Feature

Who Is Arkham Knight?

by Jeff Cork on Mar 12, 2014 at 09:00 AM

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 Character
This 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 works
This is what Rocksteady is saying about the character, which certainly gives this tremendous credence. 

Why it doesn’t
Even 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 Hood
Jason 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 works
The 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’t
Robin 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.

Theory Number Three: It’s Batman’s… Brother?
In DC’s New 52 continuity, Batman faced off against a man claiming to be his older brother. Thomas Wayne Junior wore power armor in the battle (and adopted the name Owlman), but was eventually defeated. 

Why the theory works?
The CG announce trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight features a reading from Thomas Wayne’s will to his son, Bruce. As luck would have it, it serves as both a legal document and a rousing speech. Could that be a tease that family bonds will affect the story in unexpected ways as well? 

Why it doesn’t
Establishing that Bruce Wayne actually had a brother is an awful lot of history to cram into a story, particularly the third act. That doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t have been brainwashed into thinking that they share a blood relation with Master Bruce, of course. Who would be capable or devious enough to do such a thing?

Theory Number Four: It’s Wrath...
The easiest way to look at Wrath is as an anti-Batman. His father was killed in a robbery gone wrong and he shares a similarly large pocketbook as Bruce Wayne, but the similarities end shortly thereafter. 

Why the theory works?
Wrath is a great mirror to Batman, and he provides a wealth of storytelling opportunities. Rocksteady says Arkham Knight (the game) is about Batman dealing with the fact that his most well-known foe is dead. A reimagined Wrath could be another great foil for the character.

Why it doesn’t
As much as we might like Wrath’s one-two counterpoint to Batman, it would probably be easier to create a new character from scratch than try and squeeze a relative nobody into Arkham Knight’s suit. 

Or Prometheus
Along the same lines, a character named Prometheus has been mentioned in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, and he shares the same gunned-down parents backstory as Batman and Wrath. Unfortunately for Prometheus, his Arkham Asylum bio shows him as a stylized knight, complete with a sword, instead of the sleek assassin shown in Arkham Knight.

Theory Number Five: It’s Azrael (Again)
Even if you played Batman: Arkham City, there’s a chance that you’ve forgotten about Azrael – if you encountered him in the first place. Here’s a refresher: He stalks you throughout your adventure in the city-turned-prison, eventually delivering the chilling message that Gotham will burn.

Why the theory works?
From the looks of Gotham City in Arkham Knight, that was one heck of a good guess. 

Why it doesn’t
We’ve already seen Azrael in Batman: Arkham City, and he seemed more interested in talking than fighting. Even if Rocksteady changed the identity under the mask from Michael Lane to someone else, it stretches the definition of a new character to the near breaking limit. They could explain it away by reiterating that Azrael is an order of assassins in the DC universe, but that would feel a bit too ret-conned – correct as it might be. This one seems especially unlikely.

 

What do you think? Are there any candidates that spring to mind? Sound off in the comments!

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