Alfred Stryker was a criminal living in Gotham City. He retains the distinction of being the first villain to encounter Batman in a published story.

History

Golden Age

Alfred Stryker was an executive of the Apex chemical company. In an unsuccessful attempt to become the sole owner of the company without having to share profits with his two partners, he ruthlessly arranged for the murder of his partners. The first two are successful, but Batman interferes with Stryker's plans by catching his hired murderers red-handed trying to dispose of evidence which would link Stryker to the murders. Thwarting the murder of the third partner, Batman confirms his deductions that Stryker was behind the killings. Stryker attempted to pull a gun on Batman, only to be punched by Batman and knocked backward over a rail, plummeting headfirst into a vat of acid. Batman nonchalantly murmurs to the surving partner, "A fitting end for one of his kind".

Many years later in Batman's career, when a crook gained control of Johnny Thunder's genie "Thunderbolt", he turned the powerful genie against members of the Justice League of America, and sent Thunderbolt to go back in time and erase Batman. Thunderbolt arrived at the moment in time when Batman was attacking Alfred Stryker's hired thugs in the distant past. Joining in the battle, Thunderbolt helped the henchmen subdue Batman, causing him to fail miserably, and never solve the Case of the Chemical Syndicate, which presumptuously also allowed Stryker to murder his final partner and destroy the evidence linking him to the killings. Batman's resulting loss of self-confidence caused him to abandon his new crime fighting career, although time was restored and this incident was reverted later.

Silver Age

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Modern Age

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New 52

In Detective Comics (Vol. 2) #27, "Alby" Stryker is depicted as a slim man in a purple suit. A member of the Ace Chemicals board, he targets his partners for trying to edge him out of his holdings, though for unspecified reasons. After saving Rogers, Batman cornered Stryker at the Ace Chemical Processing Plant, though Gordon interrupted the confrontation. Using the opportunity to draw his gun, Stryker was knocked into a vat of unspecified chemicals by Batman to save the officer. However, a hand is shown leaving the vat at the close of the story, indicating that Stryker survived and had future encounters with Batman.

Powers and Abilities

In his original appearance, Alfred Stryker was a clumsy, lightweight thug, and no match for the likes of fighters like Batman. However, he was a ruthless mastermind who relied on henchmen to carry out his schemes. Stryker was always armed with a knife and an automatic pistol, concealed within his suit.

Behind the scenes

  • In his original appearance, Stryker was Batman's very first confirmed murder victim. In subsequent stories however, he either survives the encounter, is arrested by the Dark Knight or dies from other circumstances. This change came due the establishment of Batman's moral codes and rules, especially regarding killing criminals.
  • Stryker's death (falling into a vat of chemicals) predates the often used backstory of the Joker (who also fell into one during an encounter with Batman). In Detective Comics (Vol. 2) #27, the updated version directly implies that Stryker was disfigured by the chemicals and became the Joker.
  • The surnames of the business partners Stryker kills are Lambert and Crane. Both of these are shared with the criminals Dr. Jonathan Crane (The Scarecrow) and Adam Lamberts (The Crime-Master).
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