Professor Hugo Strange is evidently a protege of Ra's al Ghul, and believed in destroying all of society in order to build anew.
At some point in his professional career, he found the work of Jervis Tetch, a brilliant neuroscientist who suffered from the unfortunate belief that he was the Mad Hatter of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Tetch theorized that every aspect of human behavior--even emotions and loyalties--could be altered or controlled with chemicals, meaning that what society thinks of as 'free will' does not actually exist. His papers set forth a formula which should provide the base of this chemical brain-washing. Strange experimented with the formula, and found that Dr. Tetch's surmises had been correct.
Strange began a shadowy campaign, with backing from Ra's al Ghul. Arkham Asylum Warden Quincy Sharp was treated to obey Strange, and began taking his orders from him. The Titan debacle, where Joker briefly assumed control of the Asylum, was spun into a successful mayoral campaign for Sharp, with backing from Strange and, through him, Ra's al Ghul. The six-hundred-year-old assassin-king demonstrated the power of long-term investing by funding Sharp's campaign, and then the multi-billion dollar construction of Arkham City, which occurred despite widespread doubts and opposition to the project. Many eyebrows were raised over Strange's sudden promotion, from obscurity to chief psychiatrist and head of Arkham City.
Once most of the super-criminals had been put into Arkham City, Strange was content to sit back and watch the gang wars erupt--with the main powers being Two-Face, Joker, and Penguin. In the meantime, Strange had political enemies to the project, as well as many of the contractors involved in the construction of sensitive areas, imprisoned. He also built up the Tyger security force, a private security concern which had been treated to be completely loyal to Strange. Meanwhile, Strange made deals with the Penguin, Deadshot, Jervis Tetch, and others to further certain goals.
His base of power established, Strange began to tie up loose ends--ordering the deaths of certain key prisoners and some other details--as he began to plan the next stage, opening similar 'Cities' in such places as Metropolis and Keystone. It becomes apparent the penultimate goal of the Arkham City project is to use a concerted helicopter attack to murder every inmate.
When Bruce Wayne publicly spoke out against Arkham City, a Tyger security force was dispatched to capture him and a handful of other targets. While inducting Bruce Wayne into the facility, he revealed that he knew Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman and threatened to reveal this to the public if Wayne made trouble.
Of course, Bruce Wayne went on to make mountains of trouble as Batman, and battle the local gangs, their bosses, some lone super-criminals, and Strange's own security forces. In the end, he confronted Strange, who was betrayed and literally stabbed in the back by Ra's himself, who deemed Strange ineffective. As he died, Strange initiated his final failsafe--a self-destruct of the command center at the top of the Wonder Tower, which would kill him and everyone else in the room.
Nonetheless, Batman escaped through the window right before the explosion, as did, technically, Ra's al Ghul. Ra's, however, landed on his sword. Batman, injured, sick, and weary, nonetheless had one final battle after this--the Joker.
During his time as head of Arkham City, Strange conducted several interviews with some of the prominent inmates. For most of them, he psychologically manipulates them, or attacks those points which would most unsettle them, while subtly checking to see if they knew Batman or Bruce Wayne's identity or had any information which could lead to their realization. Freeze was accused of not caring about his wife, Two-Face's coin was taken from him--and then he was shown several coins made to look identical to it, further unsettling him and challenging his black-and-white worldview. The Penguin was essentially manipulated by his own Napoleon complex.
The Riddler initially got at Strange, rather than the other way around, by revealing his knowledge of Strange's own guilty secrets, but Strange defeated the Riddler in a case of poetic justice, by revealing that he knew Batman's true identity by simply doing a psychological profile of the kind of man most likely to be Batman and checking the obvious candidates. When the Riddler begged for Strange to tell him, Strange declined, stating that if he could figure it out, surely it would be a simple matter for the supreme intellect of the Riddler--leaving the Riddler speechless and hoist by his own petard.
Of all the inmates, the only one who really holds his own with Strange is the Joker. Strange asks the Joker to tell his past, in exchange for certain favors and medical help. Joker tells the story of his past as shown in the Killing Joke graphic novel--that the traumatic events of a single day (his beloved pregnant wife--who he was astonished could ever love such a schlub as himself--was dead, he was going to be laid off at the only job he'd ever gotten, and mobsters were going to kill him unless he help them break into his workplace) culminated with him falling into a vat of chemicals after a confrontation with Batman, to come altered forever and hungering for revenge. When the story concludes, Strange says that he doesn't believe it--that Joker has given more than a dozen accounts of his past and how he became the Joker, and each one has no detail in common, except for Batman's involvement one way or another. Joker, however, strongly implies he is in a position to greatly inconvenience Strange with a few public statements, and suggests they respect each other's privacy. Strange acquiesces.
- Psychiatry: Trained to physical perfection, brilliant psychological analyst, extensive knowledge of psychoactive substances.
- Mental Illness: Plagued by schizophrenic episodes
- 15 Appearances of Hugo Strange (Arkhamverse)
- 7 Images featuring Hugo Strange (Arkhamverse)
- 3 Quotations by or about Hugo Strange (Arkhamverse)
- Character Gallery: Hugo Strange (Arkhamverse)
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