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Ra's al Ghul

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Ra's al Ghul
OB 51 - Head of the Demon
Name: Unknown
Alias(es): "The Demon's Head"
Affiliation: Society of Shadows
Children: Arcady Duvall
Talia
Portrayed by: David Warner
First appearance: Off Balance
Last appearance: Showdown
Appears in: 5 Episodes
Ra's al Ghul Gallery


Ra's al Ghul (meaning "The Demon's Head" in Arabic)[1] 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.

HistoryEdit

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.[2]

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.[3]

Ra's would later kidnap Dick Grayson with hopes to "ransom" Batman into marrying Talia and becoming his heir to then cleanse the world of "imperfect" elements of humanity. Ra's, and his servant Ubu enter the Batcave. He tells Batman that Robin and his daughter, Talia were abducted on the same night, and proposes an alliance in order to find them. Based on clues in a photograph Ra's provides, Batman deduces that they may be in Calcutta. In India, the pair search for a mercenary cult, supposedly responsible for the kidnappings. The mercenaries attack and Batman easily defeats them, much to Ras' delight. Batman interrogates one of the mercenaries and learns the abductees are actually in Malaysia.

While driving through a rain forest in Malaysia, Ra's speaks at length about humanity's destruction of the Earth's environment. Batman defends Wayne Enterprises' environmental conservation activity, but Ra's retorts, saying that power is required, not just money. The pair make it to an ancient temple, Batman runs inside only to find that it's a trap. After Batman defeats a panther, Ra's enters and they find a map inside to a location in the Himalayan Mountains.

They fly to the location via helicopter. Batman jumps to proceed the rest of the way on foot just before Ra's' helicopter is shot down by a missile. Batman finally finds Robin and he is freed. Just then, the torches light and the jackal-masked man comes in, applauding. Batman unmasks him as Ra's al Ghul. Ra's asked how long Batman had known. Batman replies, from the very beginning as there was no way Ra's could have known Robin and Talia were kidnapped on the same night and that his own identity was already given to Ra's by Talia who discovered it while in Count Vertigo's imprisonment.

Ra's applauds Batman's efforts again, explaining that the whole affair was merely a test, stating he needed a man to succeed him as ruler of his vast empire, and Batman had now proven his worthiness, and also because Talia loves him. Batman refuses the offer. Ra's shouts that he will regret it, but is overcome by his coughing ailments and collapsed. He is then lowered into the Lazarus Pit below.[1]

After his rejuvination and another rejection from Batman, Ra's decided to kill Batman and activated a self-destruct sequence. Talia was upset but Ra's stated they will just go to their desert stronghold in Africa. Batman and Robin escape and Batman infiltrates the stronghold in the Sahara Desert. Ra's discovered him there and explained that he intended to detonate bombs in Lazarus pits all around the world. This would cause them to overflow covering the world in chemicals, which would kill 2,056,986,000 people and restore most of the world's ecosystems.

Escaping imprisonment, Batman attempts to stop the plot by aborting the satelite trigger mechanism. Enraged, Ra's attacks Batman with a sword and the two duel. The fight moves towards the edge of the Lazarus pit but Batman throws his sword at the signal device stopping the countdown. Ra's attacks in anger but loses his balance and falls towards the pit himself. Batman tries to save him but Ra's refuses to deny Batman his victory and voluntarily drops into the pit. However, he survived.[4]

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.[5]

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.[2]

Powers and AbilitiesEdit

Ra's al Ghul
  • Lazarus Enhancement: Ra's al Ghul has been alive for centuries due to his use of Lazarus Pits healing his wounds and reversing age.[1]
  • Genius-Level Intellect: Ra's shows a vast intelligence knowing much of science and medicine, particularly alchemy.
  • Leadership: He leads the Society of Shadows whose vast amount of members will give their lives for their master.[3]
  • Expert Strategist: Ra's is a brilliant tactician, planning his moves far, far in advance of when they ultimately begin.
  • Weapon Expert: After centuries of practice and experience using both new and old weapons alike, swords being his weapon of choice.[1]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

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