Tag Archive: rocksteady


Three years after the game’s release, players are still finding hidden messages from Calendar Man in Batman: Arkham City.

Julian Gregory Day, a.k.a. Calendar Man, is best known for committing crimes centered on holidays, seasons, and anniversaries. He first appeared in Detective Comics #259 (September 1958) and was long considered a joke villain until he was reimagined by Jeph Loeb in Batman: The Long Halloween. This more sinister take on the character would follow him into Batman: Dark Victory, the 80 Page Giant Batman Special Edition “All the Deadly Days”, and, of course, the Batman: Arkham series.

Locked away beneath Arkham City’s courthouse, Calendar Man would taunt Batman even though he was trapped inside a cell for the entire game. If you approached him on various holidays throughout the year in Arkham City, his dialogue would change as he recounted some past crimes. If you did this once a month for 12 months on specific holidays, you’d unlock an achievement in the game.

Fans of the game, however, have not stopped grilling the cryptic criminal, even three years since its release. After a mysterious YouTube channel—which many fans think is actually a dummy account for series developer Rocksteady—uploaded a clip titled “Arkham City Secret?” where Calendar Man was seen spouting never before heard dialogue before it faded to black halfway through, fans sprung into action to unlock the riddle of how to trigger it themselves.

Several days later, it seems the Batman Arkham Videos channel on YouTube has solved the mystery. By setting your console or PC’s calendar to December 13, 2004, and then visiting Calendar Man, the dialogue starts. The significance of this date is that is when Rocksteady was founded.

To hear the new dialogue, you can check out the video below, but it once again features cryptic messages talking about the beginning and the end of things. Could it tie into Batman: Arkham Knight somehow? We’ll have to wait until June 2, 2015, to find out.

Batman: Arkham Knight will be available for purchase on June 2, 2015, and will also have two different collector’s editions, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced this morning.

The first collector’s edition is the Limited Edition and includes an 80-page art book full of concept art, a unique SteelBook case with the game, a limited edition comic, three skins from DC’s New 52, and a Batman Memorial Statue. This entire package will cost $99.99.

The second collector’s edition is the Batmobile Edition and will include everything as the Limited Edition, except the Batman Memorial Statue is replaced by a fully transformable Batmobile statue by Triforce and will retail for $199.99.

The final chapter in Rocksteady’s Batman trilogy (Arkham Origins was done by Warner Bros. Montreal) was originally scheduled for release sometime this fall before being delayed earlier this year. There were then rampant rumors, including some started by the voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, which had the game looking at a Q1 2015 release. WBIE put all the speculation to rest, though, with this announcement.

Batman: Arkham Knight will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

The Dark Knight returns

Everyone who knows me understands that I am one of the biggest Batman fans around. I spit out comic book storyline recaps like they were scripture and swear by all things The Dark Knight. So, when Warner Bros. announced Batman: Arkham Knight—and the return of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City developer Rocksteady to the franchise—my elation could hardly be contained.  My feelings of ecstasy only intensified, however, when I was finally allowed to see a half-hour of the game at GDC last week.

With bated bat-breath I watched as Rocksteady devs showed us what they’d been working on as their first project for the new generation of consoles (and PC). The Scarecrow threatens Gotham with a WMD that would flood the streets with a new, highly potent brand of his trademark fear toxin. After evacuating millions of people out of Gotham, all that remains is a skeleton police force, the criminals who want to take advantage of the mayhem, and the Batman.  But Batman isn’t alone in the shadows. In addition to Rogues Gallery mainstays like Two-Face, Penguin, and Riddler, a new villain, the Arkham Knight, emerges.

Although Rocksteady isn’t divulging too much info about the Arkham Knight himself just yet, we do know a couple of facts. First, he’s a brand new character, and he’s making his DC Universe debut in the game. We can see from pictures that he brandishes a large pistol and has taken on a motif similar to Batman’s (pointy ears, chest plate). His “anti-Batman” description also gives him an air that reminds me of the comic book villains Wrath and Prometheus. Whoever he is under that mask, we saw him get the drop on Batman during the demo, so I’m sure he’ll be quite the adversary over the course of the game.

After running through the basic plot points, we finally got to see Batman in action once again. New-gen tech has allowed for a bevy of upgrades and we got to see many of them in action. The biggest change is how Batman gets around. We finally get to drive the Batmobile. A major gameplay pillar this go around, the Batmobile is essential in helping Batman navigate a world that is 20 times larger than Arkham Asylum. But, as brand marketing producer Dax Ginn told us, the Batmobile isn’t the whole game.

“We wanted to be very confident and sure that we didn’t add the Batmobile and it suddenly just felt like a driving game or a driving bolt-on. That was something that was really, really important to us,” Ginn explains. “So, we’ve integrated Batman’s abilities and the Batmobile’s abilities, so that it very much feels like it’s a man and his machine, the integration between the two. You can eject out of the Batmobile to gain insane height, and that sort of augmentation of Batman’s gliding ability is the perfect example of how the Batmobile complements Batman’s features. There’s a lot more the Batmobile can do, but the way Batman gets into the Batmobile, gets out of the Batmobile—those things have really been designed to feel very natural and very organic.”

And from what he showed us, the Batmobile did seem to be more of a complement than the entire experience. In one segment, it launched the Caped Crusader into the night sky allowing Batman to effortlessly glide onto the roof of the building he needed to infiltrate. When Batman was ready to move onto his next objective across town, with a single button press, the Batmobile came roaring around a corner and Batman dropped into the driver’s seat, seamlessly, as Batman then raced off to his next destination. The player was in control the entire time. But between these segments there was still plenty of gliding, fighting, and case solving for the Dark Knight to do.

Also, it should be noted the Batmobile could be used for more than just catapults and driving around town. There are car-chase sequences where Batman can fire debilitating missiles to stop runaway criminals and even Riddler rooms dedicated solely to pushing the Batmobile—and your reflexes—to the limit.

“The role [Riddler] had in Arkham City, he’s more of an engineer. Very physical, constantly covered in a layer of grime, and so we wanted to think about what he would do next, where would he take the motivations he had in the previous game,” Dax says. “Integrating that with the Batmobile was an interesting design choice because he can achieve so much, even just as one guy, but it really comes down to the focus we put on the Batmobile. Driving through Gotham feels incredible, but there’s so much that it can do that the Riddler caves give us an opportunity to design puzzles that are specifically there to push the Batmobile to it’s limits, so we can really give gamers the opportunity to experience the Batmobile in all of its insane facets, not just driving incredibly quickly on the flat. You can drive up walls, drive on the ceilings, but that’s not so easy to do in the open world of the city. But the Riddler circuits can be anything, so that’s where it really starts to get fun and interesting.”

So, yes, the Batmobile can drive up walls. It is confirmed. I saw it do so, and it was amazing. But Batman’s car isn’t the only thing that’s tricked out in Arkham Knight. Gotham’s Guardian has a few new tools as well. In combat, Batman can now utilize the environment, like smashing a thug’s head through a car window, to get instant knockouts.  He can also finally use his gadgets while gliding to get even more of a drop on unsuspecting ne’er-do-wells. And speaking of gliding, the precision while doing so has been increased so Batman can even do 180-degree turns midflight.

Batman: Arkham Knight is looking great—but with only a small taste of the full game so far, I’m eager to see if Rocksteady’s plans indeed pan out. Still, if there’s anyone I trust to make a Batman game, it’s them, so I have faith they’ll be able to deliver on their promises of the best Arkham game yet. Knowing the care and detail that came off in this demo, it’s hard not to believe they’ll come through for Bat-fans everywhere in the end.

Rocksteady has confirmed that no multiplayer mode will be present in Batman: Arkham Knight. 

Even though last year’s disappointing Batman: Arkham Origins had a versus multiplayer component handled by Brink developer Splash Damage to go along with Warner Bros. Montreal’s sad attempt at a prequel, Arkham Knight game director Sefton Hill has already gone on record saying that won’t be the case with this game.

“[Arkham Knight] is a single player game. There is no multiplayer. Right at the start this was our vision.  It’s going to take all of our effort for all of this time. We don’t have the time to do multiplayer,” Hill told Game Informer (via VideoGamer).

“We want to focus on making the best single player experience we can. We don’t feel that it needs a multiplayer element. Warner Bros. backed that up right at the start.”

I don’t know about the rest of you Bat-fans out there, but I, for one, am thrilled by this announcement, as the multiplayer in Origins felt tacked on and completely unnecessary. Thank goodness the franchise is back in Rocksteady’s trusted hands.

Batman: Arkham Knight is due out sometime later this year for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

A lot of comics came out this week, but not too much really stood out as special for me and I’m even tempted to start removing some titles from my pullbox. Action Comics and Red Lantern continue to be mediocre for different reasons…Action has too much going on and Red Lantern doesn’t have enough. Marvel also saw some new monthlies start like The Defenders, but it really just concentrated on forming the team more than anything. So it actually ended up being a good week comparably for the Indies. Spawn, Mega Man, and Last of the Greats were all very solid. But only the most spectacular of all these made it into this week’s Pullbox.

1) Marvel – X-Men #22: A team of Cyclops’ X-Men continue to work with War Machine to track down several dozen Sentinels and hopefully prevent the start of World War III erupting in Eastern Europe.

I love this story arc featuring the return of the Sentinels and seeing the X-Men trying to take down the giant tin cans again. This issue in particular sees the action and the consequences of that action really amp up as the X-Men know that if they don’t disarm the small fleet of giant robots, that the entire world could fall apart. We also see Domino work her way back into the fold and surprisingly see Jubilee really start to contribute with her new vampiric powers showing off some increased agility, strength, and speed. If you’re an X-Men fan, especially an old-school one, the ending only hints at more great action coming up and now is a great time to get on board if you aren’t already.

2) Marvel – Venom #10: Now that the events of Spider-Island are behind everyone, Flash Thompson, the current Venom, has to get back to work as a covert ops agent. Unfortunately for him, the Crime-Master has other ideas and with Betty and the rest of Flash’s family in Crime-Master’s number one henchman, Jack-O-Lantern’s sights, Flash has no choice, but to listen, even if that means going through Captain America to do it.

Going back to the early themes of this monthly, pitting Venom against Captain America in this issue really helps re-establish Venom as the anti-hero he is meant to be. This issue gets everything right back on track after being derailed by the mediocre Spider-Island story line and if you missed the first nine issues, now is the perfect time to get on board as you can pick everything up pretty much from here and expect things to trend upward drastically.

3) DC – Animal Man #4: Animal Man’s family has been split up and he is just starting to become aware of what he and his family mean to the Red and what they have to do to hold back the Rot. The question though is can Animal Man and his daughter come to grips with their lofty responsibility before the Rot gets to the rest of the family?          

I wasn’t very high on Animal Man to start with, but now as things are starting to come together for a cross over between Swamp Thing and Animal Man as Swamp Thing, representing the Green and plant life, and Animal Man, representing the Red and wildlife, will have to combine their forces to put down the Rot. It is a move that makes sense and helps bolster characters that might not be strong enough to really sustain monthlies as originally suspected as they don’t really have the enemies that define them like so many other great DC characters. It’ll be more interesting to see where both characters go from here, but for now this is the perfect place to get on board for both comics as they build towards what could be an entertaining event between the two monthlies.

4) DC – Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #3 (of 5): After the passing of his mother, The Penguin is lost, but finds a kindred spirit one faithful day while visiting the penguins at the Gotham Zoo. Now Penguin has a new person to obsess over and to use his criminal enterprise to gather pretty little baubles for.     
      
This mini-series has been a great look at the psychology of the Penguin the whole way through and to see him find an unlikely love was an interesting twist. But it is only a matter of time I’m sure before the Penguin’s true nature reveals itself and he will end up alone again as the Dark Knight is always lurking in the shadows. With two issues left though it is going to be very interesting to see how everything unfolds as the Penguin isn’t one to go quietly when everything of his is threatened, as we’ve seen time and again in this series as he destroys the life of all those who choose to look down on him in the most creative of ways.

5) IDW – Raphael: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (One-Shot): Even after being re-united with his brothers, Raphael doesn’t feel completely comfortable with the family yet. So when the Turtles go on their nightly patrols, Raphael uses Wednesdays to go out with Casey Jones still as he feels closer to Casey in some instances. Just what kind of trouble can these two get into? A lot more than should possible in a on-shot.                    

This issue is massive for old-school Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans in terms of the new monthly as it introduces Bebop and Rocksteady (pre-mutated) as well introduces a brand new character into the fold, which makes me suspect we can start to see an all-out mutant vs. mutant war at some point with new and interesting animals being mutated and although he has been hinted at, we still haven’t even seen Shredder. I can only imagine what a revamped 2012 version of Shredder could look like as whether a bumbling 80s cartoon villain or the cold-blooded master of the Foot Ninja, he is still one of the most iconic villains out there. This one-shot is a must have and be sure to look for the alternate covers if you’re a true collector!

“Wait’ll they get a load of me…”

Comic book fans are easily some of the most rabid fans out there. Maybe it’s because of the history, maybe it’s the appeal of the characters, maybe it’s because of a lack of social skills developed in their mom’s basement, but whatever the reason, whenever something features comic book characters, the fans tear it apart. Well, good luck finding fault with this one. And trust me, being a fan myself, I tried.

Batman: Arkham City is easily the greatest fan service a comic book game could ever possibly be. Fans who had concerns over how the story line tied together or whether too many villains might be featured, need not concern themselves anymore. The way the story flows and introduces you to Hugo Strange, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Deadshot, Zsasz, and all the other villains in Arkham City, could only be described as water it flows so smooth. The game has such a natural plot progression that your biggest problem may be just finding the time to finish it because if you do even a portion of the side quests like where you team up with Bane or simply wish to hunt for a few Riddler trophies then you’re going to be looking at a 40-50 hour experience. That’s almost unheard of for an action/adventure game, but somehow Batman: Arkham City finds a way to keep surprising you to the point where you might just start sitting on the floor so that when you keep dropping your controller it won’t fall as far. The guys at Rocksteady should be applauded for this new Batman universe they have created while also making it still feel like Batman.

Really though the biggest reason why the game is so great comes down to the variety and execution in the game play. There are a plethora of problems for Batman to solve using all of his different gadgets and abilities and unlike in Arkham Asylum where some gadgets were favored more than others, every gadget will get a workout here. Whether expertly trying to pilot your remote-controlled batarang through air ducts too small for Batman to fit through to hit a switch on the other side of a locked gate, to using your grappling hook to pull together platforms to solve tricky Penguin puzzles, every gadget will be pushed to the limit, and not to spoil anything, but there are a lot more gadgets this time around.

The gadgets are also a huge part of combat now, which is another feature that has seen a facelift. Now, via some hot key combos, Batman can whip out his grappling hook, batarangs, and other goodies on the fly and throw them in the face of unsuspecting foes to pull off some really stunning combos like using the grappling hook to pull distant thugs in for a devastating clothesline. Also, aside from the standard punches and counters and these new gadget moves, Batman has new special moves that can take foes out of the fight instantly when his combo gets high enough, catch items thrown at him and throw them back with a well-timed counter, capitalize on the tremendous environment physics to put walls and railings more to his advantage, and even unlock special crowd control moves that can even up the odds on those 30 on 1 fights that you’ll occasionally run into. Basically, if we’ve seen Batman do it in a movie or comic book before, he can do it in the game and few things feel as good as quick grappling an enemy over a banister and hearing him scream for his mommy before being knocked out.

Another aspect of the first game that has been tweaked is the leveling up, RPG elements. You start the game off with a good amount of gadgets and moves, but like in the first game, the further you progress and more stuff you do, the more gadgets and combos you unlock as it goes with the story and then upgrade as you see fit. In the end, most people should have many, if not all of the upgrades, but it does give you some options in just how you would play as Batman in order to help craft a more personal experience.

Now, for many people, the only real negatives from the first game were the linearity and Detective Mode being used as a crutch. I’m happy to say that both problems have been solved. In order to counter people wanting to stay in Detective Mode, things away from where your focus should be have become more blurred, forcing players to only use it when examining a crime scene, following a blood trail, or when scoping out a room full of thugs. The bright neon lights of Gotham also wreak havoc with Detective Mode really making sure that when you’re outdoors, you take in Gotham in all it’s downtrodden glory. The linearity has also been fixed with the bevy of previously mentioned side missions and having several objectives open at once so that you can solve cases at your own leisure, go explore for Riddler trophies, or just do what I did for the first half-hour I played the game, glide around on my cape and just take in Gotham staples like the Monarch Theater, Ace Chemicals, and Park Row.

Now, one knock might be that there is no co-op multiplayer since if you squint really tightly you might see potential for it, but the character really isn’t built for that, especially in this story. You can already play as other characters to mix things up, which the Catwoman levels are just as fun as the main game and give you a whole new look to Arkham City for the short sections you play as her by the way. But, honestly, Batman is at his best when he is the center of attention and Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, and the rest of the Bat-family are just on the sides providing occasional support from the wings. And Batman and his rogues are the biggest reason why anyone plays this game. Would anyone really play a Nightwing game with him taking on Professor Pyg? The challenge maps return, of course, and trying to work your way up the leaderboards and build the best combo is still fun and choosing different characters there works, but Batman is a loner and so the main vein of this game, which is the campaign, is in all its glory with you just focusing in and playing as Batman.

When all is said and done, throw in the amazing voice acting from Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Maurice LaMarche, Tara Strong, and the rest of the cast, and without giving away the brilliantly written plot (thank you Paul Dini), all I can say is that this is the single greatest comic book game I’ve ever played. It plays so well that I can easily recommend this to anyone without even thinking about it.

SUMMARY: Batman: Arkham City is easily the greatest fan service a comic book game could ever possibly be.

  • THE GOOD: The most comprehensive comic book game I’ve ever played
  • THE BAD: So many “Oh my God!” moments you keep dropping your controller
  • THE UGLY: The seedy underbelly of Gotham all in one spot

SCORE: 10

Oh, it’ll be a hot one in the ol’ town tonight!

Riddle me this. How do you top one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time while appeasing one of the more rabid comic fan bases to have ever existed. Answer: Batman: Arkham City. At least that’s what the folks at Rocksteady are hoping, but from what I’ve seen in some hands-on demos, I don’t think they have much to worry about now that we’re less than a month away from launch.

So what exactly have they done to make this game so much better than Arkham Asylum? Well, how about more villains, more heroes, a larger open-world, more gadgets, and the return of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Paul Dini as the script writer? And that’s just scratching the surface.

What I first noticed with my hands-on demo though was that I surprisingly started playing as Catwoman. Many people feared this addition when the announcement was made that you would play as her, but after clearing a room full of thugs with her before cracking a safe, rest assured fellow Bat-fans that it feels good. She has a faster and lighter feel compared to how Batman moves while also falling into the same control scheme of mixing attacks with well-timed counters. It also fits in with the early plot of the game as the cat looks to help the bat in his war on Arkham City’s inmates before she is captured by Two-Face.

Once I donned the cape and cowl though, the whole game literally changed in terms of perspective and feel as I was moved to a Gotham rooftop and although some of the guys from Rocksteady were encouraging me to go do mission objectives, I had a spectacular time just gliding from rooftop to rooftop and using my bat-line to pull me up when I miscalculated the length of a gap. When they say this world is five times larger than the last, they meant it as Gotham felt almost intimidating in its size and scale. It was this fear of being consumed by the nooks and crannies of this massive digital megalopolis that I concurred with the prodding of our PR handlers and headed into a building.

It was here that much of the last game began to flood back to me as I perched high above a room filled with Two-Face thugs. As I listened to Big Bad Harv rant and rave, I began planning how I would take down the room full of foes. Once Two-Face had moved on, it was time to make my move and as I leapt from the perch and onto my first victim, I found that a couple of key additions had been added to the combat.

The first is the ability to use items and gadgets without breaking your combat flow at all. Throwing batarangs and detonating small packets of explosive gel to help dictate where I wanted my foes to go so I could get the largest combo possible all while countering, kicking, and punching others in my nearby vicinity made it look like Batman was moving almost like water through the group as every movement made perfect sense and optimized my combat experience like nothing I had ever seen.

The next addition to combat actually came on the side of the low-rank villains I was facing as their A.I. has improved greatly from the last game as they picked up pipes and chairs for weapons and trash can lids or broken car doors for shields. Enemies also would occasionally throw these weapons at you and now Batman could catch them in mid-air and use the item’s momentum to hurl it back to its original chucker or into the face of a different enemy in Batman’s vicinity. All in all, what was already probably the best action/adventure combat system in gaming looks like it took the next step forward and kicked it up a notch.

But I was far from finished as a sniper shot pierced a window and we got to play with Detective Mode once again as Batman begin tracing the trajectory and calculating just who could have fired the shot. We soon tracked down the location and was met by an unexpected fan-favorite, Harley Quinn. She warned Batman to stay out of the Joker’s way as he had big plans for Arkham City.

I was paying more attention to how Harley said things than what she said though. For those who are unaware, this is a rare time where Harley Quinn is being voiced by someone other than Arleen Sorkin. Luckily it is voice over veteran Tara Strong who Batman fans may know better as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl from Batman: The Animated Series or even maybe as Raven from Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans. It was definitely different though as Sorkin’s ditzy but dangerous was replaced by a slightly more serious and seductive tone by Strong. This could work as supposedly with the Joker nearly incapacitated from his high exposure to the Titan formula in the first game, Quinn has had to step up her game for the sake of her ailing puddin’, but hardcore fans might be taken aback at first. Still though, she is in the hands of the man who created her in Paul Dini so I have faith that the character will rise above it all in the end.

Speaking of the voice cast though, a superior job was done by all involved so far from what I heard in terms of many of the villains and heroes. Of course, Kevin Conroy, also of B:TAS fame returns to play the Dark Knight and Mark Hamill, in what he has stated as being his last time doing it, returns to play the Joker. On top of this, the hardest working man in video game voiceovers, Nolan North, shocked me when I found out he was playing the Penguin of all characters, but he did an alright job with it. Doing a bit of a cockney accent definitely helped as I don’t think his Nathan Drake voice would have worked here. The Penguin’s dark and twisted design this time around is also something that needs to be seen on a screen to be believed as his classic monocle has been replaced by a beer bottle that was jammed into his face and smoking cigars and cigarettes all those years has left him with an advanced voice box. Beautifully twisted and dark indeed.

I’ve also been really impressed with Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Freeze, best known as The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, Egon in The Real Ghostbusters, and, well, he’s basically had one role or another in every major cartoon of the past thirty years. Although only seeing him in trailers, I wanted to mention what an awesome touch I think Maurice is bringing to the character in the few lines I’ve heard and I thought it was a stroke of genius by the sound guys to make him sound so normal when he has his helmet open, and so mechanical when he closes it up.

With our demo all but done, so many questions were answered, but even more were popping into my head. How deep does the conspiracy go? What does Batman do to disprove to Hugo Strange that he and Bruce Wayne are one and the same? What unannounced villains will rear their head? How will the fights against the likes of Mr. Freeze and the Riddler go down? How will displaced villains like the Penguin from the Iceberg Lounge and Black Mask from Sionis Industries affect the landscape? Will we get to drive the Batmobile?! What will happen to the Joker in the long term?! I’m getting amped up just thinking about it! All I know for sure is that we here at EGM are going to be covering this game like a Kevlar glove with triangular fins so you had better stay tuned to our coverage here for more on this Game of the Year contender. Same Bat-EGMNow.com time, same Bat-EGMNow.com channel!

What are you all looking most forward to about Batman Arkham City? What other questions do you still have about the game? What has you most excited about the game’s release? What unannounced surprises do you think they have in store for us? Let us know with comments below!

World’s Finest Assassin comes to Arkham City

THE BUZZ: Yet another foe in Batman’s lengthy Rogues Gallery has been added to Arkham City. This time, the World’s Finest Assassin, Deadshot, has been revealed by Rocksteady Games and confirmed by GTTV’s Geoff Keighley as being the latest addition within the city’s walls. Interestingly enough though, Batman is not Deadshot’s initial target, but if he gets in the way of the assassin’s hits, I’m sure Batman will make the list soon enough. Expect screens and trailers of The Man Who Never Misses as they become available.

EGM’S TAKE: A surprising choice to say the least as Deadshot’s inconsistent personality over the years depending on who has written him has led him to have a small following at best compared to many of Batman’s more iconic villains. After hearing that a new villain was to be revealed, I personally had predicted the unveiling of the Mad Hatter, especially as Paul Dini’s 5-issue comic mini-series branching Arkham Asylum to Arkham City and published by DC Comics showed classic Hatter henchmen The Carpenter and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in its final pages within the confines of the city. Not to say they won’t be there in the end, but Deadshot was definitely a shock as a diehard Batman fan, especially with his new, toned down design in lieu of his typical body armor and helmet seen in the comics. The simplified look is being played off that Deadshot needed to sneak into Arkham City to complete his hits and so he posed as a more common inmate, but the cockiness of the character rarely puts him out of his traditional body armor for long so this haphazard hand-me-down was a bit disappointing to see, but those wrist cannons look like they can get the job done no matter how second hand they may be.

If curious to know more about Deadshot, check out my full profile of him over at the EGM Geek Now page by clicking here.

The Man Who (Almost) Never Misses

Deadshot first appeared back in June of 1950 in Batman #59 and was created by original Batman creator Bob Kane along with fellow writer David Vern Reed and artist Lew Sayre Schwartz. This powerhouse classic creative team makes it even more surprising that Deadshot never really caught on with fans considering he is one of Batman’s oldest villains, coming to life years before many other Batman Rogues Gallery mainstays like Mr. Freeze (1959), Poison Ivy (1966), or Ra’s Al Ghul (1971).

As his origin goes, Deadshot, real name Floyd Lawton, was the younger of two brothers and grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Edward. So as Edward walked around being the hero, Floyd decided to be the villain and was a problem child from an early age because of it. That is until one day the boys’ mother asks the pair of them to kill their father. Edward accepts this request but Floyd refuses to kill his own father and so Edward locks him in the shed behind the house. Floyd breaks out and to save his father, picks up a rifle (that is so conveniently lying around) and climbs a tree. He looks in the window of the house and sees Edward ready to shoot his father. Floyd attempts to shoot the gun out of his brother’s hand but at the last moment the branch upon which Floyd was perched, snaps, and he accidentally shoots and kills his own brother. Floyd has lived, as he sees it, a “meaningless” lifestyle from then on.

Deadshot’s lack of popularity, aside from a rather weak origin story, more often comes from being inconsistently written over the years. Originally created as a “mirror image” style villain, Deadshot posed as another Gotham crime-fighter alongside Batman, but really only had machinations to replace Batman so then no one would get in his way and he could do what he wanted with the city. When the illusion of him being on the side of good fell away, Deadshot turned to the underworld and attempted to become the top dog of Gotham’s underbelly, but he never had the leadership qualities needed to keep that many criminals in line and was easily brought to justice by Batman and Commissioner Gordon.

It wasn’t until his next story line that he took on the mantle of a hired gun, which is what he is best known for, where he joined Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad and the character developed a bit of a conscience, taking several hits that he failed to carry out including another confrontation with Batman who infuriated Lawton by insinuating that he pulls his shots around him. Unable to concentrate after being psychoanalyzed, Batman again defeated Deadshot, but he rejoined Waller’s squad after she pulled some of her many government contact strings.

His next character shift comes after he leaves the Suicide Squad and suddenly he has a family and the loner type who had been crafted for years was shattered, although Deadshot was still infamously precise with his pistol. This would in turn continue to develop Deadshot’s conscience, which would drive the character up to his most recent incarnations in the Secret Six comics.

So if he can’t keep an audience, what keeps causing writers to bring him back? He was even the centerpiece in one of the six animated shorts that were part of the Gotham Knight DVD that took place between Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films. Probably the fact that he is one of Batman’s most realistic villains and when things get too crazy, as will be the case in Arkham City, Deadshot can give fans a heavy dose of reality. Simply armed with a boat load of guns, expert marksmanship, some sweet armor that makes him almost Boba Fett like in appearance, and a fearless attitude when going out on a hit, Deadshot has just enough appeal to serve as filler between more major arcs with Batman’s more traditionally insane rogues, or to be part of a much larger and over-the-top ensemble, again, like in Arkham City.

It should be interesting to see just how big of a piece of the Arkham City puzzle The World’s Finest Assassin will be. Will he be overshadowed by the other villains? And who will play his voice? What other villains do you hope can be jammed into Arkham City and how do you feel in general about Deadshot? Let us know by commenting below!