written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
With Batman: Arkham Knight less than a month away, I begin thinking on possible skins for the playable characters. Like with previous installments in the series, donning alternate skins add a certain cosmetic depth to using said characters in challenge maps or the main story. Thanks to the “Those Who Follow You” trailer, the season pass, and the pre-order bonuses; it’s been confirmed that aside from Batman we can also play as Bat-Family members Nightwing, Robin (Tim Drake), Catwoman, and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)… also Bat-villains Red Hood (Jason Todd) and Harley Quinn.
This article, I go through my extensive knowledge of all things comics and Bat-Family to pick a top choice for a skin I’d want for each character.
Starting off this list, let’s take a look at the main character himself… Batman. There’ve already been so many skins announced for Batman from the Justice League 3000 (my personal favorite so far) to the Dark Knight Returns skin making another appearance. But for my Batman pick, personally I’d like to see the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice costume make an appearance in Arkham Knight.
I’ve been a huge supporter for Batfleck from the very beginning and after seeing his suit in all its glory, I know that I had to see this suit in the next Arkham game. A melding of various Batsuits over the ages, it takes the fat-bat logo with the shorter ears. Giving it the classic grey and black color scheme with a touch of the modern, omitting the bat-briefs of pre-Flashpoint suits.
Looking at Nightwing, Dick Grayson, one thing I’ve loved about the Arkham series has been how they’ve stuck to the tried and true royal blue Nightwing colors. I have never been a fan of the black and red suit in the new 52 and always wished he’d go back to blue. With that said, jumping into the past a bit… the Dick Grayson of Earth Two eventually adopts a suit that takes cues from his mentor’s costume and his own Robin costume.
His emblem featuring the iconic Bat-Logo with an “R” in the center, with the Arkham series adopting some of Batman’s classic suits, I’d like to see a classic suit for one of his Bat-Family members take center stage. I was torn between two classic suits for Grayson… the first of which was his original Nightwing suit with the retro deep-V… while cool, I feel that suit would eventually make its way to a skin… so why not the Silver Age Earth Two version? Thanks to the current DC event “Convergence” we got a chance to see that suit in action again for the first time since DC’s silver age.
Next up, Batman’s former nemesis turned ally Catwoman has already been featured in Arkham City with a few alternate skins. This one was a hard one to decide on, if this was a top 5 Catwoman piece I’m sure I could go in depth with many of my favorite purrrrrrfect costumes. In a short lived story arc where the members of Batman’s family were trapped in a delusion, Catwoman was Batman’s partner, operating under the name Catbird.
The Catbird costume melds the iconic goggled Catwoman cowl with aesthetic cues traditionally reserved for Robin. A long black jacket with a yellow lining (much like Robin’s cape) with a red Robin inspired tunic underneath. It’s a cool aesthetic and fits well with being Batman’s partner. I don’t know about you but I know I’d love to see Catbird tackle the baddies in Arkham Knight.
Tim Drake was the third Robin, taking up the mantle after the death of Jason Todd. While the rest of this list has donned several iterations of their costumes, Tim Drake has worn a handful of versions of his Robin costume, and even after the events of the “Battle for the Cowl” arc, he adopts a look more akin to his mentor as Red Robin. But going into the suit I’d want to see. The second season of one of my favorite animated DC shows since Batman the Animated Series, Young Justice, has Tim Drake taking the mantle of Robin when a now grown up Dick Grayson adopts the Nightwing persona.
The Young Justice costume takes cues from his eventual future as Red Robin, with a color scheme comprised primarily of red, black, and yellow and the lines used in it. Strap a Red Robin logo in the middle of his chest and we'd have a Red Robin uniform. With absolutely no green in this costume, I’d like to see how this particular suit’s look would translate into the more realistic world of Arkham Knight.
Jason Todd died at the hands of Joker, after his eventual resurrection thanks to a Lazarus pit and Superboy “punching” reality (yes that’s a thing), Jason Todd adopts the role of Red Hood, a murderous vigilante willing to cross the line Batman refuses to. With Arkham Knight (and thanks to Gamestop in the US) marking Red Hood’s first official debut in Rocksteady’s Arkhamverse. As for the suit I’d want to play as, the “Convergence” Jason Todd suit takes cues from his pre-Flashpoint Batman & Robin costume and the “motorcycle fetish” look of his Under the Red Hood and New 52 variants.
Melding my favorite pieces from biker and and spandex, the full body white suit with the skull emblem on his chest, coupled with the motorcycle helmet and biker jacket look of the New 52, this modern and inspired take on Red Hood would fit wonderfully in the Arkhamverse while looking badass in action.
Next up… lets take Babs. The Arkham Knight season pass revealed a prequel story featuring the Barbara Gordon Batgirl as playable for the first time in the series. While her costume looks incredibly inspired by her New 52 look, I turn to another videogame for what I’d want to see Babs don in challenge maps or in her story missions.
First premiering as a DLC combatant in Injustice: Gods Among Us, Batgirl’s suit takes aesthetic cues from Stephanie Brown’s turn as Batgirl as well as Nightwing’s costume, featuring a golden strip from shoulder to shoulder. Though I was pure rubbish with Batgirl in Injustice, I played many a match as her just to see that amazing costume in action. Of all my picks yet, this looks to be the most fitting for Arkham Knight.
Last but certainly not least is Harley Quinn. Though in the current comic continuity, she’s been promoted from homicidal villain to misunderstood landlady and occaisional do-gooder. The Arkhamverse Harley still retains that killer instinct she touted in both Arkham Asylum and City. While her character design has been drawn more sexy since Arkham Asylum, I personally feel you can’t go forward without looking back, that’s why for my pick I decided on Harley’s original costume made famous by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini in Batman the Animated Series.
Granted, I’m a fan of the sexy and her lolita inspired look in Arkham Knight is cute in the most homicidal sort of way, the only ever glimpse of Harley’s classic costume is seen on those annoying statues in Arkham City and in her character profile in Arkham Asylum. While more comic in nature, I know I’m not alone here in wanting a bit of classic Harley.
So those are my picks! I tell you what, this was a hard list to compile and as a huge fan of all things Batman I was back and forth with several of my decisions. As a little bonus, let’s touch on a few honorable mentions. While I think I did a pretty good job narrowing down my favorite with each character, I do have a few honorable mentions; won’t get too into it but here goes my list: Tim Burton era Batman, Agent Grayson a la post Nightwing-era, Batman Returns Catwoman, New 52 Red Robin, Jason Todd in Hush (complete with the white streak), Babs Tarr “functional and practical” Batgirl, and Roller Derby Harley Quinn.
Batman Arkham Knight launches June 23rd, and I for one have a cup that runneth over with anticipation. What about you, which skins would you like to see in Arkham Knight?