Detec Comics Amygdala cover.png
Cover to Detective Comics #659, featuring Amygdala and Batman fighting during the Knightfall saga.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman: Shadow of the Bat #3 (August 1992)
Created byAlan Grant (writer)
Norm Breyfogle (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoAaron Helzinger
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
AbilitiesNear superhuman strength and endurance
Mental instability and explosive rage that further enhances his strength

Amygdala is the alias of DC Comics character Aaron Helzinger, who is a sometime opponent of Batman. He has reduced mental capacity, near superhuman strength and endurance, and is prone to outbursts of violence due to medical experimentation on his brain, chiefly the removal of his amygdala.

Aaron Helzinger appeared on the second season of Gotham portrayed by Stink Fisher and the second season of the Arrowverse series Batwoman portrayed by R. J. Fetherstonhaugh.

Publication history

Amygdala first appeared in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #3 and was created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle.

Fictional character biography

Anatomically, the amygdala refers to the bundle of nerve cells in the brain that control emotional associations of many kinds. Aaron Helzinger's amygdala cluster was removed in an attempt to cure him of his homicidal rage. This procedure resulted in Amygdala becoming exceedingly angry and was the opposite of what the surgery was intended to achieve. Easily led due to his childlike nature, Amygdala has been the pawn of a number of Batman villains, but when properly medicated, he can be peaceful.

Amygdala first appeared in Shadow of the Bat #3 in 1992 during the story arc Batman: The Last Arkham. In the issue, Amygdala was forced to attack Batman by the maddened Jeremiah Arkham. Batman subdued Amygdala, but was then forced to face more inmates.[1]

Amygdala later appeared in Part 2 of the year-long story arc Batman: Knightfall, which also saw other characters introduced in Batman: The Last Arkham return to the comic book universe, most notably Zsasz and Jeremiah Arkham.[2] In Knightfall, Amygdala was freed from Arkham Asylum by Bane along with numerous other inmates and was soon under the control of the Ventriloquist. Batman intercepted Ventriloquist, but was promptly attacked by Amygdala. As Ventriloquist escaped, Batman subdued Amygdala once more and the villain did not appear again in Knightfall.[3]

He has been released into the community on numerous occasions, where he has been an ally and friend of Dick Grayson (Nightwing, the former Robin). He lived in the hero's apartment building and worked as a warden in Lockhaven Prison. When Blockbuster was in the process of breaking Nightwing down both physically and emotionally, Blockbuster destroyed Grayson's apartment complex while Amygdala was inside. Amygdala survived, but he was heavily traumatized by the death of his friends.

In the Infinite Crisis storyline, Amygdala was among the villains that joined Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains.

He also appeared in the 2008 mini-series Gotham Underground, drinking in the Penguin's Iceberg Lounge.[4]

The New 52

As a part of the New 52 reboot, Aaron first appears in Resurrection Man vol. 2 #6 as a hulking menace when he tries to kill Mitch Shelley in Arkham Asylum, but is knocked hard on the head with Fletcher's nightstick.[5] He later appears during the "Zero Year" storyline. When the power went out in Gotham, Aaron was in surgery at Gotham General Hospital. He woke up in a monstrous rage, smashing through a window. The surgeons had been operating on his amygdala when they were interrupted. After jumping out the window Aaron encountered and attacked a young Dick Grayson, who was out with his friends, away from visiting Haly's Circus. He chases them, while Dick makes a plan to stop him and save his friends. Luring Helzinger onto a rooftop, Dick jumped to the next one over, and unable to make it across the gap, Helzinger fells, unable to get back up. Earning the nickname Amygdala, Aaron spent much of his time incarcerated at Arkham Asylum, and later at Arkham Manor, when the asylum was destroyed.

DC Rebirth

In DC Rebirth, Amygdala appears as one of the many villains attempting to kill Batman to stop Two-Face from leaking secret information. Alongside Killer Croc and King Shark, Amygdala attacks Batman on a train.[6] Later, when Arkham is rebuilt, he becomes partner with Solomon Grundy. Both of them attempted to fight Bane when Psycho Pirate is kept in Arkham after they were all set free by Batman. They are soon beaten by Bane, in turn by Batman. They are later freed once again when Bane takes over Gotham City. Amygdala and Grundy make alliance with Two-Face and kill Doctor Double X, Bane's loyalist. They are then attacked by Gotham Girl (Claire Clover) and the new Batman (Thomas Wayne from the Flashpoint timeline), the former of which uses heat vision to sear off Amygdala's arm.[7]

Powers and abilities

Amygdala is a huge man with the strength and endurance of a championship bodybuilder. His emotional instability and explosive rage enhance this even further, making him prone to bouts of boundless violence unrestrained by the usual barriers and limits set in place by one's self-awareness.

Other versions

In the Elseworlds tale Batman: Crimson Mist—the third part of the trilogy that began with Batman & Dracula: Red Rain, in which Batman becomes a vampire—Amygdala makes a cameo during Batman's assault on Arkham Asylum. Amygdala is killed and then beheaded by the vampire Batman.[8]

In science

Amygdala is briefly referenced in an article by Joseph LeDoux,[9] a neuroscientist and expert in the role of the anatomical amygdala in fear processing, as testament to popular interest in the brain area.

In other media

See also


  1. ^ Shadow of the Bat #3
  2. ^ Booker, M. Keith, ed. (2014). Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas. ABC-CLIO. p. 909. ISBN 9780313397516.
  3. ^ Detective Comics #659
  4. ^ Gotham Underground #5
  5. ^ Resurrection Man vol. 2 #6
  6. ^ All-Star Batman #2
  7. ^ Batman vol. 3 #75
  8. ^ Batman: Crimson Mist
  9. ^ LeDoux, Joseph (December 15, 1998). "Fear and the Brain: Where Have We Been, and Where Are We Going?". Biological Psychiatry. Jacksonville, Florida: Elsevier. 44 (12): 1229–1238. doi:10.1016/s0006-3223(98)00282-0. PMID 9861466. S2CID 2328768.
  10. ^ "GOTHAM 09/21/15 8pm | FOX Broadcasting Company". Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2022.