|Ra's al Ghul|
|Alias(es):||"The Demon's Head"|
|Affiliation:||Society of Shadows|
|Portrayed by:||David Warner|
|First appearance:||Off Balance|
|Appears in:||5 Episodes|
|Ra's al Ghul Gallery|
Ra's al Ghul (meaning "The Demon's Head" in Arabic) is an eco-terrorist who has lived for over six centuries through the use of Lazarus Pits. Over his long lifetime, Ra's has become a master planner, an expert fighter, and independently wealthy, making him one of Batman's most dangerous foes.
Sometime after his birth in the 14th century the man who would become Ra's al Ghul discovered an ancient, naturally occurring substance called Lazarus. He used it to rejuvinate his body when near death, allowing him to live for hundreds of years. Later he formed the Society of Shadows and used it and its members to work towards his goal of purifing the world by ridding it of many technologies known and exploted by humans which were harmful to Earth.
In 1883, just prior to the Transcontinental Railroad's completion in the Utah territory, Ra's constructs an airship, christened "The Phoenix", to destroy the railroad, then move east to Washington D.C. with his son Arcady Duvall, and take control of the United States government, halting its destruction of the Western environment. However, a bounty hunter named Jonah Hex, who was chasing Arkady for a bounty opposed the pair. He climbed into the ship's rigging and faced off with Arkady in a duel. In the midst of the clash, Hex points a howitzer up toward the zeppelins, and fires, igniting the hydrogen. The ship loses altitude and begins to burn. Ra's escapes the ship in a personal glider, telling the rest of the men to save themselves, but to abandon Duvall to his fate.
Over a century later, Ra's first became known to Batman by way of members of the Society of Shadows who he captured in Gotham City. He used his daughter, Talia, to eliminate Count Vertigo and acquire a rare prototype sonic drill. His scheme almost succeded, but Batman had sabotaged the drill before it reached him. After learning of this, Ra's admitted that "The Detective", as he called him, had attained a small measure of victory.
Ra's later kidnapped Robin in order to lure Batman into a set up, carefully organized by him and the Society of Shadows. The ultimate purpose of this was to test Batman's abilities in order to determine his worthiness as his successor. When Batman eventually located Robin, he had deduced the truth about Ra's involvement in the affair, but he was shocked to learn the reason behind it all. Ra's offered Batman the chance of taking his empire and also to marry Talia, who had fallen in love with him. When Batman refused, Ra's' health declined and he was taken to the Lazarus Pit, where he recovered his strentgh and youth, but he also left Batman to die.
Batman survived, but Ra's had already moved to his base in the desert to set his ultimate plan in motion. Over the years, Ra's had placed explosives in the Lazarus Pits around the world and now, thanks to a satellite he can detonate them all at the same time, creating a destrutive wave that would return Earth to it's original natural form. Unfortunately for him, Batman learned everything and infiltrated in his base to stop Ra's. Although Ra's had things under control, Talia's assistance allowed Batman to stop Ra's and destroy everything. During Ra's clash with Batman, he lost control of his actions and almost fell to a certain death. Realizing how he was defeated, Ra's chose to sacrifice himself, and although he was seemingly killed, he did survive.
Ra's resurfaces in Egypt, and is found by both Batman and Talia in Cairo. He has half of a scroll belonging to an ancient Pharaohess Thoth Khepera who had power over life and death. He now sought out that power for himself. Ra's reached the temple where he found the queen's sarcophagus and had Ubu open the coffin. Inside were scrolls that were so aged they crumble in Ra's hands. However, Ra's finds a hidden lever that opens a passageway under the coffin. Inside, Ra's finds human remains surrounding a pool of Lazarus that contained Thoth Kephera herself who promised the knowledge of the power of the gods if Ra's joined her. She then hypnotized him. She kisses Ra's and attempted to orally suck the life from his body.
Batman and Talia arrive and stop Thoth from killing Ra's. The trio manage to escape, however, and Batman smashes a statue of Osiris over trapping the queen and causing the temple to collapse. Ra's is subsequently restored to normal upon leaving. With Thoth gone, the group heads out and Ra's re-accepts Talia as his daughter.
Later, after decades of searching, Ra's located his son Arkady in a Gotham resthome. Batman and Robin catch up with Ra's at an airport. He revealed that the old man is in fact his son. As Arkady's mind and body were beyond the Lazarus Pit's power to mend, Batman let Ra's take his dying son with him so that he can be there for his son's last hours.
- Ra's al Ghul was created by Julius Schwartz, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams; first appearing in Batman #232 (1971).