Hugo Strange's origins remain shrouded in mystery. Bruce Wayne himself said, "Professor Hugo Strange. The most dangerous man in the world! Scientist, philosopher and a criminal genius ... little is known of him, yet this man is undoubtedly the greatest organizer of crime in the world."
Hugo Strange made his very first appearance as a criminal scientist that performed outlandish tactics for the purposes of thievery, terror, and control. In his first scheme, he utilized a fog machine to spread confusion among Gotham’s police while his men robbed banks. He was defeated by Batman, and--unlike most of the Batman villains in those early days--survived to be sent to prison, where he vowed revenge.
After his escape, Strange kidnapped mental patients and mutated them into Monster Men, setting them loose in the city to create havoc while his men robbed the city blind. While attempting to turn Batman into a Monster Man, he was kicked out of a window, toppling into the waters below, but no body was found.
Strange reemerged to unite Gotham’s gangsters with a plan to spread “fear dust” (an early precursor of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, which would not be seen for many years to come). Strange’s goal was no longer theft and wealth, but complete control of the city. In a scene that resembled the final confrontation of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, Batman and Professor Strange battled on a cliffside, where the mad scientist plummeted to his apparent doom. The character would not be seen again for thirty-three years.
Believed to be dead, Strange traveled to Europe where he pursued his criminal activities with great success, but also, eventually, great boredom. Longing for the challenge that only Batman could present, he returned to Gotham in disguise as “Dr. Todhunter,” and opened a mental hospital for wealthy citizens within Gotham City. Strange injected his patients with Monster Men serum, offering them shots of temporary antidote as long as they obeyed his every whim.
Eventually, Bruce Wayne would enter the hospital to be treated for radiation burns (which he suffered during a battle with Dr. Phosphorous), only to quickly realize that the “hospital” was a trap. Changing into Batman, he confronted “Todhunter,” who revealed his true identity as Hugo Strange. Subduing Batman, Strange unmasked the vigilante and learned that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same.
Strange would attempt to ruin his nemesis' life by posing as Bruce Wayne by running his business into the ground and attempting to auction Batman's secret identity to the likes of the Joker, Penguin, and corrupt politician Rupert Thorne. This plan backfired when Thorne had his henchmen kidnapped and tortured Strange, promising to relent only when Strange disclosed Batman’s true identity. Possessed by a sudden reverence for Batman, Strange refused and was subsequently beaten until Thorne’s thugs pronounced him to be dead. Strange’s body was encased inside a barrel and tossed into the Gotham harbor.
In truth, Strange had used an obscure yoga technique to slow down his heartbeat, simulating death. He burst out of the barrel, swimming to freedom, and plotted his revenge against Rupert Thorne. Utilizing holographic technology, the “ghost” of Hugo Strange terrorized Thorne to the point of madness, driving the corrupt councilman to confess his crimes before being committed to a sanitarium.
In addition, Strange secretly assisted Batman by providing him a special device that was instrumental in tracking down the Joker (then in the midst of his “Laughing Fish” caper) and saving the life of Commissioner Gordon. Why Strange helped Batman remains a mystery.
Some time later, Thorne would be declared sane and released, whereupon Strange renewed his campaign of haunting and terror. Playing on Thorne’s paranoia, he convinced Thorne that his political appointees Peter Pauling and Mayor Hill were conspiring against him, and he snapped entirely, shooting and killing Pauling. Thorne was sent to Blackgate Prison for life, and Strange’s revenge was complete.
Around the same time, Strange planned his attack on Bruce Wayne. Feeling that Wayne owed a debt to Strange for “dying” to protect Batman secret ID, Strange sought to destroy Wayne and become a new, more ruthless and efficient Batman. Strange drugged and kidnapped Wayne, transporting him into a replica of Wayne Manor, complete with murderous robots of Alfred and Dick Grayson. Wayne confronted Strange in the replica Batcave, where they changed into their costumes and battled as warring Batmen. With the help of the real Robin, Batman foiled Strange’s plans, driving the villain to blow up the replica Wayne Manor, seemingly killing himself in the process.
However, the “Hugo Strange” who died was another robot replica. The real Strange was quite alive, plotting the systematic destruction of both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Strange intimidated and terrorized three key Wayne Enterprises stockholders into selling their shares, causing Wayne stock to plummet, and draining Bruce Wayne’s personal finances. Strange then broke into Wayne Manor and induced a stroke in Alfred Pennyworth, who went into a coma.While Bruce and Jason were preoccupied trying to help Alfred, Strange committed a series of crimes while dressed as Batman, driving a replica Batmobile.
Through bribery and coercion, Strange seized Bruce’s assets, purchased Wayne Manor, and issued a court order barring Bruce from approaching within 1,000 feet of his own home. In a further attempt to isolate Bruce, Strange alerted child welfare that Bruce Wayne was impoverished and therefore an “unfit guardian,” and the state took Jason away from Bruce and into their custody.
Thanks to Strange, Bruce/Batman was broke and homeless, having to live on the streets and sleep inside a bell tower. Batman deduced that only Hugo Strange could be behind this, and must have faked his death. With Jason, Batman stormed Wayne Manor, battling robot replicas of Hugo Strange, and finding the real one in the Batcave, preparing the final step of his plan: exposing the cave and Batman’s identity to the whole world.
After Strange’s defeat and arrest, he tried to convince Harvey Bullock that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but Bullock was told that Batman had brainwashed Hugo as a protective measure, so that he only thought that Batman was Bruce Wayne. This drives Hugo up the wall, second-guessing himself at every turn, and wondering if he’s actually going mad.
The Strange Obsession (Post-Crisis)
Following the continuity reboot of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Strange was reimagined as an insane psychoanalyst with a Batman obsession. Eventually, elements of his previous incarnation were incorporated into his history--including the creation of his Monster Men--in an effort to reconcile the Pre- and Post-Crisis versions. One such story is Batman and the Monster Men, published twenty years after Strange's first Post-Crisis story, Prey.
Batman and the Monster Men
Little is known about Professor Strange, other than that he was raised in an orphanage on the East side of Gotham known as Hell’s Crucible which is a dangerous section of the city that is not too far from Crime Alley. A gifted genius, he put himself through medical school and became a professor of psychiatry at Gotham University. However, his tenure was suspended after school board officials disapproved of Strange’s radical ideas and theories about genetic manipulation. Strange had a personal interest in obtaining genetic perfection. Hugo was physically fit but he lacked a tall stature and was bow-legged. Combined with his baldness and near-sightedness, Hugo Strange was far from the physical ideal he sought to create through genetic engineering.
Strange needed subjects for experimentation, and offered his expertise to an Indian man named Sanjay, whose brother was suffering from a severe illness after their parents died. In return for Strange’s medical help, Sanjay pledged his loyalty to the mad doctor, working as his servant and right-hand man while Strange performed illegal operations and experiments on patients he illegally obtained from Arkham Asylum. Strange's goal was not only to make his patients physically stronger or to enhance their immunity, but to make them mentally functional with a small implant that will release the necessary stimulants.
To further finance his experiments, Strange attended the Gotham Science Institute Charity Ball in order to convince a few prospective clients. Unfortunately, Strange's proposal falls on deaf ears when he is belittled by one Gotham socialite because her drunken slurs pointed out all of Hugo's genetic flaws. Strange had no other choice but to borrow money once again from “Boss” Maroni who was also attending the charity ball.
After leaving the ball, Strange notices the socialite that mocked him and after a brief moment of anger, Strange's vindictive nature takes over. Strange tells Sanjay to follow the socialite and kidnap her in order to teach her lesson about mocking his work. Sanjay uses chloroform to knock out the socialite and he brings her to Strange's underground lab. The socialite is then fed to Strange's Monster Men and whatever remains they didn't eat was washed away into the sewers for police to find.
As days went by, Strange found himself increasingly under the strain of Maroni’s strict repayment demands. Strange’s experiments mutated test subjects into massive, flesh-eating “Monster Men” who were so powerful that Strange and Sanjay were barely able to control their creations. Once Maroni threatened Strange to repay his debt to him, the doctor retaliated by unleashing one of his Monster Men on Maroni’s henchmen. Sanjay was instructed to let the Monster Man kill Maroni's men on Maroni's floating casino while Sanjay makes off with the money from that evening's winnings.
Strange paid off his debt to Maroni but Maroni sensed something was amiss when Hugo managed to pay off his debt so quickly. The murder of the socialite and the recent massacre at Maroni's casino caught the attention of Batman. Bruce managed to get some information from Maroni and Bruce did some digging of his own. He searched Strange's records and didn't find much except a license plate number to a van registered in Hugo's name and insurance records that lists Hugo's last known address.
Batman arrives at the East Side docks and locates at Hugo's warehouse according to the address. Batman gets past Hugo's security system and finds ordinary men in stasis tanks who are being prepared for the experiments. Batman recognized some of the men because he was the one who sent them to Arkham. Batman got the drop on Hugo and began to interrogate him on what his connection is to Maroni and these recent killings.
Sanjay runs to the doctor's aid and uses a tranquilizer to knock out Batman then he puts Batman inside the Monster Men's den. Strange was awestruck at how Batman--a mere powerless human being showed no fear, no hesitation and how efficient he was at defeating the creatures. After analyzing the Batman's daring escape from the den, Strange was overly impressed by Batman's array of weapons and how Batman represents the peak of human genetic perfection which Strange himself had been lacking for so long.
Strange and Sanjay need to move their operations somewhere else but they need Maroni's help again. Strange destroys the warehouse by setting it on fire and Maroni agrees to help Strange but Maroni's top gun Richie Patone gives Strange a warning. Richie tells Strange that if anything unusual happens to one of Maroni's operations again then all debts will be raised with interest. To make sure the message stuck with Strange, Richie shot the stasis tubes that contained future Monster Men thus killing them. Strange understood Richie's implications and he tells Sanjay to get the Monster Men ready for another night out on the town.
Before taking on Maroni, Strange decides that his research with the Monster Men has reached its peak. He performs the alterations on Sanjay's brother Rajan. Strange was amazed at how Rajan's lack of skin nodules has made him less malformed then the other creatures. Rajan also gained more muscle tone than the other Monster Men. Strange and Sanjay arrive at Falcone's country estate where Maroni is held up. They set the Monster Men loose on Maroni’s men.
During the battle, the some of the Monster Men were killed as well as Maroni's men. Richie Patone gets the drop on Rajan by dropping a net on him then emptying his gun into Rajan's head. Sanjay witnesses this cowardly act and grabs a gun. Sanjay shoots Patone but Sanjay ends up getting shot by Maroni. One Monster Man goes after Maroni when he tries to escape via helicopter but Batman apprehends Maroni while the Monster Man falls off the roof with the helicopter causing an explosion. Strange escapes and gives up his interest in genetic manipulation. A few nights later, Strange becomes a guest on Kathy White's late night talk show and gives a brief assessment about who the Batman is.
Strange later appears on the Jud Fellows' Nighttime Show along with Gordon and the mayor of Gotham. Strange explains the Batman's obsession with the darkness and the idea of vengeance. Strange's deduction leads him to the conclusion that the Batman was an individual who lost someone close to him on one fateful night. At this point, the mayor becomes interested as well as impressed by Strange's psychological profile of the Batman.
However, Strange's psycho analysis of the Batman is not entirely valid. He assumes the Batman craves individual power as a utilitarian and has a paranoid mistrust in others which indicates either he suffers from schizophrenia or a split personality. Strange believes the Batman is only assisting the police in their investigations so he can make his arrests stick in court but he will never join the police force officially. The supposed reason for this is Batman wants to defer the police's efforts on making arrests to him and he will gain Gotham's appraisal as a metaphorical construct or symbol.
Strange becomes Batman's latest threat when the mayor appoints Strange as a consultant for Gordon's police task force which was created by the mayor to capture the Batman. As for Bruce, he begins to question and doubt the reasons he became the Caped Crusader but Alfred puts Bruce's misconceptions to rest by reassuring him that the innocent people of Gotham deserve a hero like the Batman even though some people won't admit they need him.
The next day, Strange and the mayor discuss the terms of his involvement with Gordon's task force. Strange informs the mayor that the real reason why he is joining Gordon is because he is fascinated by the Batman and he plans to have a full diagnosis of the vigilante's psyche. However, Strange anticipates Gordon's reluctance to help him catching the Batman so he asks the mayor to give him complete access to police files which have documented every past case involving Batman's tactics, methods, generalized data from witnesses and times as well as places of the Batman's recent activities.
Strange discusses his enthusiasm for taking the opportunity to increase his television ratings and to further his understanding of who the Batman really is to his mannequin. Strange's only other reason for accepting his role in Gordon's task force is because he will have a chance to get rid of the Batman and take over the vigilante's role as the new hero within Gotham. Strange tells his mannequin that the Batman's assistance in with the police's investigation is simply a ploy to gain Gordon's trust and to use the police force as his personal enforcers. According to Strange, the Batman supposedly has nothing but disdain for any other authority except his own. Strange's assumptions would imply that the Batman hates Gotham PD because the police failed to protect the Batman's loved ones.
With his expert knowledge within the fields of behavior psychology, it didn’t take Strange long to finally realize that the Batman and Bruce Wayne was both the same man and that the head of the police task force Sgt Max Cort would serve as a key member within Strange's plan to rid the Batman once and for all. Hiding this knowledge away from Gordon, the Mayor, and the task force, his first part of the plan was brainwashing the leader of the task force, Sgt Cort into becoming a vigilante himself known as the Night Scourge. As Strange influenced Sgt Cort further into his vigilante role, he took the opportunity to have Sgt Cort disguise himself as the Batman and kidnap the Mayors daughter.
As Hugo Strange successfully managed to frame the Batman and have all law enforcement within Gotham City after the hero with orders from the Mayor to “shoot to kill”, this plan of action forced Batman to into hiding and to have Strange successfully fulfill his goals as taking over as the new Batman. However, Hugo’s plan backfired against him as he was eventually caught by both the Batman and Commissioner Gordon and was accidentally shot into the river while he was disguised as the Batman. As Batman found himself cleared of all charges due to the fact that he managed to save the Mayors daughter, there was the notion that Strange’s body wasn’t found and no possible verification of his death.
Strange would once again make his re-appearance when he decided to work alongside with the Scarecrow in order to catch the Batman once and for all. However Strange’s plan quickly backfired when Scarecrow had plans of his own for the Batman and killed Strange by impaling him on a weather vane and hiding his body within the cellar of Strange’s Mansion. Taking over the mansion for himself, Scarecrow tried to kill Batman with Strange’s traps within the mansion, only to find both Scarecrow and Batman trapped into the rigged cellar that found itself being flooded. It was during this time when Strange mysteriously re-appeared and attacked the Scarecrow before the walls cracked and sent all three men into a nearby river. As Batman managed to recover the defeated Scarecrow, once again there was no sight of Strange.
Gotham Knight: Transference
Hugo Strange not only made his mysterious return, but he somehow have all his crimes dropped and with Batman and law enforcement having no recollection of Strange’s prior in incidents. This time serving as a psychiatrist for stress evaluations with Wayne Enterprise, Strange still used his devious planning on gaining deep and dark secrets from his patients with the use of powerful hallucinogens. Using this method onto Bruce Wayne, Strange once again verified his theory that Batman and Bruce are actually the same man, as to prior foils from the Batman to have Strange confused about his identity. Once again, Strange managed to have Batman under his control once again and try to rid Bruce Wayne while taking over the mantle as the Batman once more. As Strange managed to create chaos under the disguise of Batman and with his partners while believing Bruce Wayne was incapacitated through Strange’s influences. This plan found itself backfiring when Bruce Wayne developed a post hypnotic fail-safe within his mind, and managed to not only foil Strange’s chaotic goals, but also managed to confuse the madman into a mental breakdown and once again have Hugo Strange at a lost of if both Bruce Wayne and the Batman are actually the same man.
One Year Later
Finally being incarcerated within the halls of Arkham City, Hugo Strange was far from being finished as a criminal and a villain for the Batman. Finding himself being involved within certain events, such as Jokers attempt to drive Dr Jeremiah Arkham into a mental breakdown and take up the role as the new Black Mask. Upon his release/escape, he teamed up with Captain Cold, Angle Man, and other criminals in an attempt to run all criminal activity in the East End of Gotham. He clashed with that era's resident protector, Catwoman, who thwarted Strange's plans and told him to never return.
Batman: Battle for the Cowl
Unlike his previous appearances, Hugo was now depicted as being calm, stoic, dry-witted, and showed no particular motivation for his sudden change of priorities. This Hugo Strange would later return in Batman: The Network, where he’d clash with Oracle, Cassandra Cain, Huntress, Ragman, and Manhunter, who would foil is plans to run an underground gambling house that took bets on how long superheroes would survive against his own deathtraps.
Later, alongside with numerous criminals and villains, Hugo Strange was sent to remote planet only to find himself escaping due to Lex Luthor and hiding within Gotham City furthering himself within the criminal underground. It’s unclear what actions or goals Strange has planned or if his attempts to take up the Bat mantle once more would be seen again, but what is know that Strange is far from being a possible major threat for the Batman and his allies.
Batman: Life After Death
Hugo Strange is currently at large and still affiliated with Black Mask's Ministry of Science alongside Dr. Death and Fright. Hugo Strange has been holding Dr. Paul Gruener in cryostasis for several years. Strange intends to put Gruener through a procedure that involves mental conditioning in order to control Gruener. Strange's mind influencing therapy has been used before on individuals like Lt. Maxwell Cort but he has made some modifications since then. This procedure will enhance Gruener's brain functions, his strength and his physical endurance despite his eccentric delusions.
Fright is not entirely convinced by Strange's assessment that Gruener is the proper subject so Strange explains Gruener's past. Gruener was a young Jewish boy during World War II. Like so many others, Gruener was sent to a concentration camp along with his parents. Gruener's father was beaten to death by Holga, a Nazi officer who was stationed at the camp. As for Gruener's mother, she hid Paul under a mass of corpses before Holga's brother Col. Schloss could get to him. Schloss was so angry with Gruener's mother that he tortured her to death. Gruener eventually got his revenge on the Schloss twins before he escaped the concentration camp.
Strange's story about Gruener was simply his way of demonstrating Gruener's motivation to kill in order to exact vengeance on those who would hurt others and with Strange's influence, Gruener can be manipulated into becoming Black Mask's ultimate weapon. When Gruener is revived by Dr. Death's chemical bath, Black Mask gives Gruener a necklace with the Star of David on it. The necklace once belonged to Gruener's father but it was taken from him by Holga.
For a short time, Hugo Strange has been a resident at Arkham Asylum. His office was located in the library of Arkham Mansion. When Quincy Sharp became mayor of Gotham, he purchased a large portion of Gotham and expanded Arkham Asylum. Sharp also made Hugo the warden of Arkham City. Hugo begins interviewing candidates for Arkham's new and elite task force dubbed Tyger Security Group.
Strange's first interview was a Cap. Vincent Garrett, an ex-Navy Seal who was honorably discharged. Garrett is known to be ranked in top percentile for search and recover missions plus he maintains a minimal civilian causality rate during each of his deployments. Strange also likes the fact that Garrett is proficient in demolition as well as long and short range weaponry.
Strange informs Garrett that a psychological evaluation is required before he can make a decision. Strange asks Garrett certain rank and file questions that would inspire insubordination but Garrett's answers stay within protocol. Strange can see that Garrett will need some mental conditioning. Strange injects ketamine into Garrett and forces him to watch a recording where Strange recites William Blake's poem of "Tyger, Tyger" but of course, Strange altered the meaning of it. At first Garrett doesn't understand the recording but Strange calms Garrett by telling him its an orientation video.
The video convinces Garrett that as a Tyger, he is above the law, he is superior to GCPD, Mayor Sharp has decreed martial law and deadly force is needed to maintain order in Arkham City. The video also tells Garrett that Batman represents anarchy and his presence will disrupt Tyger's way of keeping the peace. Garrett becomes so enraged that he begins to rant and rave about killing the Batman.
Strange snaps his fingers and tells Garrett to forget everything that has happened and wait for further orders. Strange welcomes Garrett as a captain of the Tyger guards. For the time being, Strange will do as Mayor Sharp has instructed him to do but when Tyger grows in numbers, Hugo will make his move against Sharp and take complete control of Gotham City.
Unfortunately for Garrett, his group went after the Batman and failed. Garrett told the Batman that Hugo Strange was in charge of Tyger. Batman drops Garrett off at Tyger headquarters. Garrett was unconscious for a short time until he was awakened by the spark from a tazer. Strange wants Garrett to debrief him on what had happened with the Batman. Garrett begins to realize that Tyger Security stands no chance of stopping the Batman and they are simply Hugo's puppets. Hugo decides there is nothing left to learn from Garrett so he gives him an overdose of a sedative and Garrett slowly dies.
After the events on Arkham, Batman receives a message from the police band stating that Two-Face is robbing Gotham’s 2nd National Bank. Unfortunately, Batman doesn’t realize the bank robbery is a distraction. Two-Face sends his best men the T&T twins to grab any remains of the Titan formula. However, the twins double cross Two-Face once they have the Titan formula because they actually work for Hugo Strange. Batman frees the hostages at the bank and heads to Two-Face’s old haunts. Batman gets lucky and finds Two-Face. Two-Face uses his coin to decide on whether or not he should fill the Batman in on what really happened. The coin tells Harvey to fill in the blanks for Batman. Two-Face tells Batman that the T&T twins have betrayed him and someone in Two-Face’s network has informed him about the twins’ plan to kill people who are attending the mayor's announcement of Arkham City at city hall.
Batman arrives at the press conference in front of city hall and easily spots the twins amongst the crowd. The twins have already injected themselves with the Titan formula. Batman uses his new explosive gel and coats it along his gloves in order to beat the twins into submission. Batman attempts to cure the twins with the Venom anti-drug but he notices an explosive device attached to both of them. The twins cry out to their employer for a second chance but Hugo doesn’t tolerate failure. Strange activates the twins’ self destruct mechanisms and their explosive deaths destroy half of city hall. Fortunately, Batman and the every person at city hall managed to escape with minimal damage.
The next day, Quincy Sharpe is interrogated by reporters like Jack Ryder and Vicki Vale about the completion of Arkham City. Fortunately for Sharpe, he has Hugo Strange whispering in his ear. Hugo instructs Sharpe on how to answer each provoking question by via earpiece. Bruce Wayne is among the reporters as a silent partner of Vicki Vale. Bruce tells Vicki to ask the mayor why he didn't let the board of members at Arkham Asylum decide on whether or not Arkham City should be built. Unfortunately, Sharpe's handlers stepped in and ended the press conference.
Bruce figures that Arkham City was not Sharpe's idea but Hugo Strange. Sharpe is merely Hugo's puppet who will be put in a temporary seat of power until the time is right. Bruce puts on his Bat suit and drives the Bat mobile to Sharpe's mayoral mansion in order to find any conclusive connections to Hugo Strange and Sharpe. Batman disarms a few members of Hugo's Tyger security personal who were stationed at Sharpe's place. Batman enters Sharpe's office after he turned off the silent alarm. Unfortunately, Hugo anticipated Batman's intentions and his face appears on Sharpe's computer monitor.
Strange is impressed by Batman's ingenuity but he mocks his determination to stop Arkham City. Strange reactivates the mansion's security system and a squadron of Tyger operatives enter the mansion. Batman manages to dodge the Tyger operatives and Strange watches every move the Batman makes by via security footage. Strange analyzes Batman's movements because he is fascinated as well as jealous of Batman's physical peak.
Eventually, Batman finds out from Sharp that Hugo has been working with Ra's al Ghul in the construction of Arkham City. The three conspirators intended for Arkham City to be the beginning of the end for Gotham. With Arkham inmates running a good portion of the city, Gotham would eventually collapse on itself. When Hugo failed to stop Batman from halting Protocol 10, Ra's dispatched Hugo by impaling him with his sword. With his last breath, Hugo initiates Protocol 11 which starts a self destruct sequence in the hopes that Ra's will die for betraying the good doctor.
Hugo Strange is hired by Amanda Waller to keep Psycho-Pirate under control but eventually betrays her and uses Psycho-Pirate to get Gotham to murder Waller's soldiers, thus creating havoc in the city. After this, Strange sells Psycho-Pirate to Bane in exchange for shipments of Venom.
Earth-Two On the parallel Earth of Earth-2, Strange’s lay at the bottom of the cliff for days, his body shattered, until he was found and taken to a public sanatorium. He knew how to repair his body, but with his larynx shattered, he sat immobile and unable to speak, trapped inside his own body for twenty maddening years.
With therapy, he was able to move his hand enough to write, and found a corrupt doctor who was willing to create a modified version of the Monster formula that would heal Strange’s body while leaving his mind intact. The serum allowed Strange to walk and speak, but left his body a misshapen wreck.
He vowed revenge, but since the Batman of his Earth had already died, Strange decided to destroy everything that his enemy sought to protect. Using the abandoned Batcave as his hideout, Strange rewired objects and vehicles from the Cave’s trophy room to attack the city, then proceeded to steal Starman’s cosmic rod, which he would use to destroy Gotham.
Strange was ultimately confronted by the Batman of Earth-1, who deduced that what Strange really wanted was to die, and was goading the heroes into killing him. Breaking down, Strange feebly admitted the truth, and used the cosmic rod to disintegrate himself (The Brave and the Bold #182).
Major Story Arcs
The Monster Men (Batman #1): Strange’s second Golden Age appearance is also his most famous of the era, as he kidnaps mental patients and transforms them into monsters.
Strange Apparitions: Strange learns Batman’s secret identity and dies to keep it secret... or does he? Amid several storylines-- including the Joker's infamous Laughing Fish scheme--Strange's "ghost" haunts corrupt councilman Rupert Thorne and even assists Batman, but to what purpose?
Down to the Bone: Strange pulls a Wilson Fisk to Batman’s Matt Murdock and attacks his enemy from every conceivable front.
Batman: Prey: Remade for the modern era, Strange gains new relevance and a new level of fearsomeness as a perverse psychiatrist whose madness does not hinder his sadistic brilliance.
Transference: Strange returns, this time targeting the "usurpers" Robin and Nightwing for daring to aspire to the Bat-Mantle. Strange proves to be such a formidable psychological threat that Bruce Wayne induces self-hypnosis (in a manner which foreshadowed Batman R.I.P.) to make himself believe he truly is the bumbling playboy that he pretends to be.
Batman and the Monster Men: Matt Wagner reconciles the Post-Crisis Hugo Strange of Prey with his Golden Age counterpart.
For abnormal abilities or powers, it’s unknown if Strange possesses any due too the mysterious fact that he always manages to cheat death on several occasions. Possibly through means of a staged death or not, Strange doesn’t show any other unique traits, skills, or abilities that would display any abnormality.
Holding a PhD in Psychology, Strange not only had knowledge within behavior psychology, but eventually developed an interest and skills within areas of genetics and science. Capable of altering and increasing the human body into a massive mindless monstrosity, Strange also could also manipulate one’s own DNA strand into one of these behemoths as well.
Veering away from his mutated experiments, Strange developed himself deeper into the fields of psychology. Capable of perfectly profiling and analyzing any type of person or individual to where he could easily make the prediction of Batman’s secret identity. Most times Strange naturally works with the use of drugs and hallucinogens to alter the victims’ behavior and decrease their willpower to hide any type of secrets they hold.
What is also known about Strange is how he displays a unique form of elaborate schemes to fulfill his own goals and needs. A criminal mastermind and strategist, Strange has found himself gaining the upper hand not only against his victims, but with the Batman as well. Even though Strange mostly prefers to serve his obsession to the Batman, this is basically his only weakness within his devastating planning.
Aside from the experience Strange has with psychology and strategy, Strange also managed to have his physical health reach to it’s highest level. Constantly keeping him at perfect health and at top physical in order to help fulfill his delusional ideas of reaching absolute perfection. Strange is hardly seen in any forms of physical combat, but when confronted he does share knowledge of martial arts, athletics, and hand-to-hand combat.
- Occupation: Psychiatrist and Criminal
- Base: Gotham City
- Height: 5 ft, 10 in
- Weight: 170 lbs.
- Eyes: Gray
- Hair: None (black beard)
- First Appearance: Detective Comics #36 (February 1940)
DC Animated Universe (Timmverse)
In Batman: the Animated Series, Hugo Strange voiced by Ray Buktinica, is a psychiatrist running a hospital that he uses to blackmail Gotham's elite with secrets he finds out with a machine that reads minds. Bruce Wayne goes to the hospital and undergoes the "treatment," which allows Strange to discover his secret identity. He auctions off this information to the Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin. Two-Face had personally known Bruce Wayne , and later accuses Strange of fraud when Batman switches the tape with one he had created that portrayed Strange as fabricating the secret identity. Strange tries to save himself by telling the villains that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but they simply laugh at the idea, thinking he was lying. Two-Face says he knows Bruce Wayne so this can't be true. The trio then tries to kill him by throwing him out of an airplane. Batman saves him at the last minute however, and had Robin show up at the crime scene disguised as Bruce Wayne to discredit Strange's claims of knowing the Dark Knight's secret identity.
In the TAS tie-in comic series The Batman Adventures, Strange was given a fleshed-out backstory that--in the tradition of the show’s treatment of villains--added new depth and tragedy to Strange’s origin. Strange was revealed to have had a son, David Strange, who was murdered by mobsters on orders of Rupert Thorne after Hugo refused to replicate the “blackmail machine” from The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne.
After a year of torment, Strange invented a machine that would wipe away memories, with the hope that he could forget that David ever existed, and thus alleviate his unbearable grief. However, after testing the machine on himself, Strange’s memories became so mixed-up that he forgot that he actually made the machine, and proceeded to make it over and over again, until he could do nothing but relive his son’s death on an endless loop. Strange eventually killed his son’s murderer, but his mind was warped to the point that he still saw David everywhere. Batman assured Strange that they would find a cure somehow.
In the Justice League Unlimited TV show, Hugo Strange returns in a silent cameo as a member of Project Cadmus. Hugo Strange was the silent partner who informed Amanda Waller on who the Batman was. Hugo Strange has not made an appearance at Cadmus since then. Most likely, Waller had him disposed of so he couldn't divulge any information about Cadmus because Hugo is known to be an infamous opportunist then again Hugo might have been put in charge of a brain washing project for future Cadmus operatives like Galatea (Supergirl's clone)
In The Batman, Strange is an Arkham Chief Psychiatrist, fascinated by criminal minds and especially Batman's. He performs unethical experiments by releasing Clayface and the Ventriloquist from Arkham, only to set up their inevitable return to crime in order to study the results. Strange later create D.A.V.E. in order to further study Batman. He is arrested and incarcerated in his own prison, becoming a more active villain later on. He appears briefly in the episode "Meltdown", "Fistful of Felt", "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind", "Lost Heroes" and as the primary villain in "Strange New World" and "Strange Minds".
He is voiced by late Riddler actor Frank Gorshin.
Hugo Strange is the leading psychiatrist at Belle Reve Prison and works under Amanda Waller who is the warden at the facility. At one point, Hugo Strange begins his sessions with two new inmates: Superboy and Miss Martian. Conner and M'Gann are sent to Belle Reve because they are under orders by the Justice League. Their mission is to impersonate two criminals and infiltrate the gangs within the prison because the Justice League believe an impending breakout is closing in.
According to Batman, there has been a few peculiar transfers to Belle Reve and each transfer involved an icy criminal like Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold, the Icicles and Killer Frost who have the ability to weaken the fortified walls at Belle Reve. Superboy immediately gains Icicle Sr.'s respect with his strength and Superboy learns that Icicle is orchestrating the prison break along with Hugo Strange. Hugo has a new batch of prison attire delivered to the prison. The micro fibers in these new prison suits produce moderate thermal energy which will keep the prisoners above freezing temperatures during the breakout.
Mr. Freeze begins the breakout by having himself sent to the Warden's office for disorderly conduct. Freeze disarms Waller and disengages the security protocols within the prison. Superboy and Icicle Jr. become quick friends during the breakout. Superboy manages to manipulate Icicle Jr into taking out Icicle Sr. and his gang because Icicle Sr. has shown his son nothing but disregard. In the end, the breakout is prevented, order is restored to Belle Reve, Waller is transferred to Checkmate and Hugo Strange is made the new warden of Belle Reve. Hugo Strange is a member of the Light, a clandestine organization who run pretty much everything across the world.
He is voiced by Adrian Pasdar.
Hugo appears as the antagonist of this short animated film created by Bruce Timm for Batman's 75th anniversary. In it, Hugo has captured a woman to use for an experiment with the aid of one of his Monster Men. Batman manages to save the woman during the fight but Strange stumbles and falls of a cliff. However, it is unknown whether Strange is dead or not as when asked if it is over, Batman replies "For Now". He is voiced by Brian George.
The Lego Batman Movie
Strange appears as one of the many villains in this film but has no speaking lines.
Batman Vs. Two-Face
Hugo Strange appears in this animated movie which takes place in the '66 TV series universe. Strange and his assistant Dr. Harleen Quinzel create an "evil extractor" which they hope will make villains "good". However, Joker and several other villains override the machine and it explodes. Harvey Dent is horribly scarred by the explosion which leads to him becoming Two-Face. Here he is voiced by Jim Ward.
Gotham By Gaslight
In this adaptation of the Elseworlds story, Hugo Strange is the head of Arkham Asylum.
Hugo tells Bruce Wayne he knows who Jack the Ripper is and wishes to meet with Batman. However, Hugo is attacked by Jack and killed by his patients at Arkham before Batman can save him. He is voiced by William Salyers.
Hugo Strange appears as one of the antagonists of Gotham where he is depicted as the head of Arkham Asylum. In secret, Hugo performs experiments on super-human inmates underneath Arkham which are secretly funded by the Court of Owls. Hugo manages to bring back both Fish Mooney and Theo Galavan from the dead, with the former leading to his arrest and the inmates he experiments on being set loose on the city.
Hugo is later freed by Fish Mooney to find a cure for her condition. Strange later abandons Mooney and once again works for the Court Of Owls by weaponizing Alice Tetch's blood. Hugo later betrays the Court and gives James Gordon and Harvey Bullock research he secretly kept from the Court in exchange for not being arrested.
Lego Batman: The Video Game (2008)
Hugo Strange is included in the DS version of the game as a bonus character.
Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
He does not make a physical or speaking appearance in this game. However, you can find his profile in the Arkham Mansion as part of the Riddler challenges in the game.
Batman: Arkham City (2011)
In this game Hugo has a huge role. He oversees everything in Arkham City. In this game, he reveals that he knows who Batman is.