LEAGUE OF ASSASSINS
Membership: Alpha, Bronze Tiger, Cassandra Cain, Circle of Six, David Cain, Deathstroke the Terminator, Detonator, Doctor Dark, Doctor Dedalus, Doctor Tzin-Tzin, Expediter, Hook I, Hook II, Krunk, Kyle Abbot, Lady Shiva, Los Gemelos, Mad Dog, Maduvu, Merlyn, Momotado, Nyssa Raatko, Onyx, Owens, Ox, Pru, Ra's al Ghul, Razorburn, Red Talon, Sensei, Shrike I, Shrike II, Talia al Ghul, Tigris, Ubu, Vial, Viper, Wam Wam, Whip, Whisper A'Daire, White Ghost, White Willow, Z
Base of Operations: Worldwide
First Appearance: Strange Adventures I #215 (December, 1968)
History: The League of Assassins was a secret society dedicated to the craft of murder. The League would accept contract killings for a fee, and were part of Ra's al Ghul's worldwide criminal organization.
(Batgirl I #73 (fb)) - When Ra’s al Ghul became distrustful of most of his mercenaries he was willing to listen to David Cain’s ideas on raising a child to be a loyal assassin. Sandra and Carolyn Wu-San were sisters who grew up in Detroit and became masters of the martial arts at a young age. They put on underground martial arts exhibitions that generated a lot of attention. David Cain, seeking to find a mate that would bear his heir thought Sandra would be the perfect mother, but noted how she held herself back during martial arts fights against her sister. He wanted to bring out the rage and fighting potential he knew was in her, so he slaughtered Carolyn. Sandra tracked down Cain and the League of assassins, intending to kill them, but during the fight she realized her purpose of being an engine of destruction. She was overwhelmed, but Cain spared her life and she agreed to have a child with him. After the birth of Cassandra Cain Sandra went into the wilderness and went on a vision quest. She came back reborn as Lady Shiva, a woman of both destruction and creation.
(JLA #43-46) - Ra’s al Ghul had Talia steal Batman’s secret files, files he had hidden from even his own JLA teammates, which detailed ways to neutralize every member of the JLA if they ever went rogue, and had the League use those plans against the JLA. He distracted Batman by stealing the bodies of Batman’s parents from their grave. After a number of attacks that took out JLAers the remaining team members retreated to the Watchtower. The JLA had to return to Earth, because Ra’s had activated the Tower of Babel, a device that scrambled the language center of every human mind on the planet, and the result was worldwide chaos. The JLA located Ra’s stronghold thanks to Batman, who’d recovered the bodies of his parents and refused Ra’s offer to resurrect them if he stopped being a thorn in Ra’s side. Superman destroyed the Tower, but Ra’s had already accomplished one of his goals. While the Tower was in use Turkey and its neighbor Rhapastan went to war, and Ra’s agents in Rhapastan were ready to unleash biochemical weapons on Turkey. Talia rebelled because she didn’t like Ra’s making her an active part of his assassination attempt on the JLA, and she warned the JLA about the bio-weapons location, although one of the League discovered her treachery and shot her. Talia survived and fled, and Ra’s killed the man that wounded her. The JLA stopped Ra’s agents and confiscated the biochemical weaponry, but Ra’s escaped capture.
(Batgirl I #68) - Nyssa Raatko, calling herself Nyssa al Ghul, followed in her father’s footsteps and took over his empire. She recruited a new generation of the League of Assassins consisting of Alpha, the Circle of six, Krunk, Los Gemelos, Mad Dog, Momotado, Ox, Shrike, Tigris and White Willow. She recruited Lady Shiva to act as their new Sensei and used the remaining female Ubus to act as her personal security. Shiva had a sparring session with her students, and finding Joey N’Bobo unfit as a fighter she disemboweled him, killing him and hopefully sending a message to her students about her standards of excellence. Batgirl tracked down Lady Shiva to Nyssa’s stronghold in the Balkans, hoping to learn her true parentage. Nyssa’s security systems detected Batgirl, but she wanted to see what would happen when she confronted Shiva. Batgirl found herself in Shiva’s dojo, where the new League all bowed down before her, calling her the One Who is All. Shiva said they respected her for being the League’s perfect living weapon and for having defeated Shiva in personal combat. Batgirl disliked their adulation, and liked it even less when Shiva said she’d be their teacher too. Shiva attacked Batgirl, reminding her they were supposed to have fought to the death, but admitting that she was grateful in a sense because Batgirl humbling her forced her to relearn. Batgirl demanded to know if Shiva was her mother, but she was evasive and asked Batgirl if she saw her creation or her destruction in Shiva’s eyes. Nyssa was intrigued, but didn’t want to risk either Batgirl or Shiva dying, and summoned her scientist Mr. Freeze, who froze Batgirl solid, putting an end to the fight.
(Batgirl I #69, 70) - Nyssa told Shiva that Batgirl was her father’s investment in human engineering and she had every right to claim her property, but paused to see if Shiva would object, which she did not. Nyssa asked Batgirl if she was hoping Shiva would fight for her, if that would prove anything. Nyssa allowed Batgirl to remain frozen and told Shiva to carry on with instructing her students. Shiva broke up a sparring match between Alpha and Mad Dog to demonstrate her skills on Mad Dog, complementing his raw talent, but criticizing his focus and badly hurting him. Batgirl wondered what point she was trying to make, and realized that against her better nature watching Shiva elegantly hurt people gave her a feeling of exhilaration. Nyssa had a video conference with Society members Talia al Ghul, Penguin, Deathstroke, Merlyn and Calculator, telling them all was going well with Mr. Freeze’s research to create a machine that could freeze half the world’s oil supplies. She surprised them by revealing she had Batgirl as her captive and told Penguin he should pay her the bounty on Batgirl’s head. She also mocked Deathstroke, who still hoped his daughter Ravager would be the one to take Batgirl out, saying his daughter should set her sights lower and go after third-stringer Flamebird. After the conference Talia confided in Batgirl that she was only working with the Society for her own ends, and hoped to initiate a hostile takeover of the group alongside Talia. Nyssa was sure the Society would conquer the world and told Batgirl that once she was in charge Batgirl could fulfill her destiny as the finest product of the League of Assassins. Instead of busting drug gangs and supervillains she could help Nyssa stop the corporate greed that starved some people and killed other due to making medicine unaffordable or unavailable. Batgirl was unconvinced and Nyssa put her in Mr. Freeze’s lab to reflect on her offer. Mr. Freeze had only agreed to work with Nyssa and the Society because he’d been promised the Lazarus Pit could resurrect his wife Nora Fries. Batgirl convinced him he was being used as a useful tool, and both he and Nora deserved better. Freeze unfroze Batgirl and together they fought past the Ubus Nyssa set up as security for Freeze’s lab. They made their way to the Lazarus Pit and Freeze pushed Nora in, but she emerged furious and insane. Years of alterations by Mr. Freeze’s machines had altered Nora’s biochemistry, allowing her to internalize the fires of the Lazarus Pit. She blamed Mr. Freeze for turning her into a monster, and rechristening herself Lazara she started raising zombies from the grounds of Nyssa’s stronghold. Nyssa admitted that she built her stronghold on one of the sites where Milosevic committed genocide, saying she never wanted to forget what true evil was. Lazara’s powers also resurrected Joey N’Bobo. Nyssa confirmed that the resurrected were not truly alive, and Batgirl had no reason not to hold back against them. Shiva was impressed, and sent her League into the fray. Batgirl took time during the fight to tell Alpha he didn’t belong with the League, and that his belief that he was a born killer was ruing his life. Alpha saw wisdom in what she said and ducked out of the fight. The zombies threatened to overwhelm them, and killed Los Gemelos. Nyssa tried to kill Lazara, but Batgirl staid her hand, saying there had to be a better way. She admitted to Freeze that she’d made a terrible mistake, and asked him to freeze Lazara again. He said he would not, but he did have a plan to stop the carnage he’d inadvertently caused. He blew up the freeze machine he’d been working on for the Society, and Nyssa’s stronghold began collapsing under tons of ice. Batgirl fled to safety with League members Ox, Tigris and White Willow. She witnessed Mr. Freeze and Lazara making their escape as Freeze chased after his wife, begging her to stop her rampage. Ox, Tigris and Willow looked to Batgirl for guidance as to what to do next, and she wondered if she could show them a life path that would lead them away from being hired killers. Shiva survived, and told her students Mad Dog, Kitty Kumbata, Wam Wam and shrike that she had a contest for them, hunting Batgirl and her defectors.
(Batgirl I #71, 72) - Batgirl, Ox, Tigris and White Willow fled into the woods with Shiva and her League of Assassins in pursuit. Batgirl reflected on the death and destruction her quest to learn about her past and her parentage had already caused, and wondered if her motives weren’t selfish. She missed Bludhaven and finally having a life of her own. Shrike, Kitty Kumbata, Wam Wam and Mad Dog ambushed them as Lady Shiva hung back and watched the action unfold. Unbeknownst to both groups Alpha was watching them from a nearby treetop. Batgirl ordered Ox, Willow and Tigris to flee while she dealt with the assassins, saying that none of them had the skills to live up to Shiva’s expectations or replace her one day, which is what Batgirl assumed they all hoped for. Her new allies returned to surprise the League, but when Ox bearhugged Wam Wam, Mad Dog stabbed him from behind with a sword, killing both combatants. Kitty Kumbata told her fellow assassins to flee, saying Mad dog was out of control and would kill them all. White Willow tried to attack Mad Dog, only for him to rip her throat out with his bare hands. Batgirl finally realized that Mad dog was David Cain's first, failed experiment in creating the perfect assassin. Mad dog could so no goal further than killing whoever was around him when ordered, and called Batgirl his sister, promising he’d kill her too. Lady Shiva had convinced that Batgirl had stolen Mad Dog’s birthright after David Cain abandoned him. Alpha made his presence known, and tried to shoot Mad Dog, but Batgirl staid his hand as her adversary fled into the woods. Alpha told ?Batgirl that Mad dog could not change and was beyond redemption unlike them, but Batgirl insisted there would be no more killing under her watch and pursued Mad Dog by herself. Batgirl fought Mad Dog, insisting she could save him from himself, but he would not listen. Their fight ended when he stabbed Batgirl through the chest. Before she slipped into unconsciousness she told Alpha and Tigris she hoped she proved to them that they were worth saving and they could start a better life. Shiva picked up Batgirl’s lifeless form, saying she wasn’t supposed to die this way, and carried her off. Batgirl hallucinated Spoiler carrying her in her arms, saying she had a story to tell her before she died.
(Batman I #670, Robin II #168, Nightwing II #138, Detective Comics I #838) - Ra’s returned to life by possessing the body of his chauffer Sam Tang. Tang had promised himself to Ra’s, but ended up betraying him by poisoning himself with radiation. Ra’s new body was falling apart, so he knew he needed a more permanent solution to remaining alive. He met with Talia, who’d been seeking the shifting city of Nanda Parbat, which held the secret of life unceasing. She made it clear that while he was dead she’d become the ruler of the League of Assassins, but admitted Sensei had taken some of the League and formed a rival splinter group. Ra’s said he wanted to hold his daughter again, and they hugged. Damian asked what was going on and Ra’s was shocked to see his grandson dressed up as Robin. He grew furious, but Talia said he didn’t understand how complicated things had gotten. Ra’s said he could easily possess his own flesh and blood and told Damian to submit to him. Damian refused to let his grandfather possess him, and Ra’s roared that he demanded absolute obedience, wondering where Damian’s defiance came from. Talia told Damian to run, and Ra’s ordered the League of Assassins to pursue him. The League immediately stopped listening to Talia to follow Ra’s again. Sensei learned of Ra’s resurrection and de could not allow the demon to find Nanda Parbat. He assembled his Seven Men of Death, asking Hook and Merlyn how they should slay the demon. Damian fled to Gotham City, and Ra’s sent a cadre of assassins after him, saying he hadn’t dragged his spirit through frozen nothingness to be foiled by a spoiled child. He bound Talia’s wrists and escorted her back to his stronghold with the League. He reminded her Damian’s whole purpose was to be a suitable shell for his lifeforce, and he thought of several horrifying ways to punish and execute Talia. Talia reminded him that Damian was her son, and she only did what any mother would. She told her father he’d completely lost touch with his humanity. Batman rescued Talia from Ra’s stronghold, and she told him Ra’s might already be on his way to Nanda Parbat. He was ready to pursue the demon, but Talia warned him Damian’s life was in danger and pleaded with him to return to Gotham City. Batman said he could simply alert Nightwing to protect Damian and Talia was furious, telling Batman it was easier for him to pursue a vendetta against an enemy than to take care of his own son. The Seven Men of Death brought Sensei two pieces of the secret map to Nanda Parbat. Sensei told his men the map pieces could be anything from a piece of parchment to a tattoo or pendant. He dispatched Merlyn to find one of the seven families of the map. Merlyn found the hermit entrusted with the map and shot him with arrows before getting a look at his birthmark. Sensei sent Hook and Maduvu to Singapore, where they located another keeper of the map. When Maduvu threatened to rip his wife’s unborn child from her belly he relented and gave them his piece of the map, which was a poem. Sensei received their report and discussed the matter with Merlin. Sensei found the patterns drawing the map pieces together and was confident he’d located where the entrance to Nanda Parbat wa sin the Himalayas. Ra’s ninjas stormed Wayne Manor, and Batman sent Nightwing as backup. Nightwing, Alfred, Damian and Robin fought valiantly against overwhelming odds, with Damian constantly complaining that their combat style was far too defensive. The fight spilled into the Batcave, and Dragonfly, Tiger Moth and Silken Spider entered the fray, and were quite interested to learn that the Batcave was underneath Wayne Manor. Talia had sent them to protect Damian, and they started gunning down the ninjas, who put them down with poisoned darts. The ninjas took off with Robin and Damian, but Nightwing couldn’t pursue them because he had to save Dragonfly and her friends lives. He whipped up an antidote in the Batcave and administered it to them. He cursed himself for the impossible choice he’d had to make. The League brought Damian and Robin to Ra’s stronghold, but when they entered Ra’s throneroom the heroes revealed they’d been feigning unconsciousness and attacked their captors. Damian found a corridor and slammed the door behind him, saying it was foolish of Robin to help him since he considered ?Robin an enemy. Ra’s told Robin not to think of him as an enemy, and said he was in need of a strong mentor. Robin responded that he had Batman, but Ra’s said Batman’s resources were limited and he was only trying to save one city. Ra’s reach was worldwide, his resources were limitless, and since he’d learned to conquer death he could bring back Robin’s servants if only the boy would work with him. Robin turned him down, as Ra’s was fairly certain he was going to, and knocked Robin out with a karate chop to the neck. Batman and Talia approached Ra’s stronghold, and Tali had loaned Batman a suit of armor that she called a family heirloom. League ninjas, but I-Ching showe dup and helped them fend them off, saying karma had revealed to him that he had a larger role to play in upcoming events. They snuck into Ra’s stronghold where Ra’s challenged Batman to a sword duel. He remarked that the Darknight Detective had gotten faster since their last battle, and Batman disarmed him. Ra’s showed that his League had Robin and Damian at his mercy. He warned Batman that ?Sensei was the real villain, not him, and Batman would need his help to defeat Sensei. He told Batman to choose weather Damian or Robin would be the one for him to possess.
(Batman I #671) - Sensei, League ninjas and the Men of Death set fire to Nanda Parbat, with Sensei demanding the monks of Parbat give him the keys to the temple of Rama Kushna. The monks warned him that the Fountain of Life would bring only death to one who lacked purity of spirit, but Sensei said he intended to poison and pollute the fountain. Ra’s captured Robin and Damian, and told batman to choose which of his sons he would sacrifice so Ra’s could possess them. Batman refused to choose between them, and told Ra’s there was another way for him to restore himself. He offered to take Ra’s to Nanda Parbat and the Fountain of Life, and Ra’s accepted. They found Parbat ablaze, and Ra’s asked Batman if he ever saw someone that hated their enemy as much as Sensei hated Ra’s. Batman battled the Men of Death, and was surprised with how easily he overcame them. The monks of Parbat said Rama Kusha had strengthened his hand and weakened theirs. Batman and Ra’s made their way to the fountain of Life, which Ra’s had always believed was the prototype of the Lazarus Pits that had kept him alive over the centuries. Sensei was infuriated to see Ra’s yet lived, and asked what he needed to do to get rid of his wayward son. Ra’s asked him why he stood in his way, and Sensei responded that under Ra’s and Talia’s rule the League of Assassins had lost their way and their honor, and he needed to restore both to them.. Sensei rammed his staff into Ra’s chest , saying that if he just died Sensei might spare the Fountain. Batman and Sensei engaged in battle, with Sensei breaking Batman’s arm. Sensei was clearly the more skilled fighter, bragging that Batman had trained in combat for decades while he’d trained for centuries. Sensei threw his staff, driving it through Batman’s stomach. Batman knew he was outmatched, but because of his advanced age Sensei had limited stamina, and Batman kept the fight going long enough to get the advantage. They fell into the Fountain of Life and Sensei found himself burning, unable to stand the purity of the Fountain.
(Robin II #169, Nightwing II #139, Detective Comics I #839) - White Ghost watched over Ra’s captives, and while Ra’s had promised to spare Robin, White Ghost hadn’t, and considered disposing of the boy. Robin attacked the League ninjas, and was joined in his fight by I-Ching. Damian used the distraction to run, saying he was going to help his father. Talia pursued him, saying his father would never accept him as a son like she had, and Damian said he didn’t care about Talia’s love because Batman was cooler. I-Ching told Robin to leave him, and Robin was reluctant but I-Ching convinced him, saying he had some new techniques he wanted to try out on the ninjas. I-Ching shocked the ninjas with his new ability to float in the air. Robin caught up with Talia and asked if Ra’s claim that he could resurrect his parents if Robin agreed to serve him was true. Talia warned him that Ra’s collected people like toys, often only helping them so he could destroy them later, but begrudgingly admitted that Ra’s could raise the dead. Robin wondered if he had the right to deny his loved ones a second chance at life. Robin found White Ghost, and hating himself thinking about what Batman would make of the choice he’d made, asked if Ra’s would give him a second chance and allow Robin to serve him. White Ghost was angered, saying Robin had already turned down his master’s offer and attacked him. They sparred until Robin convinced him that Ra’s might have had his own motives for the offer he made Robin, motives White Ghost wasn’t privy to. White Ghost said that if he was serious he had to bathe in the Lazarus Pit and entirely leave his old life behind. I-Ching told Robin he sensed the conflict within him, and wished him to reconsider. Robin attacked and I-Ching countered his attacks, saying he would step aside because a superior man had to choose his own path. Nightwing arrived and told Robin he’d stop him at any cost. Ra’s transferred his consciousness to one of the Nanda Parbat monks, but found that his presence immediately caused the monk’s body to start decaying. He told the Men of Death that with Sensei dead it would be sensible for them to align themselves with him. Batman approached them, and Merlyn, deciding he wanted to go down in history as the man who killed Batman, shot an arrow at him. Batman dodged it and floored Merlyn with one punch. Ra’s warned the Men of Death that if any of them tried to attack Batman they’d have to go through him first. Ra’s knew Batman had emerged from the Fountain of Life, and said that in a sense they’d both been reborn. He offered Batman his hand in friendship, saying they could accomplish great things together. He warned that this was the last time he would ever offer his friendship, and Batman grasped his hand and crushed it. Nightwing preferred to talk things out, but he and Robin engaged in combat even though Robin said he wasn’t going to enter the Lazarus Pit, he just wanted to take samples to analyze. Nightwing thought Robin had started to move on from the recent losses in his life, but realized that had been wishful thinking. Nightwing warned Robin not to mess with the natural order and Robin reminded him that people came back from the dead all the time. He asked Nightwing if Jason Todd came back from the dead why shouldn’t his dad. In addition to his parents Robin wanted to bring Superboy back, having already spent a year trying to find a way to bring him back to life. I-Ching decided to act, sparring against both of them. He told Robin he lacked clarity because all he saw was death, but Nightwing should understand his need to find balance after balance had been lost. Robin and Nightwing dazed each other when I-Ching dodged their attacks and Nightwing said he’d let robin make his own choices. Robin obtained the sample, thought about his lost friends and family, and then dumped it out. He apologized to Nightwing and they embraced. I-Ching chose to stay at Ra’s stronghold to secure the Lazarus Pit so the events he witnessed would never be repeated. Ra’s contacted White Ghost, telling him to send backup to Nanda Parbat, and enough explosives to blow up the hidden city if need be. Damian disguised himself as a League ninja to join White Ghost, who easily saw through his disguise. Alfred flew Talia, Robin and Nightwing to Nanda Parbat, where all Hell had broken loose. Ra’s had hold of Damien, ready to possess his body while Batman and the monks of Parbat fought furiously with the League of Assassins. The new arrivals turned the tide of battle and Batman pulled Damian away from Ra’s, telling his son to grab a sword and fight. Talia was furious, accusing Batman of being willing to send his own son to his death, and Batman replied that he expected the same out of Damian as he did his other children. White Ghost offered himself up to Ra’s, asking him to take over his body. Ra’s was touched that the son he always despised always gave the most, and took control of his form, effectively killing his son. Ra’s told Batman and company that his son’s sacrifice would not be in vain, and because he believed in an eye for an eye he would kill Robin and Damian. Talia knocked out Damian and fled with him, telling Batman he was surely going to die in his final stand against Ra’s, and she was protecting the legacy of the man she once loved. Batman clashed furiously with Ra’s while Robin and Nightwing fought the Men of Death, keeping them from interfering. A blast of mystic energy separated Ra’s and Batman, and the monks of Parbat said they’d prayed to Rama Kushna and showed her the devastation Ra’s had wrought. Kushna decreed that Nanda Parbat was forever closed to Ra’s, and that if he refused to leave he would face death everlasting. Ra’s didn’t want his fight to be over, but when the ground started opening up beneath him he was forced to flee with his League of Assassins.
(Nightwing II #152) - Ra's sent the League to the Batcave to kidnap Nightwing, but he handily dispatched the ninjas. Ra's then called Nightwing, letting him know that he only wanted to talk, and he was true to his word. When Nightwing met him in the Thar Desert he just wanted confirmation that Batman was dead.
(Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #1-3) - The Suit of Sorrows was stolen from the Batcave by the Order of Purity, the secret organization that originally forged it. Talia wanted it back in her possession in order to bequeath it to her son Damian, and sent Merlyn and the League of Assassins to do the job. The League was thwarted by Azrael, the Order’s new chosen knight who wore the Suit of Sorrows. Nightwing convinced Talia and the League to give up on recovering the Suit of Sorrows. He wanted to give Azrael a chance at being a hero, and promised Talia that if he went rogue Azrael would become his responsibility.
Comments: Created by Dennis O'Neil & Neil Adams.
The League of Assassins received a profile in Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #13.
The League of Assassins had a cameo in Batgirl I #65, 67.
All characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © DC Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Please visit The Official DC Comics Site at: http://www.batman.com