Fredrick Barlow
Physical description




The Sphynx

Eye colour(s)


Hair colour


Skin colour



6 ft 1 in


183 lbs

Other/Distinctive features

Born with a genetic disorder

Biographical information

Date of birth

January 3rd, 1966

Date of Death



Crime Lord

Political information




Fredrick Barlow, AKA The Sphynx, was a feared gang leader and the second most powerful mob boss in Gotham City (alongside Black Mask), with a hunger for killing Batman. Following the deaths of his multi-millionaire parents, Barlow inherited their fortune and then went on to bankrupt their company in his hometown of London. Abandoned to his abusive and alcoholic father, abused and bullied his entire life due to his appearance, the result of a genetic disorder he was born with, he violently murdered and devoured his father with an assault rifle after he finally reached his breaking point. After moving in to Gotham City years later, Barlow then placed a bounty on Batman, have his men place bombs around Wayne Tower, Gotham City Police Department, and The Wayne Foundation, and waited for the right time to detonate the bombs while demanding Bruce Wayne to hand over $10.000 (in cash).

Batman, unfortunately, leapt into the Frey, defeated all of the men, and defused all the bombs with the help of Robin. Barlow broke into Wayne Towers and used Lucius Fox as one of the hostages with motion detonators on their heads and bodies, if Batman and Robin got too close, they'll die, and only Barlow has the code to defuse the detonators. Batman and Robin defeat Barlow and got the code to set the hostages free. And thus Barlow is sent to Arkham Island after that.

As The Arkham City Incident began, Barlow escaped Arkham Island (after holding an underground hideout straight under the Asylum) on a stolen police boat and head straight for Gotham.



Fredrick Barlow

Born with a rare genetic mutation that only worsened over time, Fredrick Barlow was put under the guardianship of his incredibly abusive and alcoholic father after his mother died giving birth to him. Brutally and mentally abused in his home and relentlessly bullied at school, Fredrick accepted his place in society as always being seen as a monster.

Early Life

As the years went on, Barlow inherited his parents fortune after the brutal murder of his father out of pure unadulterated fury, then moved to Gotham City, knowing the police back in London was going to arrest him if he stayed. In addition to their manufacturing company, Barlow expanded into the construction business, purchased another chemical factory, built theme parks, and purchased a restaurant as well. Unfortunately, Barlow Corp. was forced to back out of the theme park business due to the resultant attractions breaking down and killing or maiming customers. Though it's just as likely that The Sphynx was using the chemical factory as a front to manufacture drugs during its legitimate days, control of the Gotham drug trade was the source of most of his money, which allowed him to dabble in other businesses, most likely also fronts, as well as bribe city officials. The greatest of these assets was undoubtedly ownership of the Gotham Merchant's Bank.

With the anonymity of Barlow's trademark mutation allowed him to be the face of both his business and his criminal empires, The Sphynx became a rising star in the Gotham underworld alongside arms dealing rival Lucien Wulfric III, a.k.a. Baron Wolfen, and was backed up by an army of Gotham's mobsters. Barlow enjoyed so much wealth, that he was able to afford a private suite in the prestigious Iceberg Lounge, which he preferred to use as a safe house in times of crisis, and indulged several relationships with several women, particularly Natalya Fuli, a convicted prostitute who may have been the only person that he ever truly loved. Barlow's power similarly increased to the point where he had direct influence over corrupt GCPD officials such as Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and SWAT team leader, Howard Branden. Barlow was even the one who suggested to a frustrated Loeb to use the stubbornly incorruptible Captain James Gordon as good publicity for the rest of the department. Whenever there was the possibility that he could be linked to his alleged crimes and his minions could not bribe or silence witnesses, Barlow had them kidnapped and disposed of. This most likely contributed to Barlow's developing appetite for torture, as torture equipment could be found within his own office at the Bowery. Such was The Sphynx's power, that he was even able to challenge Black Mask, Gotham City's most powerful crime lord. Barlow took particular delight in intimidating Sionis. That came back to bite Barlow though as he was threatened over the phone by a "higher power", who was secretly Black Mask himself, and Barlow then throws of a schizophrenic episode.

In spite of all that, The Sphynx was not invincible. Barlow was accused with multiple crimes despite managing to avoid conviction and large numbers of his men were dissatisfied with what he paid them and how he treated them. Barlow's legitimate businesses were not always successful, and Batman's presence also interfered with his criminal enterprises as much as any of his rivals'. Despite his bravado, Barlow was paranoid to the point of hiring a body double, not an entirely unreasonable outlook in his line of business but, coupled with his temper and genocidal behavior, was possibly also the result of instability. Barlow's physical health didn't air much better and he was forced to have a pace maker installed for Prolonged Q-T Syndrome.

The confrontation with The Joker

When surveillance photos showed a pale skinned man called "the Joker" stealing chemicals from Barlow's various businesses, which could be used in the manufacture of explosives, The Sphynx had the so-called-Joker followed to find out what he was up to. The Sphynx was unaware that the Joker wasn't just after his chemicals and was turning members of his own mob against him to take over his empire. As the Christmas Season wore on, Joker raised the stakes by stalking Natalya. That spooked Natalya so much, that Fredrick placed her in his safe house at the Iceberg Lounge under the care of his business friend, the Penguin. Unfortunately, for The Sphynx and his lover, the Joker was waiting when Natalya returned from grocery shopping. Natalya's last act before Joker violently smashed her head into the kitchen counter and tied her to the living room chandelier was to message Fredrick about the identity of her stalker, whom he dismissed as "No one important" and begged him to come over.

Ever paranoid, The Sphynx had his body double enter the safe house as a diversion while he snuck in via the adjacent balcony. When the decoy arrived through the front door, the Joker, who casually waited at a table, immediately shot him through the heart. The real Sphynx rushed from behind and tackled the Joker straight through his props, but the Joker managed to rally, overpowered The Sphynx, and tied up his hands. The Joker removed any evidence of the crime (or so he thought) with a Molotov Cocktail and jammed a gun into Barlow's hands, then forced him to pull the trigger and shoot Natalya dead before he dragged him from the room.

The only thing that kept Barlow alive was the Gotham Merchant's Bank. The Joker needed him to access the bio-metric security that was installed in the vault. In the meantime, Joker disguised himself as The Sphynx and began to take over his empire in earnest. Locked up in his own Bowery's torture room in his office, Barlow could only watch as the Joker turned Gotham upside down, ignored what few rules kept the underworld from erupting in all out war, and targeted honest and crooked institutions alike. The Joker's most brazen acts were hiring eight of the world's deadliest assassins that money could buy to kill Batman and openly attack Blackgate Prison, which released multiple inmates and killed Commissioner Loeb.

Personality and traits


The Sphynx in Batman: Arkham games

Barlow's personality is similar to Tony Montana from the 1983 film, Scarface, he's ready to wreak havoc on Gotham. Armed with his balls and his words, him and his men make it to the top of the booming Gotham drug trade, to establish a short lived but extremely powerful Cartel of his own. Barlow is unpredictable, ruthless when he has to be, and extremely possessive of his business. His street elegance and charisma is unmatched and he is one of the toughest criminals to ever walk the streets of Gotham City.

Barlow can also be seen as somewhat of a bully, and bullies almost every single person he meets (except his henchmen and the Penguin) going as far as threatening that he will kill them ("Maybe I should kill you now, It'll save me the trouble later"). He also shows some traits of narcissism or egomania. He admires his looks at a mirror in the Iceberg Lounge and usually refers to himself in third person when in a shoot-out or during a conversation. He keeps these traits even when Batman hauls him off to Arkham, which means he does indeed have a large ego.

Weapons and abilities


  • Beretta Cheetah: One of Barlow's signature weapons, he uses it most times, as he used it to kill anyone who interferes with his business.

◾Beretta M1951: A pistol he uses regularly.

◾S&W Model 36: A revolver carried by Barlow in his shoulder holster.

◾Colt AR-15: Fredrick's weapon of choice against anyone he faces.

◾Colt M1911: The Sphynx first obtains this weapon during a random shootout. The M1911 is called the ".45 Automatic", uses .45 Caliber rounds and holds 12 rounds.

◾.38 Automatic: Another pistol that Barlow can obtain.

◾AK-47: The AK-47 is the first assault rifle that Barlow picks up. The weapon fires a 7.62x39mm in a 40-80 round magazine, while in real life, the AK-47 uses a 30 round magazine.

◾Desert Eagle: A powerful pistol, capable of killing with one shot, it has a 7 round magazine.

◾Bazooka: A heavy anti-armor weapon, this weapon can destroy cars very easily and shoots one rocket at time

◾Missile Launcher: A heavy rocket launcher, capable of destroying cars with one shot, it has a 2 round magazine

◾Sniper Rifle: A heavy sniper rifle, it has a 6 round magazine and has nearly one hit kills if aimed in the right spots

◾MAC-10: A automatic and more powerful version of the Micro-Uzi, it has a 50 round magazine, it can be upgraded with a larger magazine and a silencer to reduce event attraction

◾M-79: A grenade launcher, it's carried by high ranking gang members, and can kill Barlow with one hit,

◾M249: A heavy portable machine gun, with a 100 round magazine, it's very powerful and can eliminate gangs and cops very quickly with 2 hits

◾Uzi: A submachine gun taken from one of Sosa's men and briefly used by Barlow.

◾Micro Uzi: The Micro-Uzi is the first fully automatic weapon The Sphynx gets in the beginning of the game and he uses it to kill anyone who comes in his way. The weapon fires a 9x19mm Parabellum in a 32 round magazine.

◾Chainsaw: The chainsaw is the weapon Barlow uses that involves close quarters, mainly the weapon he used to kill Professor Pyg.

◾Machete: The machete is the other melee weapon that Barlow uses, however he uses it in fights and kill anyone that's up close.

◾Shotgun: The weapon that Barlow uses sometimes. The weapon is a 12 gauge shotgun with an 8 round magazine.


Criminal Mastermind: He is arguably the greatest criminal strategist and organizer in all of Gotham, having taken complete control of the entire Gotham underworld on at least two occasions.

◾ Torture Master: Perhaps his most defining skill is his mastery in both physical and psychological torture, which he often uses to extract information or to punish his enemies.

◾ Hand to Hand Combatant: His fighting skills are at least on par with people such as Nightwing, The Red Hood, Robin, Catwoman, even Batman.

◾ Peak Physical Conditioning: His strength, speed, endurance, durability, reflexes, and agility are all in peak physical condition.

◾ Marksman: He is an excellent marksman who is, 9/10 times, successful at hitting a target.

◾ Master of Disguise: He appears to be a master of disguise and a highly gifted actor.

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