Ra's al Ghul

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Ra's al Ghul
Rasalghul.PNG
Ra's al Ghul.
Art by Cliff Chiang.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman #232 (June 1971)
Created by Dennis O'Neil
Neal Adams
In-story information
Alter ego Ra's al Ghul
Team affiliations The Demon
League of Assassins
Underground Society
Notable aliases Ra's, The Demon's Head, Terry Gene Kase,[1] Henri Ducard
Abilities Longevity from the Lazarus Pit
Genius-level intellect[2]
Superior strength and stamina[3]
Skilled in martial arts, fencing, and alchemy
Holds several centuries worth of accumulated knowledge, experience, and vast resources

Ra's al Ghul (Arabic: رأس الغولRaʾs al-Ġūl; "Ghoul's Head") is a fictional character, a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Besides being considered to be one of Batman's greatest enemies, Ra's al Ghul is the son of Sensei, the father of Talia al Ghul, Nyssa Raatko, and Dusan al Ghul, and the grandfather of Damian Wayne. His name in Arabic has been translated in the comics as "The Demon's Head".[4][5]

Ra's al Ghul has been featured in various media adaptions, most notably Batman: The Animated Series, where he was voiced by David Warner, Batman: Arkham City, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, and the films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises where he was portrayed by actor Liam Neeson.

IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List ranked Ra's as #7.[6]

Publication history[edit]

Created by writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, he was introduced in Batman #232's "Daughter of the Demon" (June 1971).[7] Given his high status as a supervillain, he has also come into conflict with Superman and other superheroes in the DC Universe. The character's creation and depiction was inspired by other works of fiction, such as the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the Fu Manchu fiction.

Character overview[edit]

Ra's al Ghul is an international criminal mastermind whose ultimate goal is a world in perfect balance. He believes that the best way to achieve this balance is to eliminate most of humanity. Ra's usually tries to assault the world's human populace with a biological weapon, such as a genetically-engineered virus. He is aided in this quest by the Lazarus Pits, reservoirs of rejuvenating chemicals that restore the dead and dying to life; these pits have granted him a lifespan of several centuries.

He regards Batman as his worthiest opponent, addressing him as "Detective" out of respect for his intellectual brilliance, and has frequently sought to make the Dark Knight his successor. He is one of the few criminals in Batman's rogues gallery to have deduced his secret identity as Bruce Wayne, and keeps silent on the matter due to the same sense of respect for Batman. For his own part, Batman's opposition to Ra's is complicated by both his own respect for al Ghul's genius (if not his goals and methods) and his attraction to his daughter, Talia, which she reciprocates.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origin[edit]

Ra's al Ghul's real name, early life, and exact age have been described differently by various writers. His Post-Crisis origin story is told in the graphic novel Batman: Birth of the Demon (1992) by Dennis O'Neil and Norm Breyfogle.

As told in Birth of the Demon, Ra's al Ghul was born over 600 years before his first appearance in Batman comics, to a tribe of nomads in a desert somewhere in Arabia, near a city whose inhabitants' ancestors have journeyed to the Arabian Peninsula from China. Developing an interest in the sciences at an early age, Ra's abandoned his tribe to live in the city where he pursued life as a researcher. He subsequently became a physician and married a woman named Sora.

Ra's discovered the secret of the Lazarus Pit, and he saves a dying prince by lowering him into it. The prince, who is sadistic to begin with, is driven completely insane by the Lazarus Pit. He proceeds to strangle Sora, on whom he has already had his eye for some time. The sultan, unwilling to admit to himself his son's culpability, declares Ra's guilty of the crime and sentences him to a slow, tortured death in a cage with Sora's corpse.

Ra's is set free by the son of a dying elderly woman, whom Ra's had earlier examined. The son feels that he owes Ra's a debt for easing his mother's suffering during her last few hours. Ra's and the son head into the desert to seek the tribe of Ra's' birth. Ra's convinces the head of his tribe, his uncle, to follow Ra's in his quest for revenge by promising the downfall of the sultan. By understanding the germ theory of disease hundreds of years before anyone else, Ra's is able to infect the prince with a deadly virus by sending him contaminated fabrics. When the sultan comes to ask Ra's to cure the prince again, Ra's kills both him and his son. Ra's then leads his tribe to raze the city to the ground and kill all of its inhabitants. Subsequently, Ra's declares himself "Ra's al Ghul", the "Demon's Head."

Batman: Birth of the Demon provides a rough figure of 500 years for Ra's al Ghul's age. Due to living so long, he is assumed to have lost track of how old he is. Azrael #6 (July 1995; written by Dennis O'Neil) places Ra's age closer to 450 years. As he tells Jean Paul Valley, "I appear to be a vigorous fifty. I am actually a very vigorous four hundred and forty-eight...or is it four hundred and fifty-three? I lost count during the Black Plague. No matter." In Batman Annual #25 (published in 2006), Ra's al Ghul is described as a "700-Year Old International Terrorist."

The first appearance of Ra's al Ghul, from Batman#232, June 1971. Cover by Neal Adams.

Using the Lazarus Pits to extend his life, Ra's spends the next several centuries journeying the world. He fights in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and becomes a formidable warrior. As the world entered the modern age and industrialization began to cover much of the Earth, Ra's grew to despise the humans who he believed were destroying the world's natural beauty, thus setting him on a path of eco-terrorism. Also during this time, Ra's, his uncle, and the boy who freed him from the sultan are all using the Lazarus Pits to prolong their lives until an incident in London. Ra's catches the boy writing his own memoirs in their original language, of which Ra's has forbidden all records. During a battle, Ra's kills the boy and flees to a Lazarus Pit, which he uses. When he returns to their home in London, his uncle has vanished with the remnants of their historical records.

Over time, he becomes a master of many forms of combat, notably fencing. He also builds up vast wealth and creates The Demon, a huge international organization. According to Justice League of America (1st series) #94; "It has been whispered in the darkest places for 500 years that a cartel of criminals has slowly sucked its way into the rich veins of the Earth. Many are its names spit from the mouths of men, but most often it is cursed only as ...The Demon. It has a leader ... a Head." The League of Assassins, one of the many smaller organizations making up The Demon, is thus sometimes called "The Demon's Fang" or "Demonfang."

Contagion and Legacy[edit]

Ra's returns to prominence and comes dangerously close to realizing his dream of worldwide genocide in the "Contagion" story arc of the Batman titles. His organization unleashes a deadly virus known as Ebola Gulf A (a.k.a. "The Clench") in Gotham City, putting Batman in conflict with a force he seemingly cannot defeat. A cure is eventually located by Batman and his allies, though the mastermind behind the outbreak is not discovered until the follow-up story "Legacy".

Learning that the Demon's Head still lives, Batman and his team circle the globe, preventing further outbreaks of the virus. Ra's allies himself with Bane, the man who once crippled and nearly killed Batman. Ra's considers Bane a potential heir to his empire, despite his daughter Talia's distaste for the criminal mastermind. Eventually, Batman deduces a way to eliminate the Clench virus from an ancient "Wheel of Plagues" artifact whose knowledge has aided Ra's in the creation of the disease. The long-lived madman eludes justice again.

JLA: Tower of Babel[edit]

In the "Tower of Babel" storyline, in JLA #43-46, Ra's discovers Batman's contingency plans for stopping the other members of the Justice League of America, should they turn or be turned evil, and uses them to try to destroy the group. Meanwhile, Ra's steals the bodies of Batman's parents. This theft prevents Batman from realizing Ra's is using his traps until it is too late, as he is distracted by the search for the corpses of his parents.

Though defeated, Ra's does cause the exit of Batman from the JLA, who now distrust the Caped Crusader. Though some of the League resent Batman's plans, they agree that the plans were created for the right reasons.

Talia, disillusioned with her father, leaves the League to run LexCorp for former U.S. President Lex Luthor, before selling the company to Bruce Wayne for his Wayne Foundation to aid Batman and Superman's victory over Luthor. Ra's blames Batman for his failed relationship with Talia, and stages a plot where he tries to separate Batman from his heir, Dick Grayson, shortly before Wayne officially adopts his former ward as his son. The plan fails, and Wayne and Grayson go ahead with the adoption.

Ra's is also featured in Birds of Prey #31-35, where he has a romantic fling with the Black Canary. The superheroine is injured and healed in the Lazarus Pit, which also restores the Canary Cry she lost years earlier.

Death and the Maidens[edit]

In Death and the Maidens (2004), Ra's' other daughter, Nyssa Raatko, furious at her father for abandoning her in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, begins plotting to destroy him, prompting Ra's to contact Batman to make a deal for access to a Lazarus Pit to give him the strength for a final confrontation with Nyssa; in exchange for the location of a Pit, Ra's provides Batman with a serum that will allow him to walk in the spirit world and speak with his parents. While Batman experiences his 'vision', Nyssa befriends Talia and then kidnaps and brainwashes her. Nyssa plots to destroy all hope and optimism in the world by assassinating Superman with Kryptonite bullets she steals from the Batcave. While Batman stops Nyssa from killing Superman, he is unable to stop her from mortally injuring her father.[8] A dying Ra's reveals that this is all part of his greater plan to ensure that his daughters will realize that he is correct in his perceptions about the world and what needs to be done to it, and that they would come to accept their destinies as his heirs. Ra's' plan works: both Nyssa and Talia become the heads of The Demon and the League of Assassins. Talia disavows her love for Bruce Wayne, and both sisters declare Batman their enemy. It is too late for Ra's, as Nyssa stabs her father through the heart, seemingly killing him for good. To ensure Ra's will not return, Batman oversees his nemesis' cremation.

The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul[edit]

Ra's al Ghul returns from the dead.
Art by Tony Daniel.

In Batman Annual #26, Talia is prompted to read the history of Ra's al Ghul to her son Damian by a mysterious figure from Ra's' past: the White Ghost. Unbeknownst to her, the White Ghost plans to use Damian as a vessel for Ra's' return. However, mother and son escape before the plan is completed. After the escape, Batman confronts the White Ghost; he fights Batman, but accidentally falls into a Lazarus Pit.

As of Batman #670 Ra's al Ghul has returned, having evaded death by transferring his consciousness into the body of another. Because his host body is decaying from radiation poisoning, he needs to transfer his mind into another host body. His first choice is that of his grandson Damian Wayne, but Damian escaped to alert his father.

Upon taking Ra's to a "Fountain of Essence," which contains the qualities of a Lazarus Pit, Batman is confronted with the sight of the Sensei, who is revealed to be Ra's' father.[9] After defeating Ra's, Sensei fights and impales Batman with a cane. Determined to win, Batman drags the Sensei into the Fountain, where he is killed for not being a pure soul. Ra's, meanwhile, has taken over the body of a Nanda Parbat monk and departs. Healed by the Fountain, Batman emerges and yells for Ra's.

Ra's returns in the form of his own son, Dusan al Ghul, Arabic: دوسان الغول, who is also called "The White Ghost".
Art by Ryan Benjamin.

Ra's attempts to make amends with Batman after his resurrection, but Batman responds by crushing his decaying fingers. Ra's accepts this latest rebuke and, with the help of his men, overpowers Batman and captures Damian, who has arrived to try to help his father. Ra's attempts to take over Damian, but Batman breaks free just as Robin, Talia, Alfred Pennyworth, and Nightwing arrive to save him. While the battle ensues at Nanda Parbat, the White Ghost takes Ra's to a secluded place, where the terrorist appears to accept the fact that his death is inevitable. The White Ghost is revealed as Ra's' estranged, albino son Dusan, and offers up his own body instead. Ra's performs the transfer of souls, but the White Ghost apparently dies soon afterward. Ra's resumes the battle and attempts to kill Batman, but the monks at Nanda Parbat stop him and banish him from the temple.

Following his resurrection, Ra's al Ghul, in his new body, moves his base of operations to Gotham City where it is revealed that a remnant of his son Dusan's consciousness still remains within him. Since the White Ghost was his son, Ra's was able to use the resemblance between them to modify his new body's appearance to be more like his own. This arrogance contributes to the brazen move to Gotham and a subsequent ninja attack on Batman, which indirectly leads to the discovery of a map of all the known Lazarus Pit locations across the globe. Batman then infiltrates Ra's al Ghul's new Gotham penthouse headquarters and easily defeats his horde of ninjas and Ra's himself. To ensure Ra's is not a constant threat within Gotham City, Batman comes up with the false identity of "Terry Gene Kase," and plants it along with credible photos, medical records, and police records for both Blackgate Penitentiary and Arkham Asylum. Batman takes an unconscious Ra's directly to Arkham where it is believed he really is the prisoner "Terry Gene Kase," a criminal with multiple personality disorder who has just been transferred to Arkham to finish out multiple life sentences. Along with attaching false information and a false identity to Ra's al Ghul's file, Batman attaches a false prescription of potent medication that ensures slurred speech and next to zero mobility.[1]

Despite these precautions, Ra's eventually escapes when the orderlies miss his dosage once, which allows him to become conscious enough to escape from Arkham.[10]

The Return of Bruce Wayne[edit]

Ra's realized that Batman has apparently died after Darkseid's invasion during Final Crisis. After confronting Nightwing with his knowledge, he and the hero eventually duel with swords. Nightwing defeats Ra's and earns the immortal's respect, signified by leaving his sword in the Batcave as a gift after their fight. Ra's refuses to believe his enemy's passing despite the evidence, leading him to be involved in the Red Robin's (Tim Drake) quest concerning the fate of the original Dark Knight. After Drake finds proof that Wayne is still alive but lost in time after his battle with Darkseid, the former Boy Wonder cripples Ra's' terrorist organization, the League of Assassins, from within. In response, Ra's returns to Gotham to begin his attack to destroy every legacy of the Wayne Family. While his men target everyone close to the Waynes, Ra's makes a pact with Hush as part of his plans. Unknown to both men, Bruce Wayne has already named Tim as his heir prior to his disappearance, leaving him in control of the Wayne Family resources.

Enraged, Ra's then engages Tim Drake in combat which ends with Tim mocking Ra's that there's nothing he can do to harm the Bat Family anymore, to which Ra's smiles and says "Well done... Detective" (a name he has only ever reserved for Batman). He then proceeds to kick him out of a skyscraper window and retreats from the battle. Later in seclusion, Ra's reveals everything which happened was a test for Tim Drake, from the League, the Council, the Men of Death, and the plot against Bruce Wayne.

Learning of Bruce Wayne's return, Ra's muses that his next confrontation with the Detective will be particularly interesting as he believes that Batman has at last had a taste of the immortality that Ra's himself enjoys.[11]

He goes after Vicki Vale and almost kills her. He spares her life only after she refuses to publish the identity of Batman and gets rid of all of the evidence she has to that effect. He also realizes that Vale may be a descendant of a French opponent, Marcel du Valliere, from centuries before, therefore his business with her may not be finished.

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Ra's al Ghul appears in a hooded robe at the League of Assassins' city of 'Eth Alth'eban. He enters the Well of Sins after an encounter with Red Hood.[12] Jason is under attack by Ra's al Ghul who demands to know just what his daughter Talia al Ghul saw in the boy. Having just emerged from the Well of Sins, Ra's al Ghul is consumed by the evil that once corrupted the Untitled centuries ago. Now he feels compelled to rid himself of the machinations of his daughter and Ducra by killing Jason. At Ra's al Ghul's command, the prisoners are brought to him, and he promises to use his new found power to see them dead. Red Hood, however, determines that he cannot allow it to happen. As Ra's al Ghul gathers his power, Red Hood tells himself again and again that he wants to remember what he chose to forget.[13] Red Hood engages Ra's al Ghul as Essence joins the battle. She insists that he will allow Jason and his friends to leave his realm, or he will be forced to die a mortal death just as he always feared he would. Despite having destroyed the All-Caste, Ra's al Ghul's actions have led to their eventual rebirth. Defeated, he swears that he will visit great agony upon Red Hood if he sees him ever again.[14]

Batman and Aquaman head to an island where the League of Assassins are after Ra's al Ghul had the bodies of Damian Wayne and Talia al Ghul exhumed. Ra's al Ghul had ordered the hunt of whales creating genetically altered super-humans in the wombs of sperm whales. This being just one of a probable many plans to rebuild the League of Assassins. Inside the compound, they find that Ra's is wiping the hard drives clean, preventing data recovery, even as a message from Ra's al Ghul plays over the intercom, chastising Batman for failing to prevent the deaths of Damian or Talia within the city he swore to protect. As his parting gift, he has left Batman the Heretics to keep him entertained. Batman fights his way to Ra's escape aircraft. He sees Talia and Damian's bodies stored within it, and clings to the fuselage from outside as the plane takes off. Though Ra's al Ghul plans to go to Paradise Island, he is nearly surprised to see Batman pounding on the cockpit's windshield. From outside, Batman screams for Ra's al Ghul to give back his son, but Ra's al Ghul responds that he is blood of Damian's blood and the boy is in good hands. He orders the plane to tilt its angle, causing the wind shear to rip Batman from his purchase and drop down into the sea. Luckily, Aquaman is there to catch Batman.[15]

Batman and Ra's al Ghul have their encounter with Glorious Godfrey.[16] Glorious Godfrey's reason to come to Earth is to retrieve the Chaos Shard, a powerful crystal once belonged to Darkseid which Ra's al Ghul revealed was hidden inside the sarcophaus he crafted for Damian.[17]

Powers, abilities, and weapons[edit]

Due to his expanded life span, Ra’s has accumulated a vast knowledge of hand-to-hand combat, chemistry, detective artistry, physics, and martial arts (all of which rival that of Batman). He has also gained many international contacts and a vast fortune, gained over centuries. When in combat, he favors more ancient weaponry (as he has had more time to utilize them than more modern weaponry). These weapons include scimitars, katanas, bolas, throwing stars (shurikens), smoke pellets, and miniaturized explosives. Ra's is also assisted by his devoted, musclebound servant Ubu.

Ra’s' greatest tools are his Lazarus Pits, which will heal him of any injury (even if he is recently dead) while restoring him back to his prime of life. His constant exposure to the pits has granted him slightly enhanced endurance, strength, and healing but also comes with the price of a gradual onset of insanity if overused.

Family[edit]

The following are members of Ra's al Ghul's family:

The Sensei[edit]

Main article: Sensei (DC Comics)

Created by Neal Adams in 1968,[18] the Sensei was originally introduced as high-ranking member of the League of Assassins. He was portrayed as an aged but highly skilled martial artist. During the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul storyline, he was revealed to be Ra's al Ghul's centuries-old father.[19] He dies during the same storyline.[19]

Dusan al Ghul[edit]

Created by Peter Milligan and David Lopez in 2007,[20] Dusan al Ghul (Arabic: دوسان الغول‎) was Ra's' only known son. He was also referred to as Al'Shabah Al-Abyad (Arabic: الشبح الأبيض‎), meaning "the White Ghost". Though little is known about his past, it is stated that he was born out of a union meant to strengthen his father's hold over "some long-extinct people",[21] suggesting that he was older than Ra's' other children. As an albino, he was never considered a potential heir to his father's empire.[21] He ultimately sacrificed himself to ensure his father's survival during the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul storyline.[21]

Nyssa Raatko[edit]

Main article: Nyssa Raatko

Created by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson in 2003,[22] Nyssa Raatko (Arabic: نيسا رعتكو‎) is Ra's al Ghul's oldest known daughter. She was born to an unnamed woman in 18th century Russia.[23] She would later become a Holocaust survivor.[24] She is murdered by Cassandra Cain during the One Year Later storyline. Nyssa appears in Arrow (TV series).[25]

Talia al Ghul[edit]

Main article: Talia al Ghul

Created by Dennis O'Neil and Bob Brown in 1971,[26] Talia al Ghul (Arabic: تاليه الغول‎) is Ra's al Ghul's daughter. Talia's mother was a woman of mixed Chinese and Arab ancestry[27] named Melisande,[28][29] who met Ra's at the Woodstock festival.[27][29] Talia was born not long after. Talia also appears in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises.

Damian Wayne[edit]

Main article: Damian Wayne

Originally appearing as an unnamed infant in the 1987 graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon,[28] the character was introduced as Damian Wayne by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert in 2006.[30] Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, making him the grandson of Ra's al Ghul. He was raised by his mother Talia al Ghul. He was very aggressive until he met his father, Batman. Batman taught him how to calm himself and trained him to be the new Robin.

Others[edit]

Although he fathered children with several women, Ra's al Ghul has only two confirmed marriages. The first was to Sora,[20][27] whose death set Ra's on the path to becoming the "Demon's Head". The second was to Melisande,[28][29] Talia's mother.

Ra's also appears to have an unnamed sister[31] or half-sister,[32] a female assassin belonging to a group called the "Daughters of Acheron", whose members share the same father.[32][33] Another member is a woman using the alias "Promise".[33] It is unclear if their common father, "Acheron", is in fact the Sensei (making them all Ra's' half-sisters) or if Ra's only has one half-sister on his mother's side.

In Batman and Robin #12, it is revealed that Talia has cloned her son, Damian.[34] The clone is, therefore, a grandson of sorts of Ra's al Ghul. Additionally, Nyssa once stated that she has given birth twelve times,[35] opening the possibility of Ra's having many other descendants.

Involvement with Batman[edit]

After Talia encounters and falls in love with Batman in Detective Comics #411 (May 1971), Ra's begins to consider Batman as a possible heir. Ra's first deduces Batman's secret identity when he reasons that the Dark Knight has to be rich, and learns that only Bruce Wayne has bought the equipment that a crime fighter would have; he is then ready to put Batman to a final test.

Ra's surprises Batman in the Batcave, seemingly to enlist Batman's aid in rescuing both Talia and Dick Grayson, the first Robin, both of whom have apparently been kidnapped. Batman soon discovers that the whole affair is a charade orchestrated by Ra's to test Batman, which he passes. Ra's asks that Batman become his heir, which Batman refuses, appalled by his genocidal plan to "cleanse" the world. This story was later adapted into a two-part story in Batman: The Animated Series during its first season under the title "The Demon's Quest."

Despite being mortal enemies, Ra's al Ghul and Batman maintain some level of respect towards one another. Similar to The Riddler, Ra's admires Batman's intellectual prowess first and foremost, regularly referring to Batman as "Detective" or "The Detective" when speaking to or about him. And despite being aware of Batman's true identity as Bruce Wayne since their first meeting, Ra's has never exposed that information to the public or Batman's other rogues; something Batman once attributed to Ra's' personal code of honor. However, Ra's has repeatedly used that knowledge to his own advantage when fomenting plans and contingencies against Batman.

In the story "Resurrection Night" in Batman #400, Ra's helps all of Batman's foes to escape from Arkham Asylum and the Gotham State Penitentiary, setting them on a plan to abduct certain individuals across Gotham City who are linked in one form or another to Batman. Ra's' true intent is to show Batman the folly of his efforts to protect a corrupt society that, to his mind, allows criminals to exist and flourish. Ra's eventually uses the Pit while still healthy, both increasing his strength and putting his life at risk, in an attempt to outmatch the Dark Knight. The plan backfires, as Ra's is left writhing in the pit, seemingly destroyed.

Other versions[edit]

Son of the Demon[edit]

In the graphic novel Son of the Demon, Ra's successfully enlists Batman's aid in defeating a rogue assassin and warlord, Qayin (a variation on the spelling of Cain), who has murdered Ra's' then-wife Melisande (Talia's mother). During this storyline, Batman marries Talia and she becomes pregnant. Batman is nearly killed protecting Talia from the assassin's agents. In the end, Talia ends her relationship with Batman, unwilling to put him in danger. She claims to have miscarried and the marriage is dissolved. The child is eventually born and left at an orphanage (eventually taking the name Ibn al Xu'ffasch). The only identification provided is Talia's jewel-encrusted necklace, which once belonged to Talia's mother. Two Elseworlds stories, Kingdom Come and Brotherhood of the Bat, feature two alternate versions of Ibn as an adult, coming to terms with his dual heritage. For a time, DC Comics' policy was that Son of the Demon was not canon and that Batman had no son. The recent appearance of the child (under the name Damian) in an issue of Batman implies that this policy may have changed.

30th Century[edit]

Ra's has previously been revealed as alive in the 31st century setting of the post-Zero Hour reboot Legion of Super-Heroes, impersonating Leland McCauley.

Superman & Batman: Generations[edit]

In the first Superman & Batman: Generations series, created by John Byrne, Bruce Wayne tracks Ra's al Ghul after passing the Batman mantle on to his son. Ra's offers Bruce a chance at immortality, having discovered a means of attaining truly eternal life, without the ensuing madness, from one Lazarus Pit: two souls enter and the Pit destroys one while imbuing the other with youth and immortality. With his only alternatives being a fifty-fifty chance at death in the Pit or being murdered by Ra's' men, Bruce agrees to the process, surviving exposure to the Pit and subsequently using Ra's' criminal empire to set up an anti-crime information network. He also becomes a near-immortal, aging one year for every century.

Spider-Man/Batman[edit]

In the second Spider-Man/Batman crossover book (considered an Elseworlds story), Ra's begins plans for worldwide devastation. He manipulates the Kingpin to his side by infecting the crime lord's wife Vanessa with cancer and promising him the cure in return for his allegiance. Ra's then orders him to press the button on his machines which would send New York City under the ocean. Ultimately, Spider-Man and Batman interfere and the Kingpin reveals that he knows Ra's' plans and allows the two heroes to board his plane so they can assist him. Defeated, Ra's bows out of the plan gracefully but claims that there is no cure for the cancer. Vanessa convinces her husband that she wishes no further violence, and they leave. Talia soon gives the cure to Batman, who then gives it to Spider-Man, who passes it on to the Kingpin.

Amalgam Comics[edit]

In the Amalgam Comics alternate dimension, Ra's is fused with Marvel Comics supervillain Apocalypse to become "Ra's Al-Pocalypse." Ra's' daughter Talia is fused with Lady Deathstrike to become "Lady Talia."

Captain Carrot Reality[edit]

Kingdom Come[edit]

In Kingdom Come, a rogue superhuman claimed that Ra's al Ghul was killed. Ra's' grandson, Ibn al Xu'ffasch, is a member of Lex Luthor's Mankind Liberation Front.

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Ra's al Ghul is a young boy and member of the H.I.V.E. council. He voted against using nuclear weapons to end the war in Western Europe between Aquaman and Wonder Woman.[36]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Ra's al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Ra's al Ghul made several appearances in the DC animated universe, voiced by David Warner:
    • In Batman: The Animated Series, he first appears at the very end of the episode "Off Balance" where he's informed about Batman by his daughter Talia. This sets the stage for subsequent appearances where he's the episode's villain. In the two-part episode "The Demon's Quest", Ra's al Ghul adapts his attempts from the comic to make Batman his heir and then to cleanse the world of humanity. In the episode "Avatar", he makes an attempt at true immortality. Though Batman manages to catch him in the end, Talia ends up freeing her father and sending Batman on his way. In the episode "Showdown", he relates an event on a tape left for Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson) after his men abducted a specific old man from a retirement villa. It mentioned in the 1800s that Ra's al Ghul and his son Arkady Duvall (voiced by Malcolm McDowell) battled Jonah Hex. When Hex defeated Arkady, Ra's al Ghul was forced to abandon Arkady. When Batman and Robin catch up with Ra's al Ghul during the episode's main timeframe, Ra's al Ghul reveals that the old man is Arkady Duvall who he had been searching for following Arkady's prison sentence. As Arkady's mind and body are beyond the Lazarus Pit's power to mend, Batman lets Ra's al Ghul take his elderly son with him so that Ra's can spend some time with him before he expires.
    • In Superman: The Animated Series, Ra's al Ghul is dying due to the Lazarus Pit being ineffective at prolonging his aging body. In the episode "The Demon Reborn", he attempts to steal Superman's strength using an ancient Native American artifact. He almost succeeds, but is thwarted by Batman before the process is complete. The process has rejuvenated his body enough for Ra's al Ghul to resume his usage with the Lazarus Pit once more. He and Talia disappear at the battle's end.
    • Batman Beyond revealed that Ra's al Ghul has one last confrontation with Batman during the "Near-Apocalypse of '09". However, Talia assists Batman in this battle and Ra's al Ghul is apparently killed as the injuries he sustained were far beyond the Lazarus Pit's healing capabilities. Ra's al Ghul escaped death yet again by using a new device to essentially possess his daughter by transferring his mind into her body in order to stay alive. In the episode "Out of the Past", Ra's al Ghul poses as Talia as he manipulates Bruce Wayne into using the Lazarus Pit to regain his youth - intending to take over Bruce's body and pose as Bruce and Talia's son to take control of Wayne Enterprises. He is thwarted by the new Batman (Terry McGinnis) and presumably killed when his mansion is destroyed.
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Peter Woodward.[37] This version is interested in making Robin (Dick Grayson) his heir rather than Batman or his own daughter Talia. In the episode "Sidekicks Assemble", Ra's al Ghul attempts to infect Coast City with mutated plants using his flying island, but is stopped by Robin, Aqualad and Speedy. Ra's al Ghul manages to get away with Talia. He later makes a cameo in the opening narration of "The Siege of Starro" Pt. 1 where he and Ubu are foiled by Batman. Ra's al Ghul's final appearance in "Crisis 22,300 Miles Above Earth" has him attempting to flood and 'cleanse' the Earth by melting the polar ice caps. His plan and his army are stopped by Batman, the Justice League International and the Justice Society of America with help from Talia. Ra's al Ghul is last seen falling into an abyss in the Himalayas after a fight with Batman.
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in Young Justice, voiced by Oded Fehr. In the episode "Targets", he hires his League of Shadows assassins Cheshire and Sportsmaster to kill Lex Luthor and a pair of Asian diplomats. The plot is foiled by Red Arrow and Aqualad. It is later revealed that Ra's al Ghul and Luthor are plotting together to have the diplomats saved by Mercy Graves from the assassins and have them make a weapons deal with Luthor in order to assist the Light (Project Cadmus's Board of Directors). In the episode "Revelation", it is revealed that Ra's al Ghul is L-2 of the Light. In the episode "Auld Acquaintance", Ra's al Ghul, Luthor, Queen Bee, Ocean Master, Brain and Monsieur Mallah infiltrate Project Cadmus and steal the clones as well as the cryogenic pod containing the real Speedy. In the episode "Darkest," Ra's al Ghul was with the Light when Black Manta tells them the progress of the mission and that Aqualad has "seen the light." Ra's al Ghul is the one who congratulated Aqualad and tells him that it is time that he met the Light's Partner. In the episode "Summit," Ra's al Ghul joins the Light in meeting with the Reach in the caves of Santa Prisca. During the meeting, Ra's al Ghul manages to figure out that Tigress is Artemis upon removing the special medallion on her that has a Glamour Charm. During the team's fight with the Light and the Reach, Black Beetle stabs Ra's al Ghul as Ubu gets his body away from Santa Prisca.
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode "La Larva de Amor," Silkie accidentally falls into a golf hole and shoots through a temple with a sarcophagus of Ra's al Ghul on the wall and ends up in a paint can in the water, floating away to Mexico.
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in Beware the Batman, voiced by Lance Reddick.[38] At the end of the episode "Sacrifice", Lady Shiva finds the package that Anarky had temporarily stolen from the League of Assassins had contained Ra's al Ghul's body. In "Fall", a flashback reveals that he encountered MI6 Agents Alfred Pennyworth and Edogawa Yamashiro (the father of Katana) in the past with Edogawa forced to betray Alfred to Ra's in their last encounter under threat of his family. Ra's ordered Edogawa to use the Soultaker Sword on Alfred, but Alfred fought back, causing the powers of the sword to activate, leading to Edogawa's death. In the present day, he is revived by Lady Shiva and is ready to use the Ion Cortex to drain all of Gotham City's electricity leaving it in darkness. Batman and Katana arrive to stop him. Ra's al Ghul fights hand-to-hand against Batman where he defeats Batman considering him a "worthy opponent." Ra's al Ghul nearly kills Batman before Alfred arrives and interferes. Katana and Alfred barely escape from the League of Assassins with Ra's al Ghul commenting on how Alfred killed Edogawa. Ra's al Ghul activates the Ion Cortex plunging all of Gotham City into darkness. In "Darkness", Ra's al Ghul directly threatens Gotham's citizens by making an example of it to the rest of the world by taking it over and "cleansing" it from the evils of technology, and even has the unnamed police commissioner killed to make his point. In addition, he has Alfred and Katana captured when they try to break into his lair. He also causes a breakout at Blackgate Penitentiary at the end of the episode. In "Reckoning", Ra's al Ghul recruits Professor Pyg, Mr. Toad, Magpie, Tobias Whale, and Phosphorus Rex as well as League of Assassins operative Cypher to kill Batman (who had escaped with the help of an imprisoned Silver Monkey) in exchange of a small piece of the city. Ra's al Ghul also manipulates Katana into killing Alfred to avenge the death of her father. She refuses nearly having Ra's al Ghul kill them all only for Tobias to arrive with a captured Batman. Batman breaks free and stalls Ra's al Ghul in combat while Barbara Gordon hacks into the Ion Cortex, disabling it from the League of Assassins' control and bringing electricity back into the city. Batman ultimately defeats Ra's al Ghul by using a reverse chant to release all of the souls in the Soultaker Sword (particularly all of Ra's al Ghul enemies throughout the centuries). The angry spirits drag Ra's al Ghul into a bottomless pit, presumably to his death.
  • Ra's al Ghul is mentioned in several episodes of the second season of the TV series Arrow. Though not by name, his existence is first hinted in "Dead to Rights" by Malcolm Merlyn as the one who gave him his new purpose in life when he met him in Nanda Parbat. In "Broken Dolls" his existence is confirmed as a member of the League of Assassins states him by name when he confronts the Canary, Sara Lance. In "League of Assassins" it was revealed that his League trained Sara Lance, who became disillusioned after completing one particular assassination and left. The League is then ordered to bring her back to him, dead or alive. In "The Scientist," it is confirmed that Ra's al Ghul also trained Malcolm Merlyn in Nanda Parbat. Moira Queen reveals she contacted Ra's al Ghul to tell him Malcolm has faked his death, prompting the League to put a hit on Malcolm for breaking its code of honor, by being responsible for the Undertaking. In "Heir to the Demon", his daughter Nyssa is sent to Starling City, to bring back Sara. Sara asks Nyssa to release her from the League of Assassins like her father did with Malcolm Merlyn but Nyssa says he was the only one that was ever released from the League and since then Ra's al Ghul has been regretting it every day. After Oliver believes that Sara intends to kill Nyssa, he decides to stop her and when Diggle asks why should they care, Oliver states that if half the stories that he has heard about Ra's al Ghul are true then they will all pay, as he's certain Ra's al Ghul would retaliate. Nyssa later decides to release Sara from the League on her father's name. Where Oliver has heard about Ra's al Ghul is currently unknown. Despite Liam Neeson (who portrayed Ra's al Ghul in The Dark Knight Trilogy) expressing an interest of reprising his role for the television series' third season and the CW reached out to him, it would appear he was unavailable and Australian actor Matthew Nable portrayed Ra's instead. Ra's al Ghul finally made his first actual appearance at the end of "The Magician" where Nyssa speaks to him about Sara's death (to which he has no remorse for), Malcolm being alive (he wants Malcolm to face the League of Assassins' justice for the Undertaking), and Oliver Queen (as Oliver believes Malcolm didn't kill Sara and has placed him under his protection). Ra's al Ghul declares that since Oliver is protecting Malcolm, that he has welcomed war with him.

Film[edit]

  • Ra's al Ghul appears in the film Batman Begins, played by Liam Neeson. He is the head of the millennia-old League of Shadows organization based in Bhutan that is dedicated to keeping order and justice in a world which it views as decadent and corrupt. During the film's first half, he goes by the name Henri Ducard and poses as a servant of a Ra's al Ghul decoy (portrayed by Ken Watanabe). He acts as Bruce Wayne's mentor, teaching him the stealth and martial arts training that he will one day use as Batman. During the film's ending, he reappears and reveals his true identity to Bruce. Ra's al Ghul reveals that he is Jonathan Crane's silent partner in a plan to disperse a fear-inducing toxin into Gotham City's water supplies. He then tells Bruce that the League of Shadows had tried to destroy Gotham once before by creating an economic depression that indirectly resulted in the murders of Bruce's parents. Ra's al Ghul sees much of himself in Bruce, relating the story of how he came to the League of Shadows following his wife's death. In their final confrontation, Batman defeats Ra's al Ghul and leaves him on a runaway train which falls off a bridge and crashes, killing him in the ensuing explosion.
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood, voiced by Jason Isaacs.[39][40] This version is responsible for Jason Todd's resurrection after the second Robin was killed by the Joker. Halfway through the film, Batman travels to Ra's al Ghul's stronghold to question him to which Ra's reveals that he had been planning to ruin Europe's economy and had hired Joker to provide Batman and Robin with a distraction but he underestimated the Clown Prince of Crime in going rogue and murdering Robin. Plagued with guilt, Ra's al Ghul's subjects brought Robin to the Lazarus Pit to resurrect the boy but Jason was driven insane and returned to Gotham City as the murderous vigilante Red Hood intent on taking revenge on Joker. Ra's al Ghul is last seen watching the news bulletin about Red Hood's disappearance and Joker's return to Arkham Asylum.
  • Ra's al Ghul makes a cameo appearance in The Dark Knight Rises, again portrayed by Liam Neeson.[41] He appears to Bruce Wayne as a hallucination, telling him that there are many forms of immortality and that he has an heir that is carrying on the League of Shadows' mission to destroy Gotham City, and tells Bruce that he no longer has the resolve to be Batman. Josh Pence plays a younger version of the character in flashbacks set 30 years before the film's events.[42] In an ancient part of the world, he was a mercenary who married the daughter of his warlord employer. When the warlord found out, he condemned the mercenary to a prison known as "The Pit" but the warlord exiled him instead when his pregnant wife offered to take the place of her husband. When the mercenary joined the League of Shadows and became Ra's al Ghul, he was unaware of her imprisonment. After his daughter Talia escaped from the Pit and located him, Ra's turned the League on the prison, killing several inmates and freeing Bane as he helped Talia escape. But even after Bane saved his daughter's life, Ra's al Ghul saw him only as a reminder of the Pit where his wife died, and excommunicated him from the League. During the film's main timeline, Talia and Bane had assumed leadership of the League of Shadows after her father's death, traveled to Gotham to secretly finish her father's work and avenge his death, for which they blame Batman.[43][44][45][46] Recited in the Pit, the prevalent chant deshi basara (Arabic: دشي بسرعة) is of the Moroccan language, indicative of Ra's al Ghul's Arab background.[47][48]
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in the film Son of Batman, voiced by Giancarlo Esposito.[49] He is killed at the beginning during a takeover attempt by Deathstroke, along with Talia's elderly brother, likely Dusan. He is shown as an extremely skilled warrior, only taken out by a gunship rocket attack, and even then almost making it to a nearby Lazarus pit before dying. Following Ra's al Ghul's death, his grandson Damian Wayne attempts to submerge him the Lazarus Pit, but his mother Talia tells him that the Pit cannot save her father.

Video games[edit]

  • Ra's al Ghul appears in the Batman Begins video game based on the movie. Both Ken Watanabe and Liam Neeson reprise their roles of "Decoy Ra's" and Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Ra's al Ghul's body can be found zipped up in a body bag in the morgue part of Arkham Mansion near Dr. Penny Young's office. It is also part of The Riddler's riddles The riddle is (It will be a cold day in hell when this Ghul rises again). When the player Scans the toe tag on the bodies foot it will solve the riddle. If the player later returns to the Morgue where the body was, the body is somehow gone it was most likely taken by the League of Assassians to be resurrected in the Lazarus Pit.
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in Batman: Arkham City, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker. Ra's appears as the power behind Hugo Strange, having seen him as a possible replacement successor for Batman. He is first encountered in Wonder City's ruins, where he had just been revived from a corpse; he offers Batman an easy kill to obtain his blood, but is refused. Using the Lazarus Pit, Ra's became fully rejuvenated and fought Batman until his insanity got the better of him. Batman gave him one chance to end his crusade, but Ra's failed to heed the warning; is later encountered in Wonder Tower and killed Strange when Protocol 10 was stopped. Saved from the explosion by Batman, Ra tries to kill Batman again, but ends up landing on the Arkham City gate. His body later vanishes, most likely taken by his servants to be revived again.

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Ra's al Ghul appears in The Batman Adventures. He arrived to break up a fight between Batman and Sensei and even had to allow Sensei to go with Batman.
  • Ra's al Ghul appears in the comic book tie-in to Young Justice. In issue 11, Ra's al Ghul oversaw the hijacking of the rocket at Cape Canaveral and had the original research payload replaced with a diamond lens that would turn sun beams into death beams that would attack the various cities. Batman and Robin end up fighting Ra's al Ghul which ended with Ra's falling off the tower to his death. Ubu and Talia were able to get Ra's back to Infinity Island where Sensei used the Lazarus Pit to revive Ra's al Ghul. After emerging from the Lazarus Pit, Ra's al Ghul ordered Sensei to prepare their weapon called the Serpent. In issue 12, Ra's al Ghul arrived where he found Sensei and Talia being attacked by Clayface and learned from Sensei that the monster was their operative Matt Hagen. After Ra's al Ghul stated to Clayface that he was still a member of the League of Shadows and commanded him to sleep, he ordered Sensei to ship Clayface to Gotham City for him to bother Batman and then demanded an explanation from Talia on how Clayface came to be.

Toys[edit]

  • On November 15, 2013, Mattel released a 6" action figure of Ra's al Ghul as part of their DC Signature Collection/DC Universe Classics line. The figure was sculpted by the Four Horsemen Design Studio.[52]

Collected editions[edit]

His stories have been collected into a number of volumes:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Detective Comics (vol. 1) #840 (March 2008)
  2. ^ "Spider-Bob's Comics Book Encyclopedia". Spider-bob.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  3. ^ Batman: Arkham City
  4. ^ Detective Comics (vol. 1) #411 (May 1971) "Editor's Note: In Arabic, 'The Demon's Head'! Literally, Al Ghul signifies a mischief-maker, and appears as the Ghoul of the Arabian Nights!"
  5. ^ Batman Villains Secret Files & Origins #1 (1998). "Ra's al Ghul's true name is lost in the sands of time. Of all the Dark Knight's foes, 'The Ghoul's Head', as his name translates from Arabic, is perhaps the most dangerous."
  6. ^ "Ra's Al Ghul Is Number 7". IGN.com. 
  7. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Writer Denny O'Neil once stated that he and artist Neal Adams 'set out to consciously and deliberately to create a villain...so exotic and mysterious that neither we nor Batman were sure what to expect.' Who they came up with was arguably Batman's most cunning adversary: the global eco-terrorist named Ra's al Ghul." 
  8. ^ Death and The Maidens #8 (May 2004)
  9. ^ Batman (vol. 1) #671 (January 2008)
  10. ^ Nightwing (vol. 2) #145 (August 2008)
  11. ^ Batman & Robin: The Road Back #1 (December 2010)
  12. ^ Red Hood and the Outlaws #24
  13. ^ Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
  14. ^ Red Hood and the Outlaws #27
  15. ^ Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #29
  16. ^ Batman and Ra's al Ghul #32
  17. ^ Batman and Ra's al Ghul #33
  18. ^ Strange Adventures #215 (November–December 1968)
  19. ^ a b Batman #671 (January 2008)
  20. ^ a b Batman Annual #26 (October 2007)
  21. ^ a b c Detective Comics #839 (February 2008)
  22. ^ Detective Comics #783 (August 2003)
  23. ^ Batman: Death and the Maidens #3 (December 2003)
  24. ^ Batman: Death and the Maidens #5 (February 2004)
  25. ^ Robin #148 (May 2006)
  26. ^ Detective Comics #411 (May 1971)
  27. ^ a b c Batman: Birth of the Demon (December 1992)
  28. ^ a b c Batman: Son of the Demon (September 1987)
  29. ^ a b c Batman Incorporated (vol.2) #2 (June 2012)
  30. ^ Batman #655 (September 2006)
  31. ^ Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul (December 2010)
  32. ^ a b Red Robin #25 (September 2011)
  33. ^ a b Red Robin #24 (August 2011)
  34. ^ Batman and Robin #12 (July 2010)
  35. ^ Batman: Death and the Maidens #6 (March 2004)
  36. ^ Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1 (June 2011)
  37. ^ "The World's Finest". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  38. ^ http://www.g4tv.com/videos/59899/lance-reddick-on-dr0ne-fringe-more/
  39. ^ "New Batman DVD to peek out from 'Under the Red Hood' – Hero Complex – Los Angeles Times". The Los Angeles Times. 
  40. ^ "Kate Jewell interviews Andrea Romano". Comics Continuum. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  41. ^ http://www.metro.co.uk/film/866505-the-dark-knight-rises-liam-neeson-spotted-filming-in-london
  42. ^ Kit, Borys (2011-04-08). "'Social Network' Actor Lands Role in 'Dark Knight Rises' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  43. ^ McWeeny, Drew (2012-08-27). "Our second look at 'The Dark Knight Rises' digs into the bad and the ugly". Hitfix. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  44. ^ Ryan, Mike (2012-07-22). 'The Dark Knight Rises': Batman Begins, Again. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  45. ^ Warner, Kara (2012-07-28). 'Dark Knight Rises' Femme Fatales: An Appreciation. MTV. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  46. ^ Wigler, Josh (2012-07-27). 'The Dark Knight Rises' Again: Tips For Your Second Viewing. MTV. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  47. ^ http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Part-Dark-Knight-Rises-Score-By-Recording-Yourself-Chanting-27748.html
  48. ^ http://www.movieviral.com/2011/07/18/the-dark-knight-rises-teaser-trailer-has-some-familair-chanting-great-fan-poster-for-the-batman-trilogy/
  49. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/News/Son-of-Batman-First-Look-1076369.aspx
  50. ^ Game Informer features a two-page gallery of the many heroes and villains who appear in the game with a picture for each character and a descriptive paragraph. See "LEGO Batman: Character Gallery," Game Informer 186 (October 2008): 93.
  51. ^ List of Eaglemoss issues, www.heroesassemble.com
  52. ^ [1]

External links[edit]