Henri Ducard

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Henri Ducard
Henri Ducard.jpg
Ducard and Robin from Robin (vol. 2) #32 (July 1996).
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #599 (April 1989)
Created by Sam Hamm (script)
Denys Cowan (art)
In-story information
Full name Henri Ducard
Species Human
Place of origin Earth
Team affiliations Batman, Robin, NoBody
Abilities Skilled martial artist and detective

Henri Ducard is a fictional character in the Batman comic book universe. Created by Sam Hamm, Ducard's first appearance was in Detective Comics #599 (April 1989), part of the "Blind Justice" story arc that Hamm, the screenwriter of the 1989 Batman film, was asked to guest-write for Detective Comics by Batman editor Denny O'Neil.[1] The character would later be amalgamated with Ra's al Ghul (portrayed by Liam Neeson) in the films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.

Fictional character biography[edit]

In the comics, Bruce Wayne approaches Ducard for training in Paris, during his early days traveling the world. Ducard, a knowledgeable detective with excellent man-hunting skills, imparts much of his knowledge to the young, keen Bruce.[2]

Later in the series, it is revealed that Ducard is largely amoral, working for criminals as often as he does the law. He deduces Batman's secret identity, but keeps it to himself, thinking, as he leaves, that Batman continues to exist because true criminals realize he distracts the people from the greater crimes by his public battle against lesser crimes.[3]

Ducard also works with Robin in Paris during his training, as Bruce did.[4] Unlike Bruce, however, Robin only encounters him in passing at the end of his training, in Hong Kong.[5][6]

He also made a few brief appearances in the Suicide Squad book.[7][8]

The New 52[edit]

In the books of The New 52, DC Comics' reboot of its entire superhero line, and most of its continuity, Henri Ducard's son, Morgan, stabs his mother, Felicity, to death, after she is contacted by the people who had hired her to kill Ducard years ago, and ordered to either fulfill her obligation or face the death of her son. When Henri sees this and listens to what Morgan has to say he decides to take Morgan with him and train him to become a killer.[9]

Several years later, Bruce Wayne came to France, searching for Henri Ducard to train him. After drawing attention to himself, Morgan is sent to kill him, but is defeated by Wayne after a long battle. His father initially decides to kill Wayne himself, but decides to train him instead upon hearing the man's ambitions. Thus Wayne and Morgan are both trained, constantly competing against each other, causing Morgan to feel a sense of resentment towards Bruce over stealing his father's attention from him.

During the training, all three were constantly tracking a terrorist named Hassan. While Bruce originally assumes it to be a simple capture, and that Interpol would come to retrieve him upon the success of the mission, he is soon proven wrong after Henri shoots and kills the man. After the two depart, Ducard orders Morgan to find him and kill him, since he knows too much about the two. Morgan shoots Bruce with a sniper rifle as he is exiting a taxi, believing to have killed him. As he begins to drive away, he is ambushed and beaten within an inch of his life by Wayne, who drops him through a skylight and onto his father's work table.[10]

After failing to kill Wayne, Morgan's father considered him a disgrace, something he would never get over. Years passed before he ever met Bruce again, going into action after the announcement of Batman Incorporated. He kills the Russian Batman before going to Gotham City in order to start his plan for revenge.[11]

At first, Morgan simply kills criminals, especially those Batman and Robin had earlier stopped. Eventually, though, he confronts Bruce, telling him flatly that he plans to seek revenge on him for disgracing him. He makes good on his words one night as Damian sets out to fight crime on his own. He appears after the boy had finished attacking two muggers, critically injuring one of them. He tries to provoke Damian to kill the man, saying he was as good as dead already due to the severity of the beating. Refusing, Morgan kills the man himself before stunning Damian Wayne and attempting to kidnap him. [12]

Before he can do this, Batman appears. After Batman is stunned by Morgan's sonics, he is hit by a car and knocked unconscious. Morgan takes the two into an abandoned drive-in, tying them up and placing them in a wrecked car. Morgan plays a video on the screen featuring Batman's enemies, commenting on how Batman refuses to kill them despite knowing that they will simply break out and commit crime once again. Morgan is about to kill Batman before he is shot by the Batplane. Running from the hail of rubber bullets, Morgan blows up a tanker of gasoline before escaping in the blast. Later that night, Morgan appears on the Wayne Manor grounds to Damian, convincing him to abandon his role as Robin and join his way of fighting crime.[13]

He takes the boy to an embassy, informing him that the ambassador is part of a human trafficking ring and uses his diplomatic immunity to bypass the law. Both break into the building, defeating the guards along the way. They corner the corrupt man in his office, Morgan giving Damian a gun and telling him to kill the man to prove his commitment. He pulls the trigger, revealing the gun was not loaded and it was simply a test. He takes the man back to his base of operations, injecting him with a truth serum to make him tell them information concerning the people behind the trafficking ring. Once the diplomat has told everything he knows, Morgan begins to lower him into a vat of acid. Robin attempts to stop him, but is beaten. Robin informs Morgan that he had simply been playing along the whole time; he knew the gun was not loaded and had been broadcasting their location to Bruce. With the knowledge that his enemy is listening, Morgan begins to slowly torture Damian, telling Bruce, in detail, everything he does to the boy.[14]

Deciding to kill Damian, Morgan informs Bruce of what he is about to do just as the Batmobile comes crashing through the wall. Batman and NoBody violently attack each other, the former gaining the upper hand by saying his only motivation for all of what he's done is jealousy. Incapacitating him, Bruce dunks his head into the vat of acid, only stopping himself from killing Morgan after remembering Damian's presence. Though beaten, he continues to taunt the two, saying he will eventually return to kill them both. Seeing Damian's look of rage, he taunts him, trying to convince him to finish what his father had started. Unable to control himself any longer, Damian kills him with a strike between the eyes.[15]

In other media[edit]

  • In Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, Ducard's character is merged with Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson), the film's main villain. In the film's first half, he uses the name Ducard as an alias while mentoring Bruce Wayne. He later reveals to Bruce that he is in fact Ra's al Ghul near the beginning of the film's climax.
  • Liam Neeson reprised his role as Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul in 2005's Batman Begins game where he plays a role very similar to that in the film.
  • Liam Neeson reprised his role as Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, as Bruce's hallucination.
  • The Liam Neeson portrayal of Henri Ducard appears in the Robot Chicken episode "Password: Swordfish" voiced by Seth Green. In a segment that parodies Batman Begins, he trains Heimlich to save people who are choking on food.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Manning, Matthew K. (2009). The Batman Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the Batcave. Running Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-7624-3663-8. "In the pages of Detective Comics, Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm took advantage of that year's ongoing writers' strike to write a three-issue story entitled "Blind Justice", which culminated in that title's 600th issue." 
  2. ^ Detective Comics #599
  3. ^ Detective Comics #600
  4. ^ Robin #2
  5. ^ Robin #4
  6. ^ Robin #5
  7. ^ Suicide Squad #51
  8. ^ Suicide Squad #63
  9. ^ Batman and Robin #2
  10. ^ Tomasi, Peter J. (w), Gleason, Patrick (p), Gray, Mick (i). Batman and Robin (vol. 2) #4 (February 2012). DC Comics.
  11. ^ Tomasi, Peter J. (w), Gleason, Patrick (p), Gray, Mick (i). Batman and Robin (vol. 2) #1 (November 2011). DC Comics.
  12. ^ Batman and Robin #5
  13. ^ Batman and Robin #5
  14. ^ Batman and Robin #6
  15. ^ Batman and Robin #7

See also[edit]