Many fans were disappointed with the Arkham Knight in Batman’s video game, but DC has really turned the character around in the comics.
Batman has one of the most extensive rogues galleries of any superhero, but not all of his villains are universally loved. Fans were particularly disappointed by the antagonist for the Batman: Arkham Knight video game, but the comics have since made some significant changes to the character that go a long way in fixing what didn’t work.
Released in 2015, Batman: Arkham Knight is the final installment of the Batman: Arkham video game series. While the game was mostly a success – one still receiving free updates five years later – many fans were unhappy with the game’s main villain, the titular Arkham Knight. This is partially because players were led to believe that the Arkham Knight would be a new, entirely original character, but it actually turned out to be Jason Todd. The Arkham Knight wound up being little more than a re-skin of the Red Hood, which was a major letdown for fans. Fortunately, DC decided to create a new Arkham Knight for the comics – one better than the original.
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In 2019, the Arkham Knight was introduced to DC’s main comics continuity in Detective Comics #1000 by Scott Snyder. The character shared the same name and overall appearance as the video game villain, but that’s about all they have in common. The new Arkham Knight’s identity is Astrid Arkham, a descendant of Arkham Asylum’s founder. Astrid was actually born during a riot in the asylum, when her mother Ingrid went into labor at the worst possible time. However, a group of inmates actually stepped in and protected Ingrid while she gave birth. Baby Astrid survived, but Ingrid was killed by a rogue Batarang, shaping Astrid’s belief that Batman isn’t a superhero at all, but the inmates of the asylum are redeemable. Astrid went on to start the Knights of the Sun, a cult dedicated to ridding Gotham of the Caped Crusader, and dubbed herself the Arkham Knight.
She may be a recent addition to DC’s library, but most already agree that Astrid’s Arkham Knight is the superior version of the character. Jason’s iteration was basically just Red Hood under a different name, while Astrid’s has a complex, original backstory – one that would have fit very well into the world of the games, which were already rooted in the Arkham mythos. Future State: The New Batman #1 also revealed that Astrid has a role to play in DC’s Future State, uniting Batman’s former adversaries against the oppressive Magistrate, forming the Knights of Arkham. After all, who better to rally the villains than the one hero who actually wants to see them rehabilitated?
Ultimately, Astrid is the better Arkham Knight because the name actually makes sense with her character. By giving Gotham’s villains a second chance, Astrid is truly living up to her family name, and has earned the title of Arkham Knight.
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