|Ra's al Ghul|
Ra's al Ghul in Detective Comics #953. Art by Christian Duce and Fernando Blanco.
|First appearance||Batman #232 (June 1971)|
Dennis O'Neil (writer)|
Neal Adams (artist)
Julius Schwartz (concept/name)
League of Assassins
The Demon's Head
Ra's al Ghul (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >رأس الغول Raʾs al-Ghūl but originally pronounced by the creators with Re'sh, hence // raysh-_-al-_-gool or // rahz-_-al-_-gool; "The Head of the Ghoul" or, in a rougher translation, "The Chief Demon") is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the crime-fighting vigilante, Batman. Created by editor Julius Schwartz, writer Dennis O'Neil, and artist Neal Adams, the character first appeared in Batman #232's "Daughter of the Demon" (June 1971). The character is one of Batman's most enduring enemies and belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up Batman's rogues gallery, though given his high status as a supervillain, he has also come into conflict with Superman and other heroes in the DC Universe.
Most notable as the leader of the League of Assassins, Ra's al Ghul's name in Arabic translates to "Head of the Ghoul". He is the son of Sensei, the father of Talia al Ghul, Nyssa Raatko, and Dusan al Ghul, and the maternal grandfather of Damian Wayne. Stories featuring Ra's al Ghul often involve the Lazarus Pits, which restore life to the dying. The Lazarus Pits have considerably prolonged Ra's life, making him particularly dangerous as he has honed his combat skills for centuries.
Ra's al Ghul has been featured in various media adaptations. The character was voiced/portrayed by David Warner in Batman: The Animated Series, Liam Neeson in The Dark Knight Trilogy, Jason Isaacs in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Dee Bradley Baker in the Batman: Arkham video game series, Oded Fehr in Young Justice, Matt Nable in the Arrowverse television series, and Alexander Siddig in Gotham.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Character overview
- 3 Fictional character biography
- 4 Magical powers and unnatural abilities
- 5 Family
- 6 Involvement with Batman
- 7 Other versions
- 8 In other media
- 9 Collected editions
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Publication history[edit | edit source]
Created by editor Julius Schwartz, writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, he was introduced in Batman #232's "Daughter of the Demon" (June 1971). 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. The Bond film has international crime lord Draco wanting the agent to marry his daughter Contessa Teresa. Another visual antecedent for Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia are found in Saloud (James Lanphier) and Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale) in the 1963 film The Pink Panther.
Character overview[edit | edit source]
Ra's al Ghul is an international criminal and terrorist mastermind whose ultimate goal is a world in perfect environmental 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 as his successor. He is one of the few criminals in Batman's rogues gallery to have deduced his secret identity as Bruce Wayne, but 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 | edit source]
Origin[edit | edit source]
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. This origin story is later revisited and amended in Batman Annual #26 (2007) by Peter Milligan and David López as part of the Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul story arc. Most recent retelling origin story, Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #23.3 (2013) by James Tynion IV and Jeremy Haun, references these prior iterations of al Ghul's origin while keeping common details that lead towards Ra's' adoption of the moniker (e.g. Ra's' occupation as a physician, his wife's death, and the annihilation of the Sultan's city).
As told in Birth of the Demon, Ra's al Ghul (known only as The Physician prior to adopting the moniker) was born over 600 years before his first appearance in Batman comics, to a tribe of Chinese nomads in a desert somewhere in North Africa, near a city governed by a Sultan. 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, who 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 700 year plus mark is used again in Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #23.3 (2013).
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 industrialisation 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 Huwe, the son who freed Ra's from the Sultan's initial execution are all using the Lazarus Pits to prolong their lives until an incident in London. Ra's catches Huwe writing his own memoirs in their original Chinese language, of which Ra's has forbidden all records. During a battle, Ra's kills Huwe 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".
Ra's al Ghul's ethnic origins may be described East Asian in accordance to Birth of the Demon and The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul , and Byzantine/Eastern Roman as addressed by Talia al Ghul in Batman Annual #26. al Ghul's Eastern Roman background is further implied in Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #23.3. Ra's al Ghul's adoptive use of Arabic monikers and the language itself is a result of al Ghul's settlement and cultured history both in erudition and regional pursuit of Lazarus Pit sources. The use of Arabic monikers in particular (in regards to demons) is used as a scare tactic in Ra's' history promoting both his influence, and reign of terror in the Middle East and North Africa as heavily suggested in Birth of the Demon, Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #23.3 and depicted directly in Batman: Death and the Maidens #4 (2004) by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson.
Contagion and Legacy[edit | edit source]
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 | edit source]
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 temporary exit of Batman from the JLA, who now distrust the Caped Crusader. However, though some of the League resent Batman's plans, they eventually accept that the plans were created for the right reasons once Batman confirms that he trusts them by revealing his secret identity to the rest of the team.
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 | edit source]
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. 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 | edit source]
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 escapes 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. 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 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 he 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.
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.
The Return of Bruce Wayne[edit | edit source]
Ra's realizes 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' 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, Lucius Fox has already given Tim power of attorney 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 by saying that there's nothing he can do to harm the Bat Family anymore; in response, Ra's smiles and says "Well done. Detective" (a name he has only ever reserved for Batman, Nightwing and Red Hood once before). 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.
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 | edit source]
In The New 52 (a 2011 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 Jason Todd. When he emerges, Ra's is consumed by the evil that corrupted the Untitled centuries before, and he feels compelled to rid himself of the machinations of his daughter and Ducra by killing Jason. At Ra's' command, the prisoners are brought to him, and he promises to use his newfound power to destroy them. Red Hood engages Ra's, 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 ever sees him again.
Batman and Aquaman head to an island, where the League of Assassins are located, after Ra's has the bodies of Damian Wayne and Talia exhumed. Ra's had ordered the hunt of whales, creating genetically altered super-humans in the wombs of sperm whales, part of a plan to rebuild the League of Assassins. Inside the compound, they find that Ra's is wiping the hard drives clean, preventing data recovery. 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 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 to give back his son, but Ra's 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, where he is caught by Aquaman.
Batman and Ra's then encounter Glorious Godfrey. 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.
During Batman Eternal, Bruce briefly speculates that Ra's is the mastermind behind most of the attacks against him that have left Wayne Enterprises bankrupt and Batman pushed to the limit. However, when he confronts Ra's, his foe reveals that, while he was invited to participate in the attack by the true mastermind, he rejected the offer as Ra's would prefer to destroy Batman when the Dark Knight believes that his legacy will be as eternal as Ra's, rather than tear him down in such a manner.
DC Rebirth[edit | edit source]
Ra's al Ghul is featured in Detective Comics issues #953-956 as part of the "League of Shadows" story arc, which runs from issue #951-956 (April–July 2017).
Ra's al Ghul appears in Dark Nights: Metal issue #2 as a member of the Immortals, a group formed by the oldest beings in the multiverse. He participates in a discussion on how they will fight the Dark Multiverse invasion.
Magical powers and unnatural abilities[edit | edit source]
Due to his expanded life span of longevity, Ra's has accumulated a vast knowledge of hand-to-hand combat, chemistry, detective artistry, physics, and martial arts (all of which are greater than that of Batman). He has also gained many international contacts and a vast fortune over the course of 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, katana, bolas, throwing stars (shuriken), smoke pellets, and miniaturized explosives. Ra's is also assisted by his devoted, musclebound servant Ubu.
Ra's' greatest tools are his green Lazarus Pits, which heal any injury including recent death and restore the user back to the prime of life, but cause temporary insanity (or, for those already insane like the Joker, sanity). His constant exposure to the pits have granted him slightly enhanced endurance, strength, and healing but also comes with the price of a gradual onset of insanity if overused.
Along with his physical abilities and resources, Ra's al Ghul has been shown to possess a certain degree of proficiency with mysticism. In an effort to guarantee his continued existence, he has on several occasions demonstrated the ability to transfer his soul into the bodies of others, giving him a way to live on in the event that his physical body is destroyed and unable to be transported into a Lazarus Pit. The exact details of this process have remained inconsistent; at times it appears as though a complicated ritual is required to achieve this effect, while on other occasions he is capable of performing this feat on a whim, merely by making physical contact with his intended host.
In the New 52, Ra's temporarily gained vast magical powers after bathing in the Well of Sins, the first Lazarus Pit. He claimed he was gifted with true immortality and displayed powers such as levitation, energy projection and construct creation and matter manipulation. However, he lost these abilities following his battle with Jason Todd.
Family[edit | edit source]
The following are members of Ra's al Ghul's family:
The Sensei[edit | edit source]
Created by Neal Adams in 1968, 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. He dies during the same storyline.
Dusan al Ghul[edit | edit source]
Created by Peter Milligan and David Lopez in 2007, Dusan al Ghul (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >دوسان الغول) was Ra's' only known son. He was also referred to as Ash'Shabah Al-Abyad (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >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", 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. He ultimately sacrificed himself to ensure his father's survival during the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul storyline.
Nyssa Raatko[edit | edit source]
Created by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson in 2003, Nyssa Raatko (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >نيسا رعتكو) is Ra's al Ghul's oldest known daughter. She was born to an unnamed woman in 18th century Russia. She would later become a Holocaust survivor. She is murdered by Cassandra Cain during the One Year Later storyline.
Talia al Ghul[edit | edit source]
Created by Dennis O'Neil and Bob Brown in 1971, Talia al Ghul (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >تاليه الغول) is Ra's al Ghul's daughter. Talia's mother was a woman of mixed Chinese and Arab ancestry named Melisande, who met Ra's at the Woodstock festival.
Damian Wayne[edit | edit source]
Originally appearing as an unnamed infant in the 1987 graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon, the character was introduced as Damian Wayne or Damian al Ghul (Arabic: دميان الغول) by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert in 2006. Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, making him the grandson of Ra's al Ghul. He is a Heir to the Demon Head and expected to one day lead the League. Ra's raised him to be the new Alexander the Great. He is bred from birth to take and rule the world 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. His genetic perfection and genetic makeup unfortunately marked him as the ideal host for his grandfather who wants to take over his body.
Mara al Ghul[edit | edit source]
Created by Benjamin Percy and Jonboy Meyers, the character debuted in Teen Titans Vol.6 in December 2016. Mara al Ghul is a granddaughter of Ra's al Ghul, daughter to the late Dusan al Ghul and a cousin to Damian Wayne. Introduced as an enemy to Damian she was also raised by the League of Assassins. She and Damian were both members of the Demon's Fist, an elite group within in the League. Damian was supposed to lead the Demon's Fist but Mara now leads the group since Damian's choosing his father over the League. Mara hates Damian since he left her with a scar across her right eye during a training session when they were younger. Mara has not inherited her fathers albinism; she has black hair with red bangs. Like the rest of her family, she is a skilled fighter and is also noted to be a talented artist.
Athanasia al Ghul[edit | edit source]
Athanasia al Ghul is a character featured so far only in the Injustice 2 prequel comics and does not appear in the prime earth continuity. She is the daughter of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, sister of Damian Wayne and granddaughter of Ra's al Ghul. Athanasia is the secret daughter of Talia and Bruce and raised by Talia without Bruce or even Damian's knowledge. While Talia allowed Damian to become a hero and work with his father for a time, Talia kept Athanasia a secret from her father and raised her as a member of the League of Assassins. Athanasia is first seen beside her mother Talia breaking her brother Damian out of prison. She is insulted by Damian's apparent rudeness and wants him to say please before letting him out. When Warden Dan Turpin tries to arrest them she kills him and the guards. While exiting the building Damian tells his mother to control her 'servant', Athanasia, who then assaults him. It is only then that Talia reveals Athanasia is Damian's sister and the "Daughter of the Bat". After the fall of Superman's regime Athanasia and the rest of the League come out of hiding. She works alongside her mother and grandfather in a scheme to reclaim the Earth from humans who were destroying it. During a fight with Batman in their secret base in the Amazon Rainforest Athanasia was seemingly killed when El Diablo exploded and Athanasia wasn't shielded by the blast. She later appeared again alongside her grandfather in Gorilla City as King Solovar's guests.
Others[edit | edit source]
Although he fathered children with several women, Ra's al Ghul has only two confirmed marriages. The first was to Sora, whose death set Ra's on the path to becoming the "Demon's Head". The second was to Melisande, Talia's mother.
Ra's also appears to have an unnamed sister or half-sister, a female assassin belonging to a group called the "Daughters of Acheron", whose members share the same father. Another member is a woman using the alias "Promise". 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. The clone is, therefore, a grandson of sorts of Ra's al Ghul. Additionally, Nyssa once stated that she has given birth twelve times, opening the possibility of Ra's having many other descendants.
Involvement with Batman[edit | edit source]
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 the Dark Knight has to be rich, and learns only Bruce Wayne has bought the equipment 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 the whole affair is a charade orchestrated by Ra's to test Batman, which he passes. Ra's asks Batman to 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 third 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. 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 foes; 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, 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 | edit source]
Son of the Demon[edit | edit source]
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.
31st Century[edit | edit source]
Superman & Batman: Generations[edit | edit source]
In the first Superman & Batman: Generations series, created by John Byrne, Bruce Wayne tracks down Ra's al Ghul after passing the Batman mantle on to his son. Ra's offers Bruce (whom he addresses as "Adversary") a chance at immortality. Ra's has determined that if two people enter the Lazarus Pit, the Pit will merge both life forces, destroying one soul in the process and imbuing the other with youth and immortality without the ensuing madness. With his only choices being a fifty-fifty chance at death in the Pit or being murdered by Ra's' men, Bruce agrees to the process. He survive exposure to the Pit and subsequently uses Ra's' criminal empire to clandestinely set up an international humanitarian network. He also becomes a near-immortal, aging one year for every century.
Spider-Man/Batman[edit | edit source]
In the Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning 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 terminal disease 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 disease. 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.
The Batman Adventures[edit | edit source]
In The Batman Adventures #1, albeit Ra's didn't appear, he plays a larger role behind-the-scenes along the Society of Shadows and the Penguin. Ra's finally appears in issue #4, in which he fights Batman again only to be defeated by him one more time. Series writer Ty Templeton originally wanted to bring back Ra's in issue #5 depicting him at prison, but his script for the planned story was rejected because DC Comics told him and Dan Slott that they were 'done' with Ra's and it was time to move with other characters, resulting in issue #5 as a story of Black Mask's False Face Society.
Amalgam Comics[edit | edit source]
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".
Earth-C[edit | edit source]
Kingdom Come[edit | edit source]
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. When the appearance of Gog threatens this reality, Ibn uses a Lazarus Pit to restore Ra's to life to try to find a solution in collaboration with Lex Luthor and Brainiac, but they fail to find a solution. All three of them attempt to betray Ibn, and Lex and Brainiac die in their own trap for him. Ra's gets into a sword duel with his grandson in the Batcave and is killed by him.
Flashpoint[edit | edit source]
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.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles[edit | edit source]
In the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover miniseries, when the Foot Clan initially arrive in Gotham, Batman considers the possibility that they are a branch of the League of Assassins, but dismisses the idea as the Foot's combat skills show a focus on a specific area of martial arts as opposed to the more varied skills of the League. After Shredder attempts to escape a confrontation with Batman and the Turtles, he is confronted by Ra's, who offers him an alliance. With a batch of fresh mutagen brought to the DC Universe by Casey Jones, Shredder and Ra's try to bring the world to its knees by unleashing their mutated monstrosities (starting with the inmates of Arkham Asylum), but are defeated by the combined efforts of Batman, Ra's' own grandson Damian, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Splinter, who force Ra's into flight.
Arrow[edit | edit source]
In the Arrow tie-in comic, Season 2.5, when he hears about terrorist group Onslaught and his leader Khem-Adam, Ra's wishes to speak with him. He sends Nyssa al Ghul and Sara Lance to retrieve him from his base in the Amon-Shu caves of Kahndaq. They arrive back, with him and a girl named Mesi Natifah. Wishing to give Mesi vengeance, he gives her his sword to execute him.
Batman '66[edit | edit source]
Ra's appears as the main antagonist in a crossover story between Batman '66 and Wonder Woman '77 (taking place in the continuity of Adam West's portrayal of Batman and Lynda Carter's portrayal of Wonder Woman). He and his daughter Talia first meet Bruce in the 40s at a Wayne Foundation auction to support the war effort, where The League of Shadows and the Nazis attempt to bid for a book detailing ancient treasures and locations. When they confront the book's auction winner Mr. Finlay, the young Bruce and Talia escape with both of the books to keep them safe. Ra's finds Bruce in the maze and threatens his life, but Bruce escapes as Ra's manages to obtain one of the books.
Twenty-two years later, Talia hires Catwoman to steal the second book from Mr. Finlay. Batman, Robin and Catwoman travel to Paradise Island to warn Wonder Woman and her people that the League of Shadows will be invading one of the nearby areas, with Diana knowing that Ra's is after the island's Lazarus Pit. Ra's uses the pit to restore his youth and offers the four the chance to join the League of Shadows, but they refuse. Ra's tries to bury them alive, but they are saved thanks to the intervention of Wonder Girl and Talia rescuing them behind her father's back (still harboring feelings for Bruce). Talia is placed in prison by the Amazons while Ra's manages to escape.
11 years later, Catwoman aids Talia in escaping Paradise Island and the two Ghuls continue their search for Lazarus Pits. Thanks to spying on Wonder Woman and Batman, the League discovers there's a Pit in Gotham underneath Arkham Asylum. Ra's hires the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Killer Croc, and Cheetah to keep the heroes at bay. Batman follows Ra's near the Pit and tries to stop him, but Ra's uses his magical assassins to prevent them from interfering. Due to using the Pit sooner than the last time he used it, Ra's is de-aged into a ten year old. The two Ghuls are taken into authorities, with Batman saddened that Talia chose to follow her father's influence.
Injustice 2[edit | edit source]
Ra's serves as a major antagonist in the comic prequel series to the video game Injustice 2. After the fall of the Regime, he takes control of the Suicide Squad, using them to break out Damian Wayne out of Stryker's Island and kidnap the heads of large companies for execution, including Ted Kord. He also organizes the kidnapping of the relatives of active superheroes as a deterrent to their involvement in his plans and resurrects Alfred Pennyworth with one of his Lazarus Pits. Ra's' plan is eventually stopped when Batman and the remnants of the Insurgency, including Ted's successor as Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes, break into his base, inadvertently killing all endangered life he was protecting. As he leaves, Ra's reveals that he had ordered Jackson Hyde to attack the US congress, causing the deaths of thousands and damage to Batman's plans of rebuilding society. It is also revealed that he has been working with Solovar and has possession of the android Amazo. The war between him and Batman continues until he and Solovar are usurped by Gorilla Grodd. During Grodd's coup, he attempts to warn Bruce about the coup before he was mind controlled. As his last request, he asks Bruce to protect his grandchildren. Soon, Ra's appeared before Grodd and was killed by the new ruler of Gorilla City.
In other media[edit | edit source]
Television[edit | edit source]
Animation[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul made his first appearance in media other than the comic books in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by David Warner. At the very end of the episode "Off Balance", Ra’s is informed about Batman by his daughter Talia al Ghul. This sets the stage for subsequent appearances where he's the episode's villain. The two-part episode "The Demon's Quest" adapts Ra's’s attempts in the comic book to make Batman his heir and cleanse the world of humanity. After Batman refuses to follow in Ra's’s footsteps, he activates a plan to detonate bombs in Lazarus Pits around the world. Ra's is presumed dead when he falls into one of the pits, but the ending reveals him to be alive. In the episode "Avatar", Ra's attempts to gain true immortality. Though Batman manages to apprehend Ra’s in the end, Talia ends up freeing her father and sending Batman on his way. In the episode "Showdown", Ra’s leaves an audio tape for Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson) after Ra’s’s henchmen abduct an old man from a retirement villa. The recording describes how Ra's and his son Arkady Duvall (voiced by Malcolm McDowell) met and battled the character Jonah Hex in 1883. Hex defeated Arkady, and Ra's was forced to leave his son behind. When Batman and Robin catch up with Ra's in the present day, Ra's reveals that the old man is his son, who had vanished after completing a 50-year prison sentence. Since the 50 years away from the Lazarus Pits means Arkady's mind and body are now beyond the Pits’ power to heal, Batman lets Ra's take Arkady so that father and son can spend some time together before the latter dies.
- Ra's next appears in Superman: The Animated Series. In the episode "Knight Time", Tim Drake mentions him as a suspect Batgirl and Nightwing thought responsible for Batman's disappearance. The episode "The Demon Reborn" reveals that Ra's is dying. The Lazarus Pit’s power to prolong his lifespan has decreased as Ra’s ages, leaving him shriveled and confined to a wheelchair. He plots to siphon Superman's “life energy” via a Native American artifact in order to rejuvenate himself. Though Ra's passes away, Talia begins the process, bringing Ra's back to life and making him stronger than ever. When Batman forces Ra's to choice between gaining even more strength from Superman or saving Talia, Ra's chooses his daughter, but both fall into an underground river before their lair explodes.
- Ra's also appears in Batman Beyond. At some point prior to the original Batman's retirement, Talia assisted in defeating Ra's during one last confrontation in the “Near-Apocalypse of '09”. This battle left Ra's with injuries too great for even the Lazarus Pit's healing capabilities to repair. Using a device that could copy his thoughts and memories onto a close genetic relative, Ra’s transferred his mind into Talia's body. In the episode "Out of the Past", Ra's poses as his daughter (voiced by Olivia Hussey) to manipulate the elderly Bruce Wayne into using the Lazarus Pit to restore Wayne’s own youth before imprisoning Bruce in his mansion hideaway. Having modified the mind-transfer device to apply the transfer process to any host, he intends to take over his nemesis's body and pose as Bruce and Talia's son to take control of Wayne Enterprises. Ra's is thwarted by the new Batman (Terry McGinnis). While trying to salvage the mind-transfer equipment, Ra’s is killed when the Lazarus Pit ignites in a fiery explosion.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Peter Woodward. This version of Ra’s is interested in making Dick Grayson his heir instead of Batman or his own daughter. In the episode "Sidekicks Assemble", Ra’s attempts to infect Coast City with mutated plants using his flying island, but he is stopped by Robin, Aqualad and Speedy. Ra's manages to get away with Talia al Ghul. He later makes a cameo appearance in the opening narration of the episode "The Siege of Starro" (Part 1) where he and Ubu are foiled by Batman. Ra's' final appearance is in the episode "Crisis 22,300 Miles Above Earth" when he attempts 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 is last seen falling into an abyss in the Himalayas after a fight with Batman.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in the Young Justice animated series, voiced by Oded Fehr. In the episode "Targets", Ra’s employs the League of Shadows assassin Cheshire and enforcer Sportsmaster to kill Lex Luthor and a pair of Asian diplomats. The plot is foiled by Red Arrow and Aqualad. Later, the episode reveals that Ra's and fellow villain Lex Luthor had plotted both the assassination attempt by Ra’s’s agents and a second operation to prevent it from succeeding, to be carried out by Luthor’s employee, Mercy Graves. The plan is to use the orchestrated incident to convince the diplomats to make a weapons deal with Luthor to assist the anti-superhero conspiracy known as “the Light” (Project Cadmus's Board of Directors). The episode "Revelation" presents Ra's as a high-ranking member (“L-2”) of the Light. In the episode "Auld Acquaintance", Ra's, Luthor and fellow super-villains Queen Bee, Ocean Master, Brain and Monsieur Mallah infiltrate Project Cadmus’s laboratory and steal clones Cadmus has created, as well as the original Speedy's cryogenic pod. In the episode "Darkest", Ra's is with the Light when Black Manta tells them the progress of his mission. In the episode "Summit", Ra's and the Light meet with the aliens known as the Reach in the caves of Santa Prisca. During the meeting, Ra's reveals the super-villain Tigress as the assumed-dead character Artemis by removing the mystical charm that masks her identity. During the heroes’ fight with the Light and the Reach, Black Beetle stabs Ra's. Ra’s’s servant Ubu escapes Santa Prisca with his master’s body. Ra's al Ghul also appears in Young Justice: Outsiders (set two years later). Ra’s has been dismissed from the Light and has lost control of the League of Shadows to the super-villain Slade. Ra’s has custody of the supposedly dead, now-amnesiac Jason Todd and the newborn Damian Wayne, illegitimate child of Ra’s’s daughter, Talia.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Beware the Batman, voiced by Lance Reddick. At the end of the episode "Sacrifice", super-villain Lady Shiva finds that a package that the character Anarky stole from the League of Assassins contains Ra's' body. In "Fall", a flashback presents Ra’s encountering MI6 agents Alfred Pennyworth (Batman’s future butler and confidant) and Edogawa Yamashiro (the father of character Katana) in the past. Through a threat to Edogawa’s family, the agent was forced to betray Alfred to Ra's in their last encounter, leading to Edogawa’s death. In the present day, Ra’s is revived by Lady Shiva. He prepares a device to knock out Gotham City's electrical grid and leave it in darkness. Batman and Katana arrive to stop Ra’s. Ra's defeats Batman in hand-to-hand combat and nearly kills Batman before Alfred intervenes. Katana and Alfred barely escape, and Ra’s activates the device. In "Darkness", Ra's has plunged Gotham into darkness and aims to use it as an example of his misanthropic, anti-technology plans for the rest of the world. He has Alfred and Katana captured when they try to break into his lair. Ra’s also causes a break-out at Blackgate Penitentiary at the end of the episode. In "Reckoning", Ra's employs villains Professor Pyg, Mr. Toad, Magpie, Tobias Whale, and Phosphorus Rex, as well as League of Assassins operative Cypher, to kill Batman, offering them a portion of Gotham as payment. Ra's also attempts to manipulate Katana into killing Alfred to avenge the death of her father. She refuses, and Ra’s prepares to kill both of them, only for Tobias to arrive with a captured Batman. Batman breaks free and engages Ra's in combat, while Batman’s ally Barbara Gordon disables the device that has brought down Gotham’s electrical grid. Batman defeats Ra’s by releasing the souls of Ra’s’s enemies from a magical weapon Ra’s wields. The vengeful spirits drag Ra's into a bottomless pit, presumably to his death.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Justice League Action.
Live action[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul appears in the Arrowverse, portrayed by Matthew Nable. Film actor Liam Neeson expressed an interest in reprising his role from Batman Begins for the series, but could not take up the role when offered due to scheduling.
- The character appears as a main antagonist of season three of The CW's TV series Arrow, after being alluded to in the previous two seasons. Ra's al Ghul is portrayed as a moniker passed from one successor to another. As the League of Assassins' leader, and the father of Nyssa al Ghul and Talia al Ghul, the current individual eventually approved the training for both Malcolm Merlyn and Sara Lance (The Canary). Ra's later seeks to kill Merlyn for breaking the League's code after leaving Nanda Parbat. In season three, Malcolm tries to get Ra's off his back by having his daughter Thea Queen kill Sara in order to manipulate Oliver Queen into confessing the murder to protect his half-sister and challenge Ra's to a trial by combat. Oliver is defeated by Ra's, but narrowly survives thanks to Tatsu Yamashiro, leading to Ra's deeming Oliver as his prophesied heir. After Oliver declines to take Ra's al Ghul's place, Ra's systematically attacks Oliver's home of Starling City to pressure him into taking the title on. Finally, Ra's mortally wounds Thea so that Oliver will have to come to Nanda Parbat and accept Ra's offer in exchange for healing Thea with the Lazarus Pit. Desperate to save Thea, Oliver agrees to train as the heir Al Sah-him. In the season finale, Ra's plans to unleash a bio weapon attack on Starling City so Oliver will not feel the pull of his former home. However, Oliver reveals still being loyal to his friends. With help from Nyssa, Oliver foils the plan and duels Ra's again, this time killing him. In exchange for helping him with the plot to take down Ra's, Oliver surrenders the Ra's al Ghul title and the League of Assassins' control to Malcolm. In season four, Malcolm and Nyssa start a League civil war when he uses the Lazarus Pit to revive her girlfriend Sara Lance, which corrupts her with bloodlust. Nyssa offers a cure for Thea's bloodlust in exchange for Oliver helping Nyssa overthrow Malcolm. Oliver duels Malcolm and defeats him. However, Nyssa declines the League's leadership and instead disbands it. In season five, Talia seeks revenge on Oliver for killing Ra's and works with Adrian Chase to do so. Talia and Nyssa battle on Lian Yu with Nyssa defeating Talia.
- Ra's al Ghul reappears in Legends of Tomorrow. In the episode "Left Behind", Sara Lance returns to Nanda Parbat after being stranded in 1958. Two years later, the rest of the Legends team travel to Nanda Parbat to recover Sara, but she turns on them and has them apprehended. Rip Hunter challenges Ra's to a trial by combat with the two sides nominating Kendra Saunders and Sara as their champions. The duel is interrupted by an attack from temporal bounty hunter Chronos, who kills several League members. Ra's frees the Legends in order to preserve the League and after they defeat Chronos, he releases Sara from the League, deducing that she is from the future and was taught by the League of her period of time. Before leaving, Sara advises Ra's al Ghul to ensure that his unborn daughter, Nyssa, be at Lian Yu in 2008 (to locate Sara the first time).
- Ra's al Ghul appears in the third and fourth seasons of Gotham, portrayed by Alexander Siddig. This version of the character, in addition to leading the League of Assassins, is also tied to the Court of Owls, although he has his acolytes dispose of the Court once he is finished with them. In "Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling", Ra's al Ghul meets with Bruce Wayne, whom the Court's minions have brainwashed, and entreats the boy to become his heir. As a "final test", he orders Bruce to kill his butler Alfred Pennyworth. In "Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul", when Bruce stabs Alfred and snaps out of his conditioning, Ra's tells him to use the Lazarus Pit waters to save Alfred. He subsequently praises Bruce for his ability to resist, and says that he has not yet given up on turning Bruce into his heir. Ra's then disappears. In the fourth season, he tries to track down an ancient knife prophesied to be the only thing that can kill him. In the episode "A Dark Knight: The Blade's Path", he begs Bruce to stab him with the knife and end his suffering; when Bruce refuses, Ra's threatens to kill everyone he holds dear, goading Bruce into stabbing and apparently killing him. In the episode "A Dark Knight: To Our Deaths and Beyond", however, Ra's' loyal followers manage to resurrect him. Ra's then visits Bruce and Selina and reveals that he chose to live so he could mold Bruce into a "Dark Knight of Gotham" after he received a vision of a cataclysmic event soon to befall the city. In "One Bad Day", he forms an alliance with psychopathic criminal Jeremiah Valeska, who also has ambitions of "transforming" Gotham. In "No Man's Land", they destroy the bridges out of town, isolating Gotham from the rest of the world, but not before Ra's former lover and protegé Barbara Kean mortally wounds him with the dagger. As he dies, he tells Bruce that he must choose whether to remain simply Bruce Wayne or become Gotham's "Dark Knight". The episode "I Am Bane" had Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon learning that Theresa Walker is Ra's al Ghul's daughter Nyssa.
Film[edit | edit source]
Live action[edit | edit source]
- Liam Neeson portrayed Ra's al Ghul in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
- Ra's al Ghul first appears in Batman Begins. Ken Watanabe portrayed a decoy of the character. He is the head of the millennia-old League of Shadows organization based in the Himalayas that is dedicated to keeping order and justice in a world which it views as decadent and corrupt. During the film's first half, the character goes by "Henri Ducard", an apparent servant of his own decoy. Ra's acts as Bruce Wayne's mentor, teaching the stealth and martial arts training that his protégé will one day use as Batman. He orders Bruce to execute a thief as a final test, but Bruce refuses and (desperate to escape) burns down the League of Shadows' temple. Bruce saves Ra's while the decoy is killed by falling debris. During the film's climax, Ra's reveals to Bruce that he's the mastermind behind many of the ills that have been plaguing Gotham City with his final plan is to disperse Jonathan Crane's fear-inducing toxin into Gotham's water supply. Finally, he reveals to Bruce that the League of Shadows had tried to destroy Gotham via an economic depression that indirectly resulted in the murders of Bruce's parents. In their final confrontation, Batman defeats Ra's and leaves him on a runaway train which falls off a bridge, crashes and explodes, killing him.
- Ra's al Ghul next appears in The Dark Knight Rises. Josh Pence plays the character's young depiction in flashbacks set 30 years before the film's events. In an ancient part of the world, he was a mercenary who worked for a local warlord. He fell in love with the warlord's daughter whom he married in secret. When the warlord found out, the mercenary was condemned to a prison known as "The Pit". The daughter intervened on his behalf, so the warlord exiled him while sentencing the daughter to life in "The Pit". Unbeknownst to the mercenary, his wife was pregnant with his child. After his wife was killed in an attack by other prisoners, their daughter was rescued by Bane and later escaped from the Pit and went to find her father. Ra's turned the League of Shadows on the prison, killing several inmates and freeing Bane. But even after Bane saved Talia's life, Ra's saw Bane only as a reminder of where his wife died and so excommunicated Bane from the group. During the film's main timeline, Talia and Bane assumed leadership of the League of Shadows after her father's death, traveled to Gotham to finish his work and avenge his death, for which Batman is blamed. A hallucination tells his former protege that he has an heir who is carrying on the League of Shadows' mission to destroy Gotham. Recited in the Pit, the prevalent chant deshi basara (Arabic: ="ar" xml:lang="ar" >دشي بسرعة) is of the Moroccan language, indicative of Ra's al Ghul's Arab background.
Animated[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Batman: Under the Red Hood, voiced by Jason Isaacs. This version is responsible for Jason Todd's resurrection after Robin was killed by the Joker. When Batman travels to his stronghold to question him, Ra's reveals that he had been planning to ruin Europe's economy by destroying its financial centers and had hired the Joker to provide Batman and Robin with a distraction. The Joker went rogue, however, and killed Robin. Plagued with guilt, Ra's resurrected Jason via the Lazarus Pit, but the boy was driven insane and returned to Gotham City as the murderous vigilante Red Hood, intent on taking revenge on the Joker. Ra's is last seen watching the news bulletin about the Red Hood's disappearance and the Joker's return to Arkham Asylum.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Son of Batman, voiced by Giancarlo Esposito. This version is depicted as Damian Wayne's mentor and possible father figure. During the film's beginning, he and Dusan al Ghul are victims of Deathstroke's takeover. Following his death, twelve-year-old Damian desperately attempts to submerge his grandfather into the Lazarus Pit, but Talia al Ghul states that the Lazarus Pit cannot save him, as his body was too damaged for its reviving ability.
- In Batman vs. Robin he is mentioned by his grandson Damian, who says to his father that "Ra al Ghul was not much of a movie thrower." Later he told Nightwing that Ra al Ghul had taught him everything he knew of personal combat.
- Ra's al Ghul appears to return in Justice League vs. Teen Titans, voiced by Terrence C. Carson. As a follow-up of Son of Batman, a demon claiming to be Ra's al Ghul is encountered by his grandson, the second Robin, in Trigon's hellish realm where he claims that Trigon is the Lazarus Pits' creator and that their usage would entail a price in the form of eternal servitude following the recipient's death. As a servant of Trigon, he shatters the crystal that Raven intends to use to re-imprison her own father. Robin, having bonded with Raven and the other four Teen Titans, attacks the demon Ra's in Raven's defense, eventually slicing his head. His body is then dragged into a monolith by a horde of Trigon's demons.
- In Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Damian had said to Dick Grayson that "Grandfather would been impressed with Blood."
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles voiced by Cas Anvar.
Video games[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul appears in the 2003 video game Batman: Dark Tomorrow, voiced by Don Leslie.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in the Batman Begins video game, with Liam Neeson as Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul and Ken Watanabe as "Decoy Ra's al Ghul".
- Ra's al Ghul appears in DC Universe Online.
Lego series[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul is featured as an unlockable character in Lego Batman: The Video Game.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Steven Blum. He is a boss fight and unlockable character who is found at the North Metro Station.
- The Batman Begins version of Ra's al Ghul (as Henri Ducard) appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham via downloadable content.
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Lego DC Super-Villains, voiced by J.B. Blanc.
Arkham series[edit | edit source]
- 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. His character bio is gained after scanning the body. If the player returns to the morgue later in the game after completing the main story, the body is gone, most likely taken by the League of Assassins to be resurrected in a Lazarus Pit.
- In Batman: Arkham City, after Batman is infected with the Joker's poisoned blood, he attempts to collect a sample of Ra's al Ghul's blood (which has regenerative capabilities) in order to find a cure. Heading to Wonder City's ruins, Batman and Ra's fight when the Dark Knight refuses to kill Ra's and take his place as the League of Assassins' leader. After a long battle, Batman eventually defeats Ra's and forcibly collects his blood, telling him that the Lazarus Pit has corrupted his mind and giving him one chance to end his crusade. Ra's is later revealed to be the power behind Arkham City's warden Hugo Strange, having seen the professor as a possible successor instead of Batman. He appears in Wonder Tower and kills Strange for failure when Protocol 10 was deactivated by Batman. However, the professor's dying breath activates Protocol 11 (a self-destruct protocol in Wonder Tower's command center). Saved from the explosion by Batman, Ra's (rather than be captured) stabs himself with his sword mid-fall before landing on Arkham City's gate. If the player returns to the gate later in the game after completing the main story, Ra's body is gone, and only his sword remains.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, Ra's al Ghul's sword is placed in the GCPD evidence room prior to the game. Gotham's alleyways also have graffiti on them that says "The Demon's Head will return", likely written by the League of Assassins. Later, Ra's appears in a side mission "Shadow War", which is in a downloadable content (DLC) pack named "Season of Infamy" that was released in December 2015. While having survived his previous battle against the Dark Knight, Ra's is left sickly and barely clinging to life by having the remains of the Lazarus Pit constantly pumped into him. This weakening of Ra's inspires his daughter Nyssa Raatko to form a rebel faction of the League of Shadows to take control of the organization, resulting in a war breaking out between them and Ra's loyalists within Gotham. As this ultimately draws Batman's attention, he soon discovers Ra's hideout under Elliot Memorial Hospital, and learns of his deteriorating condition. Appealing to Batman's sense of morality, Ra's followers tell him of another, purer Lazarus Pit within Gotham, and ask to use it to heal Ra's. Upon finding the second Lazarus Pit, Batman returns to Elliot Memorial Hospital, talking with Alfred Pennyworth about options. After Alfred observes that Ra's has lived for so long already that denying him the Lazarus Pit is essentially allowing him to die of natural causes rather than actually "killing" him, Batman returns to the chamber where Ra's is being kept, where he has two choices:
- Batman gives the Lazarus Pit sample to Ra's, at which point Batman is forced to fight Nyssa and her rebels. Not soon after, Ra's regains his former strength and fatally slashes Nyssa for her treachery. Batman tries to fight him, but Ra's steals one of his smoke bombs and disappears. Batman comforts Nyssa in her dying moments and closes her eyes before he leaves.
- Batman decides against giving the Lazarus Pit sample to Ra's, and destroys the equipment keeping him alive. After he takes care of his loyalists, Nyssa arrives to see what her father has ultimately become. As she is about to strike him down, Batman stops her and says that he will take him to the GCPD. Nyssa is satisfied and lives up to her word, recalling all her forces from Gotham while Batman takes Ra's to a special cell at GCPD and straps him to a gurney, with Ra's telling the Dark Knight that he is proud of him for apparently breaking his code.
Injustice[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul appears as an unplayable support card in the iOS version of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
- Ra's al Ghul is alluded in Injustice 2. He is mentioned by several characters within the opening dialogue for matches, particularly if pitted against Damian Wayne. Ra's is briefly seen as part of Black Adam's ending. When Black Adam brings Isis's corpse to the Lazarus Pit following Brainiac's attack, Ra's blocks the way to prevent from doing so. Ra's offers Black Adam use of the Lazarus Pit, but they would help overthrow Superman's newly restored regime in return. Despite their differences, Black Adam agrees and the two begin their crusade against Superman.
Parodies[edit | edit source]
- Ra's al Ghul appears in Robot Chicken. In the episode "Password: Swordfish", Henri Ducard (voiced by Seth Green) trains Henry Heimlich to save people who are choking on food in a segment that parodies Batman Begins. Dee Bradley Baker later reprises his role from the Arkham video game franchise in the third DC Comics special. In the segment, Batman chases him down to the Lazarus Pit which Ra's uses to rejuvenate and be younger. However, Batman continuously kicks him, causing his age to regress into nothingness. Batman quickly leaves, not wanting anyone to know that a baby was just killed.
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
- 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.
- In Arrow tie-in comic, The Dark Archer, it is revealed that Ra's al Ghul and his League had encounter with a similar organisation named "The Hidden" in 1985. They encoutered Malcolm Merlyn (who will join to them 9 years later) and Darius when searching for Ashkiri marker (in fact the entire mountain) in Hindu Kush mountains, but their vehicle was flipped in sandstorm and knocking out some members. Ra's punished an assassin for losing The Hidden. The member of The Hidden, Darius, is revealed as member of the League, acting as a double agent. Ra's and Darius went to enter Ashkiri temple for searching Lazarus Pit and the hearts of snow leopard gods, while The Hidden wanted to protect the temple from them. In the same time, Lourdes (implied to be Nyssa's mother Amina Raatko) and Malcolm also entered the temple whose aim was to seal a temple. Ra's and Darius found Lourdes attacked by Ashkiri gods after she was left behind by Malcolm. Ra's saved her, while Darius was killed by them, due to the need of sacrifice. Lourdes became Ra's concubine until ten years later when she was saved by The Hidden, along with her son, Saracon.
Collected editions[edit | edit source]
His stories have been collected into a number of volumes:
- Batman: Tales Of The Demon (1991), collecting the original 1970s Ra's al Ghul stories by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams
- Batman: Birth Of The Demon (1992) by Dennis O'Neil and Norm Breyfogle, giving the origin of Ra's al Ghul
- JLA Vol. 7: Tower Of Babel (2001), by Mark Waid, in which Ra's goes up against the Justice League of America (ISBN 1-56389-727-XScript error: No such module "check isxn".)
- Batman: Death And The Maidens (2004) by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson, giving the ultimate death of Ra's al Ghul (ISBN 1-4012-0234-9Script error: No such module "check isxn".)
- Year One: Batman – Ra's al Ghul (2005) by Devin K. Grayson and Paul Gulacy, which takes place a year after Ra's' death in Death And The Maidens
- Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul (2008) by Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Fabian Nicieza, and Paul Dini, chronicles Ra's al Ghul's resurrection.
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of Batman Family enemies
- Algol – The name Algol derives from the Arabic رأس الغول ra's al-ghūl. The English name "Demon's Head" is a direct translation of this, as Ra's is head, Ghoul is Demon.
References[edit | edit source]
- Detective Comics (vol. 1) #840 (March 2008)
- Rocksteady Studios. Batman: Arkham Knight, "Season of Infamy" DLC. (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment). Level/area: Shadow War. (2015-12-23) "Alfred Pennyworth: Civil war amongst the League? How is that possible? Ra's Al Ghul is not known for restraint when it comes to punishing dissent."
- Nolan, Christopher (Director). Batman Begins. Warner Bros..
- 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."
- 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!"
- Batman Villains Secret Files & Origins #1 (1998) and Arrow (TV series). "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."
- "Ra's Al Ghul Is Number 7". IGN.com. http://www.ign.com/top/comic-book-villains/7.html.
- Death and The Maidens #8 (May 2004)
- Batman (vol. 1) #671 (January 2008)
- Nightwing (vol. 2) #145 (August 2008)
- Batman & Robin: The Road Back #1 (December 2010)
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #24
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #27
- Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #29
- Batman and Ra's al Ghul #32
- Batman and Ra's al Ghul #33
- Batman Eternal #46
- Dixon, Chuck (w), Aparo, Jim (p), Cebolerro, John (i), James Sinclair, Noelle Giddings, Digital Chameleon (col), Oakley, Bill (let), Andrew Helfer, Harvey Richards (ed). "The Demon Laughs" Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 142-145 (June–September 2001), New York, NY: DC Comics
- Strange Adventures #215 (November–December 1968)
- Batman #671 (January 2008)
- Batman Annual #26 (October 2007)
- Detective Comics #839 (February 2008)
- Detective Comics #783 (August 2003)
- Batman: Death and the Maidens #3 (December 2003)
- Batman: Death and the Maidens #5 (February 2004)
- Robin #148 (May 2006)
- Detective Comics #411 (May 1971)
- Batman: Birth of the Demon (December 1992)
- Batman: Son of the Demon (September 1987)
- Batman Incorporated (vol.2) #2 (June 2012)
- Batman #655 (September 2006)
- Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul (December 2010)
- Red Robin #25 (September 2011)
- Red Robin #24 (August 2011)
- Batman and Robin #12 (July 2010)
- Batman: Death and the Maidens #6 (March 2004)
- The Batman Adventures #1
- The Batman Adventures #4
- "The World's Finest - Batman Adventures: Tribute - The Comic - Ty Templeton". http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batribute/thecomic/ty.php.
- Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1 (June 2011)
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6
- Batman '66 meets Wonder Woman '77
- Injustice 2 #7
- Injustice 2 #72
- "The World's Finest". Worldsfinestonline.com. http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/news.php/news.php?action=fullnews&id=633. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- "Lance Reddick On Dr0ne, Fringe & More –". G4tv.com. 2012-07-18. http://www.g4tv.com/videos/59899/lance-reddick-on-dr0ne-fringe-more/. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- "How Did 'Justice League Action' Go From Being Another Solo Batman Toon To Including 152 DC Characters?". http://sciencefiction.com/2016/12/01/justice-league-action-go-another-solo-batman-toon-including-152-dc-characters/.
- Campbell, Evan (9 October 2014). "Liam Neeson Was Offered the Role of Ra's Al Ghul in Arrow". New York City: News Corp.. http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/10/09/liam-neeson-was-offered-the-role-of-ras-al-ghul-in-arrow. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- Arrow Season 4 episode 13, Sins of the Father
- "Exclusive: Matt Nable's Ra's al Ghul Coming to DC's Legends of Tomorrow". Comicbook.com. December 18, 2015. http://comicbook.com/2015/12/16/matt-nables-ras-al-ghul-coming-to-dcs-legends-of-tomorrow/. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Li, Shirley (April 1, 2016). "'Legends of Tomorrow' recap: Left Behind". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. http://www.ew.com/recap/dcs-legends-of-tomorrow-season-1-episode-9. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- Bryant, Jacob (March 2, 2017). "‘Gotham’ Casts ‘Star Trek’ Alum Alexander Siddig as Ra’s al Ghul". Variety (Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation). https://variety.com/2017/tv/news/alexander-siddig-gotham-ras-al-ghul-1202000348/.
- "The Dark Knight Rises: Liam Neeson spotted filming in London". Metro.co.uk. 2011-06-16. http://www.metro.co.uk/film/866505-the-dark-knight-rises-liam-neeson-spotted-filming-in-london. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- 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.
- Ryan, Mike (2012-07-22). 'The Dark Knight Rises': Batman Begins, Again. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
- Warner, Kara (2012-07-28). 'Dark Knight Rises' Femme Fatales: An Appreciation. MTV. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
- Wigler, Josh (2012-07-27). 'The Dark Knight Rises' Again: Tips For Your Second Viewing. MTV. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
- Kit, Borys (2011-04-08). "'Social Network' Actor Lands Role in 'Dark Knight Rises' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/social-network-actor-lands-role-176577.
- Eisenberg, Eric (2011-11-04). "Be Part Of The Dark Knight Rises Score By Recording Yourself Chanting". Cinemablend. http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Part-Dark-Knight-Rises-Score-By-Recording-Yourself-Chanting-27748.html. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- ""The Dark Knight Rises" Teaser Trailer Has Some Familiar Chanting; Great Fan Poster For The Batman Trilogy". Movieviral.com. http://www.movieviral.com/2011/07/18/the-dark-knight-rises-teaser-trailer-has-some-familair-chanting-great-fan-poster-for-the-batman-trilogy/. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- "New Batman DVD to peek out from 'Under the Red Hood' – Hero Complex – Los Angeles Times". The Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2010/02/new-batman-dvd-to-peek-out-from-under-the-red-hood.html.
- "Kate Jewell interviews Andrea Romano". Comics Continuum. 2010-02-24. http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/1003/02/andrearomano2.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Sands, Rich (2014-01-20). "First Look: It's Father's Day for the Dark Knight in Son of Batman". TVGuide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/Son-of-Batman-First-Look-1076369.aspx. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
- 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.
- "LEGO® DC SUPER-VILLAINS REVEALS DARKSEID’S VILLAINY IN ACTION IN NEW CLIP". https://mailchi.mp/mi5communications/lego-dc-super-villains-reveals-darkseids-villainy-in-action-in-new-clip-890165?e=49aaf48973.
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|The Birds of Prey|
|Creators||Chuck Dixon • Jordan B. Gorfinkel • Gail Simone|
|Main characters||Barbara Gordon • Black Canary|
|Notable members||Big Barda • Catwoman • Gypsy • Hawk and Dove • Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) • Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) • Jade Canary • Judomaster (Sonia Sato) • Katana • Lady Blackhawk • Manhunter (Kate Spencer) • Misfit • Poison Ivy • Strix|
|Supporting characters||Batman • Black Alice • Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) • Creote • Kurt Lance • Nightwing • Power Girl • Savant • Sin • Wildcat|
|Adversaries||The Calculator • Cheshire • Lady Spellbinder • Pistolera • Ra's al Ghul • Secret Six • The Society • Spy Smasher • Twelve Brothers in Silk and White Canary|
|In other media||TV series|