Okay, so some little game has been out for about a week by the name of Batman: Arkham Knight. You may have possibly heard of it? If you haven’t, you should pick it up, because it’s pretty awesome. However, there’s one thing about it that isn’t so awesome, so get ready to check the expiration date on the fruit in your fridge because we think it’s time to spoil some shit. Namely, the Arkham Knight himself.
In keeping with the theme of the Rocksteady Arkham games having titles that are very literal (ie, Arkham Asylum was actually in the asylum, and Arkham City likewise), the Arkham Knight subtitle relates to a person instead of a place. About an hour or so into the game, you meet said Arkham Knight in the flesh, who wears a militarized version of Batman’s suit, complete with a fancy helmet with LED readings and metallic ears. You know, as one does. But it’s not his gear or his own private army that makes him such a threat. He knows Batman’s tactics, knows who his allies are, and even knows his actual identity. The mystery of the game is who the hell this guy is and why he’d have a grudge against Batman, and at the end the truth is revealed. The Arkham Knight is none other than: (SPOILER AHEAD! LAST CHANCE!)
For those who don’t know, Jason Todd is the second Robin who joined Batman’s crusade after Dick Grayson grew up and became Nightwing. The street punk got the Dark Knight’s attention by trying to steal the wheels off the Batmobile, which is pretty impressive in and of itself. But because he grew up on the streets and had to do whatever he could to get by, Jason was reckless, impulsive, and violent, none of which Batman fans were particularly keen on. In the Death in the Family arc running from 1988-1989, Jason’s fate was decided by the fans via voting with a 900 number. He was kidnapped by the Joker, beaten with a crowbar, and blown up, leaving Batman in a state of grief for quite some time until Tim Drake took up the mantle as the Boy Wonder.
Jason was later brought back as the anti-hero the Red Hood in the 2005 arc Under the Hood, revived by the Lazarus Pit but with the bonus of not being entirely mentally stable. In Arkham Knight, Jason was kidnapped by the Joker and tortured for a year (the Clown even branded the kid with a ‘J’) before being shot and presumed killed. His mental breakdown at the hands of Joker caused him to hate Batman for abandoning him, hence allying himself with Scarecrow and wanting to kill the Caped Crusader so much. Thus, Arkham Knight isn’t really a story about Scarecrow getting his vengeance on Batman and trying to break him so much as it is a Red Hood origin story.