Once employed as an actual ratcatcher in Gotham City, Otis Flannegan soon started using his strange ability—an affinity with and the ability to control rats—to stage a variety of crimes. Eventually, his control over the vermin grew until he threatened Gotham with a veritable army of rodents. Incarcerated many times at Blackgate Prison, he can cause as much damage behind bars as without, using his loyal, trained, pets to relay messages and transport materials inside the maze of ventilation ducts that wind throughout the giant prison.
HistoryFormerly an actual rat catcher in Gotham City, Otis Flannegan sank into a life of crime like he sank in the sewers he previously worked in. Though he's been imprisoned numerous times in his career (he's a regular in Blackgate prison) for assault, kidnapping, and robbery (much like other lesser known Gotham's Rogues), Flannegan calls himself The RATCATCHER because of a special trait he was given(where is never explained but the common assumption is he was born with them): the ability to communicate with and train rats. While the small furry army at his control is, at first glance, a rather odd and seemingly useless gift, The Ratcatcher has used his minions to plague Gotham on more than one occasion. Imagine, if you will, a single rat. Small, weak, but strangely intelligent (just like Flannegan, who possesses an odd similarity in look to the small creatures.) But, imagine multiplying this single biting rodent by tens of thousands; a seemingly unstoppable sea of rats able to attack on a near biblical scale, all under The Ratcatcher’s control. In prison, Flannegan is able to communicate within the prison with other prisoners, and is able to smuggle items in and out, with the help of his small friends.
The RATCATCHER later made an appearance among several other villains (Including Killer Croc, Hugo Strange, KGBeast, Crazy Quilt, Wrath II, Tobias Whale, and the Ten-Eyed Man) on the cover of Formerly Known As the Justice League # 4.
Even though Flannegan isn't the most devious or most powerful of Batman's rogues gallery, nor is he considered as insane, his gas mask and vermin control gear (due to the environment he works in), has allowed him to be a worthy villain among the criminal underworld. He also had a friendship with the minor rouge Magpie who counts him as a good friend and ally thought he is considerably older than her.
When Infinite Crisis began, the Ratcatcher was being protected by, in addition to his rat friends, the homeless community. When he was discovered and being taken away, one of the homeless attempted to aid Flannegan, but was easily knocked aside by the arresting officers. The man turned out to be an OMAC in hiding, and the injury apparently initiated its release. The OMAC identified the Ratcatcher as a gamma level threat and vaporized him.
Powers and abilities
The Ratcatcher possessed thorough knowledge of Gotham's sewer system and Blackgate Prison's layout. He also possessed the ability to communicate with and train all rats. The Ratcatcher also notably overvalued rodent life, especially in comparison to human life.
In other media
A character called Ratboy similar to Otis Flannegan named Patrick appeared in the Batman Beyond episode "Rats", and was portrayed by Taran Noah Smith. He is a deformed runaway teen who resembled a rat earning him the nickname of Ratboy from his bullies. Looking for seclusion, he fled to the sewers where he learned he could control rats and tried to use the ability to seek revenge on those who bullied him.
While the Ratcatcher does not appear himself, he is alluded to in the fifth and final season. During No Man's Land, a gang called the Soothsayers was among the many villain groups who claimed territory in Gotham City. They are visually based on the New 52 design of the Ratcatcher, since they all wear similar gas masks and dungarees. Additionally, the Ratcatcher's main environment in Gotham's sewers is also referenced, as the Soothsayers' main goal is to dig a tunnel system under the Gotham River.
- Ratcatcher appeared as a boss in the video game Batman: Dark Tomorrow.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
- While the Ratcatcher does not appear in Batman: Arkham Asylum, his gear and his gas mask can be seen in the Ventilation System of the asylum's Botanical Gardens.
Real Name: Otis Flannegan
TELL MAINTENANCE TO INCREASE RAT POISON AROUND CELL.
Psychological Profile: Suffering from acute anthropomorphic delusions, Flannegan is so convinced that he can control rats, that he has persuaded many of Arkham's inmates, orderlies, guards, and even other doctors that he commands this fantastical ability. Personally, I don’t consider "evidence" provided by the Batman to be convincing of anything, and find it much more likely that Flannegan has manifested a unique variation of a Messiah complex.
I'm hesitant to administer aggressive treatment before first doing a full write-up on his condition; it could be an easy way to get published and procure naming rights to a newly documented disorder.
If only there weren't so many odious vermin constantly swarming in his cell.
Batman: Arkham City
In Batman: Arkham City, while Ratcatcher does not actually appear in-game, he is referenced several times. It was revealed that upon his incarceration he retreated to the sewers of the prison and began sending his rats to the Penguin's Museum to steal various goods and products later sold off to petty criminals. He later attended Two-Face's trial against Joker as a jury member, and testified against the clown and voted to sentence him to death. Following these events, Penguin realized Ratcatcher was stealing from him and had his men drag him into the Museum, where he was never seen again. While it is believed Cobblepot killed Flannegan, a conversation in the game can be heard between two thugs discussing another thug being eaten alive by rats, alluding to the possibility that Otis was still alive. His old pest control company billboard can be seen in the Industrial District, which will solve a Riddler Challenge if scanned.
Arkham Knight: Genesis
In the Arkhamverse comic "Arkham Knight: Genesis" it is revealed that Flannegan survived his encounter with Penguin but lost an arm and an eye in the process. He survived the events of Arkham City but died before Arkham Knight, having been electrocuted to death by Jason Todd after attempting to feed Todd's affiliate Hush to his pet rats.