A power-crazed priest, charismatic conman and cult leader, Deacon Blackfire used his skills in religion and conmanship to indoctrinate and brainwash the impoverished and homeless population of Gotham City to serve as members and followers in his cult and aid him in his quest to control Gotham City and beyond. Blackfire personally claimed to be over a hundred years old and to be a Native American shaman who was entombed alive after being found guilty of killing a tribal chief and committing heresy. Blackfire claimed the secret to his eternal youth was bathing in buckets of human blood, and he used his charm and powers of manipulation to brainwash Gotham's impoverished and homeless into an army of cultists, religious fanatics and devout followers to serve his will and provide victims for his sacrifices. He was the main antagonist of Gotham's Most Wanted Mission: Lamb to the Slaughter.
Joseph Blackfire was a priest who at one point in time owned an orphanage and a poor house, as evidenced by a series of record tapes from his followers.
According to Jack Ryder's final research tape, Deacon Blackfire was known with the early Miagani people as well, who shot him with arrows and sealed him in a cave; one of the police records that Aaron Cash found revealed that Blackfire was wanted for, among other things, multiple counts of tax evasion and fraud with one file even dating all the way back to the 1920s.
According to Jack Ryder's research tapes, there were several disappearances happening among Gotham's homeless which occurred during old interviews he was conducting among the populace at the time. No one knew why, but in October 19, Ryder speculated that there was a link to Blackfire. He then interviewed a man named Terry Noonan, who worked Gotham's sewage for over 20 years. According to him, he had started hearing strange things such as chanting in the sewers, leading him to believe that the homeless were disappearing for a different reason. Noonan then went missing not long after the interview, until police discovered his body stored in a fat deposit.
Lamb to the Slaughter
After Batman rescued Oracle, Jack Ryder went to investigate the Lady of Gotham for his story, but he was captured by Deacon Blackfire and his followers and strapped up for sacrifice at an altar surrounded by an electrical fence. Blackfire prepared to sacrifice Ryder, but he was interrupted by Batman. Blackfire promptly ordered his cultists to attack Batman using a variety of weapons ranging from melee weapons to guns. Despite the cultists' best efforts to try to kill Batman, Batman soundly defeated them all after which he proceeded to destroy the electrical generator for the fence and grapple up to Blackfire and knock him out. Blackfire was locked up in the GCPD Lockup along with the villains that Batman defeated, where he would continue to preach his word and beliefs, much to the chagrin of the other high-profile inmates. Blackfire's sacrificial knife and prayer book were placed in the GCPD Evidence Room in a display case.
To his followers, Blackfire ornates himself as a blessed and devout man. He cares for his followers, providing them with food and living quarters and describing them as "his children" in addition to promising them passage to the sacred land, should they devote life, body and, soul to his religious cause, viewing humanity as fickle and soon to damnation. Thus he presents himself as a Messiah-like, Archaic figure, sent by God as a savior for those who could see the light and accept his fanatical beliefs, twisted behind a charismatic façade.
Blackfire, however, is a truly dangerous and insane man, completely wrapped in his beliefs that immortality exists, he would go as far to commit human sacrifices and prey on those who society reprimands such as the homeless of Gotham. Rather superciliously, Blackfire looks down on others for their alleged crimes and flouts his self-proclaimed title as a preacher, as if he was the only pure one whereas he commits more crime than anyone else. Blackfire apparently preaches Pagan mythology as he paints an image of Armageddon for the sinners to rot with which carries the archetype of several Bible verses. Though he claims to be immortal, there is evidence to believe he is, in fact, a conman who eventually came to believe his own lies. He is implied by Aaron Cash to be at least ninety years old and there are police records on Blackfire that date all the way back to the 1920s, further proving his high age.
- Immortality: He claims to be older than Gotham itself, several centuries old, in fact. He also claims that he has survived death countless times and that he cannot die by normal means.
- Expert cult leadership skills
- Charismatic and persuasive preacher
- Skilled hand-to-hand combatant
- Survival Tactics Expert (as he has survived countless wars and hardships)
- "My dear brethren we are gathered here in honor of the one true Father."
- "He who blesseth our lives with light when we are surrounded by darkness."
- "He who moistens the parched earth with rain when we are thirsty."
- "He who slayeth the wicked and evil forces that threaten to destroy us and keep our soul from his sweet mercy!"
- "Who dares disrupt this ritual?
- "This is sacred ground heathen, you do not belong here. But God has sent you so that I may bathe in your blood too."
- "My children, the Devil comes clad in black! Slay him where he stands!"
- "Quickly, the time of sacrifice draws near!"
- "Roast him good!"
- "God sendeth his power!"
- "Heavens open and smite the demon!"
- "Lightning strike the infidel!"
- "Cowards, all of them!" (After defeating Blackfire's Cultists)
- "They lacked faith Batman. I do not. I know the truth!" (After defeating Blackfire's Cultists)
- "Now you will see the blade slice his throat and watch me bathe in immortality!" (Jack Ryder)
- "Silence child. Your cries fall like seed on stony ground." (Jack Ryder)
- "Behold caped demon!"
- "The heathen's blood shall floweth and wash the altar!" (Jack Ryder)
- "Trumpets shall sound and cleave the heavens asunder exposing his glory!"
- "Rain down upon me Lord, grant me life everlasting life!"
- "I've faced death more times than you can possibly imagine! I'll still be here when you're dead and gone, Batman. Gotham will be mine."
- "Look around you Batman. Look at what you seek to protect. Gotham is fallen. Why are you still fighting? This is over."
- "Child, these bars cannot hold me. When the time comes God will dissolve them like the hot wax of a candle and I will be free." (Batman)
- "Oh, I will. I'll pray for everyone, for all of Gotham's lost children. Especially you Batman, I'll do one special just for you!"
- "We could have done great work together, Batman. God's work! If only you would open your heart and accept His love. There is still time to save your soul."
- "We are made broken, my child. Only the Lord can heal us!" (Batman)
- "Gotham is a cesspool! A den of iniquity! Sinking under a tide of its own filth, we need the Lord's help to pull us free!" (Batman)
- "Well I'll be damned, the billionaire Bruce Wayne. You can add avarice to that ever growing list of sins." (Batman)
- "You can't keep secrets from God, he shines His light into the darkest hearts." (Batman)
- "I cannot forgive you for what you have done child, maybe God can. I'll put in a good word." (Batman)
- "From what hellish pit you emerge? (Professor Pyg)
- "Man's law is not equipped to deal with Gotham's injustices!" (Two-Face)
- "You would do well to remember, vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord!" (Azrael)
- "Cheap pyrotechnics do not scare me, child! (Firefly)
- "Come pray with me, little man! God finds beauty in us all, however deformed we are!" (Penguin)
- "It is no one but the Lord who moves in mysterious ways." (Riddler)
- "You have killed, but your tally of death is nothing compared to the millions God has consigned to the fiery pit!" (Deathstroke)
Game Over Line
- "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The wicked demon has been slain! Join me children and let us rejoice in his eternal damnation!"(Batman)
- It is possible that he either was exposed to Lazarus in the cave he was trapped in or intentionally acquired and used Lazarus himself, thus explaining his unusually long life.
- Blackfire personally claims to bathe in the blood of his enemies, much like the Teen Titans villain Brother Blood, who also gained longevity this way.
- Deacon Blackfire was one of the many Gotham's Most Wanted Villains to never work with Scarecrow.
- In one of the Arkham Knight City Stories Blackfire is shown to care for his followers, Gotham's homeless feeding them soup and offering them living quarters, justifying this with the statement "The Lord needs us strong".
- He is one of the few people to be liked by the Joker (albeit a hallucination of him), who noted it was good of Deacon to give the homeless work.
- It is, however, more probable that this is a product of Joker's love for anarchy and chaos as having Blackfire brainwash the homeless of Gotham into fanatic religious extremists would have greatly damaged the already tenuous stability of Gotham City.
- He appears unaffected by the Fear Toxin, likely due to his strong beliefs, as is the case for his cultists.
- Deacon Blackfire's Cult, The Order of St. Dumas and the League of Assassins shared the same views towards Gotham and Batman and have very similar religious principles.