written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
So recently I played though the entire series of Arkham games again, partly because they are awesome... and partly because I picked up a bundle deal to get all three games plus DLC for $10. But in anticipation of the forthcoming Batman: Arkham Knight I wanted to pen this article with a few predictions of who the Arkham Knight is. Oh and btw... spoilers...
As a huge DC fanboy and especially a fan of all things Bat-Family, the name Arkham Knight is never mentioned in any previous Batman story arcs. Storyline wise, this is set a year after the events of Arkham City. The Joker is dead, even Barbara Gordon states that Bruce hasn't even been the same since the Joker died. Gotham is in the grips of a super-villain uprising... and at the center of it is this man dressed like a militarized looking Batman. Rocksteady has stated that the Arkham Knight is a brand new character and there's been speculation of who this character is. The notion of the Arkham Kngiht being “new” could be a red herring masking the true identity of the character, and even after a now proven fake script leak on 4Chan, the identity of who this masked man might be has become even more compelling. So let's get right into my predictions of who the Arkham Knight might be.
Dr. Tommy Elliot/Hush: A side quest from Arkham City saw Bruce going face to face with Hush. Tommy Elliot has been leaving bodies all over Arkham City with Bruce forced to track him down. The good Doctor has been quite busy, in the Arkham-verse, it looks like they are keeping Tommy Elliot's long lasting hate for Bruce Wayne, and in Arkham City he even goes so far as to recreate Bruce Wayne's face on his own... thanks to “donations” from the men he killed while sneaking about this city-sized prison. From the dialog between Hush and Batman, it's very likely that Hush doesn't know that Bruce is the Batman.
In the year between City and Knight, it's highly possible that Tommy Elliot discovers Bruce's secret and dons the Arkham Knight persona as the cherry atop his highly orchestrated sundae of revenge. To me, this feels the most likely turn of events.
Azrael: The mysterious watcher from Arkham City left Batman with a haunting prophecy of dark days to come. In the comics, Azrael is a mantle held by several but the Arkham-verse Azrael is Michael Lane, a former Gotham PD officer who was originally recruited to create the ultimate crime-fighter... but this instead makes him a criminal. Of course in the books he eventually turns away from the dark side, but having Azrael don the Arkham Knight mantle could be the redemption his Arkham-verse counterpart needs.
Of course this may not be the most likely, what with Azrael always appearing in his iconic costume, but in the Arkham-verse I'm confident that the minds behind both Arkham Asylum and City can make this work. Dark days are coming and the setting of Arkham Knight certainly makes for some dark days.
Jason Todd/Red Hood/Former Robin: Early predictions thought that the fallen Robin would be the Arkham Knight, though the inclusion of the Red Hood as a DLC add-on to the main game seems to have disproved it, but don't count good ol Jason Todd out yet. If anyone has a bone to pick with Bruce, it's Jason Todd. For the uninitiated, Jason Todd died at the hands of the Joker after being beaten senselessly with a crowbar then inexplicably blown up. The effects of Superboy-Prime “punching reality” (yes they really thought of that) and Talia immersing him in a Lazarus pit brought Jason back, but also changed him into a darker version of who he was in life.
If you've ever read Battle for the Cowl, the militarized Batman-like suit the Arkham Knight wears is very reminiscent of the suit Jason wore during this arc. There has also been literally zero coverage of what Red Hood's playable missions will be like, the secrecy further fuels my suspicion that he will be the Arkham Knight. Perhaps the Red Hood story missions will act as a prequel to the events of Arkham Knight, perhaps taking place during the events of Asylum and City.
Thomas Wayne Jr./Owlman: The DC multiverse hasn't been explored in any capacity in the Arkham games but it's wholly possible that this could be the first chance to full explore it. In the comics, Thomas Wayne Jr. was the villainous older brother of Bruce Wayne. After the death of Bruce and his parents at the hand of a plan orchestrated by Thomas, he dons the mantle of Owlman controlling Gotham City like a crime boss.
Thomas Wayne Jr. played a pivotal role in the New 52 Forever Evil arc and series. So if the Arkham-verse Batman decides to tackle forces from the DC multiverse, I can't imagine anyone better than Owlman being the main adversary. With Joker dead, Batman needs a foe that can really get under his skin... what better way than it being your big brother from another world's version of ya mother?
Talon/The Court of Owls: I've focused mostly on clues from the Rocksteady games and tried not to reference any events from Arkham Origins which, while I did enjoy it, I didn't feel belonged in the same universe as Rocksteady's masterpieces. Regardless, the Court of Owls Easter Egg from Arkham Origins felt compelling enough to include in my predictions. Acting as a sort of secret society/illuminati controlling Gotham from the shadows, the Court of Owls played a pivotal role in Batman's new stories in the New 52. The court employs undead assassins they control called Talons, as far as a shadowy group vying for control over Gotham... the Court could fit right at home in the Arkham-verse games.
“The Court of Owns watches. / Watches all the time. / Ruling Gotham from Shadowed Perch. / Behind Granite and Lime. / They Watch You at Your Hearth. / They Watch You in Your Bed. / Speak Not a Whispered Word of Them. / Or They'll Send the Talon for Your Head.” A passage born from Gotham legend, if the Court is proven to play a major role in this Gotham... Batman's got quite a handful to deal with.
Damian Wayne/Robin: In the Arkham-verse, Tim Drake is still Robin, but after Talia revealed a steamy night in Metropolis she had with Bruce, the possibility of this world having Damian Wayne isn't completely off the table. The progeny of the Bat-family brand of justice and the League of Assassins, Talia and Bruce's son could very well be the Arkham Knight. At this point Bruce doesn't know he has a son but after Talia's death in Arkham City, it isn't completely off the table that Damian Wayne could be the Arkham Knight, taking the imagery of his father with the values of his mother and grandfather and becoming the Batman he feels Bruce isn't capable of being.
Damian could also blame Bruce for his mother's death, if Bruce only could have crossed that line he vows to never cross with the Joker, Talia would still be alive. The Arkham Knight's attack on Gotham fits the motivation of the League of Assassins, further backing up my claim that Damian Wayne could be the Arkham Knight. Of course he'd have to be a bit older... but this Arkham-verse Damian Wayne could be a teenager as opposed to his 10-year-old version from more contemporary versions of “the son of the bat.”
Someone COMPLETELY New: The Batman universe hasn't introduced many new characters, especially in the realm of media outside the comics. The last time a new major character was introduced outside the comics was Harley Quinn in Batman the Aniimated Series, and we all know how long she's persisted over the years. As far as media outside the comics, Batman the Animated Series was so well-loved by the fans that it earned the right to be able to create a brand new character.
The Rocksteady series of games has also been touted as one of the best superhero games every made, if any media outside the comics has earned the right to create a new character it's Rocksteady's Arkham series. So this is very possible that the character could be a brand new character meant to drive the story forward.
SO! Those are my predictions, I have no idea how spot on these might be and honestly if they decide to go the brand new character route, I wouldn't be let down. Rocksteady has proven that they really care about the Batman mythos, and if placing faith in anyone to bring someone new into the Batman fold... they'd be the ones to trust.
Batman: Arkham Knight drops June of this year, with only a few more months left to wait... I'm excited to see just how Rocksteady intends to end their phenomenal series. Until then though, the Arkham Knight tie in comic is coming soon and should help bridge the gap between City and Knight.