|First appearance||Detective Comics #585 (April 1988)|
|Created by||Alan Grant|
|Alter ego||Otis Flannegan|
|Place of origin||Portugal|
Ratcatcher (Otis Flannegan) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books and other media published by DC Comics, primarily as an enemy of Batman. He belongs to the collective of adversaries that make up the Dark Knight's rogues gallery. Once an actual rat-catcher in Gotham City, Flannegan sank into a life of crime. Calling himself the Ratcatcher because of his special ability to communicate with and train rats, Flannegan has used his minions to plague Gotham on more than one occasion by unleashing hordes of the vermin.
A female version of the character named Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher 2 appears in the DC Extended Universe film The Suicide Squad (2021), portrayed by Daniela Melchior. Taika Waititi portrays the first Ratcatcher, Cleo's father.
Ratcatcher first appeared in Detective Comics #585 (April 1988) and was created by writers Alan Grant and John Wagner, and artist Norm Breyfogle.
Otis Flannegan used to work as a rat-catcher in the Gotham City Sanitation Department and always claimed he could train rats to attack. Flannegan was eventually arrested and spent ten years in prison after stabbing a man to death in a street fight. After his release from the Gotham State Penitentiary, Flannegan kidnapped the four officials responsible for his arrest and subsequent sentence. He took his prisoners to a hideout located in the city's sewers, where he kept them for five years. During this period, Flannegan developed his current criminal alter-ego as Ratcatcher. Wearing protective equipment and using his animal training skills, Ratcatcher gathered a large mischief of rats which he used to torture and restrain his prisoners.
After five years of captivity, one of Ratcatcher's prisoners managed to escape, although the Ratcatcher sent his army of rats to kill him. The man was killed upon reaching the surface and his body was found by Batman, who followed the rats back to the Ratcatcher's hideout. Forced to face the Dark Knight, Flannegan was outmatched once Batman got rid of all the rats and Ratcatcher was subsequently delivered to the authorities once again. After spending time in prison, Flannegan escaped his parole hearing by using a flute that he carved to control rats at high pitched frequency. His plans for Gotham were ruined by Batman (actually Dick Grayson replacing Bruce Wayne at the time) in the end and he was captured again.
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.
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Ratcatcher first appears in the series Batman Eternal as part of a plan to subtly destabilize Gotham via public services catastrophes.
The Ratcatcher has the ability to communicate and control an army of rats. He has an in-depth knowledge of Gotham's sewer system and the layout of the Blackgate Penitentiary, which comes in handy as Flannegan is able to smuggle items in and out of prison with the help of his little servants. The Ratcatcher also wields a gas gun and can manipulate various things with cyanide gas.
In Master Comics, the version of Ratcatcher presented is a man named Ransom Trappe, who is an enemy of Bulletman and Bulletgirl.
The Ratcatcher appears in Batman: Arkham Unhinged, in which he is seen participating in Two-Face's trial against Joker as a juror, where Ratcatcher voted guilty due to Joker having poisoned his rats.
In the Mother Panic ongoing series, Otis Flannegan, now reformed and homeless, moves into the basement of the hotel the vigilante Violet Page uses as her headquarters. He ultimately orders his rats to dismember the supervillain Pretty's face.
The Ratcatcher makes a cameo appearance in the comic series, Batman: The Adventures Continue, set in the world of the DC Animated Universe. Ratcatcher appears as an attendee of a party hosted by Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. This marks the character's first appearance in the DCAU.
A female variation of the Ratcatcher named Cleo Cazo / Ratcatcher 2 appears in The Suicide Squad, portrayed by Daniela Melchior. This version is one of the eponymous team's newest members, and is the daughter of an unnamed previous Ratcatcher (portrayed by Taika Waititi). She and her father were homeless in Portugal until he invented technology to get the city's rat population to help them. Following his death from a heroin overdose, Cazo came to America and began a criminal career, only to be arrested and recruited into the Suicide Squad. Joined by her pet rat "Sebastian" (vocal effects provided by Dee Bradley Baker) and wielding her father's equipment, she assists the squad in infiltrating and destroying a Corto Maltese prison containing Starro, forming bonds with her teammates Bloodsport and King Shark along the way. During the squad's final battle against Starro, Cazo summons an army of Corto Maltese rats to overwhelm and kill the alien by consuming it from within after Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) wounds its eye.