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Organization Template Organization Template
League of Assassins

Detective Comics 405.jpg
Official Name
The League of Assassins
Organization Aliases
The League of Shadows, The Society of Assassins, The Society of Shadows


Organization Identity


Base Of Operations

Organization Leader(s)

The Batman Family, Deadman, Industrial Civilization




Doctor Ebeneezer Darrk

The League of Assassins was founded by Ra's al Ghul (exactly when is unknown) to be "the fang that protects the head".[1] Members of the League demonstrated willingness to die at a word from Ra's. They have included some of the most dangerous assassins in the world including Lady Shiva, David Cain, and master archer Merlyn. For much of its current history, any member to fail in an assassination was in turn targeted by the League (and indeed, one of its most well known members, the master-archer Merlyn was eventually forced to flee from the League, fearing for his life, having failed to assassinate Batman). In more recent years, this policy has apparently relaxed somewhat.

Ebeneezer Darrk, aka Doctor Darrk, was the first known individual assigned to head the League of Assassins by Ra's al Ghul. Darrk himself was seconded by The Sensei, a martial arts master from Hong Kong. Although many of the League's leaders over the years have been accomplished martial artists, Darrk himself did not depend on physical prowess. As an assassin, he instead relied upon careful planning, manipulation, ambushes and death traps, as well as a variety of cleverly concealed weapons and poisons. Although the League apparently had an inner circle of elite fighters as well as a large number of warriors trained in the martial arts, The League during Darrk's tenure as leader reflected his personal methodology. Following a "falling out" with Ra's (the exact details of which were never made clear), Darrk kidnapped Ra's daughter, Talia al Ghul. Batman became involved in this matter while attempting to bring the League to justice for a number of recent killings. Although he had connected the League to several assassinations over the years, all previous attempts to investigate had met dead-ends. Batman rescued Talia (the first time the two would meet, laying the foundation for all their future interaction) and Darrk died while trying to kill them.

The Sensei

Under the direction of the organization's second known leader, the villainous Sensei, the League became more brutal and rebelled against Ra's' rule. Although the Sensei's methods closely resembled Darrk's, and the majority of the League's operatives showed little to no real skill in personal combat, the Sensei did show slightly more reliance on skilled martial artists. This version of the League is best known for two assassinations. As part of an initiation process, the operative known as the Hook was assigned to murder Boston Brand (who became Deadman after his death). Additionally, Professor Ojo successfully brainwashed Ben Turner (best friend and partner of Richard Dragon), creating an alternate personality dubbed the Bronze Tiger, turning the master martial artist into a League operative. As the Bronze Tiger, Turner defeated Batman in personal combat while another League operative murdered Kathy Kane (the secret identity of Batwoman in pre-Crisis continuity, and a close personal friend of Batman's post-Crisis). Eventually, Turner's training at the hands of the O-Sensei proved too strong for the League to fully break; when he refused to kill Batman, Turner was forced to flee the League. Not long afterwards, the insane Sensei - no longer motivated by anything but a desire to raise assassination to an art - attempted to cause an artificial earthquake in order to kill a number of diplomats gathered for peace talks. Batman traced Ben Turner to a hospital, foiling a League attempt to assassinate the man. Turner could not fully remember the actions of his alternate personality (although years later, as a member of the Suicide Squad, he would reveal that the League had used him to kill a number of people) but he was able to aid Batman in uncovering the Sensei's latest plot. Although Batman was unable to prevent the earthquake, ultimately it was only the Sensei himself that died in the disaster, and control of the League returned to Ra's.

Role in the Creation of Lady Shiva

It was recently revealed that, prior to the betrayals of Doctor Darrk and the Sensei, Ra's had grown tired of the fickle loyalties of his warriors. Ra's assigned David Cain to create a perfect bodyguard ("The One Who Is All"). After early attempts to raise such a person resulted in hopelessly psychotic children, Cain decided that he needed a genetically-suited child and began searching for a possible mother. To this end, he assassinated Carolyn Woosan/Wu-San, one of two astonishingly talented martial artist sisters he had seen fighting in an exhibition. Carolyn's sister, Sandra, swore revenge and tracked Cain down, only to be subdued by the combined might of the League. Both intoxicated and frightened by the levels of skill she was attaining now that she was no longer holding back for her sister's sake, Sandra agreed to be the mother of Cain's child. In return, the League spared Sandra's life and assisted her in further training. By the time Sandra gave birth, she had surpassed the entire League in skill. She left immediately following the birth of her daughter, Cassandra Cain, rechristening herself Lady Shiva.

Other stories would suggest that at some points afterwards. Shiva worked as a member of the League. Eyewitness testimony from former League member Onyx indicates that she kept in contact with the League, although she apparently did not see her daughter. Although most of her appearances over the years show her working independently, she apparently had some degree of League membership and was called upon by Ra's to "rescue" Talia during the Hush storyline.

In keeping with Ra's and Cain's plans, the League attempted to train Cassandra Cain from birth to be the ultimate assassin, unknowingly giving her the skills she would use as the hero Batgirl.

Nyssa al Ghul

After the death of Ra's, his daughter Nyssa formed a new League. Lady Shiva was recruited to serve as Sensei to this incarnation of the League with the intent that Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) would lead the warriors themselves.

Reflecting Shiva's emphasis for martial arts, the known members of Nyssa's League were all skilled in this area and included the warriors Shrike, Kitty Kumbata, Wam-Wam, Joey N'Bobo, Tigris, Momotado, Krunk, White Willow, the twin warriors Los Gemelos, Ox, the "Mad Dog", Alpha, and Cristos. The new League was present when Mr. Freeze's wife Nora Fries was brought back to life as the monstrous Lazara, and several members died in the resulting chaos.

Due to the conflict between their loyalty to Shiva and Nyssa and their near-worship of Batgirl as "The One Who is All," the League split at that point with Ox, White Willow, and Tigris pledging themselves to Cassandra. Several more members of the League (including all the defectors except Tigris) died when the insane "Mad Dog" went on a killing spree. It was revealed that the "Mad Dog" had been one of David Cain's early attempts to create Ra's' perfect warrior. The "Mad Dog" had been considered useless as a child since Cain's methods had driven him murderously insane, and Ra's had ordered the child be killed. However, Nyssa knew that the servant ordered to carry out this execution had instead released him into the wild, explaining how it was possible to recruit him. The "Mad Dog" was successful in killing Batgirl (who gave her life to protect the burqa-clad assassin Tigris). She was quickly restored to life in a Lazarus Pit by Shiva in order that the two could face each other in a final battle.

Cassandra Cain

Although most of its members had died or defected, the League survived the Infinite Crisis, and was seen to play an important role in The Society's world-wide prison break.[2] Throughout the aftermath, the League remained under the control of Nyssa until she was apparently killed in a car explosion. Cassandra Cain has apparently taken over the League as its new leader. All the members thus far seen in Cassandra's version of the League have been unnamed masked martial artists. There is also a frequent debate as to whether or not Cassandra is really in charge and, if not her, who is truly pulling the strings.

Other Media

  • In the motion picture Batman Begins (2005), the League was instead called the League of Shadows, and existed to fight what Ra's perceived as injustice in the world. They trained Bruce Wayne for some years, until he could best any of the League in single combat, but he rejected them when the time came for him to kill a criminal, having realised that he must retain his compassion or he would become like the criminals he fought. The League's original base was destroyed in the subsequent battle as Bruce fought Ra's, but either enough men escaped the blaze or Ra's had other groups in the world, as they eventually attempted to strike at Gotham. Despite their best efforts, Bruce Wayne, now Batman, was able to fight off four members of the League single-handedly before challenging Ra's himself. Whether the League will return in a sequel is unknown.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series, Ra's' League was also known as The Society of Shadows. It first appeared under the control of a character loosely based on Count Vertigo, simply called Vertigo, who filled a role similar to that of Ebeneezer Darrk. In the comic book series Batman: The Gotham Adventures (based on Batman: The Animated Series), it was revealed that the League of Assassins existed as a serparate entity from The League of Shadows (although both groups served Ra's al Ghul). Much like their counterpart in the mainstream DC Universe, this version of the League of Assassins was responsible for the murder of Boston Brand, creating the ghostly hero Deadman (which might make the events canon in the DC animated universe, since Deadman's murder was referenced in that continuity). The Sensei, however, was loyal to Ra's in this continuity. When faced with either living out the last of his years in prison or defying Ra's wishes, he chose instead a third option - suicide.


Equipment: None known.


  • No special notes.


  • No trivia.

See Also

Links and References

  • None.
  1. Batgirl #67
  2. Infinite Crisis Special: Villains United #1
Batman Villain(s)

This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of the Batman, or members of the Batman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Villains category."

This article uses material from the "League of Assassins" article on the DC Comics wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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