- "My forefathers were betrayed, their legacy erased, and I am here to punish those who wronged us and reclaim what is ours."
- —Theo Galavan[src]
Theodore "Theo" Galavan was the mayor of Gotham City and the chairman of development at the Gotham Chamber of Commerce. He was a descendant of the Dumas family, who had returned to Gotham to seek revenge on those who had wronged his family, and reclaim control of the city. After being murdered by Jim Gordon, Galavan was later revived by Hugo Strange, being given the identity of Azrael to do Strange's bidding and try and kill Jim Gordon. Theo was killed a second time with the combined efforts of Oswald Cobblepot and Butch Gilzean.
Theo along with his sister Tabitha, grew in an estate by the sea, owning several dogs and horses, until the monks took Theo away. He was completely sculpted by the monks teachings and became obsessed with getting revenge on the Waynes and retaking Gotham, although he also became ruthless and cruel even towards his own family.
Arrival in Gotham
Theo and Tabitha were later sent to Gotham by the Order of St. Dumas with the orders to kill Bruce Wayne. He gave Zaardon knock out gas in the form of a blue liquid. Zaardon was then sent to Arkham Asylum after being arrested by Officer Gordon. While there, he served his purpose as a carrier, expelling the gas through the mouth, thus killing him, rendering six inmates unconscious, and allowing his sister Tabitha to break into the mental institution to break these six inmates out.
Theo later gave a speech at Gillian Loeb's retirement conference, standing in for Mayor Aubrey James who couldn't be there, and thanking Loeb for his service as the commissioner. Later, at a penthouse, Theo introduced himself and his sister Tabitha to the kidnapped inmates, offering them the chance to become a team of brilliant outlaws, that would make Gotham City tremble. After Richard Sionis refused, becoming jealous that Theo touched Barbara, Galavan had him killed by his sister Tabitha.
Theo later forced a captured Mayor James to choose between two options, option A being a spider being put in the box over his head, or option B, calling his secretary Maggie and telling her that he had ran away with a woman, and would send written instructions soon after. After James agreed to choose option B, Theo opened the hatch to James' box, and after being asked by the latter why he was doing such a thing, Galavan told James that he was a part of a great endeavor and that monsters were coming to Gotham City that would cleanse it in blood and fire. He later congratulated The Maniax on their recent stunt, making it so that the entire city knew their name. However, Theo told the group that as such, it was time for them to make a grand entrance. He then explained his plan to Jerome and had the entire group practice their stagecraft, complimenting Jerome on his. Soon afterwards, Tabitha and Barbara walked in whipping the Mayor. Theo was told by the two that they were bored, and Galavan explained to Barbara that her time was coming soon, before making sure that the Mayor wasn't dead, and asking Barbara to tell him about Detective James Gordon. Theo later broke up a brewing fight between Jerome and Robert Greenwood, giving the two a gun to play Russian Roulette to decide who was the leader of the Maniax. Theo was impressed by Jerome's madness (pulling the trigger three times, each in a different spot on his head) and named him the leader of the Maniax. Theo later ordered them to attack the GCPD as their second big move. Planning a third big move, Theo ordered Jerome, Barbara, and a few henchmen to assault the magic show at Gotham Children's Hospital. They turned the show into a hostage situation. Jerome held Bruce Wayne at gunpoint, saying that he would kill him, Theo revealed his plan when he betrayed Jerome by piercing his neck with a knife, saying that he was the hero this time while Barbara escaped. Theo then said to Gordon that he did what any citizen would, Gordon returned by saying that he wished that was true. Theo was later kissed by Barbara in his hideout, and Tabitha nervously watched.
Mayor of Gotham
Galavan kidnapped Gertrud Kapelput, Penguin's mother and threatened to kill her if Penguin didn't obey him. Firstly, he ordered Penguin to kill the other mayoral candidates, and attempt a murder at him too, but "miss the shot". On a speech, Galavan declined candidacy, but after the hit-men "attacked" him in front of everyone but "missed" every single shot. He said that if the bad guys want him down, he will run for mayor. Penguin did as Galavan said, brutally murdering Janice Caulfield and almost killing Randall Hobbs. Theo also introduced Silver St. Cloud to Bruce Wayne. Theo then had Tabitha abduct Sid Bunderslaw, and then had one of his eyes cut out. Galavan then had Penguin burn several buildings belonging to Wayne Enterprises, and had Penguin's arsonist steal a knife that was used to slice the hand of his ancestor, using Bunderslaw's eye for identification purposes. Galavan later met Father Creel in his penthouse, as they discussed the terms about their revenge.
Penguin then had Butch Gilzean infiltrate Galavan's organization, though he had to slice Butch's hand just like the Wayne family sliced his ancestor's hand, in order to properly sell the idea that Penguin had lost his mind and was no longer fit to serve. Galavan firstly believed in Butch, but later caught him obtaining information concerning Penguin's mother. Galavan then had Tabitha remove Butch's brainwashed condition. Later, Penguin and his men arrived at the warehouse where his mother Gertrud was being kept. Butch then shot Penguin's men to death after Tabitha stabbed Gertrud to death and cornered Penguin, Penguin claimed that Galavan didn't have the guts to kill him himself and then shouted that he came from a long line of cowards. This angered Theo, prompting him to grab Butch's revolver and ask Penguin about his last words. Penguin said that he was going to kill him, and then wounded Galavan's neck with the knife Tabitha used to kill Gertrud, escaping later. Theo managed to survive and framed Penguin for Gertrud's death and for his wound after he was named the mayor of Gotham City. At his mayoral party, Theo was attacked by hordes of criminals working for the Penguin. When Penguin cornered him and Gordon, revealing the truth to Gordon. Galavan ordered Gordon to take Penguin down, but Gordon declined. After Tabitha shot Penguin, Gordon and Bullock shot at Tabitha's location several times. Penguin then escaped in Galavan's limo. Galavan then told Gordon that he had hoped Gordon was willing to do whatever it takes to clean Gotham of its monsters. Gordon said that he will, and will start with him.
Galavan then had Barbara go after Gordon. He had Tabitha and many hit-men help Barbara in abducting, later guarding Gordon and Leslie Thompkins. The GCPD forces arrived just in time to save Gordon, and Barbara is seriously wounded. Theo was later arrested for the kidnap of Aubrey James, though not before burning the files containing the identity of The Waynes' killer.
While awaiting trial, Theo was incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary. While going through his apartment, Gordon and Barnes found a clergy robe behind one of the paintings. After a hit ordered by Tabitha on Gordon because of Barbara's status, Theo threatened to cut Tabitha's throat himself if she did anything stupid again, though it would break his heart.
A day later, Galavan was in a conversation with Jim Gordon about Katherine Parks. After that, Galavan was at his trial sitting and listening to Mayor James telling everyone who actually kidnapped him. Mayor James said it was not Galavan but rather Cobblepot. Gordon yelled that Mayor James was lying. The judge then declares Galavan to be released. When Galavan addresses Gordon, saying he bears no ill will towards him and the GCPD, Gordon hooks Galavan in the face, causing him to be restrained by two officers who then tased Gordon afterwards. Later at an unknown type of hideout, Gordon woke up to find himself restrained. Galavan then appeared and taunted Gordon. When Gordon revealed his knowledge of the 9 random murders, Galavan then reveals that they're not all random, causing Gordon to realize that he plans to murder Bruce Wayne. "The son of Gotham." Galavan then frees Gordon and taunts him to attack him. When Gordon does, Galavan easily beats him, demonstrating his martial arts abilities. He then leaves Gordon to be executed by the pair of dirty cops, but Gordon is saved by Penguin, who had learned of Galavan's release. Galavan later snatched Bruce Wayne at the manor.
Theo tells Silver to make Bruce Wayne fall in love with her to add further torment to him before they kill him. Theo catches Silver and Bruce running away and imprisons both of them. Theo and the brothers come to get Bruce, who says he loves Silver and kisses her. Theo compliments Silver, and they go to the ceremony. Father Creel is about to kill Bruce when Silver yells at him to stop. Bruce's rescue party, led by Jim and Oswald, burst through the door. Theo grabs Silver and flees with Tabitha. The three head to Theo's office where they don parachutes. Tabitha notes there is only two, and Theo says Silver isn't coming with them. Theo wants to take a moment to express his disappointment in Silver, but Tabitha asks him to let her be. Theo approaches Silver with his hand outstretched, and Tabitha knocks him out. Theo comes to in time to see Tabitha strapping Silver in. She pushes Silver out the window and says she needs to look after number one, before fleeing out the window. Jim comes through the door, and orders Theo to cuff himself. After Theo puts the cuffs on, he gloats that he will get off again, and Jim aims his gun at Theo's head, noting he might be right. Theo backtracks and says he was just talking tough. Captain Nathaniel Barnes comes in and orders Jim to put the gun down. Oswald smashes Barnes over the head with a vase and tells Jim they have to kill Theo to make sure he is defeated. Jim and Oswald take Theo to the pier. Theo says Jim is a man of principle and says he will regret this. Jim says he has many regrets, but this won't be at the top of the list. Resigned to his fate, Theo kneels before Oswald and Jim and laments that it will be a beautiful moment. Theo bids Jim goodbye and Oswald starts beating him mercilessly with a club as vengeance for his mother's murder. Theo begs Jim to kill him, and Jim shoots him through the chest. Oswald then pushed an umbrella down Theo's throat, as Jim walked away. After his death, Theo's body was taken from the morgue to Indian Hill to be experimented on by Professor Strange.
Theo's body was used by Hugo Strange as part of his plan to reanimate the dead and during the experiment he was given the name Patient 44. Theo was revived quickly, with enhanced physical abilities and Hugo and Ethel Peabody watched as he kills the orderlies present while rambling, before exclaiming "Azrael!"
Theo started rambling incoherently, and Strange realized his mind was fractured because he couldn't handle being resurrected. Strange looked through the Order of St. Dumas book, and learned about Azrael. Strange approached Theo and said he was Theo's father. He convinced him to take up the mantle of Azrael and kill Jim Gordon. Wearing armour, a mask, and armed with a sword; Theo attacked Jim while he was with Bruce Wayne and Captain Nathaniel Barnes. He was chased off by the police firing at him and stumbled through an alleyway where he saw one of his old campaign posters. Theo had some flashes of his past but hurried away to complete his mission. Theo went to the GCPD, where he fought Jim and Barnes. Barnes lured Theo to the rooftop where they fought. Barnes broke Theo's sword with a pipe and then hit him with the pipe. Theo's mask fell off, and Barnes was shocked to see that Theo was alive. Theo took advantage of the distraction and stabbed Barnes with the broken sword. Jim showed up on the roof and saw Theo's face before shooting him until he fell off the roof. Theo survived and fled after being seen by the world on the news. Later that evening Theo watches Gordon leaving the precinct from a bridge. He then went off into the night.
Theo's quest to find the real sword of sin brought him to the Dumas crypt, where he came across Jim, Bullock, and Tabitha. Theo immediately engaged fight with Jim and kicking him through the door of the crypt. Theo then moved to continue their duel but was blocked by Tabitha, who attempted to stall Theo by giving him the sword and taking a shot at restoring Theo's memories of who he was before Strange resurrected him and conditioned his mind with memories of Azrael. Theo remembered Bruce and how his main mission was to ensure that the Son of Gotham dies. He then recalled Tabitha's betrayal and stabbed her in the stomach, thanking her for reminding him and calling her a traitor as he departed.
Theo then headed for Wayne Manor, breaking in and engaging in a duel with Alfred, a fight which Alfred loses. Theo then chased after Bruce who made his way to the parking garage of the manor. Bruce then used a car to ram into Theo and drive out of the garage. However, Theo recovered from the attack and used Tabitha's whip to strangle Bruce. Jim then showed up with Alfred and shot Theo in various places in his upper body. However still alive, Theo made a last attempt to kill Bruce Wayne. Oswald Cobblepot and Butch Gilzean arrived, with Butch using a rocket launcher to blow up Theo.
While at a press conference, Aubrey James mentioned that the Gotham City Officials have been running Gotham City ever since Theo Galavan's death.
At Mayor Oswald Cobblepot's party at The Sirens, Bruce and Alfred thank Cobblepot for saving them from Theo Galavan upon using a bazooka on him. Alfred mentions to Cobblepot that it took Stan the Gardener weeks to pick up the ex-mayor's pieces.
Following Jerome Valeska's resurrection from the dead, he plotted to kill Theo Galavan in revenge only to be informed by Leslie Thompkins that Galavan had been killed twice over, much to Jerome's disappointment.
Theo Galavan was a very charismatic individual, able to present himself as a selfless benefactor, hero and mentor to the Maniax and Gotham City. He equates his hostile takeover of the city as a stage and everyone working under him, Jerome, Barbara and even Tabitha as stagehands for his own designs and is willing to sacrifice any of them for the collective greater good. In reality Galavan was a cunning mastermind whose charitable and benevolent acts were only illusions to his true, villainous and depraved nature.
Since the Waynes' desecrated his family name and destroyed the legacy of Dumas, Galavan took it upon himself to rectify the misdeeds made against his ancestors and avenge them in their name, which he seems to believe is righteous justice. This relentless drive has turned him into an utter psychopath as Tabitha notes that he was a much different person before he was discovered by the monks it St. Dumas. Galavan follows his family ways to a degree of almost sheer fanaticism. He would spare no resource or means to end the Waynes' the exact same they did to the Dumas' from possessing the exact same knife that Caleb's hand was cut with to slice Bruce Wayne's throat.
Ironically, for someone who is devoted to his family (more specifically regaining their former glory), Galavan actually cares very little for his family in a personal sense, more accurately his current one; his sister and niece. Though Galavan was said to be kind to her once and allowed her to have her fun, initially at the first stages of his plans as they progressed, he began finding her juvenile attitude irksome and as her impulsiveness threatened his grander schemes, threatened her with death. Though he did plan to escape Gotham City with her, Tabitha had finally had enough of her abusive brother and abandoned him in the hands of Gordon. With Silver, she was only a tool to Galavan to use to manipulate Bruce Wayne into surrendering and wilfully gave her the impossible task of getting Bruce to fall in love with her again otherwise he would kill her for Silver's compassion towards Bruce. Though seemingly pleased when she succeeded, Galavan would have strangled her for protesting the ceremony.
With most of the Maniax, Galavan utilized them as tools to plunge Gotham into further anarchy so he could rebuild the city but with Jerome, took a more inspirational figure and mentor to manipulate him. Though Jerome seemed to respect Galavan for promising to turn him into a star, he was very shocked when he was stabbed in the neck by the latter, although he was apologetic for doing so. He and Barbara had a romantic, or perhaps just a physical relationship for a time and amongst other things, divulged his plans and backstory to her and granted her wish of killing Jim Gordon implies he held her with more regard than the rest of the Maniax.
Powers and abilities
- Resurrection enhancements: Theo was artificially resurrected by Hugo Strange, thereby coming back to life, but with a fractured mind and a delusional personality.
- Superhuman strength: After his resurrection, Hugo Strange notes that Theo was as strong as an ox. He was able to toss strong orderlies around with just a push of his hand.
- Superhuman speed: After his resurrection, Hugo notes that Theo was as fast as a snake. He was able to move and react faster than shotgun rounds.
- Accelerated healing factor: After his resurrection, Theo's bullet wound disappeared without even a scar. Even after receiving major physical traumas, he was still able to continue fighting.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant/Martial artist: Theo was shown to have advanced martial arts skills as seen when he manages to best Jim Gordon in hand-to-hand combat, with little effort. This combined with his enhanced physical abilities, make him a very powerful fighting machine.
- Guerrilla warfare: Theo was able to use predatory techniques and disappear into the shadows.
- Even though the character of Theo Galavan is an original creation, the mantle Azrael that he takes on in "Wrath of the Villains: Azrael" derives from the comic books. Azrael debuted in Batman: Sword of Azrael #1(October 1992) with his identity being Jean-Paul Valley. A second character to take on the mantle of Azrael is Michael Lane. Both are members of the Order of St. Dumas.
- This is the first live-action portrayal of Azrael.