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Arkham Asylum

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Title: Arkham Asylum  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Blackgate Penitentiary, Maxie Zeus, Gotham City, Harley Quinn, Black Mask (comics)
Collection: 1974 in Comics, Fictional Hospitals, Psychiatric Hospitals in Fiction
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Arkham Asylum

Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum, as it appears in Batman #258 (October 1974). Art by Irv Novick.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman #258 (October 1974)
Created by Dennis O'Neil
Irv Novick
In story information
Type Asylum for the (criminally) Insane

The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane,[1] commonly called Arkham Asylum or simply Arkham, is a fictional psychiatric hospital appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, most commonly appearing in stories featuring Batman. Many criminals who experience psychosis from the DC Universe have been patients within the Asylum and also escaped from it, mostly from Batman's rogues gallery (such as the Joker, the Penguin, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Bane, Killer Croc, and Harley Quinn).

The Arkham Asylum is named after the Sanatorium in the fictional city of Arkham, Massachusetts,[2][3] found in many of H.P. Lovecraft's short horror and science fiction stories, the first being "The Unnamable" (1923).[4]


  • History 1
  • Origins 2
  • Publication history 3
  • Staff 4
  • Patients 5
    • Others 5.1
  • Graphic novels featuring Arkham Asylum 6
    • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth 6.1
    • Batman: The Last Arkham 6.2
    • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell 6.3
    • Black Orchid 6.4
    • Arkham Reborn 6.5
    • Batman: The Man Who Laughs 6.6
  • Alternative versions 7
    • The Dark Knight Returns 7.1
    • JLA: The Nail 7.2
    • Batman: Crimson Mist 7.3
  • In other media 8
    • Television 8.1
    • Films 8.2
    • Video games 8.3
  • See also 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Arkham Asylum is located on the outskirts of Gotham City and is where those of Batman's foes considered to be mentally ill are patients (other foes are incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary). Although it has had numerous administrators, recent comic books have featured Jeremiah Arkham. Inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft, and in particular his fictional city of Arkham, Massachusetts,[2][3] the asylum was created by Dennis O'Neil and Irv Novick and first appeared in Batman #258 (October 1974); much of its back-story was created by Len Wein during the 1980s.

Arkham Asylum does not have a good record, at least with regard to the high-profile cases—patients, such as the Joker, are frequently shown escaping at will—and those who are considered to no longer be mentally unwell and discharged tend to re-offend. Furthermore, several staff members, including its founder, Dr. Amadeus Arkham, and director Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, as well as staff members Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Lyle Bolton and, in some incarnations, Drs. Jonathan Crane and Hugo Strange, have become mentally unwell.

In addition, prisoners with unusual medical conditions that prevent them from staying in a regular prison are housed in Arkham. For example, Mr. Freeze is not always depicted as mentally ill, but he requires a strongly refrigerated environment to stay alive; Arkham, with special conditions required for certain patients or inmates being a regularity rather than exception, is seen by authorities to be an ideal location under certain circumstances.

Gotham criminals deemed "criminally insane" or "mentally unfit" by the court of law generally are treated at Williams Medical Center before being deemed dangerous enough to be sent to Arkham Asylum.[5]


Just outside Gotham City, Arkham Asylum has a long and brutal history, beginning when its own architect became mentally unwell and hacked his workers to death with an axe. He was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the same asylum he had been building.[5] The one-shot graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth establishes that the asylum was named after Elizabeth Arkham, the mother of founder Amadeus Arkham. The original name of the asylum was "Arkham Hospital". Its dark history began in the early 1900s when Arkham's mother, having suffered from mental illness most of her life, committed suicide. However, it was later revealed that her son had actually euthanized her, and repressed the memory. Amadeus then decided, as the sole heir to the Arkham estate, to remodel his family home in order to properly treat the mentally ill, so others might not suffer the fate as his mother.

Prior to the period of the hospital's remodeling, Amadeus Arkham treated patients at the State Psychiatric Hospital in Metropolis, where he, his wife Constance, and his daughter Harriet, had been living for quite some time. Upon telling his family of his plans, they moved back to his family home to oversee the remodeling. While there, Amadeus Arkham received a call from the police notifying him that Martin "Mad Dog" Hawkins, a serial killer, referred to Amadeus Arkham by Metropolis Penitentiary while at State Psychiatric Hospital, had escaped from prison, and sought his considered opinion on the murderer's state of mind. Shortly afterward, Amadeus Arkham returned to his home to find his front door wide open. Inside, he discovered the corpses of his wife and daughter in an upstairs room, with Mad Dog's alias carved on Harriet's body. Despite this family tragedy, the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane officially opened that November. With his sanity in tatters, Dr. Arkham designed a floor plan that evoked occult runes, he believed that the pattern would drive away the mysterious bat that haunted his dreams.[6] One of its first patients was Mad Dog, whom Amadeus Arkham insisted on treating personally. After treating Mad Dog for six months, Amadeus Arkham strapped him to an electroshock couch then deliberately and purposefully electrocuted him. The staff treated the death as an accident, but it contributed to Amadeus Arkham's gradual descent into mental illness, which he began to believe was his birthright. Eventually, Amadeus Arkham was a patient in his own asylum, where he died.[1]

Publication history

Arkham Asylum first appeared in October 1974 in Batman #258, written by Dennis O'Neil and drawn by Irv Novick. In this story, it is named as "Arkham Hospital", although it is not clear what kind of hospital it is. "Arkham Asylum" first appeared in another O'Neil story the following year, but it was not until 1979 that "Arkham Asylum" completely replaced "Arkham Hospital", and the occasional "Arkham Sanitarium", as the institution's name. Also in 1979, the move to have the asylum closer to Gotham had begun; that was completed in 1980, when Batman #326 by Len Wein described the asylum's location "deep in the suburbs of Gotham City". It is perhaps for this reason that Batman #326 is listed in some histories as the first appearance of Arkham Asylum. It was also Wein who, in 1985's Who's Who #1, created its current backstory.

Arkham Asylum has been demolished or destroyed several times in its history, notably during the events of Batman: The Last Arkham (see below). It is also seriously damaged at the beginning of the Knightfall storyline, when Bane uses stolen munitions to blow up the facility and release all the patients. After these events, the asylum is relocated to a large mansion known as "Mercey Mansion". At the beginning of the No Man's Land storyline, the asylum is closed down and all its patients discharged. In this instance, a timer was used to open the doors two minutes before the city is sealed. This is orchestrated by the administrator himself, who had the choice of discharging the patients or watching them all starve or kill each other. In the middle of the story, it is revealed that Batman has established a hidden base within the sub-basement of the asylum during the Prodigal storyline known as "Northwest Batcave."[7] It was also blown up by Black Mask during the Battle for the Cowl story arc.[8]

In the Battle for the Cowl one-shot, Dr. Arkham wanders among the remains of the asylum as he muses on his life. He reveals that he has discovered blueprints created by his ancestor, the first Dr. Arkham, for a new Arkham Asylum. He also contemplates the fates of his own nonviolent, "special" patients: an artist with almost no facial features who must paint facial expressions onto his almost blank face to express himself; a man obsessed with his own reflection in a series of mirrors in his room; and a woman supposedly so ugly, one glance at her face would cause anyone to become mentally ill. Upon discovering his "special" patients (unharmed from the destruction thanks to their secluded cells), Arkham resolves to rebuild the facility according to his ancestor's vision, but to serve as a literal asylum for mentally ill patients in order to shelter them from the outside world. However, when told to be happy with the new development, the artist secretly paints his face white with a hideous grin, reminiscent of the Joker; it is implied that the "special" inmates, as well as Arkham himself, have given in to mental illness.

In the Arkham Reborn mini-series, Arkham Asylum is rebuilt and financed by Dr. Arkham.[9] But in Batman #697, Dr. Arkham is revealed to be the new Black Mask and is a patient in his own asylum. It was also revealed during Arkham Reborn, that as both Dr. Arkham and Black Mask, he had begun to manipulate patients, a plotline that culminated in Detective Comics with Alyce Sinner becoming the new head of the facility, but secretly working with Arkham/Black Mask. It was also revealed that the "special" patients were figments of Arkham's imagination.


  • Dr. Amadeus Arkham
    The founder of the asylum, Amadeus named the institution after his deceased mother Elizabeth.[1]
  • Dr. Jeremiah Arkham
    The nephew of Amadeus Arkham. Jeremiah was the head of the asylum in current continuity until recently, in which he too became mentally unwell and became the second Black Mask.
  • Corrections Officer Aaron Cash
    One of Arkham's most respected security guards. His hand was bitten off by Killer Croc,[10] and he sports a prosthetic hook in its place. Unlike many of his colleagues, Cash is neither mentally unwell nor corrupt, and is a trusted ally of Batman.
  • Dr. Joan Leland
    Once a colleague of Harleen Quinzel, Dr. Leeland soon became her therapist, along with treating other known patients such as Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow) and Harvey Dent (Two-Face).
  • Dr. Alyce Sinner
    Chosen by Jeremiah Arkham as his second in command, and briefly committed under Arkham's orders. Sinner became head of the asylum after Arkham was revealed as Black Mask. She is secretly a member of Intergang's Church of Crime, working with Black Mask. She has shoulder length brown hair wrapped in red ribbons with sins written on the inside.
  • Dr. Harleen Quinzel
    A former psychiatric intern, Quinzel was seduced by the Joker and adopted the supervillain name "Harley Quinn."[11]


Cover of Batman: Shadow of the Bat #82 (1999) depicting some of Arkham's patients. Art by Glen Orbik.

Originally, Arkham Asylum is used only to house genuinely mentally unwell patients having no connection to Batman, but over the course of the 1980s, a trend was established of having the majority of Batman's supervillain opponents end up at Arkham. Nearly all of Batman's enemies have spent some time in Arkham.

Arkham Asylum also features in other DC Universe publications. In Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, The Floronic Man is detained there, and in The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Doctor Destiny escapes the asylum to wreak havoc on both the real and dream worlds. It has also been featured in varying capacities in a number of high-profile DC miniseries events, such as Identity Crisis, Day of Vengeance, Countdown, and Crisis on Infinite Earths among others.


Graphic novels featuring Arkham Asylum

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is a graphic novel written by Grant Morrison and painted by Dave McKean. It was published by DC in 1989. It made reference to the treatment of several of the patients, such as the attempt to wean Two-Face away from dependence on his coin for decision making, first with a die, and then a deck of cards. It once again portrays the asylum as having been taken over by its patients.

A Serious House on Serious Earth has been critically acclaimed, having been called "one of the finest superhero books to ever grace a bookshelf."[41] IGN ranked it as number four in a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels, behind The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns, and Year One,[42] whilst Forbidden Planet named it number eight in their "50 Best of the Best Graphic Novels" list.[43]

Batman: The Last Arkham

Batman: The Last Arkham was written by Alan Grant; pencils by Norm Breyfogle, originally a four-issue storyline that kicked off the Shadow of the Bat series. In it, the old Arkham Asylum is destroyed, to be replaced by a new and more modern facility. The story introduces Jeremiah Arkham, the asylum's director, and nephew of Amadeus Arkham. In an attempt to discover how criminals, specifically Zsasz, keep escaping, Batman has himself committed to the asylum. Jeremiah uses various methods, such as unleashing many patients on Batman at once, in an attempt to gain psychological insight on the vigilante.

This story makes a few passing references to the events of A Serious House on Serious Earth, such as Amadeus Arkham taping over the mirror, and his journal is shown early in the story. Jeremiah also mentions his relative's descent into mental illness.

An episode of Batman: The Animated Series titled "Dreams in Darkness", also about Batman in Arkham, portrays a similar theme, with the Scarecrow as the chief villain, also replacing Jeremiah Arkham with a more nondescript administrator, Dr. Bartholemew who is portrayed as naïve rather than sinister.

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell

Living Hell was written by Dan Slott, penciled by Ryan Sook with inks by Sook, Wade Von Grawbadger and Jim Royal. The series was edited by Valerie D'Orazio. Eric Powell created the painted cover art which appeared on both the original series and graphic novel compilation.

This six-issue miniseries and the subsequent trade paperback provided an intricate and multi-layered look at Arkham Asylum from several points of view: director Dr. Jeremiah Arkham; psychiatrist Dr. Anne Carver; the guards, chiefly one Aaron Cash; and the patients. There is a particular focus on previously unknown residents: Jane Doe, a cypher who assumes the identities of those she kills; Junkyard Dog, a man obsessed with trash; Doodlebug, an artist who uses blood in his paintings; the hulking bruiser Lunkhead; Death Rattle, a cult leader who speaks to the dead; and Humpty Dumpty, an obese idiot savant obsessed with taking apart and repairing various objects. The driving force is the recent admission of a ruthless investor, Warren "The Great White Shark" White, as well as the demonic element suggested by the title. White, facing charges of massive fraud, pleads insanity to avoid being sent to prison, knowing he can bribe a Gotham jury. The judge sees through White's attempt to avoid prison, and has White admitted to Arkham, which White himself had never even heard of up until that point. He soon realizes the horrors of the place and tries to survive. Ultimately, he is locked in Mr. Freeze's cell and loses his nose and his lips to frostbite while trapped in there, coming to resemble his nickname. He was originally referred to as 'Fish' as new inmates commonly are, but is re-dubbed 'The Great White Shark' by himself. The demonic threat is nullified after the sacrifice of several patients, thanks to the joint effort of Etrigan and White tricking the demons into sending themselves back to the underworld.

Black Orchid

Black Orchid, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean, also featured Arkham Asylum. The award-winning graphic novel introduced an updated version of the crimefighter Black Orchid, who dies, is reborn and starts a quest to find her identity. During this she encounters Batman, who directs her to Arkham Asylum, where she meets The Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Two-Face and the Joker. Arkham is viewed as a desperate place where patients dwell in terror, much in the same fashion as in A Serious House on Serious Earth, which was also illustrated by McKean.

Arkham Reborn

Arkham Reborn is a three-part mini-series written by David Hine and illustrated by Jeremy Haun. It tells the story of the rebuilding of the Asylum after having been destroyed by Black Mask during the events of "Battle for the Cowl".

In Batman #697, it is revealed that Dr. Jeremiah Arkham is the new Black Mask. More is revealed about Dr. Jeremiah Arkham in Detective Comics #864 and #865.

Batman: The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who Laughs is a one-shot prestige format comic book written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Doug Mahnke and Patrick Zircher, released in February 2005. The comic reveals some of the asylum's dark history. As a reporter reports on the asylum's renovation, the Joker poisons her and the crew, stealing the news van to broadcast whenever he wants. He later releases criminally insane patients at Williams Medical Center, who, in a short number of weeks, would have been transferred to Arkham Asylum. In the end, Joker is defeated and he himself locked behind bars, in a straitjacket at Arkham.

The graphic novel was reprinted with Detective Comics #784-786–a storyline entitled "Made of Wood," also written by Brubaker with art by Zircher. In the storyline, Batman and Green Lantern track the "Made of Wood" serial killer, whose killing spree was cut short when he was admitted to Arkham Asylum. Ex-Commissioner James Gordon is also pursuing the killer, and he narrows the search down to the two men admitted to Arkham in December 1948, the only living one hardly able to walk and ignorant of the killings. Gordon reaches the grandson of the other, who has taken up the "Made of Wood" killer's mantle.

Alternative versions

The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns, written by Frank Miller, takes place about 10 years after Batman "retires." It depicts an "Arkham Home for the Emotionally Troubled", presumably a renaming of the asylum which occurs as a result of changing attitudes towards mental ill health. The Joker is housed there, catatonic since Batman's disappearance, but awakens when the vigilante resumes action. Under the employ of the home is Bartholemew Wolper, a condescending psychologist who treats the Joker humanely, even going so far to arrange for him to appear on a late night talk show, while arguing that Batman himself is responsible for the crimes his enemies commit by encouraging their existence; Wolper is killed when the Joker uses his lethal gas on the talk show audience.

In the sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again, it is revealed that the patients have taken over and have resorted to cannibalism. Plastic Man is one of the more notable patients in this version of Arkham Asylum.

JLA: The Nail

In JLA: The Nail, the Joker- using Kryptonian gauntlets provided by a genetically augmented Jimmy Olsen- breaks into the Asylum, erecting a forcefield around it that prevents anyone but Batman, Batgirl and Robin from entering, while forcing the rest of the patients to fight each other for a chance to live as his slave when only one is left standing. Catwoman wins the resulting conflict shortly before Batman breaks into the asylum, but the Joker's gauntlets allow him to capture Batman, forcing him to watch as the Joker brutally tears Batgirl and Robin apart in front of him. Although Catwoman manages to distract the Joker long enough for Batman to escape and damage his gauntlets, the grief-maddened Batman subsequently beats the Joker to death on the asylum roof before the entire building collapses, apparently killing most of the current patients (Although he and Catwoman manage to escape).

Batman: Crimson Mist

In Batman: Crimson Mist, the third part of the trilogy that began with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, the now-vampiric Batman, corrupted by his thirst for blood, breaks into the asylum and murders all the homicidal patients- including Amygdala, Victor Zsasz and the Mad Hatter- drinking their blood and chopping off their heads to prevent them coming back as vampires (It is unclear if he did this while reveling in his new power or to try and provoke his old allies into destroying what he had become).

In other media

As an integral part of the Batman franchise, Arkham Asylum has been featured in other media besides the print comics, including the following:


  • Arkham Asylum is mentioned by Barry Allen, who is secretly the Flash, in an episode of The Flash television series.
Arkham Asylum as it appeared on Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures.
The alternate Arkham Asylum as it appeared on the Justice League episode A Better World, Part 2.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Arkham has appeared frequently in the series. In the episode "The Trial" explains that all mentally ill criminals apprehended by the Batman are sent to Arkham rather than jail.
  • The television show Justice League featured Arkham in a brief cameo during A Better World, Part 2 in an alternate dimension where a fascist version of the League called the Justice Lords has taken over the world and dispatches villains via execution or lobotomy. The asylum is run by a lobotomized version of the Joker, and staffed by other lobotomized Batman villains, including Two-Face as the caretaker and Poison Ivy as the gardener, and is protected by robotic copies of Superman. The entire patient population is lobotomized by the alternate Superman's heat vision. The Joker, Two-Face and Poison Ivy are used in both Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League as the key patients of the Asylum.
Arkham Asylum as it appeared on The Batman TV series.
  • Arkham Asylum appears in The Batman. Like the original Arkham, several major villains end up in this institution, such as the Joker, Harley Quinn, the Riddler, Mr. Freeze, the Ventriloquist, Hugo Strange, Clayface, and Penguin. Firefly goes to a prison, until becoming Phosphorus (who requires special chemical care). The staff is far more heavily armored than in its previous incarnation, wearing heavy trenchcoats and gloves, though patients continue to escape easily. Much like in the Batman Forever tie-in game and Batman Begins, it is presented as being inside Gotham, though here it is presented as occupying a small island on a river, with a bridge connecting it to the city.
  • Arkham Asylum is referred to in Beware the Batman. In "Secrets", Tatsu's newspaper has an article titled "Arkham Asylum Population on the Rise". In "Attraction", Arkham (misspelled as Arkum) is shown in a news ticker, with Harvey Dent wanting to close down the institution after a recent uprising.
  • Arkham Asylum appears in Gotham.[44] It is established that Arkham Asylum was closed down for 15 years prior to the events of the series. In "Arkham," Arkham Asylum is shown to be in the Arkham District as Mayor Aubrey James plans to improve the district using the plans that Thomas Wayne was going to go with. Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni were also shown to want some involvement in the plan. Sal Maroni's ally Councilman Zeller has been abducted by the same hitman who killed Councilman Ron Jenkins (who was an ally of Carmine Falcone) and is burned alive at Arkham Asylum. At the end of the episode, Mayor James holds a press conference about the Arkham Plan in front of Arkham Asylum. He states that Carmine Falcone will handle the small housing developments in the Arkham District and that Sal Maroni will be refurbishing Arkham Asylum so that it can be operational again. Around the end of "Harvey Dent," Arkham Asylum is officially reopened where insane bomb maker Ian Hargrove is amongst its latest patients after being rescued from the Russian Mob by James Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department. In "LoveCraft," James Gordon is reassigned to guard duty at Arkham Asylum by Mayor Aubrey James. In the follow up episode, Gordon makes the acquaintance of Leslie Thompkins who works in the Women's ward. This happens when several patients are discovered showing varying degrees of unusual behavior with electrical burns on their heads. It is discovered that another inmate, Jack Buchinsky had been using electro-shock therapy to develop a kind of mind control, which he successfully manages to achieve with Aaron Danzing, who both then escape on a quest to get revenge on Sal Maroni, who set Buchinsky up and was responsible for his incarceration. It is this escape that Gordon uses to get back in the GCPD by promising Commissioner Loeb that he can catch Buchinsky. In the second season, Tabitha Galavan aids the escape of several Arkham inmates, including Barbara Kean, Jerome Valeska, Richard Sionis, Aaron Helzinger, Robert Greenwood, and Arnold Dobkins. Tabitha's brother, Theo Galavan, then recruits the inmates, who begin calling themselves "the Maniax."


  • In Batman Forever, Arkham Asylum was seen at the end of the film. It is designed as a tall, spiraling castle-like structure, with narrow hallways lined with brightly lit glass bricks. The Riddler is incarcerated in a large padded cell. The chief psychiatrist is named Doctor Burton, a reference to Tim Burton, who directed 1989's Batman and 1992's Batman Returns. There was originally a more in-depth sequence involving Two-Face escaping from Arkham at the beginning of the film, but it was cut.
  • In Batman & Robin,[45] Arkham Asylum is shown a number of times. It first appears when Mr. Freeze is taken there midway through the film, and later at the end when he and Poison Ivy are shown sharing a room. This version is several dozen stories tall on an island several hundred feet above water, into which the patients jump to escape. Lightning also emits a bright green flash through the structure's windows. In addition, The Riddler and Two-Face's costumes from Batman Forever can be seen in an evidence room before Bane breaks out to collect Mr. Freeze's armor.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the final battle between the original Batman and the Joker is seen taking place at an abandoned Arkham. It is also the same spot where Robin, brainwashed and disfigured into a younger version of the Joker, kills the real Joker (either by shooting him with the bang-flag speargun or by pushing him into a tank of water and a mass of wires, causing him to electrocute himself). A deleted scene, featured on both versions of the DVD as a special feature, has Bruce Wayne touring the abandoned Arkham, where Bruce Wayne's successor as Batman Terry McGinnis, follows and sees the Joker's corpse hanging. Both the film and the Batman Beyond episode "Splicer" suggest that the facility has moved to a different location.
  • In Batman Begins, Arkham plays a much larger role than the previous films, with Jonathan Crane (also known as the Scarecrow) being either the administrator or a high-ranking doctor at the Asylum, and using it to conduct sadistic experiments with his fear gas, with his own patients as guinea pigs. He also uses the pipes under the asylum to empty his toxin into the Gotham water supply. Though still on an island separate from Gotham City's mainland, it is surrounded by a slum region known as the Narrows, instead of the dense forestry of the comics. When it came to a diversion for the fear gas to infect Gotham's water supply, Ra's al Ghul had his men discharge all the patients at Arkham Asylum to keep the police busy. By the end of the film, it is implied that the Narrows has been rendered uninhabitable. Notably, Victor Zsasz is shown as a high-profile criminal being held in the asylum. The National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London was used as Arkham in the film.[46]
  • Arkham makes an appearance in the animated anthology film Batman: Gotham Knight (set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) within the segment "Crossfire". Expanding on Lt. James Gordon's line that "the Narrows is lost" at the end of Batman Begins, the film shows that the entire island has become Arkham Asylum's ground, with Narrows residents evacuated from the island after the patients escaped from the facility. After the riot at the end of Batman Begins, the city apparently turned the entire island into a high-tech prison facility in a few months after the incident, enclosed by guard towers, high fences, and the island's natural barrier to keep the inmates from escaping. The Gotham City Police Department also sends officers to its drawbridges to make sure no one would cross, in or out, without permission.
  • Arkham is mentioned briefly by Harvey Dent, Batman, and Alfred in the Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight when they reference Arkham patients Carmine Falcone and Thomas Schiff, but beyond this instance the asylum is never seen or explored in the story.
  • Suicide Squad's director David Ayer posted a photo on his Twitter page that Arkham Asylum will appear in the film.[47]

Video games

  • Arkham is featured prominently in Batman: Dark Tomorrow. Three quarters of the way through the game, Batman must infiltrate Arkham Asylum through a secret sewer entrance.
  • Arkham Asylum is one of the levels of the video game counterpart to Batman Begins.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum is a video game for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics. The game takes place entirely on Arkham Island, a large island on the middle of the Gotham bay. The game's version of Arkham is similar to its description in Gotham Knight, consisting of individual large buildings in a spacious open air island, rather than a single compound. Its locations include Arkham East, Arkham West, Arkham North, Arkham Mansion, the Botanical Gardens, Intensive Treatment, Medical Facility, and Penitentiary. The island also features a network of subterranean catacombs, caverns, sewers, and a satellite Batcave which Batman had outfitted over the years in preparation for emergencies like the one he faces in the game. In the game, a fire had broke out at Blackgate Penitentiary causing its inmates to be temporarily housed at Arkham. When Joker was apprehended, he was freed by Harley Quinn as Joker begins his plot to take over Arkham Asylum, forcing Batman to fight his way through the Asylum inmates to recapture the Joker. During the struggle, the Asylum is badly damaged by the rampaging inmates and the Joker's release of Titan into the water supply enhancing and mutating Poison Ivy's plants, as well as faith in the asylum being compromised with the discovery that key guards and staff were working with the Joker to organize his assault (Although Doctor Penelope Young was merely manipulated by the Joker rather than acting as a willing accomplice).
  • Arkham Asylum appears in DC Universe Online. In the game, the chaos of Brainiac's invasions ends up enabling Arkham Asylum's patients to escape from Arkham Asylum. In the "Arkham Asylum Alert" mission, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Scarecrow take over Arkham Asylum. In the hero campaign, Batman sends the players to investigate and bring the situation under control. In the villain campaign, Joker sends the players to find out what's going on at his "house" and find out why he wasn't invited.
  • In Batman: Arkham City (the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum), Arkham and blackgate has been relocated to the Gotham mainland as part of Quincy Sharp's Arkham City project with neither Blackgate Penitentiary or Arkham Asylum in any condition to hold inmates or patients after it was ravaged by Poison Ivy in the first game. Arkham City is a walled off section of Gotham City where its inmates can run free in exchange that they don't escape; this territory include the old GCPD building and the Monarch Theatre where Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed. The security of Arkham City is enforced by the private military security group TYGER, with territory controlled by the Joker, Penguin and Two-Face as the city's primary ganglords (Although Two-Face has been losing authority prior to the start of the game), with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy satisfied with control of specific buildings, Riddler discreetly controlling members of the others' gangs, and Catwoman, Bane and Zsasz operating independently in secret. Arkham Asylum itself can be seen from the bay of Arkham City, still ravaged and covered in vines from Poison Ivy's attack. Other criminals like the Mad Hatter and Killer Croc stay out of the spotlight.
  • Arkham Asylum appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. Lex Luthor springs Joker from prison in order to make synthetic Kryptonite to help in his presidential election campaign. As a result of Lex Luthor and Joker using a ray that removes black bricks from Arkham Asylum, it caused a breakout where all of its inmates are freed. The generic Arkham Inmates and the generic Arkham Patients appear as playable characters.
  • Arkham Asylum is mentioned in Batman: Arkham Origins (a prequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum). At the time of the game, the asylum had been closed for years, with Blackgate taking all the city's criminals—mentally ill and otherwise. During the credits, Jack Ryder's interview with Quincy Sharp has mentioned that in wake of the recent events Arkham Asylum has been reopened. Sharp decided the asylum is necessary to house the new wave of Gotham's most mentally ill criminals such as the Joker. However, revealed in Shiva's extortion file, she per the orders of Ra's al Ghul, manipulated Sharp into opening the Asylum as part of a long-term plan that lead to Arkham City's creation.
  • The Asylum is referenced again in Batman: Arkham Knight, by Jason Todd who takes the mantle of Arkham Knight to psychologically torment Batman. It also appears that Arkham City was once more reintergrated into Gotham City, given there are three island to travel between in-game. Furthmore Arkham Island and the reminiscences of Arkham City can be seen from the top of Wayne Tower looking out over the bay. Prior to the events of the game, Scarecrow, the main antagonist, announces a meeting to Gotham's most notorious super-villains, including Two-Face, the Penguin, the Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and the Arkham Knight. The meeting is held in Arkham Asylum, where it is strongly guarded by military soldies and drones. Catwoman tries to infiltrate it but is spotted by one of the drones.

See also


  1. ^ Moench and Breyfogle were the writer and artist, respectively, of Batman #492, which started the Knightfall storyline; they can be seen on a list of escaped Arkham inmates on the Batcave computer.[27]


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78. Detective Comics #864

External links

  • Arkham Care
  • BOF's review of Arkham Asylum, A Serious House on a Serious Earth
  • Official Videogame Website
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