What Deathstroke and the Silver Age could mean for Batman: Arkham Origins

Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel and the reveal prominently featured the villain Deathstroke. What might that mean for the Arkham universe in this installment?

Warner Bros officially announced Batman: Arkam Origins today. The earliest rumors claimed this would be a prequel set in the Silver Age, detailing Batman's first encounters with his rogue's gallery, particularly the Joker. With today's announcement, that seems half-true. The game is a prequel to the Arkham games, and does feature a younger Batman meeting villains for the first time. This affords WB Montreal the ability to reintroduce several characters that we've only heard about the origins of through recordings while exploring the Arkham grounds. A constant theme in Batman comics is how tied his origins are to those of his rogue's gallery. A random act of violence created him, but over and over we see how his efforts to stop street crime created a dangerous new kind of supervillainy.

In Year One, Batman roots out mob rule, but creates more dangerous adversaries

The official description claims that this is a younger and "unrefined" Batman facing a defining moment in his career as a crime-fighter. That harkens back to Batman: Year One, a 1987 series that covered Bruce Wayne's journey into becoming Batman. It's a less experienced version of the character, learning to rely on fear. This could mean a less refined fighting style and fewer gadgets to tinker with. The description also notes he will "forge key relationships," and following the Year One formula that would include James Gordon before he ever had the title of Commissioner. Earlier iterations of villains would almost certainly include the Joker, whose origin story is tied to Batman's in some continuities. The most often cited origin for Joker, as depicted in The Killing Joke, shows the Clown Prince of Crime as a down-on-his-luck chemical engineer who tries his hand at stand-up comedy and fails miserably. Desperate for money, he then takes a job with some criminals that goes wrong, ultimately being dumped into a vat of acid when the scheme is interrupted by the Bat.

The Joker giving Commissioner Gordon his 'one bad day'

The story uses it to reflect on the central theme of the novel, that any man is "one bad day" from turning evil. In the context of an Arkham prequel, such a story could also be used to illustrate Batman's inexperience in his early years, and to tie thematically to Joker's fate at the end of Arkham City. It's worth noting, though, that this is only one of Joker's many origin stories that may be outright fabrications, and the character has said he prefers his background to be "multiple choice." Rumors circulating around the Silver Age influence are more complex. The Silver Age of comics lasted through the late 50s and 60s, and was heavily influenced by the Comics Code Authority. Citing concerns of adult content in books that were primarily read by children, publishers voluntarily restricted their content to kid-friendly stories with strict limits on depictions of violence, drugs, and sex.

Deathstroke introduces some of the old utraviolence

If a character named "Deathstroke" seems incongruous with that, you're not wrong. The character was introduced in 1980, a decade after the Silver Age had ended. At this point comics were more splashy and on the verge of becoming so hyper-violent that it was satirized in 1987's Watchmen. By putting Deathstroke front-and-center on the Game Informer cover story, WB is clearly indicating it will steer clear of the more bubblegum, silly stories of the Silver Age and continue Arkham's gritty take on Gotham. Deathstroke had a brief cameo in the iOS game Arkham City Lockdown, so presumably this would be a continuation of that. Silver Age comics were also notable for team-ups, though, which is much more likely for this game. Following the success of The Avengers, Warner Bros has an interest in a Justice League movie. One report from Variety claimed that this was part of a larger effort to team up characters in all different kinds of media, as it prepares audiences for the film.
From The Chatty
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    April 9, 2013 11:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, What Deathstroke and the Silver Age could mean for Batman: Arkham Origins.

    Batman: Arkham Origins is a prequel and the reveal prominently featured the villain Deathstroke. What might that mean for the Arkham universe in this installment?

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      April 9, 2013 11:35 AM

      it should be campy Batman. I wanna see POW and ZAP when I slug a bad guy. also running while carrying an oversized cartoon bomb, shark repellent, dehydration death rays etc.

      this rather than the tired and beaten to death angsty/realistic batman


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        April 9, 2013 11:45 AM

        that sounds terrible. maybe a free web game will come out on cartoon network that will have what you want.

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          April 9, 2013 11:51 AM

          you sound terrible!!!

          angsty batman has been done to death. I liked the arkham games but I'm ready for a change

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            April 9, 2013 2:18 PM

            @cpstern if you're ready for a change, just pick up a different game. There are plenty of other great titles with the whimsical/cartoony sensibility you're looking for. Lego Batman 1 & 2 for starters.

            Why try to shoehorn that into the Rocksteady Batman series? That's like saying "I'm bored with Metal Gear Solid's war motif. When is Solid Snake going to team-up with Hello Kitty?"

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              April 9, 2013 3:19 PM

              The Lego games aren't exactly similar to the Arkham games.

              He's saying that he wants the same type of game but presented with more humor and less grit. These days there are few action games designed for adults (or at least not mostly designed for kids) that aren't gory and gritty, and it would be nice to have a few.

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                April 9, 2013 3:46 PM

                I can see that. But I would then prefer something along the lines of Batman: TAS rather than some POW/ZOWIE technicolored camp monstrosity.

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                  April 9, 2013 6:27 PM

                  I'm totally with cpt but I have to admit, a good TAS would be a wet dream for me. My vote goes here.

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          April 9, 2013 2:15 PM

          Absolutely hate that flat hyper saturated art style.

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        April 9, 2013 12:59 PM

        ugh. i think it is pretty much a fact that 60s campy batman is the worst

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          April 9, 2013 1:16 PM

          that's because kids today have ADHD

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            April 9, 2013 2:17 PM

            It's the product of all their parents being on LSD

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            April 9, 2013 2:36 PM

            heh..it's not just them kids... us adults have it in one form ... oh look a butterfly... hey, a new a donut leftover form this morning. oh, and I'm out of coffee. wait, what were we talking about?

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          April 9, 2013 2:41 PM

          No, Joel Schumacher Batman was the worst.

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            April 9, 2013 3:07 PM

            i guess at least you can have fond memories of watching 60s campy batman as a kid.

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        April 9, 2013 2:21 PM

        I can't believe people hate this idea. I'd love to see a well done version with the current game engine and a badass crazy storyline. There's room for both methinks.

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          April 9, 2013 2:43 PM

          I'm a huge Batman fan. I would not buy that game.

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          April 9, 2013 2:46 PM

          Gotham City Imposters anyone?... Anyone?...Bueller?

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            April 10, 2013 6:30 AM

            Not really the same. I dig that in it s own way but there's just something about the campy Batman that I really dig. Giant exploding octopus?

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          April 9, 2013 3:13 PM

          I think it would be great too. There's a lack of light hearted humorous games these days, IMO. I enjoyed the Batman games, and Max Payne 3 and other more gritty games. It would just be nice to have a little more variety.

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        April 9, 2013 2:54 PM

        Now I want to replay --Freedom Force--. Not that that's a bad thing. So silly, so much fun.

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        April 9, 2013 6:48 PM

        So sad the batman brave and bold show ended. Loved watching with my kid. Great mix of old school fun and great action.

        I think they're starting up a new comic / toy line based on the Adam West batman. You better support that!!!!

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        April 9, 2013 7:42 PM

        I've always thought that this should have been the Mad Hatter illusions.

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      April 10, 2013 4:48 AM

      Bummed that it isn't the main team who worked on the first 2 Batman games, though. :(

      Cool to see Deathstroke - been a fan of that character for a LONG time. His story arcs in the old Teen Titans series were epic and cool. Too bad they didn't use one of the pics of him for this article - that new one looks incredibly lame.

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      April 10, 2013 8:25 AM

      I wouldn't mind a TAS Batman game myself. That show is a major part of my childhood and struck as close a balance as possible between the dark and gritty and still be child safe.

      Keep 60s Batman where it belongs...dead and in the 60s. It was an abomination then and it still is now. Comic creators cowering to the outcries of bozos saying comics were too violent and negatively affecting the youth. It never made sense for the character then and doesn't now.

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