The following is an opinion piece written by Stephen Doria.
When I started to write these articles on the other website, I initially wrote about multiple villains per-post. However, in recent chapters I have narrowed my focus down to just one villain. For the most part, that was because the villains that I did focus on were A-list villains in Batman’s universe. Seeing how I am now on Chapter 6 of my “Keeping Batman’s Villain’s Fresh” articles, I feel that it is time to go back to my roots and again focus my attention on multiple villains. Unlike my other chapters, these villain’s are going to come from the same amazing source material, and they were chosen because each respected villain ended their edition of the overall storyline with a type of cliffhanger. So, with that said, Chapter 6 will focus its attention on Arkham City’s Calendar Man & Hush.
So, let us start off with the first villain, and probably the creepiest villain of the two, yeah, I know that is saying A LOT with the two villains that I have chosen to focus Chapter 6 on!!! Anyway, Calendar Man was not necessarily a villain that you could take on in either Arkham City or Arkham Asylum, but in both games his presence is very well known, the former having more screen time. In Arkham Asylum you only really see his cell, but you certainly know that it is HIS cell; there is no debate on that. It is littered with cut out calendars; I would say that the aptly named Calendar Man has a bit of an obsession.
1. Calendar Man: But why does Calendar Man have such an obsession with um, er, calendars? Kind of lame is it not? Well, let me get into who Calendar Man really is, to help clarify why he goes shopping around Christmas so much, and why calendar stores cheer when he enters. His alias is Julian Day, an obvious play on the Julian calendar system, and initially he would commit his crimes on a seasonal basis and theme. He uses them to commit his crimes to correspond with certain days of the week, and he respects the Christian ideology of Sunday being a day of rest. Even though he did not commit crimes on Sunday, he did use the day to attempt escape. Finally, he hits a niche. He has started to commit crimes to correspond with certain Holidays. One of his more famous attempts was when he used Jason Todd, still Robin at the time, to be a pawn in a scheme to kill Batman. Todd himself thwarted Calendar Man, but the more important thing to remember during this comic episode is that he now has a focus of crimes themed by holidays. Err, you are right, there really is no way to spin Calendar Man’s history into being badass. He is just simply a joke of a villain up until Arkham City…
Before I go into Arkham City, I want to move into a tangent quickly. The person Calendar Man should have been in the comics, and, oddly enough, the person who I originally thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “John Blake” was going to be in The Dark Knight Rises: Alberto Falcone. This is because of the claim that TDKR was going to come full circle and looking at the Falcone families history of crime, Alberto seemed to be the most likely candidate at the time. My feelings have since changed, but let me tell you a little bit about Alberto and how Calendar Man has a connection with him.
In The Long Halloween, one of the villain’s that Batman has to face was a man who was killing criminals on holidays. It started off as just members or people attached with Falcone’s criminal syndicate, but it eventually turns to also include Sal Maroni’s mafia too. The, then known “Holiday Killer” starts a gang war between the Falcone family and the Maroni family because of his vigilante actions. Eventually, Alberto is found out and caught, but Calendar Man uses a Hannibal-esk style of psychology to Batman, telling him he knows who the real criminal is and he knows who has been murdering these high ranking mafia bosses. Ironically, when Alberto is put into Arkham, his cell is adjacent to Calendar Man’s, whose pride is dented since he no longer is the main holiday themed criminal. After, The Long Halloween, comes Batman: Dark Victory, here, Alberto does indeed kill Sal Maroni. Calendar Man, during this story, attempts to convince Alberto into killing himself, with the help of the Scarecrow, but fails. He eventually has his jaw handed to him by Sofia Falcone and has Alberto’s ankle monitor attached to him so that the police and Batman could capture and return him to Arkham. Tangent over, but really, Alberto does indeed show Calendar man up in these two amazing stories, and not only does he show him up at his own theme, he embarrasses him!!!
So why the hell would I even take the time to write an article that focuses on Calendar Man!? Well, this is because Arkham City’s writers knew what they were doing. He does not look very intimidating in Arkham City, behind a glass wall, mumbling to himself. He has a jail jumpsuit on, calendar themed scars on his head, and with a walking assistant attached to his leg. What is fun about him is, relating to the day that it is, Calendar Man tells you about the crimes he has committed, and in Arkham City, he is no longer the, pardon my language, pussy, that we have come to recognize him as. The crimes that he tells you about through the glass cell were of his better days, before Two- Face took over the Solomon Wayne Courthouse. He would trap people in the courthouse and keep them there until the next holiday, when he would finally kill them. After you visit him enough times, you find one of Two-Faces henchman hanging from his cell and Calendar Man has escaped! Gasp!
Well, Batman, there is nothing to fear about Calendar Man, at least until the next holiday. I know it is hard to take Calendar Man as a serious villain, especially because he was so overshadowed by Alberto Falcone. But, when you really take the time to listen to what Calendar Man has done during his time in Arkham City, you start to gain some respect for the man. Arkham City’s version is not the best version of Calendar Man because of what he does during the game; it is the best version of Calendar Man because of what he has done before you play the game. It is the best version of Calendar Man because of the potential he has to wreak havoc all over Gotham City now that he is free! If there is a third version of the Arkham series, which my fingers are crossed that there will be, apart from the Harley Quinn DLC coming later in 2012, I hope that the writers of the game pounce on the chance that they gave themselves to develop him into a proper villain. So, that his peers and enemies will no longer look at him and laugh, but look at him and cower.
2. Hush: I have written about many villains from the Arkham video game series, and honestly, it is because many of the villains from the Arkham video game series can appear in the real world. The writers of the video game series think a lot like I do. They realized that Gotham City needs to be so dilapidated, so dirty, and so dangerous that there is a need for a Batman. This means that the villains of Gotham have to be that horrible. Up until this date, the villain that I have written about that seems to be the most insane in Arkham City would be the Riddler. That is until you come across Dr. Thomas Elliott, better known as Hush.
There are gruesome deaths littered all over Gotham City! The victims with their faces cut off and the corpses left in the gutters to eventually become the play things or food of stray animals. Hush is not apart of the main storyline of the game, but rather he is a side story, but do not think for one moment that his story is not fully developed. The writers of Arkham City took a lot of time to make sure that the side stories in the game are of just as high of quality as the main storyline.
To give a background of Hush in the Arkham City storyline, he was apart of a medical team that was dispatched into Arkham City. His colleagues thought of him as just another doctor here to help the injured prisoners, but they were unfortunately wrong. He was a man with a plan, and Arkham City was the perfect backdrop to execute this plan without much suspicion. The first phase of Elliott’s plan was the steal medical supplies from his colleagues, to acquire the proper tools. This was until his coworkers figured out that there were medical supplies missing. Once they deduced that it had to be Elliott stealing these supplies they confronted him about it.
Here is where Elliott’s insanity
started to surface. Wait. Scratch that. His insanity did not merely start to surface, it exploded onto the scene. This is because rather than denying that he stole some medical supplies or just accepting the slap on the wrist (that I am certain they would have given him due to the circumstances and location they were at.) Elliott decided that this would be the perfect time to graphically remove his own face!!! Seriously?! No, really, seriously?!?! Yup, that happened…
This happens before Batman saves the people at the Cathedral from Harley Quinn and her henchmen. After you save the people in the church, when talking to the doctors and guards you find a person who is strapped down to a gurney holding onto a crate. Unable to remove the crate from this man’s hands Batman is told about what just happened with that doctor. At the time you do not know what is about to transpire. It was a nice touch that the writers of the game used to foreshadow coming events. Personally, I always find it much more satisfying to have events &/or villains like this foreshadowed, rather than just having them appear out of thin air, that is unless you are the Joker and it is The Dark Knight. To have Elliott just start killing people after Batman’s arrival would seem more like a loose end, rather than proper writing. Oh, P.S., if you are wondering what was in the crate, it was people’s faces…
Anyway, moving forward, Elliott, as far as I am concerned, now without a face, is no longer Dr. Thomas Elliott, but, rather this is the moment that he transformed into Hush. At first, he kept under Batman’s radar. Batman had more important things to do, with the Joker incident, and having to figure out how he is going to live until the morning. Hush was able to keep under the radar of Batman at least until he started to slice the faces off of unsuspecting prisoners and THEN kill them. Hush did not even have the courtesy to kill his victim first.
When Batman came across Hush’s first victim he takes note. With a little bit of detective work, Batman is able to start to put together this puzzle. But he had to do it without the help of Tyger’s security forces. Although their security cameras observed what actually happened, Tyger just brushed the attack aside as another example of gang violence, which further helped Dr. Hugo Strange fulfill his dream and push forward HIS dastardly plan.
More people die, each one with the same modus operandi, which just further attracts Batman’s attention. With each death Batman is able to figure out that the killer is a skilled man, that he is not just a common gang member executing a hit. Batman realizes that the killer has to be someone who has extensive knowledge in the medical field because of how carefully the faces of the victims are removed. The “identify thief” as he was originally known in the game, killed a total of three people and used other prisoners in the city to dispose of some of the bodies. This was his undoing. Batman was able to track down the prisoner who was attempting to clean a scene and from the interrogation of him, he tracks Hush to his hideout.
This is where Hush REALLY shows that insanity! When Batman goes into what appears to be a torture chamber he is confronted by Hush. Here, locked away from Hush, Batman is confronted by him. Hush explains his motives for killing the people and stealing their identities. He unwrapped his bandages and boom! The picture above now makes more sense. Hush has stolen the identity of one Bruce Wayne. He is able to mimic Wayne down to his smallest details. Batman is aghast, but he cannot show too much to Hush, because Hush is ignorant to Batman’s secret identity. Before Hush escapes, like your common Bond villain, he has to revel in his glory of defeating Batman and explain why he did everything…
…Hush, or better yet at this part, Dr, Thomas Elliott, has a hell of a vendetta against his former best friend Bruce Wayne. Why? Well, this is because Dr. Thomas Elliott had extremely rich parents, much like Bruce Wayne. But unlike Wayne, Elliott did not respect nor love his parents; abuse and his desire for independence started him down the road to insanity. He tried to kill both his father and mother in a car “accident” by cutting the brakes lines. He succeeded with murdering his father but only manages to severely injure his mother. It was Bruce Wayne’s father, Thomas Wayne, who actually saved the life of Elliott’s mother. Elliott was not grateful to have his mother alive. He never forgave her for not being able to stop his father’s abuse. The worst part for Elliott was now that his mother was still alive, he would have to wait to inherit his families wealth. Each year that went by Elliott grew more and more frustrated and angry towards the man that saved his mother’s life. Following the passing of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Elliott’s anger was centralized towards Bruce Wayne, bringing about the actions that would transpire in Arkham City and his desire to steal Wayne’s idendity.
Arkham City did a great job with both of these villains. Both of these villains would not be considered as A-list as the Joker, Two-Face, or Penguin, but in their own way, managed to hold their own. I now completely respect both of these men and cannot wait to see what the writers can come up with next for them! What are your thoughts? How do you feel about these two villains in Arkham City? Do you think that they are the best versions of the villains as well? If not, what version is? I would love to hear what you have to say on the subject! Comment below!