Warning: SPOILERS for Batman: Arkham Knight
Those DC fans who played their way through the Batman: Arkham video game trilogy don't need to be told why the Arkham Knight became a memorable villain. Introduced as a twisted, lethal reflection of Batman--with all of his training, tactics, and even knowledge of his personal life--the masked madman soon took over the game's marketing. The new comic book Arkham Knight makes just as effective an impact... except this time, fans don't know who's really behind the mask.
The new Arkham Knight's arrival is just one more momentous event contained within Detective Comics #1000, a historic issue containing multiple short stories from some of the industry's top talent. After fans flip their way through throwback tales, moody thought pieces, and even the true origin of Batman's chest symbol, they end the adventure with a heck of a cliffhanger. It's writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Dough Mahnke who drop the bombshell ending, debuting the new Arkham Knight stalking Batman from afar...
Even though there is only the above splash page to introduce the Arkham Knight, the differences jump out immediately. Where the video game version of the villain fit the larger Arkham brand, the "knight" moniker was clearly an inversion of Bruce Wayne's nickname. But in this case, the approaching villain appears to be taking the title of "knight" in a more literal sense, outfitted with hulking armor and even a massive sword. Not to mention a righteous mission of justice (and a serious hate on for the Batman currently patrolling Gotham City's streets).
While the first conclusion arrived at by fans of the game is that this Arkham Knight is Jason Todd, as it was in the video game, that's not so in the comics. The video game half-concealed Jason's tragic journey from Robin to Red Hood by substituting the Arkham Knight identity (and keeping much of the other origin details intact). But DC has gotten ahead of that speculation, and assured fans that this new incarnation has a story all his own. And judging by the official synopsis for Detective Comics #1001--where this "Medieval" story arc officially begins--Batman is going to be just as thrown by this incarnation of his opposing Knight:
After 1,000 issues, you’d think Batman could finally have a break…but no: as a new era dawns, he’s facing the most dangerous threat of his career! The Arkham Knight has arrived in Gotham City with an entire round table of deadly allies, and their first encounter will leave Batman shaken to his core!
This story and many more can be found in Detective Comics #1000 at your local comic book shop, or directly from DC Comics.