16 February 2008

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter, inspired by the dude from Alice in Wonderland, debuted in 1948. He has appeared on the live-action TV series, and in Batman: The Animated Series.

Jervis Tetch is fascinated with hats of all shapes and sizes, as well as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass, particularly favoring the chapter 'A Mad Tea Party'. He is obsessive-compulsive, highly delusional, suffers from psychotic manic depression, and can even sometimes be homicidal. He exhibits delusions and thought processes typical of schizophrenia. Not only is he often known to quote and reference Carroll's Wonderland novels, but he often fails to discern between these stories and reality. As shown in Secret Six, he won't eat a piece of food that doesn't have a hat on it. It has been hinted in recent years that he is a pedophile, kidnapping little girls with the name "Alice".

In his first appearance, the Mad Hatter attempted to steal a trophy from the Gotham Yacht Club, but was foiled by Batman while he tried to rob spectators from a high society horseshow. Tetch was subsequently sent to Arkham Asylum.

Later a different, moustached Mad Hatter appeared, claiming to be Jervis Tetch, but he was revealed as an impostor and subsequently disposed of once the real Tetch re-appeared.

The real Jervis Tetch came back in 1981. Tetch had with him a pet monkey (named Carroll Lewis, although the Hatter claimed the monkey refuses to tell him how it came to have the name), as well as a mind-erasing machine. Tetch claimed to have killed his impostor, but that turned out to be untrue when the impostor returned one last time in 1987.

It was in 1983's that Tetch was first portrayed with the mind-controlling devices for which he is now best known. He even slipped one into Scarecrow's hat and took control of him for a short time. Tetch seemed to have died under the wheels of a train, but that turned out to have been another trick.

In the Knightfall saga, the Mad Hatter was the first to strike from the breakout of Arkham. He invited all criminals to a tea party to which Batman and Robin would come. One of the criminals was Film Freak, whom he sends to find the person who broke them out of Arkham. Batman and Robin come and defeat the Mad Hatter as Film Freak is killed by Bane.

Tetch had even kidnapped Lucius Fox of Wayne Enterprises and held him for ransom. Once again, Tetch was stopped by Batman, but not before using his advanced equipment to feed information from Fox's mind into his computer.

Tetch at one point became so obsessed with Alice in Wonderland that he began kidnapping assorted people in Gotham and dressing them up like characters from the story. He managed to kidnap Lt. Gordon's adopted daughter, Barbara Gordon, and cast her in the title role. The combined efforts of Batman and Gordon led to Tetch's defeat and Barbara's safe return.

In another caper, Tetch devised a plan to implant his mind control devices in Walkmen, which he gave out to young girls at Dick Grayson's school in order to sell the young girls to millionaire third-world dictator Generalissimo Lee. The young Robin managed to defeat the Mad Hatter.

One of Tetch's latest plans consisted of implanting his devices in "free coffee and donuts" tickets he handed out in front of the police stations in Gotham. That plan had him controlling most of the cops in the city. He even had Gotham police detectives Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya break into a bank for him. Sasha Bordeaux helped Batman stop him this time around.

Tetch shows up in Gotham after it is rocked by a devastating earthquake. He adds to his body count, callously murdering a policeman. His goal is to unearth a trove of valuables, which in the end turn out to be classic hats.

More recently, Tetch tried to escape Arkham Asylum with the aid of a guard under mind control. The guard fired on police and died in return fire. Tetch was shot multiple times and left in critical condition. It was thought he might have died, but a small appearance later revealed he was working for Black Mask and proved otherwise.

While working with Black Mask, Tetch implanted a mind control chip directly into Killer Croc's brain, which caused him to mutate again due to the virus he was injected with by Hush and The Riddler. Croc embarked on a quest to get revenge on those responsible for his mutation, and started with Tetch. Batman arrived in time to save Tetch, but Croc escaped.

The Dark Knight returns in 153 days!

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