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Arkham Asylum

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Arkham Asylum is located on the outskirts of Gotham City, and is where those of Batman's foes considered to be legally insane are incarcerated (other foes are incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary). Although it has had numerous administrators, its current head is Jeremiah Arkham. The Asylum
Quote1 Arkham Asylum is not just any institution for the criminally insane. It's the Ivy League of insanity. A "Harvard" for Psychopaths. Anything not described on the new inventory is contraband. Do not bring these items inside, no matter how small or commonplace they may appear. Bits and pieces do not fall through the cracks here. They fall into the hands of the best, the brightest and the sickest. Quote2
--Jeremiah Arkhamsrc


Arkham Asylum is located on the outskirts of Gotham City, and is where those of Batman's foes considered to be legally insane are incarcerated (other foes are incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary). Although it has had numerous administrators, its current head is Jeremiah Arkham. The Asylum does not have a good record, at least with regard to the high profile cases; escapes are frequent (on at least one occasion, an obsessive-compulsive multiple murderer was signed out of Arkham into the care of an incontinent, alcoholic vagrant, on the grounds that he "looked like a responsible citizen"), and those who are 'cured' and released tend to re-offend. Furthermore, several staff members, including at least one director, have ended up as residents, notably Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Lyle Bolton and even the founder Dr. Amadeus Arkham and, in some incarnations, Doctors Jonathan Crane and Hugo Strange.

Originally known as Mercey Mansion, the hospital was run by Amadeus Arkham. Arkham himself was slowly driven insane shortly following the grisly murder of his wife and child by a lunatic named Martin "Mad Dog" Hawkins. Dying inside his own hospital, custodianship of Arkham Asylum was passed down to his nephew, Jeremiah. [1]

Jermiah Arkham took a hardline approach towards the care of his patients. He completely renovated the interior of the hospital, tearing away the old Victorian-style architecture, replacing it with newly designed interconnecting corridors patterned in the style of old classical labyrinths. With little regard for the hospital's dark history, Jeremiah was certain to destroy old remnants of the old asylum, including his uncle's private journal. [2] Arkham hired Hiram Contractors to handle the renovations. What Jeremiah didn't realize however was that the company foreman, Zolly Hiram, had been blackmailed by patient Victor Zsasz into building a secret corridor that connected to several padded rooms, including his own. This later enabled Zsasz to affect a temporary escape from the asylum. [3]

Arkham Asylum 006

Years ago, the original Arkham Asylum suffered massive structural damage when the criminal Bane orchestrated a large-scale break-out, setting dozens of patients free. [4] As a result, Jeremiah Arkham was forced to close its doors and relocate. He established a new Arkham Asylum at the site of the abandoned estate of Eric Mercey on Mercey Island.


Jeremiah Arkham installed the most state-of-the-art security measures when he took control of the asylum. Video recorders were installed in every room and a corridor with two guards stationed on every level twenty-four hours a day to discourage bribery. Even Arkham himself was required to present identification to access various levels of the hospital. All exterior windows at Arkham were installed with heat detectors and microwave motion detectors. Magnetic foils in the walls were used to block radio waves from penetrating locked cells. Although security protocols were highly efficient, they were not foolproof. Within weeks of the renovations both Mister Zsasz and Batman succeeded in breaking out of the asylum. Additionally, Batman's former partner, Nightwing even succeeded in breaking into Arkham. [5]

Batman R.I.P.

Main article: Batman R.I.P.

Batman broke into Arkham and attacked the Scarecrow, took him to Joker's cell and beat him to learn the location of Hush's secret hideout, much to Joker's delight.[6]

Later, Dr. Jeremiah noticed that the inmates were all singing about Batman's death.[7] Shortly after, Arkham Asylum was the chosen scenario by the Black Glove to eliminate Batman as part of their master plan. Guy Dax infiltrated the asylum by posing as a doctor[8] and after having Nightwing incarcerated and dosed with drugs,[9] he attacked Jeremiah Arkham and took control of the asylum. As part of the plan, Dax and his henchmen carried red and black roses into the building, they dragged Jezebel Jet inside[10] and he released Joker from his cell. Arkham was then the scenario for the final fight between Batman and Joker, as planned by the Black Glove. Jezebel was locked in one of the cells and after Batman broke her free, he fell into a trap and was paralyzed.[11]

The Black Glove buried Batman on the backyard of Arkham, but Batman managed to rise again and using a remote device he called the Bat-Radia, he activated a remote signal from the Batcomputer that shut all the exits of Arkham, locking all the members of the Black Glove inside.
Destruction of Arkham

Destruction of Arkham
While Joker escaped from Arkham before the lockdown, Batman confronted Jezebel Jet and chased Hurt to the rooftop of the building, where Hurt tried to escape on a helicopter. Batmam leapt to the vehicle and caused the pilot to lose control and crash on the river. Nightwing managed to escape from Dax and Scorpiana and retrieved Batman's cape and cowl from the rooftop of Arkham.[12]

Arkham's Madness

After the Black Glove's failed attempt to destroy Batman, all the inmates from Arkham Asylum were transferred to Blackgate until Arkham was completely decontaminated. On their way back to Arkham, the vehicles that transported the inmates were assaulted by a new Black Mask, who freed the inmates and destroyed the asylum in front of all of them.[13]


Although nobody actually lives in Arkham permanently, being an asylum, it has an infamous list of frequent residents. It's most notorious inmates throughout the years include:


  • The first appearance of Arkham Asylum is often mis-credited as Batman #326. This was actually the first issue where it was referred to as Arkham Asylum. In previous appearances, it was known as Arkham Hospital.
  • According to Bob Rozakis:
Actually, Dennis O'Neil introduced the asylum in 1974's BATMAN #258, which established the Joker and Two-Face as residents. Here and in #260, it was referred to as Arkham Hospital, "a polite name for an asylum which houses the criminally insane." These early stories also placed the building in Arkham, New England, not Gotham City.[18]
  • There are many early references to an unnamed insane asylum or mental hospital in Gotham City during Batman's early years. Most notably on the stories from Batman #1, Batman #74 and Batman #84.


  • The name comes from the imaginary city of Arkham, Massachussettes in the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

Recommended Reading

See Also

Links and References

Arkham Asylum
Stories Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth | Batman: The Last Arkham | Arkham Asylum: Living Hell | The Joker's Asylum | Arkham Reborn | Arkham Asylum (video game)
Asylum Inmates The Joker | Two-Face | The Riddler | The Mad Hatter | The Ventriloquist | Scarecrow | Harley Quinn | Poison Ivy | Killer Croc | Zsasz
Other Comics Underworld Unleashed: Devil's Asylum #1 | Showcase '94 | Batman: Mad Love | The Batman of Arkham | Arkham Asylum: Tales of Madness
Other Characters Batman | The Batman Family | Amadeus Arkham | Jeremiah Arkham | The GCPD | Aaron Cash | Alyce Sinner
See Also Arkham Asylum Images | Arkham Asylum Appearances | Gotham City | Batman Villains
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