Ra's al Ghul

Ra's al Ghul

Ra's al Ghul
Art by Cliff Chiang
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman #232 (June 1971)
Created by Julius Schwartz (concept/name)
Dennis O'Neil (writer)
Neal Adams (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Henri Ducard / Terry Gene Kase
Team affiliations The Demon
League of Assassins
Underground Society
Partnerships Talia al Ghul
Notable aliases Ra's, The Demon's Head[1]
  • Genius-level intellect[2]
  • Peak physical conditioning
  • Superior strength and stamina
  • Master martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant for centuries
  • Swordsmanship, fencing, alchemy, demonology, marksmanship, and acrobatics
  • Nearly immortal due to Lazarus Pits

Ra's al Ghul (Arabic: رأس الغول Raʾs al-Ġūl; "Ghoul's Head" or "Demon's Head") is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero 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).[3] The character is one of Batman's most enduring enemies and belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up Batman's rogues gallery. Given Ra's al Ghul's high status as a supervillain, he also comes into conflict with other superheroes in the DC Universe.

Most notable as the leader of the League of Assassins, Ra's al Ghul's name in Arabic translates to "The Demon's Head".[4][5] 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 kept Ra's alive for centuries, making him particularly dangerous as he has honed his combat skills for a millennium.

Ra's al Ghul has been featured in various media adaptions. The character was voiced by David Warner in Batman: The Animated Series, which became his first appearance in media other than the comic books. Ra's was subsequently portrayed by Liam Neeson in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Jason Isaacs in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Dee Bradley Baker in Batman: Arkham City, and Matt Nable in the Arrowverse television series.

IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List ranked Ra's as #7.[6]

Publication history

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).[3] 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 (actor James Lanphier) and Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale) in the 1963 film The Pink Panther.

Character overview

Ra's al Ghul is an international criminal 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 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


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.

As told in Birth of the Demon, Ra's al Ghul was born over 600 years before his first appearance in Batman comics, to a tribe of nomads in a desert somewhere in Arabia, near a city whose inhabitants' ancestors had journeyed to the Arabian Peninsula from China. 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 first appearance of Ra's al Ghul, from Batman#232, June 1971. Cover by Neal Adams.

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 industrialization 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 the boy who freed him from the sultan are all using the Lazarus Pits to prolong their lives until an incident in London. Ra's catches the boy writing his own memoirs in their original language, of which Ra's has forbidden all records. During a battle, Ra's kills the boy 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".

Contagion and Legacy

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

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

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.[7] 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

Ra's al Ghul returns from the dead.
Art by Tony Daniel.
Ra's al Ghul returns in the form of his own son Dusan al Ghul, Arabic: دوسان الغول, "The White Ghost".
Art by Ryan Benjamin.

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.[8] 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.[1]

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.[9]

The Return of Bruce Wayne

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, Bruce Wayne has already named Tim as his heir prior to his disappearance, 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, and Nightwing 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.[10]

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

In The New 52 (a 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 Red Hood.[11] Jason is under attack by Ra's al Ghul who demands to know just what his daughter Talia al Ghul saw in the boy. Having just emerged from the Well of Sins, Ra's al Ghul is consumed by the evil that once corrupted the Untitled centuries ago. Now he feels compelled to rid himself of the machinations of his daughter and Ducra by killing Jason. At Ra's al Ghul's command, the prisoners are brought to him, and he promises to use his new found power to see them dead. Red Hood, however, determines that he cannot allow it to happen. As Ra's al Ghul gathers his power, Red Hood tells himself again and again that he wants to remember what he chose to forget.[12] Red Hood engages Ra's al Ghul, 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 sees him ever again.[13]

Batman and Aquaman head to an island, where the League of Assassins are located, after Ra's al Ghul had the bodies of Damian Wayne and Talia al Ghul exhumed. Ra's al Ghul had ordered the hunt of whales, creating genetically altered super-humans in the wombs of sperm whales. This being just one of a probable many plans to rebuild the League of Assassins. Inside the compound, they find that Ra's is wiping the hard drives clean, preventing data recovery, even as a message from Ra's al Ghul plays over the intercom, chastising Batman for failing to prevent the deaths of Damian or Talia within the city he swore to protect. 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 al Ghul 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 al Ghul to give back his son, but Ra's al Ghul 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. Luckily, Aquaman is there to catch Batman.[14]

Batman and Ra's al Ghul have their encounter with Glorious Godfrey.[15] 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.[16]

During Batman Eternal, Bruce briefly speculates that Ra's is the mastermind behind most of the current attacks against him due to the combination of economic manipulation and supernatural assaults 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.[17]

Powers, abilities, and weapons

Due to his expanded life span, Ra's has accumulated a vast knowledge of hand-to-hand combat, chemistry, detective artistry, physics, and martial arts (all of which rival 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 Lazarus Pits, which will heal him of any injury (even if he is recently deceased) while restoring him back to his prime of life. 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.


The following are members of Ra's al Ghul's family:

The Sensei

Main article: Sensei (DC Comics)

Created by Neal Adams in 1968,[18] 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.[19] He dies during the same storyline.[19]

Dusan al Ghul

Created by Peter Milligan and David Lopez in 2007,[20] Dusan al Ghul (Arabic: دوسان الغول) was Ra's' only known son. He was also referred to as Ash'Shabah Al-Abyad (Arabic: 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",[21] 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.[21] He ultimately sacrificed himself to ensure his father's survival during the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul storyline.[21]

Nyssa Raatko

Main article: Nyssa Raatko

Created by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson in 2003,[22] Nyssa Raatko (Arabic: نيسا رعتكو) is Ra's al Ghul's oldest known daughter. She was born to an unnamed woman in 18th century Russia.[23] She would later become a Holocaust survivor.[24] She is murdered by Cassandra Cain during the One Year Later storyline. Nyssa appears in Arrow.[25]

Talia al Ghul

Main article: Talia al Ghul

Created by Dennis O'Neil and Bob Brown in 1971,[26] Talia al Ghul (Arabic: تاليه الغول) is Ra's al Ghul's daughter. Talia's mother was a woman of mixed Chinese and Arab ancestry[27] named Melisande,[28][29] who met Ra's at the Woodstock festival.[27][29] Talia was born not long after. Talia also appears in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises.

Damian Wayne

Main article: Damian Wayne

Originally appearing as an unnamed infant in the 1987 graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon,[28] the character was introduced as Damian Wayne by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert in 2006.[30] Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, making him the grandson of Ra's al Ghul. He was raised 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.


Although he fathered children with several women, Ra's al Ghul has only two confirmed marriages. The first was to Sora,[20][27] whose death set Ra's on the path to becoming the "Demon's Head". The second was to Melisande,[28][29] Talia's mother.

Ra's also appears to have an unnamed sister[31] or half-sister,[32] a female assassin belonging to a group called the "Daughters of Acheron", whose members share the same father.[32][33] Another member is a woman using the alias "Promise".[33] 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.[34] The clone is, therefore, a grandson of sorts of Ra's al Ghul. Additionally, Nyssa once stated that she has given birth twelve times,[35] opening the possibility of Ra's having many other descendants.

Involvement with Batman

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 that the Dark Knight has to be rich, and learns that only Bruce Wayne has bought the equipment that 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 that the whole affair is a charade orchestrated by Ra's to test Batman, which he passes. Ra's asks that Batman 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. And 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 that, 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

Son of the Demon

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

Ra's has previously been revealed as alive in the 31st century setting of the post-Zero Hour reboot Legion of Super-Heroes, impersonating Leland McCauley.

Superman & Batman: Generations

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 together, destroying one soul in the process and imbuing the other with youth and immortality without the ensuing madness. With his only alternatives 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.


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 cancer 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 cancer. 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.

Amalgam Comics

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".

Captain Carrot Reality

Kingdom Come

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.


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.[36]

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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.[37] After Shredder attempts to escape a confrontation with Batman and the Turtles, he is confronted by Ra's, who offers him an alliance.[38] When Casey Jones travels to the DC Universe to try to help the Turtles, he is caught by Shredder and Ra's, who take the mutagen he was bringing to help the Turtles with the intention of using it on Arkham Asylum.[39]

In other media



Live action

Matthew Nable as Ra's al Ghul in the television series Arrow.


Live action

Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul / Henri Ducard in Batman Begins (2005).


Video games

Lego Batman

Arkham series

Ra's al Ghul has been a staple in the Batman: Arkham franchise where he has been voiced by Dee Bradley Baker:



Collected editions

His stories have been collected into a number of volumes:

See also


  1. 1 2 Detective Comics (vol. 1) #840 (March 2008)
  2. "Spider-Bob's Comics Book Encyclopedia". Spider-bob.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
  3. 1 2 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.
  4. 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!"
  5. 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."
  6. "Ra's Al Ghul Is Number 7". IGN.com.
  7. Death and The Maidens #8 (May 2004)
  8. Batman (vol. 1) #671 (January 2008)
  9. Nightwing (vol. 2) #145 (August 2008)
  10. Batman & Robin: The Road Back #1 (December 2010)
  11. Red Hood and the Outlaws #24
  12. Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
  13. Red Hood and the Outlaws #27
  14. Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #29
  15. Batman and Ra's al Ghul #32
  16. Batman and Ra's al Ghul #33
  17. Batman Eternal #46
  18. Strange Adventures #215 (November–December 1968)
  19. 1 2 Batman #671 (January 2008)
  20. 1 2 Batman Annual #26 (October 2007)
  21. 1 2 3 Detective Comics #839 (February 2008)
  22. Detective Comics #783 (August 2003)
  23. Batman: Death and the Maidens #3 (December 2003)
  24. Batman: Death and the Maidens #5 (February 2004)
  25. Robin #148 (May 2006)
  26. Detective Comics #411 (May 1971)
  27. 1 2 3 Batman: Birth of the Demon (December 1992)
  28. 1 2 3 Batman: Son of the Demon (September 1987)
  29. 1 2 3 Batman Incorporated (vol.2) #2 (June 2012)
  30. Batman #655 (September 2006)
  31. Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul (December 2010)
  32. 1 2 Red Robin #25 (September 2011)
  33. 1 2 Red Robin #24 (August 2011)
  34. Batman and Robin #12 (July 2010)
  35. Batman: Death and the Maidens #6 (March 2004)
  36. Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1 (June 2011)
  37. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
  38. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3
  39. Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4
  40. "The World's Finest". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
  41. "Lance Reddick On Dr0ne, Fringe & More –". G4tv.com. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  42. "Liam Neeson Actually WAS Offered the Role of Ra's Al Ghul for Arrow". Movie Pilot. October 11, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  43. Arrow Season 4 episode 13, Sins of the Father
  44. "EXCLUSIVE: Matt Nable's Ra's al Ghul Coming to DC's Legends of Tomorrow". Comicbook.com. December 18, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  45. "'Legends of Tomorrow' recap: Too little, two years too late". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  46. "The Dark Knight Rises: Liam Neeson spotted filming in London". Metro.co.uk. 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  47. Kit, Borys (2011-04-08). "'Social Network' Actor Lands Role in 'Dark Knight Rises' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  48. 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.
  49. Ryan, Mike (2012-07-22). 'The Dark Knight Rises': Batman Begins, Again. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  50. Warner, Kara (2012-07-28). 'Dark Knight Rises' Femme Fatales: An Appreciation. MTV. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  51. Wigler, Josh (2012-07-27). 'The Dark Knight Rises' Again: Tips For Your Second Viewing. MTV. Retrieved on 2013-06-08.
  52. Eisenberg, Eric (2011-11-04). "Be Part Of The Dark Knight Rises Score By Recording Yourself Chanting". Cinemablend. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  53. ""The Dark Knight Rises" Teaser Trailer Has Some Familiar Chanting; Great Fan Poster For The Batman Trilogy". Movieviral.com. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  54. "New Batman DVD to peek out from 'Under the Red Hood' – Hero Complex – Los Angeles Times". The Los Angeles Times.
  55. "Kate Jewell interviews Andrea Romano". Comics Continuum. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
  56. Sands, Rich (2014-01-20). "First Look: It's Father's Day for the Dark Knight in Son of Batman". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  57. 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.
  58. P. Kunitzsch & T. Smart, Short Guide to Modern Star Names and Their Derivations (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1986), p 49.
  59. Allen, R. H. (1963) [1899]. Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Reprint ed.). New York: Dover Publications Inc. p. 331. ISBN 0-486-21079-0.

External links

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