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Lock-Up (comics)

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File:Lock-Up (Lyle Bolton - circa 1996).jpg
Lock-Up as seen in Detective Comics #694 (February 1996). Art by Staz Johnson
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman: The Animated Series episode "Lock-Up" (TV, Nov. 19, 1994)
Robin #24 (comics, January 1996)
Created byPaul Dini
In-story information
Alter egoLyle Bolton
Team affiliationsArkham Asylum
Secret Society of Super Villains
AbilitiesExpert on incarceration tactics and procedures

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Lock-Up (Lyle Bolton) is a DC Comics supervillain and an enemy of Batman. Created by Paul Dini, he first appeared in one episode of Batman: The Animated Series and was incorporated into DC's mainstream continuity in Robin (vol. 4) #24 (January 1996).[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Batman: The Animated Series[edit]

Before appearing in the comics, Lock-Up appeared in his self-titled episode of Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by Bruce Weitz. Lyle Bolton is a large, muscular man specializing in incarceration and high tech security systems.

Bruce Wayne recommends Bolton, a security expert at Wayne Enterprises, for the position of chief of security at Arkham Asylum. Once in charge, Bolton turns Arkham into a police state, using intimidation, excessive force and even torture to keep the inmates in line by threatening them and taking away their privileges even when they behaved, and chaining them down and electrifying their cell doors every night. At one point, he holds Ventriloquist's dummy Scarface over a can filled with termites. The inmates are all terrified of Bolton to the point that the Scarecrow, the "Master of Fear" himself, escapes from Arkham just to get away from him, only to be recaptured by Batman and Robin. After seeing how Scarecrow was terrified of Bolton, Wayne becomes suspicious about how Bolton is keeping the Arkham inmates in check so well. Bruce sets up a hearing with Mayor Hamilton Hill, Commissioner James Gordon, and Dr. Bartholomew: Arkham Asylum's Chief of Medicine. After questioning the inmates of Arkham, including Ventriloquist and Scarface, Harley Quinn and the Scarecrow, Wayne finds it odd that none of them are willing to say anything and only heap compliments on Bolton. Wayne also notices that the guard is able to quiet them with a mere glare. However, after slyly suggesting a possible extension of Bolton's contract to eighteen months, the inmates panic and finally admit to Bolton's reign of terror. Enraged at the inmates ratting him out, Bolton assaults several Arkham orderlies and attempts to attack his accusers only to be stopped by Wayne tripping him. He then has to be physically dragged out of the hearing upon Dr. Bartholomew telling him that he is dismissed from his job. As he is dragged away, Bolton states that he now sees the inmates as a symptom of a much greater disease, brought about by gutless police, mindless bureaucrats, and coddling doctors. Bolton then vows revenge. [2]

Determined to bring his own brand of order to Gotham City, Bolton recreates himself as Lock-Up, a costumed vigilante dedicated to ridding Gotham of anyone he deems a threat to a secure society. He first kidnaps reporter Summer Gleason, whom he thinks is glamorizing Gotham's criminals by covering them on the news. Batman sees this happening and attempts to stop Bolton. Bolton offers Batman an alliance, but Batman refuses. Despite his efforts, Batman is unable to stop Lock-Up before he escapes. Batman identifies Bolton as Lock-Up by a lock he'd used on a door. Lock-Up then kidnaps Dr. Bartholmew from Arkham, and then kidnaps Gordon as he is attempting to call Batman on the Bat Signal. Gordon's kidnaping is mentioned to Batman by Detective Harvey Bullock after he is found trapped and handcuffed near the signal which he managed to turn on with difficulty. Bolton then uses a smokescreen to kidnap Mayor Hill right from under Batman and the police's noses. Lock-Up holds his victims hostage aboard USS Halsey F-84, a decommissioned destroyer that acted as a temporary prison while Stonegate Penitentiary was being constructed. Batman and Robin find and defeat him before he can dispose of the hostages.

Deemed insane himself, Lock-Up is then imprisoned in Arkham Asylum where the inmates he once tormented mock him, and the Scarecrow vows revenge against him. When placed in his cell, Lock-Up quotes: "They thought they could trap me in a world with lunatics, but I showed them! Now I can keep an eye on everyone. They'll never slip past me again"; effectively, Lock-Up now believes he can keep the inmates in check by being one of them.

DC Comics history[edit]

Lock-Up's first comic appearance was in Robin #24 (Jan 1996) in which he captured Charaxes. He subsequently appeared in Detective Comics #694 (Feb 96) in which he captured the minor villain Allergent.[3] In both of these stories, he only made a brief appearance at the end, removing the villain before Batman and Robin could return to the scene.

His first full appearance was in Detective Comics #697-699 (June-Aug 1996), which began with him capturing Two-Face and taking him to his private prison alongside Charaxes, Allergent, and several gangsters. He is stopped by the police while targeting a criminal-turned-state's evidence and is revealed to be Lyle Bolton, previously discharged from the police academy for being too gung-ho, and dismissed from several security jobs (unlike the animated version, he had not worked at Arkham). Lock-Up escapes, and captures minor street criminal Alvin Draper (actually Tim Drake's undercover identity).

When Nightwing finds his hideout, Lock-Up decides to drown all his prisoners in an underwater death-trap. Batman intervenes and defeats Lock-Up, saving the villains, Nightwing, and Robin.

Lock-Up later appeared during the No Man's Land storyline, having taken control of Blackgate Penitentiary in the aftermath of the earthquake. He had enlisted KGBeast and the Trigger Twins to act as wardens for his prison, and rules with an iron fist; Batman only tolerates his presence because he requires Lock-Up to keep captured criminals in check to prevent Gotham being overrun, although Lock-Up is under strict orders to treat the prisoners well. Towards the end of the storyline, Batman enlists Dick Grayson's help in overthrowing Lock-Up[4][5] so Blackgate could be used for the lawful side once again.[6]

Lock-Up makes a very brief appearance in Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special where it seems the Society made use of Lock-Up's prison expertise to break metas and humans out of prisons all over the world, leading to the big fight in the final issue of Infinite Crisis.[7]

More recently, Lock-Up has been affiliated with Ventriloquist II, alongside other Gotham criminals Killer Moth and Firefly. During this association, Lock-Up was badly wounded by Metropolis outfits Intergang and the 100.

Recovering, Lock-Up was sent to a prison world alongside other criminals in the Salvation Run limited series.

Other versions[edit]


In the Flashpoint reality, Lock-Up appears as an inmate in the Doom prison.[8] Lock-Up is blinded by Eel O'Brian.[9]


In the Arrow Season 2.5 comic, Lyle Bolton appears as a mercenary that is a member of the Renegades. Bolton helped the Renegades keep Felicity Smoak hostage for Clinton Hogue, the new Brother Blood and leader of the Church of Blood. When they realize that Hogue is late, Lyle tries to call him, but he doesn't answer. Suddenly, The Arrow, Arsenal and The Huntress crash in from the ceiling. Bolton uses his suit to electrocute Arsenal and destroys one of Arrow's arrows. Before anyone could do anything, Bolton electrocuted everyone and took Felicity and Huntress hostage, forcing Arrow to choose one of them. Arrow eventually chose Huntress, much to Felicity's shock. As he lets go of her, Huntress turns around and knocks him unconscious and takes Felicity back. They then took off his equipment and tied everyone else and then gave an anonymous tip to the police before they escaped.

See also[edit]


  1. Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 182. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0. Search this book on
  2. | Batman: The Animated Series-Lockup
  3. Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 234. ISBN 9780345501066. Search this book on
  4. Nightwing (vol. 2) #35 (September 1999)
  5. Nightwing (vol. 2) #36 (October 1999)
  6. Nightwing (vol. 2) #37 (November 1999)
  7. Infinite Crisis Special: Villains United (June 2006)
  8. Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #2 (July 2011)
  9. Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #3 (August 2011)

External links[edit]

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