|First appearance||Batman: The Cult #1 (August, 1988)|
|Created by||Jim Starlin (writer), Bernie Wrightson (artist)|
|Full name||Deacon Joseph Blackfire|
|Team affiliations||The Underworlders
Black Lantern Corps
|Notable aliases||Shaman Blackfire, The Holy One|
Fictional character biography
Deacon Blackfire is the main antagonist in the four-issue miniseries, Batman: The Cult. Blackfire is a conman and cult leader who may be over 100 years old. He forms an army in the sewers beneath Gotham City, largely composed of the homeless. Blackfire uses this army to begin a violent war on crime, which escalates into him taking over the entire city, resulting in it being isolated from the rest of the country. Blackfire captures and brainwashes Batman, temporarily making the Caped Crusader a member of Blackfire's cult. Batman eventually breaks his conditioning, but its aftereffects make it difficult for him to capture Blackfire. After a brutal search through the sewers, Batman confronts Blackfire, who demands that Batman kill him, making him a martyr. Batman refuses, and instead savagely beats Blackfire in front of his army. Blackfire's army turns on him and kills him.
As part of the New 52 event, Blackfire's back from the death, and is scheduled to appear in Batman Eternal #29; so far, nothing is known about his new status quo, or if this incarnation had been dead prior to Blackest Night.
Blackfire makes his proper debut in Batman Eternal #17 as the center of the occult power permeating Arkham Asylum, with Joker's Daughter as his enforcer. When Batwing and The Spectre (as Jim Corrigan) uncover the secret of the Asylum, both are captured by Blackfire and his demonic army. In the same issue, flashbacks are shown of the previous time Batman encountered the Deacon. The Deacon had an army of devoted homeless and underprivileged, but he also kept many of them drugged under his control. He attempted to do the same with Batman, keeping him chained and drugged in his basement for 7 days and 7 nights, but the Dark Knight's resiliency led to Deacon ordering his devotees to kill him. Batman however, brought up the question of why Deacon Blackfire wouldn't kill him himself, if he was as powerful as he wanted his army to believe. Batman is able to break the pipe he is chained to, and in a reversal of their confrontation in "The Cult", orders the Deacon to kill him to prove himself in front of his followers. Deacon Blackfire refuses multiple times, and his disillusioned army turns on him and appears to beat him to death.
Between their first encounter and the time of Eternal, the Deacon has taken over the body of Maxie Zeus, in attempt to regain entry into this world.
- Batman: The Cult #3 (October 1988)
- Batman: The Cult #4
- Blackest Night: Batman #1
- Blackest Night: Batman #2