Hellhound is a martial artist and mercenary who faced both Batman and Catwoman on multiple occasions. For a number of years, he sought revenge on Catwoman for a suspected slight while they were both honing their fighting skills at a Gotham City dojo. The original Hellhound was killed while attempting to defend Lew Moxon from Philo Zeiss at the commencement of Batman: War Games. A second Hellhound later surfaced in Gotham, working alongside Black Spider III. He had apparently purchased the original villain's costume and equipment from the Calculator.
One of Gotham City's most elite dojos was managed by the Armless Master, a world-renowned champion of the martial arts known for inspiring fanatical devotion among his disciples. Few suspected his most accomplished student, a man named Kai, was also a petty thief, and dangerously unhinged. Kai was scheming to pilfer a figurine of the ancient cat deity "Bast", which he believed could bestow mystic powers upon its owners. However, while performing a ritual with the idol, Kai was interrupted by fellow thief Selina Kyle, who "tainted" his ceremony by touching the object. The superstitious martial artist was enraged and beat Selina for her perceived insolence; however, Kyle later tracked Kai back to the Armless Master's dojo, where she was also welcomed as a student.
During their tenure as disciples of the Armless Master, Kai became the first individual to deduce Catwoman's secret identity through his interactions with Selina; he also continued resenting her for their earlier confrontation over the idol. Adopting the costumed identity of the Hellhound, he sparred with Catwoman, who finally defeated him. A maddened Kai demanded she finish him off, insisting it would complete the ceremony Selina had interrupted when they first met—and he would be reborn as a supernatural canine entity ("a true hound of hell"). Catwoman scarred his face with her clawed gloves instead, deepening his already seething hatred of her.
Having fallen out of favor with the Armless Master, Hellhound left Gotham City in disgrace and accumulated his own disciples, which he trained sufficiently enough that they were able to sell their skills abroad as mercenaries. Kai soon became involved in the troubled Southeast Asian island nation of Rheelasia, where local industries specialized in counterfeiting foreign consumer goods for profit. His paths crossed with Catwoman again when she was offered fifty thousand dollars by a Boston-based electronics firm to repossess a prototype microchip before it could be pirated in Rheelasia. Her actions brought her into conflict with Kai, who vaguely informed her that the Armless Master was dead (having been murdered by Lady Shiva). The duo found themselves in the position of reluctant allies when they were jointly tasked by Hellhound's employer, an archaeological expert known as the Collector, to recover an artifact known as the "Wheel of Plagues".
The Collector had discovered an ancient journal describing the underground wheel, whose inscriptions could be translated by members of the Order of St. Dumas. Unfortunately, the Wheel of Plagues was also being sought out by Ra's al Ghul, who had hired Bane to assist him in locating it. Ra's believed the wheel could create a plague capable of destroying humanity and fulfilling his quest to cleanse the earth. Hellhound and Catwoman successfully breached the booby-trapped labyrinth where the wheel was hidden, but were unable to stop Bane, who defeated them both and took the artifact. Catwoman and Hellhound briefly found themselves imprisoned by Ra's al Ghul in his compound before Batman, accompanied by Robin and Nightwing, arrived on the scene tracking Bane and Ra's. While Batman fought Ra's, Catwoman was able to free herself along with Hellhound in the confusion. Mutual hatred spurred them to fight again once they'd made good their escape, and Kai was defeated once more. Ignoring his request for death at her hand, Catwoman simply tied him up before returning to civilization.
At some point Kai's career as a mercenary on Rheelasia continued, and he was hired by Jackie Pamerjanian—a local drug kingpin—as an enforcer. Pamerjanian was responsible for orchestrating the kidnappings of foreign backpackers, tourists, and expatriates, whom he utilized as slave labor on his plantations while holding them for ransom. He even captured Black Canary, then on a mission for the Birds of Prey, and enslaved her in a similar manner. Hellhound, whose duties included supervising the guards as well as killing potential escapees, immediately recognized Canary and longed to test his skills against hers. Pamerjanian was enraged when Canary vanished on Kai's watch, unaware that he had permitted her escape so he could enjoy the thrill of hunting and recapturing her. Nevertheless, Black Canary made short work of Kai, while a fellow escapee, Jason Bard, held off his pack of vicious Dobermans. Pamerjanian lost his crop when the Rheelasian army raided the plantations, freeing the hostages in the process.
His professional reputation ruined, Hellhound settled in Gotham, reduced to working as a bodyguard for low-level underworld figure Lew Moxon. Batman later created an ambitious contingency scenario to take control of the Gotham mobs by uniting all the rival underworld syndicates at a summit he would chair himself, disguised as crimelord Matches Malone. Eager to gain his approval, Stephanie Brown set the plan into motion without Batman's knowledge, ignorant of the integral role he was to play at the summit. As Matches Malone failed to show accordingly, suspicion and paranoia deepened on all sides until the meeting erupted into a firefight. When the smoke cleared a number of leading mobsters and their enforcers were dead, including Moxon and Hellhound. The ensuing power vacuum resulted in one of the largest gang wars in Gotham's modern history.
Following Kai's death his belongings passed into the hands of the Calculator, who made a modest business reselling the equipment of deceased supervillains to others eager to take up their mantle. Another petty crook, Jack Chifford, claimed to be the new Hellhound after purchasing Kai's costume and paraphernalia. He and Derrick Coe, a felon claiming to be the successor to Black Spider II, became pawns in the Calculator's long-running feud with the Birds of Prey. Despite his relatively unknown status among other supervillains, Chifford quickly built up his reputation when the Calculator made him one of the first recruits for his reformed Secret Society of Super Villains.
Unfortunately, the second Hellhound's membership in the Society made him a prime target for government agencies such as Checkmate and the Suicide Squad, and Chifford was rounded up as part of a worldwide campaign to ship Earth's most devious villains to a distant planet. Upon his arrival, Chifford was mortally wounded by an alien creature, which sliced open his stomach with its barbed stinger. Most of the villains were in favor of leaving Chifford behind, but the Body Doubles forced them to bind his wounds and carry him. They later used him as bait to distract a group of monsters while the others made their getaway. Chifford was devoured in the process.
Powers and Abilities
Hellhound was an excellent martial artist, although his skills were not equal to his lofty opinion of them. He also trained dogs to serve as his hunting pack.