|Ra's al Ghul|
|Alias(es):||"The Demon's Head"|
|Affiliation:||Society of Shadows|
|Portrayed by:||David Warner|
|First appearance:||Off Balance|
|Appears in:||5 Episodes|
|Ra's al Ghul Gallery|
Ra's al Ghul (meaning "The Demon's Head" in Arabic) 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.
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 rejuvenate 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 purifying the world by ridding it of many technologies known and exploited 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 Arkady 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 thwarted 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.
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 succeeded, 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.
Ra's later kidnapped Robin in order to lure Batman into a set up, carefully organized by him and the Society of Shadows. The ultimate purpose of this was to test Batman's abilities in order to determine his worthiness as his successor. When Batman eventually located Robin, he had deduced the truth about Ra's involvement in the affair, but he was shocked to learn the reason behind it all. Ra's offered Batman the chance of taking his empire and also to marry Talia, who had fallen in love with him. When Batman refused, Ra's' health declined and he was taken to the Lazarus Pit, where he recovered his strentgh and youth, but he also left Batman to die.
Batman survived, but Ra's had already moved to his base in the desert to set his ultimate plan in motion. Over the years, Ra's had placed explosives in the Lazarus Pits around the world and now, thanks to a satellite he can detonate them all at the same time, creating a destructive wave that would return Earth to it's original natural form. Unfortunately for him, Batman learned everything and infiltrated in his base to stop Ra's. Although Ra's had things under control, Talia's assistance allowed Batman to stop Ra's and destroy everything. During Ra's clash with Batman, he lost control of his actions and almost fell to a certain death. Realizing how he was defeated, Ra's chose to sacrifice himself, and although he was seemingly killed, he did survive.
Ra's eventually resurfaced in Gotham, where Batman tried to stop him from stealing the Scroll of Osiris from the Gotham Museum. Nonetheless, Ra's succeeded and headed to Cairo, where he expected to locate the second half of the scroll that would grant him power over life and death. Although Batman had joined forces with Talia in order to stop him, Ra's still found the scrolls, but they were so aged that they crumbled in Ra's hands. However, Ra's found a secret passageway under the ancient tomb of Thoth Khepera. Ra's was lured inside until he reached a green pool from which Thoth Kephera emerged and lured Ra's with her hypnotic powers in order to drain his life force.
Batman and Talia arrived and stopped Thoth from killing Ra's. In the escape, Batman dropped a statue on top of Thoth Khepera, causing the entire tomb to crumble apart. Ra's recovered his strength, but was taken prisoner by Batman.
On their way to the authorities, Talia turned against Batman and released Ra's, who escaped once again.
Later, after decades of searching, Ra's located his son Arkady in a Gotham rest home. 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, Ra's tells Batman they will have many chances to fight but begs for him to let Ra's take his dying son with him. Sympathetic, Batman lets Ra's go so that he can be there for his son's last hours.
- Ra's al Ghul was created by Julius Schwartz, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams; first appearing in Batman #232 (1971).