Zach Franklin first appeared in Rocksteady Game's Batman: Arkham Asylum in August 2009.
Zach is a member of the security staff at Arkham Asylum, one of the many guards present during the Joker's takeover of the asylum.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Zach Franklin was among the many security personnel at Arkham Asylum, as the Joker was being recaptured by Batman. Franklin was one of the few guards that remained at his regular post while the Joker was being taken through the Intensive Treatment Facility to his cell. Batman, suspecting something, followed the Joker and his security team, led by officer Frank Boles. While at the Holding Cells, they handed over the Joker to another guard and a doctor. While he was being escorted through the Holding Cells, the Joker broke free, killing the guard and forcing the doctor to remove his handcuffs. He then told his henchgirl Harley Quinn, who had taken over Arkham's security systems from within, to power down the electrified barrier at the exit, allowing him to escape into the Processing Corridor. The Joker then released all the prisoners housed in the Holding Cells before escaping down the Processing Corridor and killing four guards in the area. After taking out Eddie Burlow, a fifth guard, the Joker proceeded into the Decontamination Chamber. Harley Quinn then unlocked the cell doors throughout the Intensive Treatment facility, releasing the inmates to unleash chaos. Zach Franklin, meanwhile, seemed oblivious to the impending situation. One of Franklin's close friends and a security guard named Mike were at the Patient Pacification Chamber when one of the escaped inmates, the serial killer Victor Zsasz, made his way there in a search for blood. Upon reaching Patient Pacification, he took Mike and Franklin's friend by surprise, brutally murdering the latter in cold blood. Meanwhile, Zach Franklin arrived on the scene, responding to several alarms in Intensive Treatment reporting multiple security breaches. Horrified at the sight of Zsasz, Franklin's first thought was to get to his radio and call for backup. Zsasz then reluctantly saw Mike as being worth more to him alive and instead barricaded himself in the chamber, strapping Mike into the electroshock chair. Several more guards arrived with Zsasz's personal therapist to assist Franklin, and found that they had a hostage situation on their hands. Zsasz was pacing behind Mike and using him as a shield.
Franklin tried to negotiate with him, to no avail. Zsasz's only reply was that he would activate the chair to fatally electrocute Mike if he was in any way approached. While Franklin and another guard stood helplessly at the door watching Zsasz and his hostage, the other guards gathered on a balcony above the chamber to help talk Zsasz down. In the meantime, Batman had followed the escaped Joker's trail of destruction to the Processing Corridor, finding the dead security guards crumpled on the floor in his wake of destruction: "wherever that madman goes, death is sure to follow!" Batman hurried toward the corridor's intersection, where two escaped inmates attempted to attack him. After defeating them, Batman found Eddie Burlow, the sole survivor in the Joker's path. At that moment, Zach Franklin tried to call for more backup for the hostage situation, but the call failed to reach anyone since most of the asylum's guards in the area had been murdered by the Joker as he was making his escape. The radio call managed to reach Eddie Burlow, however, interrupting a conversation with Batman: "We need help in Pacification. I repeat, we need backup in Pacification. Can anyone hear this?" Burlow tried to respond, reporting that he was with Batman, though Zach Franklin seemed not to hear. He shouted over the radio, "Zsasz is free! Oh, God! He's got Mike!" The call was then cut off, and the radio went dead to the sound of Mike screaming. Eddie Burlow replied into his radio, "Franklin, can you hear me?" When there was no answer, Burlow added, "If you can, help is on the way." He pointed Batman toward the Patient Pacification Chamber, and asked if he needed any help.
The Dark Knight told Burlow he worked better alone, then hurried off to Patient Pacification. Once there, he saw Zach Franklin and another guard standing at the door to the chamber, watching in horror. Franklin was trying hard to stall Zsasz and keep him occupied, ordering him to leave Mike alone as "he's done nothing to you!" and "Let him go! You'll only end up in more trouble if you continue!" Sensing the desperation in Franklin's voice, Batman approached him. Upon seeing Batman, Franklin said with relief, "Thank God! It's Zsasz. He's got Mike strapped in the chair. Zsasz has totally lost it!" Batman told him to wait where he was, but Franklin easily deduced that Batman was going to attempt a rescue: "You can't. He'll kill Mike if he sees anyone trying to get close." Batman responded, "He won't see me." Almost as if he could hear their conversation, Zsasz then shouted at Franklin, "I see anything that looks even a little bit like a bat, and this guard dies. Do you hear me?" He then triggered the chair to shock Mike, although not fatally. Still reluctant to believe that Batman could do any good, Franklin glanced quietly at him in response, although Batman said nothing and moved on. He mounted the steps leading to the balcony and paused briefly to talk to Dr. Gretchen Westler, Zsasz's therapist. She asked how he might have escaped and told Batman that he needed to kill the guard. The other guards standing on the balcony remained more hopeful than Franklin, begging Batman to do something. Batman fired his grappling gun and swung up to one of the stone gargoyles lining the top of the room. Swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle, Batman was able to flank Zsasz and get behind him. He then took Zsasz out, knocking him to the floor. At that moment, Zach Franklin looked away, as if he half expected Batman to fail and let Zsasz electrocute his hostage. Fortunately, Batman was able to pummel Zsasz with a well-aimed punch. He then said to Franklin, "Someone put this animal back in his cell!" Zach Franklin and the Arkham staff then rushed in to check on Mike. Franklin made his way around the room and found the body of his friend, Zsasz's first victim. Then Harley Quinn appeared on a monitor near Batman, telling him that she had Quincy Sharp, the warden and administrator of the asylum kidnapped, and that now the inmates were the ones in charge. After the monitor screen went blank, Batman contacted his information broker, Oracle, about the impending situation.
A saddened Franklin knelt beside his friend's corpse and examined it. He kept glancing at the senseless Zsasz, who was being covered by a security guard with a gun to prevent escape, as if expecting him to leap to his feet any moment and begin killing. Franklin's grief at the death of his close friend turned to anger as he told Batman, "Another friend dead, another mark on Zsasz...he should be put down. Permanently." The other guards, meanwhile, found that the group was trapped in the Patient Pacification Chamber since Harley Quinn had locked the gate behind them to trap Batman in the room. Batman, however, escaped by tearing a ventilation grate off the wall and crawling into the ductwork shafts to make his way out. Apparently realizing that Batman had slipped through her fingers, Harley Quinn diverted her attention from Patient Pacification. Meanwhile, Zach Franklin and the group unstrapped Mike from the electroshock and left the Patient Pacification Chamber through undisclosed circumstances, although Zsasz escaped their custody. Franklin managed to get to safety and left the Intensive Treatment Center shortly after. Batman, meanwhile, defeated the Joker's thugs in the Intensive Treatment Center and left for Arkham West, where the Medical Facility was located. The Joker had demanded all the doctors be rounded up, so Batman broke into the Medical building to investigate. He liberated the doctors, including one Penelope Young, the head of research at Arkham Asylum. No sooner had she been rescued from the Joker's clutches then she insisted that Batman allow her to go to the Arkham Mansion in Arkham East to retrieve her research. Batman was reluctant, since the entire island was a war zone. Senior security officer Aaron Cash offered to escort her there. Unknown to Cash, Young's only motivation was to get to her notes on the Titan Project, a classified Arkham project that turned people into hulking, savage, beasts based loosely on the steroid drug Venom. When the three were interrupted by the arrival of several of the Joker's henchmen, Batman allowed them to go, putting his confidence in Cash. The duo met with Zach Franklin on their way, and he agreed to help them and serve as backup. However, the Joker was not about to let Young slip through his fingers so easily, sending his henchmen to pursue Young, Franklin, and Cash across Arkham Island. They reached Arkham East, which was heavily-guarded by a team of security personnel under the supervision of Louie Green, but they were not safe yet. As they entered the Arkham Mansion to proceed to Young's office, a number of liberated prisoners took Arkham East by storm. There were too few surprised guards to hold them off, and they were overpowered.
The prisoners entered the Arkham Mansion on Dr. Young's heels, killing the security guard at the entrance and proceeding through the Main Hall and towards the Arkham Records Room. Upon entering the West Wing Corridor, the prisoners instantly shot two of the security guards. A third, unidentified, guard cowered with Kevin Liew, an orderly, in a corner. The Joker's thugs left one inmate to interrogate the two before invading the Records Room, where they finally caught up with Dr. Young. Cash and Franklin fought back with grim determination, and Cash told Young to go to her office and hide while he and Franklin held off the Joker's men. The two were finally, inevitably, overpowered by the armed prisoners, who tied up Cash and Franklin, leaving them trussed up in two chairs near the center of the room. The Joker told them to "knock some sense into Cash" and find the location of Dr. Young. Cash stubbornly refused to talk: "Do what you want. I'm not talking." The inmates then reported that Harley Quinn was on her way, to loosen Cash's tongue. Zach Franklin struggled furiously against his bonds, though he remained silent and refused to respond to the demanding and jeering goons. Batman then entered the Arkham Mansion after finding Arkham East in disarray. He freed Kevin Liew and his guard in the West Wing Corridor, though the Joker was alerted to Batman's location due to the suicide collar, a beeping device which sounded an alarm as soon as its wearer was knocked unconscious. Batman freed Cash and Franklin after defeating the thugs, slicing apart their ropes with a bat-bladed knife. Cash stood up, and told Batman that he had told Dr. Young to go to her office and hide. He then began trying to contact anyone else in the vicinity using his radio. The call reached the guard who was with Kevin Liew outside in the West Wing Corridor, and they entered the Records Room, regrouping with Cash and Zach Franklin. A somewhat shaken Franklin remained seated in his chair, resting. He also thanked Batman quietly for his quick rescue: "Thanks for the backup back there." Batman left the group in the Records Room, with Cash still trying the radio and the third, unidentified, member of security standing guard with an assault rifle taken from one of the henchmen. While they remained there, Franklin felt he could have stopped the Joker himself, saying in an irritated manner "Joker's free. I could have stopped him.", "I should've seen the signs." and "I should have done something.". Batman went to Young's office, and found that she had managed to reach her notes before the Joker could, taking them and hiding them in the mansion library before being captured by the Joker and his men. The Joker tortured the secrets of her project out of her with the help of Victor Zsasz. Young was killed by an explosion in Warden Sharp's office safe, and Batman set off to rescue Sharp, leaving the Arkham Mansion to apprehend Harley Quinn in Arkham West.
Some time later, the Joker gave Poison Ivy a dose of Young's experimental drug. Ivy watered her plants with it, causing them to grow to monstrous proportions and destroy parts of Arkham East, overrunning the Arkham Mansion. The carnivorous plants released toxic spores into the air that choked the Entrance Hall. The huge plants also smashed into the Main Hall and other parts of the mansion. Zach Franklin and his party made a perilous escape from the Records Room into the Main Hall, when suddenly a huge plant crashed through the window next to Franklin and grabbed the unidentified member of security. Franklin, Kevin Liew, and Aaron Cash watched in horror as the monstrous plant ripped the poor guard apart, killing him. They took refuge in the upper part of the Main Hall between two offices and behind a statue of Warden Sharp. The toxic spores overcame several inmates in the lower part of the Main Hall, but in the upper area Cash, Franklin, and Liew were safe. Cash retrieved the assault rifle previously belonging to his deceased colleague killed by the plants and stood guard with Franklin over Kevin Liew, who seated himself at a nearby desk. Franklin kept watch, his arms folded across his chest, gingerly avoiding the mutated vegetation. As the vines continued to destroy the Arkham Mansion, Batman arrived to question Cash about the whereabouts of Killer Croc's lair so he formulate an antidote to Dr. Young's formula. Cash told him the location of Croc's lair under Intensive Treatment, and Batman warned Cash and Franklin to stay where they were and not to approach the plants as they would kill them. Franklin grimaced as he told Batman about the fate of the fourth man in their party: "A plant came in through the window and grabbed the guy next to me." A shocked Kevin Liew added, "I never thought I'd see a plant--a freakin' plant!--ripping somebody apart!" Batman left the Arkham Mansion shortly after to locate Killer Croc's lair. Franklin remained with Cash and Liew for the remainder of the Joker's takeover, and reported to the makeshift hospital set up by surviving Arkham staff in the Sanatorium after the Joker's defeat. While Cash was treated by Dr. Stephen Kellerman for minor injuries and Kevin Liew assisted in checking Louie Green for a head injury, Franklin set about joining the remaining Arkham guards in taking the liberated mental patients back to their cells as the Gotham City Police Department retook control of Arkham Island. Franklin was among the few Arkham security personnel that survived the Joker's takeover, and returned to his post shortly after order had been restored at the institution.
- "Make Zsasz pay."
- "Give Zsasz the pain he deserves."
- "Joker's free. I could have stopped him."
- "I should've seen the signs."
- "I should have done something."
- "One minute, the plants were all over the room. The next they all just kind of died."
- "What killed all the weird plants?"
- "What's with the fireworks?"