- "We have hospitals that treat the mentally ill with compassion. But that's not where you're going. I arranged for you to get transferred to Arkham Asylum in Gotham. I still have some friends there. They're expecting you."
- ―Batman to Lex Luthor[src]
The Arkham Home for the Emotionally Troubled, formerly known as the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane or Arkham Asylum, is a Victorian-style psychiatric hospital and sanatorium located within the suburban community of Somerset on the outskirts of Gotham City. It was founded by Amadeus Arkham, who transformed Arkham from a family estate to a treatment center for the mentally ill.
It is dedicated to rehabilitating those considered too dangerous for normal prisons such as Blackgate Penitentiary.
The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane took shape under the vision of Amadeus Arkham, who transformed his family's estate into a treatment center for the mentally ill, before ultimately descending into madness himself.
- "Talk about a workplace romance gone wrong."
- ―Amanda Waller, while discussing the Task Force X pitch[src]
At some point after being captured by Batman, the Joker was imprisoned in Arkham, where he would eventually become the patient of the then Doctor Harleen Quinzel. The psychopath would successfully manipulate her into supposedly falling in love with him and then had her give him a machine gun, thereby allowing Joker to start a riot.
Around the same time, his gang overran the asylum, killing the guards and setting himself free, leaving the facility in disarray. Arkham was later restored from the damage caused by Joker's riot sometime before 2016.
The asylum is known to attract both history buffs and architectural connoisseurs. Visiting even the gates of Arkham is officially discouraged by the city, but many tourists are still known to take pictures of the Asylum's exterior from time to time.
Doctor Aesop's escape and recapture
In 2013, the inmate Babrius Aesop took advantage of a power outage to initiate an escape. Using his knowledge of electronics he managed to pry open his cell as well as fellow inmate Jackalope's, and put on the uniform of one of the Asylum's attending doctors. When confronted by the Asylum's guards, Aesop convinced Jackalope to distract the guards and intentionally sacrifed him to aid in his escape.
After his escape, the news of his departure was intentionally covered up presumably by members of the Asylum staff. Despite their attempts, the news of the escape and coverup was covered by at least one blogger. The news was overheard by Clark Kent who immediately started investigating Aesop.
Sometime later, Batman started investigating Aesop's involvement with his nephew which led Batman back to Arkham where he discovered the apparent deceit being carried out by the Asylum staff. There, he questioned Jackalope who provided him with the necessary info to track Aesop down. The separate efforts of Batman and Superman eventually ensured that Aesop was apprehended by Batman while Superman rescued Aesop's apparent victims. Batman quickly returned Aesop to Arkham Asylum's care, forcing Aesop to contend with Jackalope's 'companionship' once more.
Lex Luthor's imprisonment
After Lex Luthor was found guilty of committing mass murder (in both Nairomi and Washington, D.C.) as well as the framing and death of Superman, he was found to be mentally unfit to stand trial for his unspeakable crimes and was sent to Belle Reve to await his final sentence.
Batman, furious that Lex had manipulated him into almost killing Superman (and had still gotten Superman killed despite that), and also wanting to keep a close eye on the criminal mastermind, took the law into his own hands and had him transferred to Arkham Asylum where he could make sure that Luthor wouldn't cause any more trouble.
After he spent a year imprisoned in Arkham, Lex learned of the Justice League's formation and the resurrection of Superman and hence decided that it was finally time to enact his breakout plan. After successfully doing so without anyone noticing, Lex met up with Deathstroke and revealed to the assassin the true identity of Batman.
Arkham along with Belle Reve became the designated point for holding suspects who were related to superhero crimes. At some point Arkham was considered to be too overcrowded to accommodate the suspect Auggie Smith.
- Nelson - member of Arkham Security
- Stewart - member of Arkham Security
- Kim - member of Arkham Security
- Carl - member of Arkham Security
Originally, Arkham Asylum was used only to house genuinely mentally ill patients, having no connection to Batman or his allies, but in more recent years, it has become infamous for holding the majority of the Dark Knight's adversaries, with almost every one of them ending up within Arkham at least once.
- Babrius Aesop – A Gotham City-based criminal who used the moral lessons found in Aeosop's Fables as his MO.
- Joker – An immensely formidable criminal psychopath, top crime boss of Gotham City's criminal underworld, imprisoned by Batman for committing numerous crimes, later released in a breakout organized by Joker's Gang.
- Harley Quinn – Once a psychiatrist at the Asylum, Doctor Harleen Quinzel would later become a patient at the institution herself, imprisoned by Batman for her numerous crimes, later transferred to Belle Reve.
- Killer Croc – Formidable villainous metahuman, imprisoned for his many crimes in Gotham City, most notably cannibalism. He was transferred to Belle Reve.
- Lex Luthor – An immensely formidable supergenius psychopath, formerly imprisoned for committing unspeakable crimes against peace and humanity, orchestrating the Nairomi massacre and the US Capitol bombing (killing numerous people in both instances), as well as unleashing Doomsday, a monster that killed Superman and nearly brought about a global apocalypse. Lex was transferred to Arkham from Belle Reve supermax through the influence of Batman, since Lex had been declared insane and therefore unfit for trial. Following Steppenwolf's defeat by the Justice League, Lex managed to break out of Arkham to meet up with Deathstroke.
- Slipknot – Although never explicitly confirmed, the professional criminal and lethal assassin was rumored to have been treated within the Asylum at some point.
- As of 2015, Arkham Asylum's phone number was 1-465 555 0111 and their website was www.arkhamasylum.got.
Behind the scenes
- Time Out Shortlist Gotham and Metropolis originally described Arkham Asylum as a "feature of Gotham since the early 1900s", but this has seemingly been contradicted by Zack Snyder's Justice League, which dates Arkham as having been built in 1974.
- Terrio, Chris, Beall, Will (writers) & Snyder, Zack (writer and director) (March 18, 2021). Zack Snyder's Justice League.
- Wallace, Daniel (February 16, 2016). Time Out Shortlist Gotham and Metropolis (Gotham City). United States: Time Out Group. p. 33.
- Ayer, David (writer and director) (August 5, 2016). Suicide Squad.
- Kogge, Michael (February 16, 2016). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Cross Fire. United States: Scholastic.
- Goyer, David S., Terrio, Chris (writers) & Snyder, Zack (director) (March 25, 2016). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Rounding up the Easter Eggs in Zack Snyder's Justice League - DC Comics
- Peacemaker: 1.02: Best Friends, For Never