Gotham Knights Has A Batman Villain Problem

Gotham Knights Has A Batman Villain Problem

Like the vast majority of Batman-centric content in Warner Bros.’ cross-media endeavors, Gotham Knights has to contend with the fact that many of the Dark Knight’s best rogues have entered a state of oversaturation. In the last 10 years, the Joker alone managed to claw his way to the center of attention in several movies, video games, and TV shows. Gotham Knights’ roster of villains looks as though it will leave the Clown Prince of Crime on the sidelines, but the confirmation of Mr. Freeze and Penguin suggests the new adventure from WB Games Montréal has once more crafted a tale centered around A-list Batman adversaries. There is hope that a few lesser-known rogues receive a chance to shine, though, given the game itself is already diverting focus away from the Dark Knight.


Only a handful of foes have entered the spotlight in trailers for Gotham Knights, thus far, namely Mr. Freeze, Penguin, and the Court of Owls. The former two rogues could serve as small fry compared to the Court, however, considering Penguin’s monologue in Gotham Knights’ 2021 DC FanDome trailer which mentions the secret society’s unprecedented hold on Gotham City. Notably, references to the Elliot family indicate Hush may pop up in the new interactive adventure, as well. He, too, has featured prominently in media in the last decade or so, appearing in Batman: Arkham City, Arkham Knight, and Season 2 of The CW’s Batwoman series. Of course, the expectation is that the likes of Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and perhaps even the increasingly popular Black Mask will also make an appearance, which would further emphasize the notion that most of Batman’s top-tier villains already overstayed their welcome in the realm of video games.

Related: Gotham Knights Could Still Have A Playable Batman

The optimal way to solve the villain saturation issues that plague many a Dark Knight tale is by relying on more obscure foes. And make no mistake, the Batman mythos runs rampant with interesting antagonists who’ve yet to receive their due both in and outside of comics. For example, while Azrael featured among the side villains in the storylines of Batman: Arkham City and Arkham Knight, the character never lived up to his true potential, specifically with respect to his role as an heir to the cowl. The same holds true for enemies such as Clayface, Mad Hatter, Professor Pyg, and the League of Assassins – the latter of whom were the equivalent of cannon fodder in Batman: Arkham City.

Gotham Knights Should Feature Underused Batman Villains

Batman villain Deacon Blackfire

The Dark Knight’s mysterious death in the Gotham Knights universe undoubtedly places Gotham in a vulnerable position, making the already sordid city and its citizenry susceptible to influences from outside sources. Deacon Blackfire of Batman: The Cult fame could constitute one such figure. The character appeared as the antagonist of Batman: Arkham Knight’s “Lamb to the Slaughter” Most Wanted mission, yet his disuse in other media makes him a prime candidate for Gotham Knights’ gallery of Arkham-bound villains. In the Jim Starlin-written miniseries, The Cult’s Deacon Blackfire leads an underworld cult that targets the criminal element. Blackfire successfully breaks the Bat over the course of the story, then assumes control of Gotham before ultimately succumbing to a grisly fate.

With Gotham in disarray post-Batman’s death, the city’s more malleable minds may look to a figurehead in Gotham Knights, someone whose guidance inspires both hope and untold levels of carnage across the criminal underworld. Deacon Blackfire’s hypothetical secret operations could, thus, culminate in the deaths of numerous known malcontents, forcing playable members of the Bat-family to put their detective skills to the test. Suffice it to say, this oft-forgotten character would inject in Gotham Knights everything that makes for a quality interactive Batman adventure – grit, detective work, and disturbing twists and turns.

Gotham Knights Would Benefit From Lady Shiva

gotham knights batman villains problem lady shiva

Because she counts among the best, if not the best, martial artists in the DC Universe, it boggles the mind that Lady Shiva only appeared as a sort of ambiguous villain in Batman: Arkham Origins, the Arkhamverse’s vastly underrated prequel entry. But her minimal role in the 2013 action title exemplifies why she’d prove a perfect fit for a larger plot thread in Gotham Knights. Arkham Origins casts Lady Shiva as little more than a side character, an assassin hired by the Black Mask-disguised Joker to rid Gotham of the Bat. Still, the underlying reasons for her participation lay the groundwork for Ra’s al Ghul’s machinations in Arkham City.

Related: Gotham Knights Shows Batman Games Don’t Need The Dark Knight

If Batman’s sudden death in the events leading up to Gotham Knights creates a power vacuum in certain circles, Lady Shiva may want to fill the void. And perhaps such a turn would come at the behest of Ra’s, though it would be nice to see her operate independently of the League. Her connections to Gotham Knights’ Batman allies like Red Hood (Jason Todd) and Robin (Tim Drake), whereby she trained Tim and was once thought to be Jason’s mother, would make for intriguing interactions with the surviving members of the Bat-Family, too.

Other Bat-Family Rogues Would Be Perfect For Gotham Knights

gotham knights villain problem batman

Batman arguably boasts the most formidable rogues gallery in comics, but his protégés possess a fair few noteworthy adversaries of their own. Blockbuster, for all intents and purposes, slowly developed into Nightwing’s Kingpin equivalent during his solo comic in the 1990s, for example. In particular, Roland Desmond’s Blockbuster lords over Nightwing’s usual stomping grounds of Blüdhaven with impunity, ensuring the former Robin rarely enjoys a break from the unruly chaos of organized crime. Batman’s death and subsequent absence in Gotham Knights could very well encourage Blockbuster to cast his gaze beyond Blüdhaven’s city limits, and would reiterate that each of the Dark Knight’s allies has their own storied histories unconnected to Batman specifically.

Gail Simone-created character Mirror could similarly wreak havoc in Gotham with Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin left in charge of its protection. The gruesome killer debuted early in Simone’s New 52 Batgirl run, becoming one of the first criminals Barbara Gordon confronted after reclaiming her title as Batgirl. Mirror’s penchant for exacting justice by slaying those who survived courtesy of a miracle would likely make Batgirl a person of interest in the world of Gotham Knights. And if WB Games Montréal’s new open-world title features side missions whose structure resembles those of the Batman: Arkham series, Mirror could star in a questline rivaling Professor Pyg’s Most Wanted crime Batman solved in Arkham Knight.

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Brianna Reeves
(2097 Articles Published)

A Senior Writer on Screen Rant’s Game News team, Brianna Reeves graduated from Sam Houston Statue University in 2018 with a Master of Arts in English Literature. Brianna’s enthusiasm for games dates back to Mortal Kombat Trilogy on PlayStation 1, along with classics like MediEvil, Syphon Filter, and THPS2. However, Red Dead Redemption reinvigorated her love for the medium; hopefully, that passion reflects in the work she has contributed to Comic Book Resources, PlayStation LifeStyle, GVMERS, and Screen Rant.

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