|First appearance||Batman: Shadow of the Bat #3 (Aug. 1992)|
|Created by||Alan Grant
|Alter ego||Aaron Helzinger|
|Team affiliations||Arkham Asylum
Various Gotham and Blüdhaven crime figures
Secret Society of Super Villains
|Abilities||Near superhuman strength and endurance
Mental instability and explosive rage that further enhances his strength
Amygdala is the alias of DC Comics character Aaron Helzinger, who is a sometime opponent of Batman. He has reduced mental capacity, near superhuman strength and endurance, and is prone to outbursts of violence due to medical experimentation on his brain, chiefly the removal of his amygdala.
Fictional character biography
Anatomically, the amygdala refers to the bundle of nerve cells in the brain that control emotional associations of many kinds. Helzinger's amygdala cluster was removed in an attempt to cure him of his homicidal rage. This procedure resulted in Amygdala becoming exceedingly angry and was the opposite of what the surgery was supposed to achieve. Easily led due to his childlike nature, Amygdala has been the pawn of a number of Batman villains, but when properly medicated, he can be peaceful.
Amygdala first appeared in Shadow of the Bat #3 in 1992 during the story arc of the four-parter Batman: The Last Arkham which began the new line of comics. In the issue, Amygdala was forced to attack Batman by the maddened Jeremiah Arkham. Batman subdued Amygdala, but was then forced to face more inmates.
Amygdala later appeared in Part 2 of the year-long story arc Batman: Knightfall, which also saw other characters introduced in Batman: The Last Arkham return to the comic book universe, most notably Zsasz and Jeremiah Arkham. In Knightfall, Amygdala was freed from Arkham Asylum by Bane along with numerous other inmates and was soon under the control of the Ventriloquist. Batman intercepted Ventriloquist, but was promptly attacked by Amygdala. As Ventriloquist escaped, Batman subdued Amygdala once more and the villain no longer took part in Knightfall.
He has been released into the community on numerous occasions, where he has been an ally and friend of Dick Grayson (Nightwing, the former Robin). He lived in the hero's apartment building and worked as a warden in Lockhaven Prison. When Blockbuster was in the process of breaking Nightwing down both physically and emotionally, he blew up Grayson's apartment complex with Amygdala inside. Amygdala survived, but he was heavily traumatized by the death of his friends.
In the Infinite Crisis storyline, Amygdala was among the villains that joined Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains. He also appeared in the 2008 mini-series Gotham Underground, drinking in the Penguin's Iceberg Lounge.
Powers and abilities
Amygdala is a huge man with the strength and endurance of a championship bodybuilder. His emotional instability and explosive rage enhance this even further, making him prone to bouts of boundless violence unrestrained by the usual barriers and limits set in place by one's self-awareness.
In the Elseworlds tale Batman: Crimson Mist—the third part of the trilogy that began with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, which saw Batman become a vampire-—Amygdala makes a cameo during the vampire Batman's assault on Arkham Asylum, where he is killed and then beheaded by the vampire Batman.
Amygdala is briefly referenced in an article by Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist and expert in the role of the anatomical amygdala in fear processing, as testament to popular interest in the brain area.
In other media
- Amygdala appears in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Cat and the Canary." He is seen as a contestant at Roulette's "Meta-Brawl."
- Breyfogle, N. & Grant, A. (1996). Batman: The Last Arkham. DC comics. ISBN 1-56389-190-5.