Who is the Arkham Knight in Batman: Arkham Knight?
In case you hadn't heard, there's a new Batman video game coming out later this year. Batman: Arkham Knight will close out Rocksteady's trilogy on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this fall. While many of the familiar faces from Batman's rogues gallery will return, an entirely "new" villain dubbed Arkham Knight sits at the center of this sequel's story. Rocksteady is claiming this antagonist is someone we've never seen before, created solely for the video game. We're pessimistic about the truth in that claim, and have come up with a list of potential candidates to be hiding under that mask. So, just who is the Arkham Knight in Batman: Arkham Knight?
The Long Shots
Batzarro (Odds - a Xelplogoog:1)
Let's just go ahead and get this one out of the way early. There's no way Batzarro could be the Arkham Knight. Rocksteady has done a fairly good job of keeping the Arkham universe fairly grounded, and the Batman from Bizarro World (or Htrae, as it's called there) just doesn't jibe with the reality of the video game. Plus, adding Batzarro into the canon of Arkham means that Bizarro exists, and that Superman is somewhere out there in the Arkham-verse, too. Rocksteady's Arkham series does just fine focusing on Batman's world alone. Of course, that would also make Batzarro the perfect dark horse because no one expects him. At all.
Terry McGinnis (Odds - Not Disappointing Dana by Missing Another Million Dates:1)
"But Luke," you think. "How could the Batman from Batman Beyond's alternate future exist in the now timeline of Arkham Knight?" Well, because Terry McGinnis is just a name, and I definitely don't think the character himself has traveled back from the future to fight Batman under a different guise. That said, the outfit Arkham Knight wears is eerily reminiscent of the sleek Batman Beyond outfit Terry wears in the undisclosed future Gotham timeline in the animated show and the comics. Plus, Terry is going to be playing a part in the upcoming DC Comics weekly series Future's End, which means his star has never been brighter. Rocksteady could easily find a way to turn Terry into character relevant to its Arkham series. That said, he's an unlikely candidate given that nobody's heard from Will Friedle in years.
Thomas Wayne, Jr. (Odds - Three Licks to the Center of a Tootsie Pop:1)
There have been a few different Thomas Wayne, Jr. characters over the years at DC Comics. Most recently, Thomas Wayne, Jr. was resurrected in the New 52 as Batman's long lost brother, and member of the Court of Owls. All of the variations have a common theme running through the middle, and that's being Batman's opposite. Whether it's as Owlman from Earth-2, or as a Talon in the New 52, Thomas has seemingly always been an antithesis to the ideas of Bruce. What better foil than to turn into Arkham's new protector than Batman's own brother? Now, there hasn't been much hinted at in previous Arkham games about any other Wayne children. For what it's worth, each Arkham game from Rocksteady has teased its sequel in some form or another. Thomas would make a great entry into the series, but he also might be a bit too confusing to introduce this late into the ongoing narrative. Still, anything is possible.
Wrath (Odds - Six Other Deadly Sins:1)
One of the original anti-Batmen, Wrath arrived in the '80s to serve as a villain whose life was everything Bruce Wayne's was, except opposite. Criminal parents killed by cops? Check. Obsession with a life of crime and making law enforcement pay? Check. Cheap knock-off Batman costume? Triple check. He's been revamped and revived a few times over the years, and even has a New 52 iteration, but the basic gist is the same. Just about everything we've seen and heard so far about Arkham Knight has a slight tinge of Wrath's persona attached. The rip-off costume, the combativeness with Batman, the use of guns, all of it is definitely in line with what we've seen of Wrath in the comics. However, if they were going to use Wrath, it seems like Rocksteady would just actually call him Wrath. His nom de guerre might be a little too on the nose, but at least it's not as horribly pointed as Arkham Knight.
Jason Todd (Odds - 52 Fractured Universes:1)
We've seen Dick Grayson and Tim Drake introduced into the Arkham universe, so it would stand to reason Jason Todd also exists in the video game world. Though no mention of the second Robin, who fans voted to kill off by calling a 1-900 number, and was then subsequently resurrected when (sigh) a Superboy trapped between universes punched the walls of spacetime, thus causing ripples to travel through all of the DC worlds and bringing Jason Todd back to life in rather unceremonious fashion (end sigh), has been made in the Arkham games, most of the other Bat-family members have been brought in. That sentence is only one-tenth as convoluted as Jason Todd's amazing return to the world of the breathing. Still, Todd was trained by Batman, though he was a snot-nosed jerk, and his comic persona as Red Hood is much more fond of guns and cool jackets than Batman ever was, making him a potential contender for Arkham Knight. They'd still have to explain his entire history over the course of a game, and that doesn't seem very likely, but then again, the Arkham game narratives have never been the series' strongest points.
Prometheus (Odds - A Dozen Green Arrows to the Brain:1)
During the early 2000s, a new Injustice Gang was formed to battle the JLA, and its opposite number for Batman was a derpy dude called Prometheus. He's got a similar backstory to Wrath in that his parents were criminals who were killed, but this time, young Prometheus uses his family's hidden wealth to travel the world and train to be the very best, like no one ever was. He could probably hold his own in a fight, but ramps up his game by downloading all kinds of crazy fighting skills into his brain directly through his helmet. Arkham Knight also wears a helmet, and seemingly has some crazy fighting skills. Coincidence? Probably. Prometheus was actually bested numerous times by the JLA and Batman (shocking, we know), including the time Batman programmed Prometheus' helmet with the fighting skills of Stephen Hawking. You know, the brilliant professor with ALS? That said, he'd be a good foil, if not for the other two final candidates on this list.
Azrael (Odds - A Hundred Fleur de Lis:1)
Oh, Azrael. Way back when, Batman had his spine broken by Bane in the seminal storyline, "Knightfall." While out of commission, young protege Azrael stepped into the most '90s costume of all time (right next to Cyclops' and Jean Grey's X-Men outfits from the same era), and took up the mantle of the Bat. He was everything Bruce Wayne wasn't: a good character. Jean-Paul Valley has a laundry list of horrible comic book backstory B.S., but that didn't stop the character of Azrael from appearing in Batman: Arkham City. He showed up to ominously warn Batman about a big cataclysmic event about to befall Gotham, and still wearing one of the dopiest costumes ever invented by a human being. Azrael makes some Mummers look normal by comparison. Now, his appearance in Arkham City made some semblance of sense, and we could definitely see him taking the safety of Gotham like, so super serious you guys, more than Batman. Enough to take on a new moniker? That remains to be seen.
Hush (Odds - Even Stevens)
This is unequivocally the man we're putting all the money on in Vegas, baby. We've covered it fairly extensively before, and so have our good friends over at Comics Alliance. Hush appeared in Arkham City as a sidequest, but he escaped from Gotham before all the mayhem broke loose. Never caught by Batman, the man formerly known as Thomas Elliot was once best bros with Bruce Wayne. Then he kind of cracked, chased the butterfiles all over crazytown and got plastic surgery to look like Bruce Wayne (hence the bandaged face). While his final grand plan was never seen in action in Arkham City, we've got a strong suspicion that's just what's going to go down in Arkham Knight. With that big helmet covering his face, we'd probably never be able to tell Hush has adopted the guise of a hero until the last moments of the game, when Batman dramatically rips the helmet from his face to find Bruce Wayne underneath. Cue dun, dun, duuuuunnnn. Players everywhere lose their respective s---, Rocksteady looks like bad-asses to everyone who never read a comic, and Arkham Knight is revealed as Hush all along. Computer, run IToldYouSo.Exe.