This page is for the original Ventriloquist, Arnold Wesker.
For the second Ventriloquist, see Peyton Riley.
A meek, quiet man, Arnold Wesker plans and executes his crimes through a dummy named Scarface, with the dress and persona of a 1920s gangster, complete with pinstripe suit, cigar, and Tommy gun. His name comes from the nickname of Al Capone after whom Scarface is modeled. Born into a powerful Mafia Family, Wesker developed Dissociative Identity Disorder after seeing his mother murdered by an assassin from a rival Family. Growing up, his only outlet is ventriloquism. After a barroom brawl in which he kills someone during a violent release of his repressed anger, Wesker is sent to Blackgate Penitentiary. He is introduced to Woody - a dummy carved from the former gallows by cellmate Donnegan - who convinces him to escape and kill Donnegan in a fight which scars the dummy, thus resulting in the birth of Scarface.
Arnold Wesker was created by Alan Grant, John Wagner and Norm Breyfogle.
Modern Age: New Earth
After taking possession of the dummy, Wesker learned about Scarface's former life. Don Scarelli ruled Gotham's criminal underworld until the Falcones came into power. Scarelli was eventually convicted for his crimes and sentenced to death. Scarelli was hung on the Gallows Tree at Blackgate Penitentiary. Scarelli's remaining lieutenants had heard a rumor that Scarelli had hid his entire fortune somewhere in Gotham but he never passed on the location of his secret safe. It wasn't until later that the Riddler heard about Scarelli's fabled fortune and took it upon himself to find Scarelli's secret vault. Riddler tracked down all of Scarelli's former holdings in real estate and orchestrated the Riddle Factory game show as a distraction while his men searched each area for the vault. Unfortunately, Riddler came no closer to finding Scarelli's vault like so many others before him.
Wesker lets the Scarface personality do the dirty work, including robbery and murder. He is totally dominated by Scarface, who barks orders at him and degrades him with verbal and even physical abuse. Wesker is unable to enunciate the letter "B" while throwing his voice, and replaces it with the letter "G" instead. For example, Wesker often calls Batman "Gatman." It is often made ambiguous whether Scarface is an aspect of Wesker's personality, or actually has sentience.
It is revealed that a gangster named "Scarface" Scarelli had once been active in Gotham City, though had apparently died long before Batman's era. A supernatural aspect to Scarface was hinted at when Wesker's cellmate creates the first Scarface doll from a piece of gallows wood. A 2001 story arc reinforces this and shows the dummy to be indirectly responsible for two accidents while separated from Wesker (with at least one fatality). The dummy also retained his speech impediment while operated by a young boy and seemed to even show awareness of his name during this period.
After the failure of moving out the Fever drug, Scarface devised a new deal which was to bring a large shipment of armor piercing rounds into Gotham. It was at this point that Scarface came to know Matches Malone. Malone had been accused of being a squealer on more than one occasion but he proved his worth when the Batman began to interrogate him for information at a local bar. Malone responded to Batman's threats by spitting in his face. Batman reacts by tossing Malone out a plate glass window. The Batman delivers his final ultimatum to the remaining patrons in the bar by saying he had better not hear about any cops being gunned down in Gotham or he will be back.
As for Malone, he is picked up and brushed off by Scarface's muscle man Rhino. Rhino introduces Malone to Scarface who was impressed by Malone's resilience to stand up to the Batman. Scarface tells Malone that he is responsible for the shipment of armor piercing rounds. Scarface gives Malone the opportunity to make sure the transaction goes smoothly and in return for his services, Malone gets ten grand for compensation. Malone accepts Scarface's offer and Scarface tells Malone to be at the Tri-Corner Rail Yards around midnight. Unbeknownst to anyone, Nightwing played Batman earlier in the bar and Bruce Wayne is playing Matches.
Batman goes to the Tri-Corner Rail Yards and discovers that Scarface is shipping the armor piercing rounds to Metropolis and the buyers are members of Intergang. Batman springs into action by dropping a smoke pellet but Scarface escapes on the train heading toward Metropolis. Batman makes quick work of Scarface's men until Rhino charges in. Batman immobilizes Rhino by shooting Rhino's foot with his grappling gun. Afterwards, Batman catches up with the train to Metropolis. In a fit of rage, Scarface figures Malone is every bit the squealer that everyone says he is. Scarface then puts a bullet into the real Matches Malone when he arrives from hiding in the story arc Batman: False Faces.
Wesker's death appears to have been retconned after the events of Flashpoint. He is seen appearing in both Batman #1 and is one of the criminals injected with venom in Batman: The Dark Knight #2.
Major Story Arcs
Modern Age: New Earth
The Ventriloquist is one of many villains in the Rogues Gallery to be confined to Arkham Asylum when Batman apprehends him. One particularly memorable series of events concerning him took place during the Knightfall saga, after Bane had destroyed Arkham and released its inmates. Unable to find Scarface, the Ventriloquist uses a sock puppet in his place for a short time. After robbing a toy store, he procures a number of other hand puppets to fill in for Scarface, including one of a police officer which he refers to as "Chief O'Hara". Wesker uses the sock puppet to fill in as an alter-ego until he can find a suitable replacement for Scarface; later, Scarface and "Socko" are set at odds until a standoff occurs, and the puppets shoot each other, leaving Wesker unconscious and bleeding from two wounded hands.
The Death of Ventriloquist
Wesker is fatally shot by an unseen assailant. The puppet Scarface is stepped on and its head crushed. The dying Wesker uses Scarface's hand to leave a clue regarding his murder, a street name. It is revealed that Tally Man, acting as an enforcer for the Great White Shark, is responsible for the murder.
Black Lantern Ventriloquist
During the Blackest Night, Arnold Wesker's body was raised by a black power ring and became a Black Lantern.
In the DCU reboot, Arnold is once again alive. He is a Arkham Asylum inmate but after being injected with a combination of Venom and Fear Toxin, Arnold goes on a rampage through Gotham. He is stopped by Nightwing and Damian, but not before he uses a swat officer corpse as his new puppet, grossing out both sidekicks.
A Court of Owls
For more information see : A Court of Owls
While Batman investigates Dan Matthews, a guard at Arkham Asylum who maybe on the take, Dan in a desperate attempt to get away, opens several of the inmates cells. Big Top is one of those inmates seen attacking the Batman before the Joker appears to come to Batman's aide and the pair work together to beat back the group of rampaging inmates.
Powers and Abilities
Scarface use an traditionally 1930's Handgun or Tommy Gun.
Black Power Ring
Black Power Ring retain powers and abilities that they had prior to their deaths. Their rings provide some level of functionality even when charge levels are at 0.0%. They possess the ability to "see" the emotional state of others as an aura colored by the emotional spectrum. Their rings are charged by removing the hearts of their victims and turning the organs into energy that can be absorbed by the rings. The hearts filled with splintered light may be charging more than just the individual rings.
Batman: The Animated Series / The New Batman Adventures
The Ventriloquist is voiced by George Dzunda.
The Ventriloquist is voiced by George Dzunda.
The Ventriloquist is voiced by Dan Castellaneta.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Wesker and Scarface are a boss fight early in Batman: Dark Tomorrow.
LEGO: Batman: The Videogame
The Ventriloquist and Scarface appear as bonus characters in LEGO Batman: The Videogame as exclusive characters to the Nintendo D.S. system.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Although the Ventriloquist does not appear in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Scarface does in the last level when Batman finds the Joker sitting on a throne talking to the puppet. Soon after this, the last battle between Batman and the Joker ends the game.
Batman: Arkham City
The Scarface puppet also appears again in Batman: Arkham City.