Open main menu

The Arkham Knight is a fictional supervillain appearing in various forms of media based on DC Comics, most notably serving as the titular antagonist in Rocksteady Studios' 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight. The persona debuted in the prequel comic book Batman: Arkham Knight #1 (February 2015), before receiving 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
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman: Arkham Knight #1
Created byRocksteady Studios
DC Comics (Geoff Johns)
In-story information
Alter egoJason Todd
PartnershipsScarecrow
Deathstroke
Abilities
Arkham Knight

Depicted as the commander of a vast militia of mercenaries, the Arkham Knight harbors a deep-rooted grudge against Batman and fully intends to kill the vigilante after making him suffer. To this end, he allies himself with the Scarecrow and provides a military presence in the evacuated Gotham City 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 and trained in all forms of combat by the vigilante Batman before assuming the mantle of the second "Robin" after Dick Grayson’s departure. Jason was ultimately captured by the Joker, who sent a video to the Dark Knight of Jason's apparent death. The Joker lied about killing Jason, however, and was revealed to have held him in an abandoned wing of Arkham Asylum for over a year to break his sanity.[5] When 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. Having succeeded in turning Jason against his nemesis, the Joker set him free, allowing Todd to start planning his revenge on Batman for abandoning and replacing him. Jason formed his own army of mercenary soldiers in Venezuela that he personally trained in Batman's methods. He then utilized advanced technology to develop a high-tech militaristic battle suit and adopted the identity of the "Arkham Knight", a ruthless supervillain and militia leader.

The Joker's death during the events of Batman: Arkham City left a power vacuum in Gotham City’s criminal underbelly. As crime rates plummeted without the Clown Prince of Crime's iron grip over the city's criminals, the Arkham Knight surfaced and forged an alliance with the Scarecrow. 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 forces to take complete control over the city.

Batman first encounters the Arkham Knight at ACE Chemicals whilst the latter provides an escort for Scarecrow to cover the entire eastern seaboard with fear gas. Seeking to make Batman suffer before meeting his demise, Scarecrow prevents the Arkham Knight from killing the crime-fighter. While Batman reduces the chain reaction in the central mixing chamber to stop the fear gas from being released, the Arkham Knight kidnaps Oracle from her clock tower and holds her hostage. When Batman tracks Oracle to a militia facility, the Arkham Knight corners and shoots the vigilante in the chest before leaving the scene. The Arkham Knight later assists Scarecrow in escaping Simon Stagg's airship with the fear toxin dispersing machine, "the Cloudburst”, which he attaches to his personal tank, though Batman ultimately manages to destroy the device with the Batmobile.

When Batman breaks into the militia's primary headquarters, the Arkham Knight confronts him in the excavator tunnels with a mining vehicle. The Arkham Knight destroys the Batmobile in the ensuing fight, which Batman narrowly escapes. As Batman attempts to save a captured Commissioner Gordon, the Arkham Knight reveals his true identity to Batman. Batman damages the Arkham Knight's visor during the confrontation, prompting Jason to discard it and reveal a red domed helmet underneath. Batman defeats Jason and 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. After Batman's alleged death during the 'Knightfall Protocol', Todd adopts the "Red Hood" persona and becomes a murderous vigilante who uses guns and lethal force. As Red Hood, he has a DLC storyline in which he hunts down 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 of Bruce Wayne, and his appearance is designed to mock and attack the Dark Knight on a psychological level. The Arkham Knight is the pinnacle of escalation; he is a physical, mental, and emotional threat to Batman.

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]

The Arkham Knight's psychosis is displayed in Batman: Arkham Knight #1, where he mercilessly executes 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 is a highly skilled military tactician who possesses expert knowledge of Batman's tactics and fighting style, which can be attributed to the fact that he was personally trained by the vigilante.[4] He is a master of hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, and marksmanship. The high tech militaristic battle suit that he wears further enhances his physical strength, speed, and durability. When Batman was ambushed by the Arkham Knight, the latter was able to knock the Dark Knight off his feet with one cobra punch.

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".