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 a mercenary, working for criminals as often as he does the law. He deduces Batman's secret identity, but keeps it to himself, reasoning that Batman is a useful public distraction from the large-scale crimes perpetrated by Ducard and his clients.[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 Suicide Squad.[7][8]

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52, DC Comics' reboot of its entire superhero line, 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 goes to France, searching for someone to train him. After Bruce draws attention to himself, Morgan is sent to kill him, but Bruce defeats him after a long battle. Henri initially decides to kill Bruce himself, but decides to train him instead upon hearing of the man's ambitions. He trains both Bruce and Morgan by putting the two in constant competition with each other. Morgan soon grows to resent Bruce for stealing his father's attention.

During the training, Bruce, Morgan and Henri track a terrorist named Hassan. When they find Hassan, Henri shoots and kills him in front of a horrified Bruce. After the two depart, Ducard orders Morgan to find Bruce and kill him, since he knows too much about the two. Morgan shoots Bruce with a sniper rifle as he is exiting a taxi, and believes he has killed him. Bruce is very much alive, however, and beats Morgan within an inch of his life, finally dropping him through a skylight and onto his father's work table.[10] Years later, Bruce and Morgan meet again, going into action after the announcement of Batman Incorporated. Morgan 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 Batman, telling him that he plans to seek revenge on him for disgracing him. He makes good on his words one night as Damian Wayne, the new Robin, sets out to fight crime on his own. Morgan appears after Damian has apprehended two muggers, critically injuring one of them. He tries to provoke Damian into killing the man, but Damian refuses. Morgan kills the man himself before stunning Damian and attempting to kidnap him. [12]

Before he can do this, Batman appears. Morgan stuns him with a sonic weapon, throwing him into the path of a moving car, which hits him knocks him unconscious. Morgan takes Batman and Damian 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 and convinces Damian 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 ambassador in his office, and Morgan gives Damian a gun and tells him to kill the man to prove his commitment. Damian pulls the trigger, revealing the gun is not loaded - Morgan is simply testing him. 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 Morgan beats him up. 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 Batman. With the knowledge that his enemy is listening, Morgan begins to slowly torture Damian, telling Batman, in detail, everything he does to the boy.[14]

Just then, the Batmobile comes crashing through the wall. Batman and NoBody violently attack each other, the former gaining the upper hand. Incapacitating him, Batman dunks Morgan's head into the vat of acid, stopping just short of killing him. Though beaten, Morgan continues to taunt the two, saying he will eventually return to kill them both. He then tries to convince Damian to finish what his father had started. Unable to control himself any longer, Damian kills Morgan with a blow 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]