General (DC Comics)

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For Wade Eiling, also sometimes known as "the General", see General Wade Eiling.
The General
The General, as depicted in Robin #178.
Art by Freddie Williams II
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #654,
(Dec. 1992)
Created by Chuck Dixon
In-story information
Alter ego Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong
Notable aliases Anarky II, Red Robin III
Abilities Military historian and genius tactician;
Skilled hand to hand combatant;
Skilled in the use of small arms, as well as the creation and use of bombs and other explosive materials.

The General (Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong) is a fictional character appearing in the DC Comics universe. Created by Chuck Dixon as an opponent for Batman, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #654, published in December 1992.[1] Named for the character's gimmick for military strategy and prowess with small arms, stories involving the character often include historic military references and themes.

Initially portrayed as a dangerously psychopathic, murderous adolescent, the tone of the General was changed by Dixon himself for later appearances. Return appearances featured the character in issues of Robin during the mid-1990s, in which Dixon portrayed the character as pompous and childish, rather than maliciously insane. Though still occasionally dangerous and lethal, the graphic violence of the character's criminal behavior was also toned down.

The character experienced a prolonged period of obscurity after 1997, lasting over ten years, until Fabian Nicieza chose to revamp the character for the concluding story arc of the Robin comic book series in the final months of 2008. With Nicieza's intention being to establish the character as an archenemy for Tim Drake, the General was once again characterized as a major threat in the "Batman Family" pantheon of villains. Recast as a new version of another obscure character, Anarky, Armstrong was also re-characterized with a new "Anarky" themed costume.

Publication history[edit]

Creation and first appearance[edit]

The General was created by Chuck Dixon in 1992. Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong is a psychotic child with the mind of a military genius. Bored with his life at a military school, he reads books about military history. Ulysses later escapes his school, burning down the school and killing everyone inside, acts of arson and mass murder, to avoid alerting authorities to his escape. He goes to Gotham City to recruit small-time gang members into a makeshift "army". Utilizing military skills, Armstrong's reputation gains him the nickname "the General".[1] Continuing a campaign to become a powerful crime boss of Gotham, the General conquers and absorbs enemy gangs into a sizable force.[2] Laying siege to a police station with the intent of capturing the storage room full of guns and illegal drugs, with which to fund future activities, he is confronted by Batman. Once captured by Batman, the General's undisciplined army scatters in fear, and the General himself is sent to a youth detention center.[3]

Mid 1990s appearances in Robin[edit]

Between 1995 and 1997, the General appeared in a total of three story arcs in issues of the Robin comic book series.

The General manipulated delusional homeless derelict, Julie Caesar, who believed himself to be the historical Julius Caesar.[4][5]

The General teamed up with Toyman, but this partnership ended in mutual betrayal.[6][7]

The General was given control as commander-in-chief of a country's military.[8][9][10][11]

2008 revamp as "Anarky"[edit]

The costume design for the new Ulysses H. Armstrong version of Anarky, as depicted on promotional art for Robin #182, part of the "Faces of Evil" event. Art by Brian Stelfreeze.

The General appeared at the end of 2008 in Robin #177, "Search for a Hero" storyline that deals with the Batman R.I.P. aftermath, Battle for the Cowl. Within the storyline, he is revealed to disguised as Red Robin.

After a very long absence, the General has returned to Gotham City, having aged several years, grown several feet and has become a more formidable hand-to-hand combatant. He physically appears closer in age to Robin and Spoiler. He has for reasons yet unknown been hired by Spoiler to gather information about the Gang Wars, and find a possible solution to them. He continues to hold a grudge against Robin and betrays Spoiler. Spoiler survives a gunshot to the shoulder, and then distracts him long enough to get the drop on him and escape.[12] [13] [14] [15]

He comes into possession of the Red Robin costume worn by Jason Todd, and uses it as part of a campaign of psychological warfare against Tim Drake. More formidable than ever, he's revealed to be holding Lonnie Machin hostage and to have commandeered the latter's identity as Anarky. Where Machin's approach as Anarky had been to cause social change, Armstrong's approach bordered more on psychotic and meaningless acts of chaos and destruction.[16]

Armstrong manages to catch Robin in his warehouse, yet Robin escapes through unknown means, but not without sustaining serious burns to his head. Soon after, a final confrontation ensues, where Anarky attempts to kill all of Gotham City's Gangs, so as to create more violence. The combined efforts of Robin, Spoiler, Commissioner Gordon, Officer Harper and the Gotham Gangs results in Armstrong's defeat. However, not without a price. In order to take the edge off of Armstrong, Robin asked Officer Harper to bring the Armstrong Family to confront Ulysses. While the action worked, Armstrong caused a bomb to explode, killing his brother and sister in the blast. Armstrong blames Robin for their deaths.[17]

Skills and resources[edit]

Military strategy and deception

The General is a military and strategic genius. He has vast knowledge of military history, and his careful planning are what earned him the respect of his henchmen.[1][2][3] Sometimes he fools adults into false senses of security in order to attack them.[4] Sometimes he tricks adults into letting him control armies[11]

Armed and unarmed combat

Growing up, he gains a muscular build and a lesser degree of martial arts knowledge, not nearly enough to best seasoned fighters like Robin, but quite formidable nevertheless.[15]

He retains his penchant for historical weapons, and in his brief stint as the Red Robin he's shown using a Mauser as his sidearm of preference.[16]

Costumes

He likes to play dress up, changing several costumes and identities in his career.[1][4][6][11] Starting from a simple military themed garb, he then adopted the Red Robin suit,[15] discarded from a dimension hopping Jason Todd, using the Bat-Family themed identity to pave off for his return as the new Anarchy.

As Anarchy he uses a modified version of the original Anarky suit, adapted to fit his broader and sturdier physical build and with an angrier mask [17]

Explosives expertise

Both as Red Robin, both as Anarky, Adrian is shown able to create and set complex explosive traps, drawing Tim Drake in a mined warehouse and managing to wound him seriously. As Anarky he wears a special cane with remote controller trigger, making him able to detonate explosives carefully hidden through the battlefield.[16][17]

Other versions[edit]

  • Legends of the Dark Knight #55-57, set in the near-future, features an adult Ulysses Armstrong as one of a number of crime bosses contacted by Vigil, Inc., a corrupt private police force which is actually a protection racket for criminals. This adult version of the General wears modern military gear, rather than the historic costumes of his younger self, and surrounds himself with women who have general's stars tattooed on their foreheads.[18][19][20]

Bibliography[edit]

A relatively new and minor character in the DC Universe, the General has appeared in few notable stories since his creation.

List of significant stories

  • "God of Battle" Detective Comics 654 – 656 (Dec 1992 – Feb 1993), New York City, NY: DC Comics
The General begins a campaign to unite inner city gangs under his leadership and seize control of Gotham City. First appearance and origin story of the General. The story concludes with an epilogue which acts as a prelude to the forthcoming Batman: Knightfall story arc.
  • "Search for a Hero" Robin v2, 177 – 182 (Aug 20, 2008 – Jan 21, 2009), New York City, NY: DC Comics
The General resurfaces in the aftermath of "Batman R.I.P.", hi-jacking the identity of Anarky, besieging Gotham City, and attacking Tim Drake. The story revamps the General with a new skill set, costume, and characterization. The storyline acts as the penultimate story arc of the Robin comic book series.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Chuck Dixon (w), Michael Netzer (p), Scott Hanna (i). "God of Battle" Detective Comics 654 (Dec, 1992), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  2. ^ a b Chuck Dixon (w), Michael Netzer (p), Scott Hanna (i). "The Anvil of War" Detective Comics 655 (Jan, 1993), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  3. ^ a b Chuck Dixon (w), Tom Mandrake (p), Scott Hanna (i). "Besieged" Detective Comics 656 (Feb, 1993), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  4. ^ a b c Chuck Dixon (w), Staz Johnson (p), Bob Smith (i). "War Gods in the 'Hood" Robin v2, 19 (Aug, 1995), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  5. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Staz Johnson (p), Bob Smith (i). "The Empire Strikes Out" Robin v2, 20 (Sep, 1995), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  6. ^ a b Chuck Dixon (w), Staz Johnson (p), Bob Smith (i). "War Toy Story" Robin v2, 36 (Dec, 1996), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  7. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Staz Johnson (p), Bob Smith (i). "Who Dies With The Most Toys" Robin v2, 37 (Jan, 1997), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  8. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Staz Johnson (p), Bob Smith (i). "The Stupid Death" Robin v2, 44 (Aug, 1997), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  9. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Staz Johnson (p), Bob Smith (i). "Grounded" Robin v2, 45 (Sep, 1997), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  10. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Eduardo Barreto (p), Bob Smith (i). "War Child, Chapter 1: The Prepubescent and The Dead" Robin v2, 47 (Nov, 1997), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  11. ^ a b c Chuck Dixon (w), Eduardo Barreto (p), Bob Smith (i). "Mission Creep" Robin v2, 48 (Dec, 1997), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  12. ^ Fabian Nicieza (w), Freddy Williams II (a), John J. Hill (let). "Search for a Hero: The Concrete Cauldron" Robin 177 (Aug 20, 2008), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  13. ^ Fabian Nicieza (w), Freddy Williams II (a), John J. Hill (let). "Search for a Hero: Life During Wartime" Robin v2, 178 (Sep 17, 2008), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  14. ^ Fabian Nicieza (w), Freddy Williams II (a), John J. Hill (let). "Search for a Hero: Chaos in a Bottle" Robin v2, 179 (Oct 22, 2008), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  15. ^ a b c Fabian Nicieza (w), Freddy Williams II (a), John J. Hill (let). "Search for a Hero: Gray Knights" Robin v2, 180 (Nov 19, 2008), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  16. ^ a b c Fabian Nicieza (w), Freddy Williams II (a), John J. Hill (let). "Search for a Hero: Pushing Buttons, Pulling Strings" Robin v2, 181 (Dec 17, 2008), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  17. ^ a b c Fabian Nicieza (w), Freddy Williams II (a), John J. Hill (let). "Search for a Hero: Lost & Found" Robin v2, 182 (Jan 21, 2009), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  18. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Mike McMahon (a). "Watchtower" Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 55 (Dec, 1993), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  19. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Mike McMahon (a). "Watchtower" Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 56 (Jan, 1994), New York City, NY: DC Comics
  20. ^ Chuck Dixon (w), Mike McMahon (a). "Watchtower" Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 57 (Feb, 1994), New York City, NY: DC Comics

External links[edit]

Character indexes