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- Man needs no divine assistance. He makes himself! I chose to exterminate the zombies. I chose to kill. But I hurt myself, too -- to remind me that even I am only human!
- — Mister Zsasz src
Victor Zsasz, usually known as Mister Zsasz, is a psychopathic serial killer who carves his flesh with tally marks after each kill.
Victor Zsasz was born into a wealthy family. By young adulthood, Victor became the head of his own international company and had amassed a large personal fortune of his own.
When he was 25, Zsasz's parents died in a boating accident, sending him into a deep depression. He turned to gambling, losing money in competitions around the world. One night, he ended up in a Gotham City casino, where he gambled the rest of his fortune. In his final game, Zsasz lost the rest of his money to the Penguin; Zsasz was officially penniless.
Zsasz saw that his life was empty, driven by desire, and that there was no point to his existence. He decided he would kill himself by jumping from Gotham Bridge. However, before he could jump, a homeless man tried to rob Zsasz at knifepoint. Reactively grabbing the knife, Zsasz gained a new outlook on life as he saw the terror and hopeless in the homeless man's eyes. Zsasz then proceeded to stab the man to death as a "gift" for saving his life. From then on, he dedicated himself to "liberating" others from their pointless existence. Wanting to keep track of all the people he planned to "help", Zsasz used the knife to carve a tally mark into his arm - the first of many to come.
Zsasz became a serial killer, referring to his victims as "zombies". Though he sometimes killed indiscriminately, many of his victims tended to be young women. His modus operandi was to slit the throats of his victims and leave them in lifelike poses for the authorities to find, all the while adding to his set of tally mark scars across his body for every murder.
The Last Arkham
Because of his crimes, Zsasz caught the attention of Gotham's protector Batman. Zsasz was captured and sent to Arkham Asylum for rehabilitation.
Despite his imprisonment, Zsasz had bribed a contractor, Zolly Hiram, to include a secret passage leading out from his cell, during Arkham Asylum's reconstruction under its new head, Jeremiah Arkham, who inherited the asylum from his uncle, Amadeus Arkham. Although Zsasz was restrained during the daytime when he was being treated personally by Jeremiah Arkham, he was brought back to his cell at night, from where he would leave the asylum through the secret passage, unbeknownst to the night guards. After murders fitting his modus operandi begin surfacing, Batman and Commissioner James Gordon faked Batman's insanity in order to get him inside the asylum and investigate Zsasz. Jeremiah Arkham was exceptionally brutal towards Batman, who had supposedly murdered a police officer; over the course of the "treatment", Zsasz had warped Jeremiah's mind and turned him into a mere henchman. Due to his continuous conversations with Jeremiah, Zsasz realized that Batman was a plant, and subsequently murdered both the contractor and another inmate at Arkham who knew of Zsasz's ploy. However, both Nightwing and Batman caught up to Zsasz when he tried to escape for the final time and put him back in Arkham.
After being released from Arkham Asylum, along with many other inmates, Zsasz took an all-girls boarding school hostage and held the students at knifepoint, killing two police officers who were sent to arrest him. Batman finally arrived, though weakened both physically and mentally, he fought with Zsasz and tried to ignore the lunatic's mockery until he snapped, severely beating him until stopped by Renee Montoya, who was also being kept hostage by Zsasz. Zsasz was then led out of the boarding school by police and Harvey Bullock, personally threatening him.
No Man's Land
Zsasz was a patient in Dr. Leslie Thompkins´ field hospital for a brief while, proving to be eminently deadly even when unconscious and strapped to a stretcher, when he managed to open one of the arteries of a field orderly with his fingernails. Once he woke up, he was confronted by Dr. Thompkins, whose utter selfless charity sharply contrasted with his total emptiness; she briefly gave him pause but was finally repelled by his profound evil.
Zsasz started a killing spree in Gotham around the time when Stephanie Brown was Robin. Batman and Robin investigated the murders and Zsasz took Robin as his next victim. With their combined efforts, Batman and Robin were able to subdue Zsasz and deliver him to the authorities.
Before a quarterly psychiatric review, Zsasz killed his guards with metal poles attached to his neck bracket and escaped to kill again. Batman hunted for Zsasz, which proved unsuccessful until Zsasz gained access to a charity event (attended by Bruce Wayne) and stabbed his beloved butler, Alfred Pennyworth, in the stomach. However, Wayne saved Alfred's life by driving him to a hospital. To lure Zsasz to him, Wayne held a press conference in which he announced that Alfred was still alive. Having already made a scar for Alfred, Zsasz realized that his tally was off by one (Zsasz remarks: "My skin... it's crawling... every inch of it feels... wrong.") and was determined to finish off his kill. Zsasz then proceeded to the hospital to finish off Alfred. However, Batman caught him off-guard and knocked him unconscious, thus saving Alfred's life and sending Zsasz back to Arkham.
Zsasz made a brief appearance in Infinite Crisis #7. He was part of the Secret Society of Super Villains and was one of their many members sent to attack the city of Metropolis. The Society lost.
Zsasz has later seen again the Gotham Underground story arc, where he appeared in a disguised Batman's cell at Blackgate Prison and attempted to kill him with a knife. He ended up cutting Batman's arm just as he was waking up and the resulting fight ended with Zsasz being knocked unconscious, and Batman being rushed to the hospital.
After the Black Glove's failed attempt to destroy Batman, all the inmates from Arkham Asylum were transferred to Blackgate until Arkham was completely decontaminated. On their way back to Arkham, the vehicles that transported the inmates were assaulted by a new Black Mask, who freed the inmates, blew the asylum in front of all of them and forced them to join his army. Zsasz was among the inmates who joined Black Mask's group and under his instruction, he attacked one of Two-Face's shipments of weapons. Then, Zsasz teamed up with Jane Doe, killed a police officer and removed the skin from his face, all part of Black Mask's plan.
This section of the history takes place during Convergence, a massive crossover event revisiting characters from past eras and realities. The villains Brainiac and Telos plucked them from their own timeline and stored them together, causing them to cross over into each others' reality. Its precise chronological placement and canonicity may be unclear.
He and other villains led by Simon Hurt attack Earth-2 Batman and Dick Grayson. He stabs Batman and is killed when Batman blows himself up.
Powers and Abilities
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Zsasz was able to dislocate Batman's arm in a fight and almost killed him.
- Business Management
- Knife Proficiency: Zsasz is highly skilled in using knives, both for torture and in combat and carries many on him for such a purpose.
- Throwing: He is also skilled at throwing knives and other bladed weapons.
- Pain Tolerance: Zsasz possesses an extremely high tolerance for pain and discomfort and thinks nothing of hurting himself.
- Genius Level Intellect: Zsasz is highly intelligent and has proven himself to be an extremely adept planner who is skilled at thinking on his feet and who is also well read on a variety of subjects, particularly philosophy.
- Peak Human Condition: Zsasz is in excellent shape due to rigorous training and possesses a very high level of strength, agility and flexibility that allow him to face Batman on even ground.
- Mental Illness: Victor Zsasz is psychotically unstable, believing he is freeing people from the hopelessness of life by murdering them.
- Gambling Addiction: Mister Zsasz felt life was hopeless after he gambled away his entire fortune.
- Knives: Zsasz's favorite weapons are knives since he can kill his victims with them and then mark himself by cutting his skin.
- 70 Appearances of Victor Zsasz (New Earth)
- 35 Images featuring Victor Zsasz (New Earth)
- 4 Quotations by or about Victor Zsasz (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Victor Zsasz (New Earth)
Secret Society of Super-Villains member