Arthur Reeves was a Gotham City councilman with an anti-Batman agenda. He often opposed Batman, and repeatedly tried to turn the public against the Dark Knight. Reeves believed that Batman was as insane as the villains that he apprehended, and stopped at nothing to present Batman as he believed that Batman was: A lawless vigilante.
When Denny O'Neil signed on to the Batman Series in 1969, he tried to reinstate the mood of the early days, but couldn't actually make the Dark Knight an outlaw. Instead, he introduced a spokesman for the anti-Batman front in the form of Public Works Commissioner Arthur Reeves in Detective Comics #399. After he condemned Batman's decision to hide behind a mask, Reeves replied to the Dark Knight's questioning that he was "absolutely" in favor of full disclosure. Without another word, Batman peeled off Reeves' toupee and dropped it in the councilman's palm. O'Neil continued in that vein for five subsequent appearances through 1972, most hilariously in the Neal Adams-illustrated "Half An Evil", as Reeves regaled Commissioner James Gordon with an account of how he'd take the Dark Knight "down a peg or two": "I may decide to see how tough he is! An Arthur Reeves left....followed by by an Arthur Reeves right!" Batman then slipped up behind Reeves, said "Boo!" and let a smile crack through his stoic facade as the councilman charged out the door.
Reeves resurfaced in 1976 for Detective Comics #463 and 464s account of Black Spider, a much more sinister vigilante. Reeves also appeared briefly in Batman #315 as part of a meeting on a possible move by a major Gotham business, which showed that the councilman's life did not revolve entirely around tirades against Batman.
Reeves made another appearance in later years that found the councilman running for Mayor on an anti-Batman platform while his opponent, Hamilton Hill, wanted a shake-up of the Gotham City Police Department. Within days of the election, Reeves was provided with photographic evidence of the Dark Knight's real identity, which he gleefully provided to the press. The pictures, which revealed Batman as a crime boss, were easily proven as fakes and the ensuing scandal cost Reeves the election. That was exactly what Hamilton Hill's backer, disgraced political boss, Rupert Thorne, had wanted when he gave the photos to Reeves. Weeks later, Reeves confessed about Thorne's role in the election debacle and finally retired from both Batman and politics.
In Other Media
- Arthur Reeves turned up in the animated Batman continuity in 1993's Batman: Mask of the Phantasm as a corrupt city official who was once an intern for Carl Beaumont (before "selling his name to the mob"). He later became involved with Sal Valestra's Gang in order to gain the influence to enter City Council. Reeves held a press conference in an attempt to rally support to go after Batman. Commissioner James Gordon refused and said that Batman didn't kill. Reeves objected to that and claimed that half of the police force believed that Batman was just as crazy as the criminals that he brought in. Despite that, Gordon refused to hunt down Batman. Thanks to a shady past, however, Reeves fell under the shadow of The Joker and ended up laughing maniacally in a hospital ward with Joker Venom that coursed through his veins. Reeves' last appearance in the film was at the Gotham City Mental Hospital, recovering from the effect of exposure to Joker's Joker Venom. Because he was desperate for money during his first election campaign, Reeves sold out Beaumont's hiding place in Europe to Valestra's Gang. A sequel in 1996's BATMAN & ROBIN ADVENTURES ANNUAL #1 (written by Paul Dini) found Arthur Reeves completely unhinged by the experience: his facial muscles were contorted into a permanent smile and his skin was yellow. He took Andrea Beaumont's Phantasm persona for his own and attempted to kill her. Not only did Reeves find out that Andrea was the Phantasm, he also found out that Batman was Bruce Wayne, the two people that he had betrayed years ago. Andrea then manipulated Reeves into leaping from a skyscraper balcony to his death before she left Gotham.
Arthur Reeves in the comics was arrogant and against Batman.
In Mask of the Phantasm, Arthur Reeves was a handsome yet selfish arrogant young man who was a corrupt city official who acted as a puppet to the Mob. Although he was nasty if his life or his career was threatened, Reeves became quite nervous and anxious as shown when the Joker brutally assaulted him and Reeves started to pant, sweat, and knew that what Joker had in store for him wasn't good. Reeves would do anything to save his own skin and did not care who got hurt in his place, which was evident by the fact that he pleaded with Sal Valestra's Mob to help him if he sold Carl Beaumont out to them (Beaumont believed that the Mob "just want their money back"). Although he was seemingly in love with Andrea Beaumont, Reeves never told her that he let her father die (at the hands of the man who became the Joker) and knew that she might leave him or report him to GCPD. Reeves also seemed to be insecure about himself and acted overly confident or even cocky around others in order to get his way.