The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul
"The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" is the name of an eight issue comic book crossover story arc published by DC Comics in 2007 and 2008. It involves the return of notable Batman villain Ra's al Ghul, and is his first appearance since his apparent death in "Batman: Death and the Maidens" in 2003. It also connects back to the "Batman and Son" storyline, which introduced Damian as the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul.
|"The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul"|
Duck jacket of the hardcover of "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul".
Art by Andy Kubert.
|Publication date||October 2007 – March 2008|
Ra's al Ghul
Talia al Ghul
Freddie E. Williams II
|Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul||ISBN 1-4012-1785-0|
The seeds for the story were planted in 2007's Batman Annual #26, which added some more background to the origin story of Ra's. The same week the first issue of the story came out, Robin Annual #7 served as a jumping off point with an interlude starring Damian.
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In Batman Annual #26, Talia al Ghul takes her son Damian Wayne to the Australian Outback where he is tutored in the secret history of his grandfather, Ra's al Ghul. Talia is unaware that a former servant of Ra's, an albino named White Ghost, plans to use Damian as a shell for the soul of Ra's to return to Earth. Realizing that this process would kill Damian, Talia saves her son from his fate at the last minute. However the essence of Ra's is still able to return to our plane of existence as a living corpse, still needing Damian to stabilize his form.
Damian runs to the Batcave to seek help from his father, Batman, but is met instead by Robin. When Damian pleads he doesn't want to fight and that Ra's has returned, Robin doesn't believe him and they fight, leading to Robin being knocked out and Damian running into Alfred in the manor, who believes Damian's story. Robin recovers and he and Damian continue to fight while outside Ra's League of Assassins ninjas surround and then infiltrate the manor. Meanwhile, in Asia, Batman manages to save Talia from being held captive by League ninjas and sets off after Ra's Al Ghul. As he does so, he radios Nightwing in New York, who uses Batman's Justice League teleport code to arrive at the Manor, taking out the Insect Girls - Tiger Moth, Dragonfly, and Silken Spider - who were hired by Talia to bring her Damian, and afterwards saves Alfred from being thrown out of a window and fights off many ninjas. Telling Alfred to prep a jet for travel to Asia, he heads into the Batcave to help Damian and Robin. During the battle, the ninjas tag the Insect Girls with poison darts and Nightwing is forced to give them an antidote at the expense of leaving Robin and Damian to be taken by the ninjas. He manages to save the three women, but the poison affects their brains, never to be fully functional again.
Robin and Damian are taken to Ra's in Tibet, but then fight their way through ninjas. Damian leaves Robin alone with Ra's Al Ghul who knocks Robin out after offering him a chance to bring his parents back to life. Meanwhile, outside Lhasa, Batman and Talia are getting closer to Ra's only to run into more of his henchmen, defeating them with help from I-Ching. Nightwing and Alfred arrive in Lhasa where they are met by Ubu and more league ninjas, who are quickly defeated by the duo. Batman, Talia, and I-Ching ascend a Lhasian mountain where they find a secret entrance to Ra's's headquarters. On meeting, Ra's and Batman begin to fight, but since Ra's body is already dead, nothing hurts him. He then brings out Robin and Damian, offering Batman a choice on which one's body he should take. Batman offers his own body, but Ra's refuses, craving a younger one.
Batman then offers to take Ra's to Nanda Parbat wherein lies the Fountain of Essence, much like the Lazarus Pit but with none of the dangerous after-effects. They travel there, but learn the temple is under attack by the Sensei, who is revealed as Ra's al Ghul's father, much to Batman's surprise. They manage to defeat his men, but when they fight him, Ra's is actually hurt by Sensei and he then engages Batman. The Sensei manages to break Batman's arm, blind him, and impale his chest with his cane, all in less than a minute. Batman, still determined, knocks Sensei into the Fountain of Life which kills him for not being a pure soul. The monks of Nanda Parbat check Ra's Al Ghul's body, but the spirit of Ra's possesses one monk's body and walks away. Batman, restored to full health and slightly de-aged after being soaked from the fountain, knows what Ra's has done and screams his name.
Elsewhere, Robin is still haunted by Ra's offer to restore his loved ones to life. In the midst of a battle with Ra's ninja, Robin breaks off in pursuit of the White Ghost, deciding that it is selfish of him to deny his parents and friends another chance at life. The White Ghost tells Robin that he can restore them, but only if Tim swears his undying loyalty to Ra's Al Ghul and forsakes Batman. Robin agrees, and is sent to a chamber with a Lazarus Pit to be "reborn". There he is confronted by I-Ching, who decides not to stand in his way, then Nightwing, who swears to stop him. In Nanda Parbat, Ra's new body starts rapidly decaying like the last one. As a symbol of his rebirth, he offers Batman his friendship, but is refused. Ra's retaliates by deploying his men to overpower Batman and capture Damian, who has arrived to try to help his father. Meanwhile, Talia searches for Damian only to eventually realise he is now in Nanda Parbat and Robin chooses to attack Nightwing, who evades the assault and analyzes the situation. During and in-between attacks, Robin debates with his adopted brother, as even though he only intends to collect a sample of the Pit's properties, he seems willing to ignore the moral and long-term implications of utilising such a dangerous resource. I-Ching eventually mediates through a combination of words and violence to stop the fight, stating that Robin is seeking balance and can only achieve it by weighing his losses against what he already possesses. Nightwing allows Robin to collect the sample, hoping he is trusting his younger brother to make the right choice, which Robin does, discarding the sample and is consoled by Nightwing.
The three find Talia and rendezvous with Alfred and the jet to fly to Nanda Parbat, where Ra's is about to claim Damian's body as his vessel at last. Batman intervenes to defend his son and the two begin to defend themselves when their reinforcements arrive in time. During the battle, the League lays waste to Nanda Parbat. Talia reacquires Damian when he chooses to assist Batman over escaping with her, knocking him out and escaping. The monks are saved but choose to seal themselves off totally from outsiders. Ra's life is finally preserved by White Ghost, actually his disowned son Dusan, who offers his "imperfect" body to finally win his father's respect. Dusan does not survive the body transfer and Ra's engages Batman in a duel. He is soundly defeated but the destruction of the temple and the intervention of the monks to banish Ra's from Nanda Parbat causes all parties to retreat. Aboard the jet with Dick, Tim and Alfred, Bruce ruminates on the value of family and chooses that as a celebratory toast when Alfred reminds him that it is Christmas.
Detective Comics #840 details the aftermath of "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" storyline. Ra's al Ghul, in his new body, moves his base of operations to Gotham City where it is revealed that a remnant of his son Dusan's consciousness still remains within him. This arrogance attributes to the brazen move to Gotham and a subsequent ninja attack on Batman, which indirectly leads to the discovery of a map of all the known Lazarus Pit locations across the globe. Batman then infiltrates Ra's al Ghul's new Gotham penthouse headquarters and easily defeats his horde of ninjas and Ra's himself. To ensure Ra's is not a constant threat within Gotham City, Batman comes up with the false identity of "Terry Gene Kase," and plants it along with credible photos, medical records and police records for both Blackgate Penitentiary and Arkham Asylum. Batman takes an unconscious Ra's directly to Arkham where it is believed he really is the prisoner "Terry Gene Kase," a criminal with multiple personality disorder who has just been transferred to Arkham to finish out multiple life sentences. Along with attaching false information and a false identity to Ra's al Ghul's file, Batman attaches a false prescription of potent medication that ensures slurred speech and next-to-zero mobility.
The story was featured in publication across the four main Batman-related titles, and ran through December 19, 2007. The creative teams for the four books and their corresponding parts in the story are:
- Batman #670-671 - Prelude and Part 4 by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel
- Robin #168-169 - Parts 1 and 5 by Peter Milligan and Freddie E. Williams II
- Nightwing #138-139 - Parts 2 and 6 by Fabian Nicieza and Don Kramer
- Detective Comics #838-840 - Parts 3, 7 and Epilogue by Paul Dini and Ryan Benjamin / Dustin Nguyen (artist)
All parts except Detective Comics #840 (Epilogue) were collected into one volume:
Detective Comics #840 can be found in:
- WW Chicago: Mike Marts on the Return of Ra's to Batman's World, Newsarama, September 10, 2007
- Interview with editor Mike Marts, IGN, September 13, 2007