Comics Reviews

DC Just Killed a Classic Batman Villain


One of Batman’s most enduring villains just suffered a brutal fate that might have given them their ultimate victory.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “Bound to Our Will” from Batman: Urban Legends #11, now on sale

Batman’s rogue’s gallery has always had a darker edge. But one of Batman’s oldest enemies might have just taken things to an entirely new (and horrifying) level.

“The Trap” by (Mark Russell, Karl Mostert, Trish Mulvihill, and Steve Wands) sees Hugo Strange seemingly kill himself as a part of the latest — and seemingly last — attempt to defeat Batman. Despite the brutality of the act, it’s an ingenious ending for one of Batman’s first comic book foes.

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Hugo Strange wearing his own Batman costume

“The Trap” focuses on Batman and Ace the Bat-Hound going on a mission in the modern-day. Arriving at the old Romanov Hotel, Batman prepares to confront whichever criminal is behind the scheme. Working his way up the building, the Dark Knight reaches an office and confronts Hugo Strange. Strange quickly reveals that’s wearing a vest containing multiple explosives. Batman at first believes that Hugo would never have the nerve to permanently end their long rivalry. That makes sense, considering Strange’s commitment to leaving a legacy that rivals the Dark Knight’s own. But Strange reveals that he’d recently discovered he had Stage IV Cancer. And suddenly, with his own mortality in doubt, he’s decided to go out on his own terms and finally beat Batman at the same time.


With that, Strange activates the bomb — seemingly killing himself in brutal fashion. It’s a particularly gruesome ending for the character. On top of removing himself from the board entirely though, it also seemingly seriously wounds Batman. This allows Strange’s henchman to capture him — setting up Batman to be killed and his identity revealed. Hugo Strange has long been defined by his obsession with defeating Batman and usurping his legacy. But his latest victory is a vicious one. The canon status of the story might be slightly up in the air — as Batman: Urban Legends has at times flaunted and then embraced the current canon.


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Hugo Strange debuted in Detective Comics #36 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Pre-dating even the likes of the Joker and Catwoman, Strange is one of Batman’s oldest foes. A scientist and mastermind who is obsessed with the Dark Knight, Hugo Strange has made recent appearances in the pages of Harley Quinn. Despite his nominal lack of powers, Strange has remained a consistent cerebral threat to Batman.

Strange’s cancer diagnosis makes this last stand possible and makes sense given the character’s motivations over the years. If his plan succeeds, then his legacy will be as the man who broke the symbol of the Batman. If it occurred as such, it would be a true triumph for the villain, albeit a pyrrhic one he’d never enjoy. That is assuming of course the explosive act was real, and that Strange hasn’t found a way to merely fake the attack. But as it stands, it appears Hugo Strange — a character introduced in 1940 with a genuine legacy behind him — might have finally died in the most spectacularly explosive way possible.


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