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Ra's al Ghul

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Ra's al Ghul
Rasalghul
Information
Species: Human
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue
Relatives: Talia (daughter)
Arkady Duvall (son)
Base: Wherever a Lazarus Pit can be found
Affiliations: Society of Shadows (leader)
Rogue of: Batman, Batman (Terry McGinnis)
Abilities: Excellent swordsman;
genius intellect;
longevity through Lazarus Pits
Weaponry: Sword
Voiced by: David Warner
Olivia Hussey[1]

"I am he who is called Ra's al Ghul."
"The Demon's Head. I thought you were only a legend."
"I am quite real.
"
— Ra's and Batman[2]

Ra's al Ghul (Arabic for "The Demon's Head") was an eco-terrorist who has lived for over 600 years through the use of Lazarus Pits.

Over his long lifetime, Ra's has become a master planner, an expert fighter, independently wealthy and the leader of a powerful criminal organization, making him one of Batman's most dangerous foes.

History

Past

At some point in his life, Ra's discovered the Lazarus Pits, which he used to prolong his life over and over again.[1]

Later Ra's founded the Society of Shadows and used it to work on his goal, of a pure world rid of technology. He also fathered at least two children, Talia and Arkady Duvall.

In 1883 he and Arkady Duvall, along with an earlier incarnation of the Society of Shadows, created an airship and attempted to destroy the Transcontinental Railroad, halting the advance of the U.S. and its citizens into the then relatively untouched western frontier.
Ra's and Arkady Duvall in 1883
Ra's and his son Arkady Duvall in 1883
VseslavBotkinAdded by VseslavBotkin
From there Ra's and Duvall planned on using the airship to attack Washington D.C. and take over the United States; however, Ra’s and Duvall found themselves opposed by Jonah Hex, who had been tailing Duvall for some time. Hex managed to put a stop to Ra's and Duvall's plans by destroying the airship and apprehending Duvall, forcing Ra’s to flee and abandon his son.[3]

Encounter with Batman

Decades later, Ra's' presence was first made known to Batman through the Society of Shadows. He orchestrated a series of events to eliminate Vertigo from the picture and acquire a sonic drill, using his daughter, Talia, to carry out his will. His plan was almost successful, but Batman managed to sabotage the sonic drill before it reached him. At this, Ra's was forced to admit that Batman — "The Detective", as he called him — had attained some small measure of victory, but quickly declared that this was not over.[4]

Ra's fighting batman
Ra's sword-fighting Batman
VseslavBotkinAdded by VseslavBotkin

Later, Ra's met Batman right in the Batcave, much to the Caped Crusader's surprise. Ra's requested his help in tracking down his daughter and Dick Grayson, who had both been kidnapped on the same night. However, it didn't take Batman long to realize that Ra's himself had done the kidnapping, and indeed, the whole thing was part of a plan to make Bruce his heir, and carry on his legacy.[5] When Bruce refused, Ra's, disappointed, chose to speed things up and accomplish his goals in his own lifetime by saturating the planet with the contents of the Lazarus Pits, killing a high percentage of the Earth's population. Again, Batman thwarted his plot, preventing the cataclysm from happening and knocking Ra's himself into a Pit.[6]

However, Ra's had survived, and returned some months later when he and his servant Ubu broke into the Gotham Museum and stole the scroll of Osiris. Batman then went to Gibraltar to find Talia where he learned that the scroll was half of a map (of which Ra’s has the other half) and this map leads to the tomb of Thoth Khepera and that Ra’s is obsessed with finding it. Talia agreed to help Batman apprehend Ra’s and the two of them confronted Ra's at one of his old sanctuaries in Cairo where he told them that Thoth Khepera was thought to have control over life and death and that he now wanted that power for himself. Ra’s subsequently denounced Talia as his daughter and then attempted to kill both Batman and Talia; but Batman and Talia escaped the trap that Ra’s had set for them.
Ra's enters the tomb of Thoth Khepera
Ra's enters the tomb of Thoth Khepara
VseslavBotkinAdded by VseslavBotkin
After catching up to Ra’s at the tomb of Thoth Khepera they all discovered that Thoth Khepera was actually some form of demon who steals the life energy of those who find her.

Talia and Batman managed to save Ra’s and Ubu's lives, but Ra’s was able to escape as he accepted Talia as his daughter again, which caused Talia to immediately betray Batman. Talia, Ra’s and Ubu also left Batman stranded in the middle of the desert, although Ubu gave him his water canteen as a way of thanking Batman for saving his life. [7]

Ra’s resurfaced some months later when he abducted an unidentified man from a nursing home in Gotham City. Batman and Robin found an audio tape in the man’s room left by Ra's. Batman and Robin subsequently rushed to the nearest airport to intercept Ra’s, and on the way listened to the story that had been recorded on the tape. Recorded on the tape was Ra’s narrating events that happened in 1883 and once this story was finished Batman and Robin arrived at the airport, where Ra’s revealed to Batman and Robin that the man he had abducted was none other than Arkady Duvall; and not only that, but Ra's also revealed that Duvall was his son.

Ra’s said that Duvall had been able to live for so long because of exposure to Lazarus Pits earlier in his life and although Duvall was now too old for the Pits to save him, Ra’s wanted to be with his son during the last days of his life. Batman was sympathetic to Ra’s’ story and willingly stepped aside for the first and only time, allowing Ra’s to get away. [8]

Ra's continued to come into conflict with Batman, even attempting to prolong his own life by stealing Superman's powers. At the end of this ordeal, he and Talia were caught in a collapsing cavern. In the aftermath, neither one could be found, dead or alive.[9]

One way or another, Ra's (and Talia) escaped death again and set into motion the Near-Apocalypse of '09. Little is known about this event, but in the end, Ra's was left at the brink of death and the Lazarus Pits unable to repair the damage of his body. He saved himself by transplanting his mind into his daughter's body. In Talia's body, Ra's al Ghul was able to keep himself alive through the years with the Lazarus Pits, as well as "improve" his image with charities.

Future exploits

"Ra's al Ghul was a man of many contrasts. Leader, environmentalist--"
"Sociopath. ...Sorry."
"I was going to say father.
"
— Ra's posing as Talia and Terry McGinnis[1]

In the 2040s, long after Bruce retired, a new Batman rose. Ra's correctly guessed that it was Bruce's assistant, Terry McGinnis. Still posing as his daughter, Ra's met an elderly Bruce Wayne on his birthday and convinced him to take on the Lazarus Pits for himself, after staging an incident to show how infirm he had become. Bruce initially accepted and allowed himself to be immersed once. However, when he realized how unnatural the process was, he tried to get out of the deal — only to discover that Ra's was not only inhabiting the body of Talia, but he now wanted to take on the body of a rejuvenated Bruce Wayne.
Talia exudes satisfaction
Ra's in Talia's body
ThailogAdded by Thailog

Ra's planned to return to Gotham with genetic and written proof that he was the "long lost son" of Bruce and Talia and use this to gain control of Bruce's company and holdings to fund his underground organization. At the last moment, Terry McGinnis intervened, interrupting the process and causing Ra's' lair to go up in flames. As his enemies fled, Ra's desperately tried to save his equipment and extinguish the flames. However, moments later, an exposed wire struck the surface of the Lazarus Pit, setting off an explosion.

While no body was found, it could be that Ra's perished in the blast with the last Lazarus Pit destroyed.[1]

Powers, Abilities and Weapons

"A criminal mastermind more dangerous than the Joker and Luthor put together."
Batman[9]

Through years of studying and practice, Ra's al Ghul had become one of the world's greatest swordsmen, capable of matching Batman in battle. He was also a gifted weapons expert. Aside from this, Ra's also possessed a world-class intellect, equalling if not surpassing that of the Dark Knight himself. Ra's al Ghul was the leader of a large and extremely powerful organization of ninja called the Society of Shadows, was in possession of vast resources and finances, and due to this had immense political influence. By regular dips in Lazarus Pits he had been able to live for over 6 centuries in his prime age.

Batman as described him as a criminal mastermind that is as dangerous as Lex Luthor and the Joker put together.

Background information

The man who would become Ra's al Ghul was once a nomad living in Arabia several centuries ago. Fascinated in science, he became a physician at a city and married a woman named Sora. Ra's discovered the Lazarus Pit and used it to cure the son of the City's ruler, but the Pit drove the already sadistic man to insanity, and he killed Sora. Ra's was charged with the crime and sentenced to death in a cage with his wife's corpse and left in the desert. Helped by some nomads, Ra's called upon his tribe to massacre the city, and used the Lazarus pit to achieve immortality. Over the years, his formed an organization known as "the Demon", with himself as its "head", to punish the sins of humanity against the world. He also formed the League of Assassins, which he describes as the "Demon's fang", eliminating those who would seek to oppose him.

Although he genuinely loves his Talia, and views her as the most loyal and formidable of his progeny, Ra's al Ghul is an avowed sexist who believes women to be inferior to men, which has fueled his search to find a husband for Talia that could one day succeed him. After discovering that Talia and Bruce Wayne have had a child together (Damian Wayne), Ra's has since then completely broken ties with his daughter, when he attempted to use Damian's body as a new vessel for his soul. Damian has since then taken over the role of Robin, following Batman's death, and Dick Grayson assuming the Batman identity.

Batman: The Animated Series was Ra's first appearance in media other than the comic books. With his first name correctly pronounced "Raysh", unlike the 2005 movie Batman Begins that mispronounced his name "Raz", in Batman Beyond, Terry was corrected by Ra's in Talia's body when Terry seemingly intentionally called Ra's "Raz".

Appearances

Batman: The Animated Series

Superman: The Animated Series

Batman Beyond

Footnotes

External links

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