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The Arkham Knight is a fictional supervillain appearing in media based on DC Comics, and is the titular character in Rocksteady Studios' video game Batman: Arkham Knight. The persona first appeared in Batman: Arkham Knight #1 (February 2015). He later received his own 6-issue miniseries Batman: Arkham Knight GENESIS, with #1 released on August 26, 2015.[1]

The Arkham Knight
Arkham Knight.png
Arkham Knight's character vector, featured in the mobile version of the 2013 game, Injustice
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman: Arkham Knight #1
Created by Rocksteady Studios
DC Comics (Geoff Johns)
In-story information
Alter ego Jason Todd
Partnerships Scarecrow
Deathstroke
Abilities
  • Highly skilled military tactician
  • Expert knowledge of Batman's tactics and fighting style
  • Peak physical conditioning
  • Master hand-to-hand combatant, martial artist and marksman
  • Battle-suit enhances strength, speed and stamina
  • Utilizes high-tech gear, equipment, weapons, vehicles and gadgets
  • Commands a large army of highly trained mercenaries
Arkham Knight

The Arkham Knight harbors a deep-rooted grudge against Batman, and fully intends to kill him after making him suffer. To this end, he has aligned himself with the Scarecrow, and provides a military presence in the evacuated city of Gotham during the events of Batman: Arkham Knight. Towards the end of the game's main story, it is revealed that his true identity is Jason Todd, the former and second Robin, who was thought to have been killed years earlier by Batman's nemesis, The Joker. He is voiced by Troy Baker.

Contents

CreationEdit

"[When] the idea was on the table for us to develop our own character and introduce that into Batman's world, there was so much energy and excitement around it at Rocksteady – but we really were conscious of the value of the collaboration creatively we have with DC to make sure the gameplay role the Arkham Knight has is really reflected in his appearance and his outlook and his perspective."

– Dax Ginn, marketing producer at Rocksteady Studios[2]

In an interview with Newsarama, when asked if the Arkham Knight was either an entirely new character or simply new to the Batman: Arkham series, Rocksteady Studios developer Dax Ginn responded with, "Completely original. Batman has not encountered him before, so this is a completely original design and role that the Arkham Knight brings."[3] In another interview, Ginn described the opportunity to create an original character in the Batman universe as "terrifying", but that developers at the studio were relishing the chance to hopefully make a mark on the Batman property that lasts beyond the tale of the games themselves.[2]

Speaking with Game Informer, Batman: Arkham Knight's director Sefton Hill explained that, "[Rocksteady] wanted to introduce someone who could really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways."[4]

Fictional character biographyEdit

Sometime between the events of Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Asylum, street orphan Jason Todd was taken in by the crime-fighter Batman, and trained in all forms of combat as the second Robin after Dick Grayson’s departure. However, Jason was captured by the Joker, and a video was sent to the Dark Knight of Jason’s apparent death. But the Joker lied about killing Jason, and was revealed to have held him in an abandoned wing of Arkham Asylum for over a year, torturing him and breaking his sanity.[5] After the Joker showed Jason a picture of Batman with Tim Drake as the third Robin, Jason snapped and found himself resenting his former mentor more than anything else. Succeeding in making Jason hate his nemesis, the Joker set him free, allowing Todd to start planning his revenge on Batman for leaving him. Jason utilized advanced technology to develop a high-tech militaristic battle-suit and equipment, forming his own army of personally trained soldiers in Venezuela. Todd soon adopted the identity of the “Arkham Knight”, a ruthless supervillain and militia leader.

Eighteen months later, after the Joker's death in Batman: Arkham City, there was a power vacuum in Gotham City’s criminal underworld. When crime rates plummeted without the Clown Prince of Crime’s iron grip over the city’s criminals, the Arkham Knight appeared in Gotham, forging an alliance with the Scarecrow. Together, the two united all of Gotham’s masterminds, crime lords, thugs, thieves and gangsters in an attempt to rid themselves of the Dark Knight once and for all. Scarecrow forced Gotham’s inhabitants to evacuate with his newest strain of fear toxin, allowing the Arkham Knight’s militia to take complete control over the city. In the beginning of the game, the Arkham Knight and his militia provide an escort for Scarecrow at ACE Chemicals, preventing Batman and the police from foiling their plans of covering the entire eastern seaboard with fear gas. When Batman arrives, the Arkham Knight tries to kill him with his chopper, only to be stopped by the Scarecrow (who wanted the Dark Knight to suffer first). Eventually, Batman reduced the chain reaction in the central mixing chamber, stopping the fear gas from being released. The Arkham Knight then kidnaps Oracle from her clock tower and holds her hostage.

When Batman tracks Oracle to a militia facility, the Arkham Knight corners and shoots Batman in the chest before leaving the scene. The villain later assists Scarecrow in escaping Simon Stagg's airship with the fear toxin dispersing machine, "the Cloudburst”. The Arkham Knight then attaches the Cloudburst to his personal tank and battles Batman in the Batmobile, only for the hero to destroy the device. When Batman breaks into the militia's primary headquarters, the Arkham Knight confronts him in the excavator tunnels with a mining vehicle. Although the Arkham Knight destroys the Batmobile, Batman manages to escape. Jason eventually reveals himself to Batman as the hero attempts to save Commissioner Gordon. During the confrontation, Batman damages the Arkham Knight's visor, prompting Jason to discard it and reveal a red domed helmet underneath. After defeating Jason, Batman offers to help his former partner recover, but Jason states that it is too late to help him and vanishes. At the end of the game, Jason prevents Scarecrow from executing Batman after the latter is publicly exposed as Bruce Wayne. Jason later adopts the "Red Hood" persona, and becomes a murderous vigilante with extreme measures, such as the use of guns and lethal force. He wears the same red helmet that he had at the end of the game's main story, but now sports a white leather jacket and a Red Hood symbol painted on his chest. As Red Hood, he has a DLC storyline in which he hunts down and kills the crime lord Black Mask.[6]

CharacterizationEdit

PersonalityEdit

The Arkham Knight is vengeful, but patient and calculating as well. He has knowledge of Batman's alter-ego being Bruce Wayne, and his appearance is designed to mock the Dark Knight, indicating that he is attacking Batman on a psychological level. The Arkham Knight is the pinnacle of escalation; he is a physical, mental, and emotional threat to Batman, and claims to be able to predict Batman's actions, due to training with him and being his sidekick:

Always defending the weak and the helpless. That's what I like about you. Predictable. And that's why we're gonna win. We know your move before you do. We know how you think!

— The Arkham Knight to Batman[7]

He instructs his soldiers to avoid aiming at the armored bat symbol on Batman's chest, and rather fire at the more exposed waist and shoulders. The Arkham Knight exploits opportunities as they are presented to him, making him one of the most dangerous foes Batman has ever faced. As shown in the trailers, the Arkham Knight has a strained relationship with Scarecrow, where he exhibits a will to kill his accomplice. The Arkham Knight's psychosis was also displayed in Batman: Arkham Knight #1, where he mercilessly executed an already defeated Electrocutioner with a shotgun blast to the head.[8]

As a military commander, the Arkham Knight is very confident in his abilities. As Albert Feliu stated in an interview, "He thinks he's better, badder and definitely cooler than the Batman himself".[9]

Skills and abilitiesEdit

The Arkham Knight possesses exceptional physical attributes, and was described by Sefton Hill as someone who could go head-to-head with Batman. This could also relate to the fact he was trained by Batman prior to becoming the Arkham Knight.[4] When Batman was ambushed by the Arkham Knight, the latter was able to knock the Dark Knight off his feet with one cobra punch, showcasing his physical strength.

He has also displayed competent leadership skills, as black ops soldiers under his command follow his orders without a moment's hesitation. He wears a militaristic suit similar to Batman's Batsuit, with the intent of mocking him.[original research?]

Suit and equipmentEdit

The Arkham Knight dons a militaristic version of the Batsuit aimed to mock Batman's appearance. Many components of his suit have a significant purpose. The suit is also very durable, being able to completely survive the explosion that brought the abandoned Arkham Asylum to the ground.[10]

Lead character artist Albert Feliu has stated that Rocksteady needed the Arkham Knight's helmet to achieve a wide range of different abilities. His helmet is used to cover his true identity first and foremost, hiding any sense of the man underneath. It also provides the Arkham Knight with a detailed heads-up display to aid him in keeping track of his forces moving through Gotham City. The aforementioned is projected across the inside of his helmet's visor, giving off the impression of a ghostly and robotic figure.[9] Underneath the holographic visor lies a red domed helmet, which is featureless.

The chest plate is not only a defensive component of the Arkham Knight's suit, but also a psychological one. As the Arkham Knight, he knows how much the past Arkham incidents have affected Batman and has purposefully emblazoned the Arkham symbol on his chest plate, putting the Caped Crusader at a psychological disadvantage. The angular design of the chest plate was designed not only for the A-shape of the Arkham logo, but also as a means of deflecting the Batclaw.[9]

"Visually one of the most important things we want to communicate through the design of the Arkham Knight is the high-tech, military threat he poses to Gotham City," claimed Albert Feliu. The character artist also stated that the materials of the Arkham Knight's gauntlets, boots and armor were inspired by the design of fighter aircraft: "highly resistant, unreflective and totally intimidating". The gauntlets are also used to repel opponents' blades and are light enough to enable rapid strikes.[9]

To distinguish himself from his similarly suited military personnel, the Arkham Knight's suit has a distinct camouflage pattern to give him the image of a military leader invading an urban space. The camouflage also grants a tactical advantage: "the dark greys interspersed with dashes of red enable him to remain concealed between the gloomy shadows and garish neons of Gotham's alleyways and rooftops".[9]

The Arkham Knight also possesses a utility belt similar to Batman's. As he is a military commander, he is naturally resourceful. He wears his utility belt low-slung, in contrast with Batman's more organized application of field equipment.[9]

The ears of the Arkham Knight's helmet serve as transmitters, relaying his commands to his troops and drones in the field. Like Batman his ears can also be used for sound transmission, deafening his enemies. They are also his greatest psychological attack on Batman; their psychological purpose is to mock Batman and everything he stands for.[9]

The Arkham Knight has a tool similar to Batman's grapple gun, as seen in Batman: Arkham Knight #3, where he rappelled away from the Gotham authorities after they arrived at the site of the destroyed abandoned Arkham Asylum.[10]

Also, the Arkham Knight's grapple gun or a tool similar to it can severely shock a man like a taser, as seen in Batman: Arkham Knight #7, when he used it on one of the two Joker thugs, who kidnapped a family.[11]

The Arkham Knight's primary weapons are twin automatic handguns, which are able to combine and convert into a sniper rifle.

ReceptionEdit

The Arkham Knight's identity and character was met with a mixed reception from critics, as they felt Todd being the Knight was too predictable and contradicted Rocksteady's statements about him being an "original character." Many have said that the Arkham Knight identity was hardly different from Todd's Red Hood persona.

IGN stated, "when the Arkham Knight was unmasked, I felt deceived – not in the good “Ah, you got me!” way, like when you’re fooled by the characters or an unreliable narrator a la Verbal Kent [sic], but in the bad way, where I’d been duped to by the storytellers themselves."[12] Pete Haas of Cinemablend said, "The issue is that Todd fits too well. The developers could have done more to make the Arkham Knight's identity a secret. They could have tried to throw us off by teasing other characters that could be Arkham Knight. Or they could have just downplayed the similarities between Arkham Knight's costume and Red Hood's, or Batman and Arkham Knight's. Or he could've used a voice modulator that made him sound less like a twenty-something American. If you think Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight before you start playing the game, the game does nothing to challenge that assumption. That's an issue."[13]

Some outlets, like Game Informer, praised Todd's reveal, calling it "satisfying" and "the mother of all twists".[14] VideoGamer.com also gave a positive response to the "who is it?" nature surrounding the Knight throughout the game.[15]

Gamesradar also took note that the torture scenes and Red Hood DLC made it easier to predict the twist. "Honestly, in the torture scenes, I'm certain that everyone who predicted Jason Todd before the game came out went, "Yeah, it's definitely him," in that moment. The pre-order DLC featuring Todd’s Red Hood persona was arguably a clue, too (or, looking at it from another side, a brave bluff)."[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT – GENESIS #1 & #124". Dccomics.com. 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  2. ^ a b Owen, Phil (March 27, 2014). "Meet Arkham Knight: the new Batman character created by Rocksteady". VG247. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Scharr, Jill (March 27, 2014). "Batman: Arkham Knight Producer Reveals More Story Insight, New Combat Features". Newsarama. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Dyce, Andrew (March 2014). "Who Is 'The Arkham Knight'? Batman's New Enemy Revealed". Game Rant. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  5. ^ Arkham Knight Novelization
  6. ^ Kato, Matthew (July 23, 2014). "Play As The Red Hood In Batman: Arkham Knight including his also the main villain of the story Arkham Knight". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  7. ^ Batman: Arkham Knight
  8. ^ Batman: Arkham Knight #1 (February 2015)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Get one step closer to uncovering the Arkham Knight's identity with Rocksteady's inside scoop". GamesTM. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Batman: Arkham Knight #3 (March 2015)
  11. ^ Batman: Arkham Knight #7 (April 2015)
  12. ^ Stapleton, Dan. "SPOILERS! MY PROBLEM WITH THE ARKHAM KNIGHT'S IDENTITY".
  13. ^ Haas, Pete. "Why Batman: Arkham Knight's Twist Ending Was Way Too Predictable".
  14. ^ Reiner, Andrew (June 19, 2015). "Batman: Arkham Knight - The Sum Of All Fears". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  15. ^ Miller, Simon (June 19, 2015). "Batman: Arkham Knight Review". VideoGamer.com. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  16. ^ Roberts, Sam. "Arkham Knight's reveal is the weak link in a great Batman story".