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Batman’s New ‘Arkham Knight’ Actually Lives Up To The Name

Batman’s new enemy, Peacekeeper-01, is the ultimate Arkham Knight – and the embodiment of Arkham Asylum’s dark legacy for Gotham City.

This article contains spoilers for Batman #110.

In DC Comics, Batman faces a terrifying new threat, Peacekeeper-01, who is the true “Arkham Knight.” The shadow of Arkham Asylum has always loomed over Gotham City. In theory, the doctors of Arkham are working to rehabilitate its inmates. In reality, precious few patients at Arkham ever seem to recover, instead descending into ever-deeper madness.

But Arkham Asylum was recently destroyed, flooded with a silent version of the Joker toxin that killed countless guards and inmates – including Bane, one of Batman’s most dangerous enemies. This is known as A-Day, and in the aftermath of this terrorist attack, the atmosphere surrounding Gotham has been dominated by fear. Attacks from criminal supervillains like the Joker are clearly escalating, and voters have elected a mayor on an anti-vigilante ticket to try to regain control. Mayor Nakano is partnering with tech magnate Simon Saint on a new peacekeeping initiative, but he has no idea Saint is manipulating him – and is responsible for further terrorist attacks.

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Batman #110, by James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez, finally reveals the story of Saint’s first recruit to his initiative – Peacekeeper-01, who’s already been seen dominating the future of Gotham in DC’s Future State comics. Sean Mahoney is a guard at Arkham who survived the havoc, and who’s become celebrated as the hero of A-Day. He’s ruthless and violent, happy to participate in Saint’s criminal activities, and his physical abilities have now been enhanced with the best technology available. Incredibly, in his first battle with Batman, he keeps the Dark Knight busy for over 18 minutes, with his computer systems analyzing Batman’s fighting style in order to identify future weaknesses.

Harley Quinn on Peacekeeper-01

Gotham’s future fascist nightmare is the ultimate Arkham Knight, the embodiment of the asylum’s legacy. And here’s the irony; it turns out Peacekeeper-01 is no hero, but rather was a violent sadist whose records were obliterated when the Asylum was destroyed, allowing him to reinvent himself. Mahoney perfectly testifies to the folly of Arkham and its bad management, because, according to Harley Quinn, he’s been abusing the inmates for years – and yet still remained employed there. She recalls his getting into constant trouble with Dr. Arkham, but the fact remains he stayed employed right up until A-Day. Dr. Arkham’s poor management of his asylum has ultimately unleashed the greatest threat Gotham will ever face, given Future State has unveiled a future timeline in which Saint’s Peacekeepers turned Gotham City into a fascist state.

What would have happened to Gotham if Arkham Asylum was never founded, or perhaps if someone a bit more competent wound up in charge? Perhaps that would be the only timeline in which Batman’s mission wouldn’t become a failure, because there’d be more to the city than a brooding vigilante and a failing institution. Sadly, that isn’t the timeline readers are seeing, and it remains to be seen whether Batman can save the day this time.

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Benvenisti Eyal

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