Among the cast for James Gun’s upcoming Suicide Squad film is the villain known as Ratcatcher who will be portrayed by Portuguese actress Daniela Melchior. Among the many exciting details within the action-packed trailer which was shown during the DC FanDome event, the number 2 next to Ratcatcher’s name suggests that Daniela’s character inherited the title from the original Ratcatcher, Otis Flannegan. Whether Daniela’s character is a gender-bend version or an original character who carries on Otis’ legacy, let us learn the history behind Ratcatcher, a Batman villain who reminded people that rats were not to be underestimated in Gotham City.


Created by Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle, Otis Flannegan appeared in Detective Comics #585 (1988) as a former rat-catcher with the Gotham City Sanitation Department who claimed to have a special ability with rats. Incarcerated for ten years for murder, Flannegan was eventually released from Gotham State Penitentiary and hatched a plan to kidnap and restrain the four city officials he blamed for his arrest and sentence. Keeping his prisoners hidden in a secret base in Gotham’s sewers, he developed his criminal identity as Ratcatcher and trained a small army of rats to follow his commands which he used to torture his prisoners for over five years. When one of his victims escaped and was thus murdered by his rats, the body was discovered by Batman who followed the trail right to Ratcatcher. After outsmarting Otis’ rats and knowledge of the sewer system, Ratcatcher was defeated and turned over to the authorities.

Otis Flannegan would spend time in and out of prison where his ability to control rats has made him a popular person in Gotham’s Blackgate Prison. His in-depth knowledge of Gotham’s sewers, as well as the layout of Blackgate, made it possible for Otis to smuggle messages and items with the help of his little friends to other convicts and allies, a special ability that was never explained but one that has been accepted by his peers and medical professionals, prison staff, and his eternal enemy Batman. Although his primary strength would be his ability to command any number of rodents, Ratcatcher was known to use a gas gun with a specific fondness for cyanide gasses. He may not have been one of Gotham’s more infamous villains but his abilities gained him a certain level of respect and notoriety in the criminal underworld.

Ratcatcher would meet his demise during 2005’s Infinite Crisis #1 when Otis was discovered hidden within Gotham’s homeless community. As he was being taken away by the police, one of the homeless attempted to help him and was struck by one of the assisting officers. Unfortunately, this individual happened to be an OMAC, a cyborg organism that is trained to assassinate any being with superpowers, and the injury triggered its programming. Ratcatcher was identified as a gamma level threat and vaporized immediately although he would return as part of the New 52 reboot in 2011 with appearances in Batwing and Batman Eternal, displaying the same abilities along with his signature gas mask.

With Otis’ history in mind, it’ll be interesting seeing how Daniela Melchior’s portrayal of Ratcatcher will be presented. With a gender-swapped successor behind the gas mask and furry but lethal assistants, writer/director James Gunn’s faith in introducing lesser-known characters to a mainstream audience worked for his films in the MCU and it appears he’ll be doing the same in this sequel/soft reboot to 2016’s Suicide Squad. With new members working alongside survivors from the previous film, one can hope Melchior’s Ratcatcher lives long enough to enjoy a new fan base or even a sequel. Unfortunately, when it comes to Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it back, alive or in a body bag.

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