The Wrath is an anti-Batman whose criminal parents are killed by then-rookie policeman James Gordon. As an adult, the Wrath becomes a cop-killer who copies many of Batman's methods. He perishes in his first appearance. Wrath in appearance and story is an anti-Batman, he is essentially Batman without any preconception of morality or true justice. Unlike Batman, Wrath has no qualms with the use of firearms and murders his victims.
The Wrath was a member of Batman's rogues gallery, where he served as a sort of anti-Batman. The Wrath's appearance and motivation are reminiscent of Batman's, but with notable differences. The Wrath (like Batman) is distinguished by perfectionism and obsession in what he does. His costume is also very similar to Batman's (though colored in crimson and purple with a W-insignia on the chest and cowl. The W on his cowl, when seen in the right light and at the right angle, looks like the ears of the Batman's own cowl).
The Wrath's parents were burglars, similar to Joe Chill. They were shot by a young policeman (James Gordon) who mistook them for committing a robbery. Due to this, the Wrath dedicated his life to a campaign of revenge against law and law-enforcers. As he had grown up, the burglars' son became a professional assassin. For years, he traveled the world to work as a gun for hire.
When the Wrath finally returns to Gotham City, he comes to kill the man who had shot his parents. The Wrath's target turns out to be James Gordon, commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and an ally of Batman. Thus, a clash with Batman becomes inevitable. In the course of their impersonal battle of wits, the Wrath learns of Batman's secret identity as Bruce Wayne and proceeds to destroy Thomas and Martha Wayne's tombstone, Alfred Pennyworth is hospitalized, and Leslie Thompkins is taken hostage by the Wrath.
In the end, the Wrath dies during his showdown with Batman, having fallen from the roof of a building in Park Row after rolling into a fire caused by an incendiary device that he had ironically set up earlier.
A second Wrath (Elliot Caldwell) later appears in Batman Confidential, revealed to be the first Wrath's sidekick, a twisted version of Robin. This appearance retcons Batman's original encounter with the Wrath to a time when a 13-year-old Dick Grayson, who had only recently become Robin, was on an "Educational Holiday". It also expands on his origins, with the new Wrath telling Batman's of Gordon's role in his predecessor's origin (Although he claims that the Wrath's mother was unarmed and Gordon fired first when his father fired first and his mother took up the gun afterwards, but it is unclear if Elliott genuinely believed this, was simply lying to make his mentor seem to be the victim, or if the original Wrath told the story this way for the same reasons), Gordon subsequently explaining that the Wrath's father had been a crooked cop, Gordon being forced to allow then-Commissioner Loeb to bury the scandal and transfer Gordon to Chicago or let the boy be killed to eliminate the only other witness. Growing to hate cops he became a hitman in hopes of "avenging his parents again and again". In his work he studied Batman, thinking they were kindred spirits after donning the costume to get under Batman and Gordon's skin, and began training his own "Robin", which went on to become the new Wrath.
In other media
- A version of the original Wrath appears on the cartoon "The Batman".