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Ra's al Ghul is a recurring villain in the DC Animated Universe and an enemy of the Dark Knight vigilante Batman. Appearing primarily in Batman: The Animated Series, he is the leader of an eco-terrorist group known as the Society of Shadows who intends to restore the balance of nature to Earth, usually through genocidal means. He is voiced by David Warner.

Near-Deaths

Ra's al Ghul has walked the Earth for hundreds of years, rejuvenating himself periodically by immersing himself in pools of restorative chemicals referred to as "Lazarus Pits". As well as prolong life, the Lazarus Pits supposedly have the power to restore life to the dead. Through the Pits, Ra's has been able to cheat death countless times. Below are several instances when Ra's has supposedly died.

Batman: The Animated Series

In the two-part episode "The Demon's Head", Ra's arranges for the abduction of Batman's sidekick Robin and stages an elaborate series of trials for the Caped Crusader to overcome. The purpose of these tests is to determine if the Dark Knight will prove to be a suitable heir to lead Ra's' organization, but although he passes the tests and saves Robin, Batman ultimately refuses Ra's' offer.

Ra's later attempts to carry out a diabolical plan to restore the balance of nature to the Earth by detonating bombs in every Lazarus Pit across the planet, causing them to erupt and overflow. The chemical stew of the pits is lethal to healthy human beings and the mass eruption will lead to the annihilation of half the planet's population. Batman interferes with the plan and he and Ra's duel over the edge of the central Lazarus Pit. Ra's ultimately loses this battle and seems to accept defeat graciously before plunging himself into the pit, apparently killing himself. However, after Batman and Robin have left the ruins of Ra's stronghold, Ra's emerges from the pit once more...

Superman: The Animated Series

Aged Ras.webp

In the episode "The Demon Reborn", Ra's has been reduced to an aged, withered state as the Lazarus Pits no longer work on him. He sends his daughter Talia to steal a Native American shaman's staff which is said to possess healing powers. However, the staff is not enough as Ra's desires powers far beyond mortal men, and plots to take Superman's power for himself.

After Talia ambushes Superman and knocks him out with the magical staff, she takes him to her father. Superman is taken to a lost city that Ra's took over centuries before and made his fortune from. While Superman is dragged towards a machine meant to drain his powers with the staff, he manages to create a distraction and fight off Ra's men. Unfortunately, Talia manages to stop him with the staff. However, it is too late for Ra's, who has died.

Deciding not to give up, Talia says to proceed with the process, as there is still a chance. Superman is connected to the machine and the staff drains his powers. Ra's body begins to heal and he revives. Batman arrives on the scene but not before Ra's has managed to take enough of Superman's strength to gain superhuman strength as well. Batman manages to defeat the thugs but Ra's proves to be far too strong for Batman. During the fight, Ra's causes the cave to collapse and the staff is thrown towards Superman, who takes the staff and destroys it just as Talia nearly falls off a cliff. Deciding that his daughter is more important than Superman's punishment, Ra's goes after her but they both fall into the river below. Superman sweeps the area with nis x-ray vision, but finds no sign of Ra's or Talia.

Near-Apocalypse of 2009

During an event known as the Near-Apocalypse of 2009, Batman and Ra's al Ghul fought one last time and Talia ended up helping Batman in defeating Ra's. After this encounter, Ra's' body was too battered and broken for even the Lazarus Pit to heal, but he had developed a new means of prolonging his life: a machine that could implant his consciousness into another body. The machine would only work with a close genetic match, so Ra's had no choice but have his mind transferred to Talia's body. Ultimately still loyal to her father, Talia gave up her body to Ra's, her consciousness being erased by the machine.

Death

Ra's in Talia's body.webp

Ra's al Ghul returns in the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past". By this point, he had been inhabiting Talia's body for over thirty years and had kept it young using the Lazarus Pit. During this time, Ra's had dismantled the Society of Shadows and reformed it into a charitable organization that funded numerous projects to protect the global environment.

On Bruce Wayne's birthday, Ra's, still maintaining the guise of Talia, visited Bruce in the Batcave. "Talia" offered Bruce the chance to regain his youth by immersing himself in the Lazarus Pit. Bruce was hesitant at first, but after Ra's staged an incident in which Bruce risked his life to save a pedestrian from being run over, he decided to visit Talia's residence in New Cuba. He was immersed in the Lazarus Pit and his body was rejuvenated to that of a physically fit man in his early fifties.

However, Bruce felt that using the Lazarus Pit was "cheating" and decided to leave the residence, but "Talia's" men stopped him and Terry McGinniss from going. Bruce and Terry overpowered the henchmen and went to find Talia, but Bruce heard Ra's' voice from behind a door. Bruce confronted Talia, but was shocked when he heard Ra's' voice coming from Talia's lips. Bruce and Terry were then knocked out by Ra's' bodyguard. Terry was dragged off to a nearby lake to be fed to the crocodiles while Bruce was taken to the Pit chamber where Ra's revealed the truth about what had happened to him following the Near-Apocalypse of '09.

Having perfected his mind transferral device, Ra's could implant his mind into any body he wanted. He decided to take Bruce's body, not only prolonging his life but taking revenge on him for his past defeats. Under the guise of Bruce's long-lost son, Ra's planned to use the Wayne fortune to fund his new empire. Before he could carry out the transfer, however, Terry intervened, having escaped the guards and donned his Batman suit. Ra's attacked with a sword and the two fought. With Batman backed onto the computer's control panel, he caught Ra's sword between his hands on a downswing and redirected the point into the panel, electrocuting Ra's into unconsciousness, and starting a fire.

After Bruce freed himself, he and Terry left the room. Ra's awoke to find the room ablaze. Not wanting to lose his mind transferral machine, he activated a fire suppression system, dousing the flames with fire retardant foam. However, a damaged electrical cable swung loose from the ceiling and a spark from the cable ignited the alchemical stew in the Lazarus Pit, causing an explosion. Bruce and Terry had left the building when the explosion occurred and saw it go up in flames. Terry opted to go back inside to find Ra's, but Bruce told him "Whatever was in there, died years ago".

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