn’t especially popular with fans, and DC eventually polled its readers to determine if he should live or die. Unfortunately for Todd, he was forced into an early (and seemingly permanent) retirement via the Joker. This being comics, he returned from the grave in the form of The Red Hood. The Red Hood pushed Batman’s vigilantism even further, battling bad guys with guns before eventually becoming a straight-up villain himself. (There are multiple arcs involving the character, but this covers most of the consistent notes.) Todd isn’t the first person to claim the Red Hood title in the DC universe, either. The Joker once went by this name, and it’s even shown in the Warner Montreal-developed Batman: Arkham Origins.
Why the theory worksThe Red Hood’s costume looks like it could be a starting point for Rocksteady’s art team. His reliance on firearms sounds familiar, too. Bringing Todd into the story would be an interesting way to fully incorporate Robin lore into the Arkhamverse. Grayson went on to become Nightwing, who was featured in Arkham City. We haven’t learned anything about Jason Todd in Rocksteady’s world – if he even exists there – and the character’s introduction and apparent death could provide even more angst fuel for the Dark Knight.
Why it doesn’tRobin did appear in Arkham City, but Grayson or Todd didn’t fill the role. Instead, it was the third Robin, Tim Drake. The timeline would need to be adjusted in a big way to make this work. Then again, if a character can return from the grave, just about anything’s possible.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.