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|As a result of the New 52 in 2011, the entire line of DC characters was relaunched, incorporating properties belonging to the company's imprints: Wildstorm, Milestone, and Vertigo. As such, elements of this character's history have been altered in some way from the previous incarnation. For a complete list of all versions of this character, see our disambiguation page.|
Confronted by Batman
After each of his sermons, Blackfire would select members of his audience to be chained below his ministry. He had captured the Batman and kept him drugged and sleep-deprived for days in his basement, forcing him to drink drugged water in the hope of converting him to his cult. However, this attempt did not work. Leading his followers into Batman's prison, Blackfire preached that the vigilante craved the existence of Gotham's criminal element, wishing to see the city crippled by it only so he could save it. When he challenged his followers to show how wrong Batman's beliefs were by beating him to death, Batman challenged Blackfire to face him alone first. After Batman revealed to the vagrants and other downtrodden that they had been manipulated into joining Blackfire's cause through torture, drugging, and other manipulations, the men turned on Blackfire, challenging him to show them his righteous power. Batman freed himself of his chains, taunting Blackfire until it was clear to all that he was just a cowardly fraud. Soon, the former followers began beating Blackfire instead, eventually killing him and sending his soul to Hell.
After three years, Blackfire had amassed enough power, with the help of an outside source, to begin corrupting the inhabitants of Arkham Asylum, speaking in their minds. Doctor Phosphorus in particular shouted the name "Blackfire" when the spirit of the deacon prompted him to do so, revealing the identity of his tormentor to doctors at the asylum.
Over time, he created occult nexus points that allowed for him to create undead and summon demons to the mortal world, creating a new cult of not the people of Gotham, but of their worst villains who were still within the asylum, with Joker's Daughter as his apparent right-hand-woman, even using Scarecrow as a source for an "aetheric pylon", a pillar of blood flowing upwards due to dark magic. His work attracted the attention of the Spectre and its host, Detective Jim Corrigan.
Having captured Corrigan, Blackfire intended to make him into another aetheric pylon. He raved incessantly, revealing to Corrigan that his reason was dwindling on account of having underestimated the strain of using this powerful magic. Despite the detective's warnings against using powerful magic without having total control over it, Blackfire's magic began to drag the Spectre out of Jim's body. Unfortunately, this amount of power is far too much, and the Spectre's green light built up around Jim's body, exploding outward and destroying Arkham Asylum itself, causing it to collapse inward. Despite Blackfire's attempts to use the Spectre to resurrect himself in full, God's vengeance erupted from Corrigan's body in full form, effortlessly removing Blackfire from Zeus' body, crushing his ghost in his fist, sealing the breach to Hell the deacon had created, and containing the demons he had unleashed, ending his threat to the world before returning to his host's body.
Second Attempt at Rebirth
Years after his apparent destruction at the hands of Jim Corrigan, Blackfire's spirit again re-surfaced. This time, his spirit can only be sustained on Earth through the faith of his worshipers, so he re-assembles his cult from Gotham's homeless population. He sends them to kidnap his descendant, an innocent boy named Joshua, because he believes that he can only be resurrected by possessing a blood relative. However, before the possession ritual can be completed, Batman tracks Joshua to where the cult is holding him in the sewers. He confronts the cultists and rescues the boy, causing the cult to become disillusioned with their belief in Blackfire. This results in his spirit dissipating back to Hell.
- Cowardice: Blackfire is far more likely to have someone else fight his battles than to do so himself.
- Mental Illness: Blackfire becomes increasingly unstable the more magic he calls upon, as he does not have complete control over the spells he uses.
- Deacon Joseph Blackfire was created by Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, first appearing in Batman: The Cult #1. However, in the Prime Earth continuity, Deacon Joseph Blackfire first appeared as part of the New 52 DC Universe in Batman Eternal #2 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Jason Fabok.
- While it is presumed that Joseph Blackfire's spirit returned to Earth through supernatural means in Batman Eternal and Detective Comics, Batman has speculated that it could be an elaborate hoax perpetrated by his cultist or that Blackfire could actually be a metahuman.
- 8 Appearances of Joseph Blackfire (Prime Earth)
- 1 Images featuring Joseph Blackfire (Prime Earth)
- 2 Quotations by or about Joseph Blackfire (Prime Earth)
- Character Gallery: Joseph Blackfire (Prime Earth)