We already know that Batman will face off against Deathstroke in this fall’s “Batman: Arkham Origins.” But who are some of the other hired guns that might end up with the contract to kill the Bat?
After the jump, see 10 candidates who might take the shot (and couple of who might even be able to pull it off).
10. Cassandra Cain
Why would I include a character who would ultimately don the cowl and become Batgirl/Black Bat for a few years under the instruction of Barbara Gordon/Oracle? Besides being one of the unsurpassed hand-to-hand fighters in the DC Universe, besides getting her start as a mute, socially broken murder monster, seeing Cassandra go up against Bruce would offer gamers something they haven’t seen in the Arkham-verse to date: Batman’s hope for the hopeless.
Cassandra was raised from birth by her assassin father David Cain to be the perfect killer. The only language Cassandra was taught was that of violence, growing up with only hand gestures and drawings to communicate with the world. This junior assassin–she made her first kill at the age of 8–has the preternatural ability to read the body language of her opponents, and would make a deadly match for a Batman still honing his skills.
Suicide Squad member Floyd Lawton’s good at two things: having a sweet ’stache and shooting anything that moves until it’s dead. He got his start trying to take out the Batman but that never goes well for anyone ever.
Strictly a hired gun, Deadshot will be out of there in a minute if it seems like the job is getting too messy or complicated or weird, which puts him a little further down on the list. Still he makes the list because he seldom misses, using his wrist-mounted guns along with a collection of pistols and rifles.
Honestly, though, he’d probably be the first to go down.
Lobo is technically a bounty hunter, but he’s more of the “dead or alive, more likely dead”-type.
Being a planet-slaughtering alien, Lobo is maybe too much of an oddball fit for the Arkham-verse, but it’s fun to imagine a completely physically outmatched Batman having to find a way to counter the last of the Czarnians, but also problematic given the scope of the “Arkham Games.”
There’s also no head game or interesting pathology to Lobo for Batman to exploit or really the writers of “Arkham Origins.” Lobo’s essentially a violent joke that’s gone on for 30 years, tossed into stories as a way to ramp up the chaos and the action or give Superman someone that unequivocally deserves punching.
7. Rag Doll
Villainous team the Secret Six’s contortionist killer seems like an odd one to throw at Batman, and it’s likely any fight between the two of them wouldn’t go more than a couple of rounds. But the sheer oddity and perversity of Rag Doll earns him a spot on this list.
The scarred and tortured son of the original Rag Doll, this one can take a beating and keep on bending, twisting his limbs around his opponents while whispering vile, insane things into their ears. As a member of the Six, he’d often provide dark comic relief to the team while tending to the corpse of his best friend, an Apokaliptan Parademon.
Consider having a level where Rag Doll could be hiding any place, at any time, ready to uncoil his body and curl himself around Batman’s throat.
Note, he has an even more twisted sister named Alexa/AKA Junior who once nearly killed the entire Secret Six, but Junior’s not the type to take a contract, so I went with her relatively more stable brother here.
This expert archer might spend most of his time trying to kill/defeat/kill some more Green Arrow over in Star City, but for the right money, I could see him joining the effort to kill the Batman.
In fact, the first time Green Arrow went up against Merlyn was when the latter was attempting to follow through on a contract to kill Batman, that failure earning Merlyn a pink slip from the League of Assassins.
He’s got the trick arrows of his rival GA but not the compunction about shooting someone through the throat with them. Plus, he’s motivated: in their fictional history together, Merlyn’s already failed to kill Batman, meaning he’s going to want to finish what he attempted all those years ago.
5. David Cain
Why not pit the Batman against one of the men who trained him? Cain, the father to Cassandra, was one of the many martial arts masters that young Bruce Wayne encountered during his journey around the world to become Batman. Cain taught Wayne a handful of brutal, lethal techniques that the would-be Dark Knight ultimately chose not to use.
Unlike some of the more specialized fighters on this list, Cain is proficient with everything from his fists to explosives to guns, he’s a killer for the sake of killing.
He’s so good at it, that he hoped to pass along his skills to a child, kidnapping and brainwashing children to reach his level of proficiency before abandoning that plan altogether and helping to conceive his own murderous moppet, Cassandra. While he’s a little one-note as a villain (compared to Batman’s usually colorful rogues gallery), he’s a driven doer who Batman would be hard-pressed to take down.
The “Arkham” games haven’t been great to Bane. He was all jacked up on Venom and mute in “Arkham Asylum” and chained up for a portion of “Arkham City,” before finally helping Batman complete a side mission (and subsequently getting beaten down when he attempted to double-cross the Bat.
Still, this is a guy who was created specifically to take down Batman and as originally conceived, he’s a brilliant strategist in peak, chemically-enhanced physical condition who was smart enough to discover the identity of the man behind the cowl, show up in his home, and snap his back like a twig. That version of Bane is an alpha predator, single-minded in a way that many of the villains in the DCU are not while possessed of his own curious code.
A head-to-head matchup between Bane and Batman that went beyond the typical dodge and attack gameplay of the previous two games would be thrilling and intense stuff.
3. Talia al Ghul and The League of Assassins
This one is kind of a non-starter given the relationship between their leader and Batman, but it felt weird to include a list of “greatest assassins” without including Talia and her League of shadowy mercenaries.
Used as the protective force for immortal villain Ra’s Al Ghul, they’ve fallen under the command of his daughter, Talia, after his most recent “death.” A villain looking to wipe the Batman off the map could do worse than to enlist Talia and her infinite band of endlessly loyal ninjas.
Perhaps “Arkham Origins” could give us the beginnings of the twisted romance between Batman and the Daughter of the Demon–or it could be yet another in the endless chapters where it appears that Talia is going to kill Batman when in reality, we know that she’s too in love with him (or too needlessly circuitous) to pull the proverbial trigger.
2. Lady Shiva
A master of multiple forms of martial arts, mother to Cassandra Cain, and the woman so deadly that her enemy Black Canary went to her for help in developing her hand-to-hand skills.
With Cassandra and David on the list, Lady Shiva might seem redundant, but there’s something so fascinating about this woman who grew up in village designed to create the perfect combatant for the League of Assassins. She’s another character who helped make the Batman who he is, allowing him to re-cultivate his skills after his back was broken by Bane. Like her daughter, she has the added skill of being able to preternaturally read her opponents through their body language.
Her whole thing is being addicted to the act of combat, seeking out skilled combatants between hands-on assassination gigs in order to hone her skills and prove her own martial supremacy. How would she react to meeting a man who’s traveled the world training under some of the greatest martial arts masters?
This ruthless, physically imposing killer cut a bloody swath through Gotham on a series of KGB-sanctioned assassinations, handing Batman several punishing losses. Whereas Bane simply wore the Batman down, broke his back, and sent him on a path to physical recovery and self discovery, the KGBeast was so hard to take down that it seemed that in the conclusion of their final major encounter, Batman ignored his whole “no killing rule” to allow the villain to starve to death beneath the streets of Gotham (this was later retconned out).
How hardcore is the KGBeast? Rather than be captured by Batman, someone he’s already proven he can beat within an inch of his life, the KGBeast lopped of his own hand with an axe. Sure the Soviet Union collapsed, but the looking like nothing so much as an S&M luchador, the KGBeast wasn’t about to abandon his branding just because the nation he worked for doesn’t exist any longer.
Comic writer Garth Ennis’ Irish antihero isn’t strictly someone who would go after the Bat, but he did once throw up on Batman’s cape and I think that would be hilarious to see in a video game.
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