Forget Batman, Who Killed [SPOILER] In Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights’ story is one that focuses on the Bat Family’s grief, and how they deal with the loss of their mentor, Batman. Each character seems to grieve Bruce Wayne in their own way, drawing upon their own experiences to help them understand and endure their loss. WB Games Montréal does everything possible in its storytelling to make the Dark Knight’s absence felt, and his presence looms over the entire game, making players truly miss Batman in Gotham Knights. But there is another death that has significant meaning for its story.

[Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Gotham Knights.]Of course, the Bat Family is no stranger to loss, having faced their fair share of grief over the 80-plus years since their creation. Although not directly related to any previous incarnation of the team, the Bat Family is well established by the time players are introduced to them in Gotham Knights, and has a long history with many other DC characters, from fellow heroes who reach out and offer their condolences to the team following Batman’s death, to members of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Unsurprisingly, the main member of the Rogues to leave a lasting impression on the heroes is one who doesn’t even appear as a villain in Gotham Knights’ story, the Joker.

Through the Bat Family’s conversations and logs left behind by Bruce, players learn that Joker had paralyzed Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) similarly to the way seen in The Killing Joke, and she assisted the team as Oracle before experimental treatment helped her to recover. Joker also went after Jason Todd (Red Hood) during his time as the second Robin and succeeded in killing him. Although the exact specifics are never detailed, it is probably safe to assume that giant scar on Jason’s face is from that fateful encounter with the Clown Prince of Crime, which serves as a grim reminder of Batman’s darkest moment.

Prior to Gotham Knights’ Bat Family story, Red Hood was ultimately revived by Talia al Ghul and the League of Shadows using the Lazarus Pit, for which she felt the Bat Family would be extremely ungrateful. The reasons for this vary in the comics, but Gotham Knights implies that Jason and Talia had a history post-resurrection, and that she may have been grooming him for a role in the League of Shadows. The Lazarus Pit would go on to become an important plot device later in Gotham Knights’ campaign as it is revealed that Talia has used it to revive Batman and manipulate him into leading the League of Shadows to « save Gotham » in an almost zombielike state. This results in a boss fight between the Bat Family and their resurrected mentor as they attempt to foil both the League of Shadows and the Court of Owls’ plans for Gotham.

Prior to these events, Tim Drake (Robin) also approaches Jason as he works on the Batcycle, and tries to bring up the topic of possibly bringing Bruce Wayne back from the dead using the Lazarus Pit. Jason then warns Tim about the Pit, stating that it changed him, and explaining that, unlike the Batcycle, it’s not possible to « change everything out and expect things to work like they did » with a human. We see throughout Gotham Knights’ story that the Lazarus Pit has both a physical and mental impact on Jason, further proving his point. This is evident in one cutscene in particular where he and Barbara play a Just Dance-esque game called Dance Moves. Barbara has recently purchased the horror-themed Pit of Despair DLC, and players witness Jason’s PTSD kick in, showing that even the simplest of events can be a trigger after such a traumatic event. Gotham Knights also uses this moment to introduce Red Hood’s magical traversal abilities, with green Lazarus Pit mists emitting from the character to indicate the lasting consequences of both his death and revival and the toll it takes on him.

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