Are you excited for Batman: Arkham Origins? I’m excited for Batman: Arkham Origins. On the off chance you live under a rock that also happens to lack an internet connection, here’s the skinny: Arkham Orgins will be the third game in the Batman: Arkham franchise, set several years before 2011’s Arkham City. We’re dealing with a younger, less refined Batman caught up in a fight for his life against Black Mask, a particularly vile Gotham crime lord with penchant for collecting masks; specifically Batman’s. To that end, he has hired a cadre of metahuman assassins to bring down the Bat.
We were already aware of appearances by Deadshot, Deathstroke, and Bane, but new baddies are seeping out of the woodwork. Earlier this month, we were introduced to another contender...
Allow me to make a brief introduction. Copperhead first slithered onto the scene in Brave and the Bold #78 in June 1968, where he tangled with Bats, as well as Wonder Woman and Batgirl. At the time, Copperhead was merely a talented contortionist with a thing for thievery. He wore a dumb copper-colored suit complete with over-sized snake head, and was depicted on the cover trying to squeeze the Dark Knight to death. So, all things considered, he wasn’t exactly what I would call an A-List villain.
Copperhead spent the next few years bumming around as a thief, doing stints with the Secret Society of Super Villains and the Suicide Squad. But, eventually his appetite for shiny and expensive things was replaced with a taste for blood, and the reptilian robber refocused himself as a hitman. In the interest of brevity, I’ll give you the short version. He meets a demon who turns him into an ACTUAL human/snake hybrid, starts living in the Los Angeles sewer system, gets killed, comes back as a Black Lantern during the Blackest Night, dies again, and is still dead.
See? Nothing too crazy going on here...
So when I heard Copperhead was to be a featured villain in Arkham Origins, I was underwhelmed. Then I watched the trailer. By the way, if it wasn’t abundantly clear before, the Copperhead that I was describing above was a man. Well, actually TWO men, but lets be honest; it’s not like anyone could tell either alter ego apart, or would even care to. Alas, the copperhead featured in Arkham Origins, is a woman indicating that she is definitely someone new. I must say, I am impressed. She moves and fights in a way to suggest there is something not quite human about her, but without resorting to tired mutated hybrid tropes which are all too common in comics. That, and, visually, she looks like a cross between Catwoman and Jack from the Mass Effect series, two non-existent ladies whom the pathetic nerd in me still has a crush on.
Something else I’d like to point out from the trailer is her use of poison in combat. What will this translate to game play wise? Could it be some hallucinogenic compound that will have Batman seeing and experiencing the stuff of nightmares, ala Scarecrow, or will it serve a more direct offensive purpose? If they do opt for the hallucinogen route, I hope they distinguish the experience from Scarecrow’s. Maybe it will cause Batman to perceive Copperhead as morphing into a more sinister snake creature! See? You get the human/snake mutation angle, but in a more interesting way than the whole “we super-spliced her genes with a snake’s using super science!!!” thing. That would be much more mature and nuanced approach to the same ends, in my opinion.
Of course, I’m simply speculating. We will have to wait until October to see if this new Copperhead will surpass her supremely surpass-able forefathers. Personally, I’m rooting for her. But, again, I would be remised if I didn’t remind you that she will be but ONE villain to take up the fight against Batman.
More from the Batman Rogues Gallery
We still haven’t seen anything from others like Alberto Falcone or Anarky, both of whom are reported to make appearances. I’m particularly interested in the nature of Alberto’s involvement. He played a central roll in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s sublime Long Halloween and Dark Victory series’ with the likes of Calendar Man. Now consider this; if you’ll remember we saw Calendar Man, aka Julian Day, locked up in Two-Face’s courthouse in Arkham City. His MO was committing crimes that coincided with holidays. And this game takes place on the night before Christmas. Obviously there’s something going on there.
(As an aside, if you haven’t read either Long Halloween or Dark Victory, I highly recommend you do, and that you do it BEFORE you play this game.)
And what about the pillars of Batman’s Rogue Gallery? The Joker is back, obviously. And we know Penguin is involved in some fashion, portrayed by voice-actor extraordinaire Nolan North. It’s also a reasonable assumption that the Riddler, my personal favorite, will be back to vex us with more challenges and trophies. Or will Warner Bros. Montreal cook up an even more devious way for Mr. Nygma to challenge the Bat? And what of Mr. Freeze? His boss fight in Arkham City is one of my favorite boss fights ever. Ever. Some more of him, please?
That brings me to the question that has been plaguing me since this game was announced. Why is this an Arkham game aside from the fact that it shares some of the map with with what will eventually become Arkham City? What’s the connection to Arkham Asylum? We’re in Gotham this time around. Not Arkham Island, not part of Gotham repurposed for Arkham Asylum. Gotham City. Will we learn more of the story of Amadeus Arkham, long-deceased founder of the famed asylum? You’ll recall his spooky saga was laid out in the first game of the series, but didn’t really get picked back up the second time around. Will we learn more about the nature of his ghostly presence in the modern age?
I wish I had these answers, Batfans. All I know is my initial apprehension over this non-Rocksteady Batman Arkham game is certainly subsiding, being replaced with the cautious-optimism and inquisitiveness of the Batman fanboy I am. Will my faith- OUR faith- be rewarded? Only time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy the full demo (plus developer interview) from E3 2013.
What are you looking forward to seeing in Batman: Arkham Origins? Sound off in the Comments below!