Arthur Reeves was a Gotham City councilman whose corrupt nature developed even before the start of his career.
Reeves was once an attorney employed as an in-house counsel for Carl Beaumont, who called him a "hotshot". Reeves also became acquainted with Beaumont's daughter, Andrea. When Beaumont had to flee Gotham with his daughter to escape Salvatore Valestra, he turned to Reeves for help. Afterwards, Beaumont kept in touch with Reeves while he and Andrea lived hidden in Europe.
Years later, Reeves began a political career, campaigning for an aldermanic position on the Gotham City Council. The cost of his first campaign proved too much for him, and he quickly ran out of funds. Figuring he was doomed to lose unless he found more money, Reeves turned to his old boss Beaumont for a bailout. Beaumont refused to help, however, presumably for two reasons: one, his own money problems did not grant him a surplus disposable income to be expended on electioneering; and two, he didn't want to risk that the mob would discover his assistance of Reeves' campaign and trace the financial transactions back to his and Andrea's location.
Now desperate, Reeves soon realized he had one more card to play: he sold information on Beaumont's whereabouts to Valestra, who had been looking for Beaumont for years. In exchange, Valestra gave Reeves the financial boost to ensure his electoral victory, as well as inside information of the Gotham leadership, which would serve both men as Valestra now had a friend in high places and Reeves had some control over the Gotham political machine early in his career. Reeves did not seem to be haunted by betraying his former mentor, and likely rationalized that since Beaumont owed money to Valestra, the time had come for him to pay up; he may or may not have realized the extent of his betrayal, as Beaumont had already repaid the Valestra syndicate what he had owned them, but by that point, they had wanted Beaumont to repay them in blood, not cash (for failing to meet the original payment deadline, and for skipping town on them), sending Valestra's top hitman and chauffeur to assassinate Beaumont.
Ten years after her father's death, Andrea returned to the city as the mysterious Phantasm and began killing the members of the syndicate one by one. When Chuckie Sol's death was blamed on Batman, Reeves quickly went public with denunciations of the vigilante, and lobbied for the creation of a special police task force to bring him in. In the process, Reeves reunited with Andrea to help her readapt to her old home. They began a budding relationship of sorts, with Andrea seemingly unaware of Reeves's role in her father's death.
After Buzz Bronski was killed, Valestra picked up Reeves and demanded to know why Batman was targeting them. Reeves cut the meeting short, feeling that he no longer needed Valestra, who was elderly and in failing health by then, assuming that the mobster's fate was already sealed. In the face of Reeves' rejection, Valestra turned to the Joker for help, the same hitman Valestra send to kill Beaumont in the past. Instead, his former chauffeur simply killed him and blew up Valestra's penthouse, once again implicating Batman and giving Reeves the perfect reason to order his arrest.
However, Reeves was later confronted by the Joker, who already knew the details of Reeves' secret deal with the mobsters. The Joker had caught a glimpse of the new vigilante, whom he told Reeves was not Batman, and quickly made the connection between Sol, Bronski, and Valestra. His own theory was that Reeves had hired the vigilante to eliminate the witnesses connected to his sordid past. Fearing for his life, Reeves tried to deny it, only for it to be seemingly confirmed when Andrea called his office. Needing no further proof, Joker injected Reeves with a shot of Joker toxin. However, instead of killing Reeves with the infamous Joker-style grin as it had Valestra, the weakened dosage instead sent him into uncontrollable hysterics. While at the hospital under sedation, Reeves was paid a visit by Batman, who forced him to confess the truth in front of him; the adrenaline produced in his body from the forced confession reactivated the Joker toxin and caused him to break down again, so the doctors returned to sedate him once more.
- Arthur Reeves was created by Dennis O'Neil, and first appeared in Detective Comics #399, published in 1970. He is a Gotham City Councilman vehemently opposed to Batman's vigilantism, but unlike the animated version, largely acts as comic relief instead of a genuine villain (for instance, when he loudly declares to Batman that he doesn't approve of disguises or pretenses of any kind, Batman humiliates him by plucking off his hairpiece and revealing him to be bald underneath). Several years after his initial appearance in the comics, Reeves is running for mayor against Hamilton Hill on an anti-Batman platform, but ruins his own campaign by publicizing photos provided to him which purport to reveal Batman's true identity as a mob boss; the photos are revealed to be a hoax by Rupert Thorne to ensure that Reeves's campaign fails and Thorne's chosen candidate, Hill, wins the election. After the hoax is uncovered, Reeves retires from politics in disgrace.
- Reeves was voiced by Hart Bochner, whose father, Lloyd Bochner, voiced Gotham City Mayor Hamilton Hill.
- When Reeves is seen affected by Joker venom in the hospital, he bares a slight resemblance to the future Creeper in The New Batman Adventures episode, "Beware the Creeper". This makes sense as the Joker attempted to kill both men with Joker venom, but failed, instead getting different results.
- Reeves appeared in the sequel comic book Batman & Robin Adventures Annual 1 - Shadow of the Phantasm. He recovered from the Joker toxin, but as a side effect his skin had turned yellow and he was left with a permanent maniacal grin as a scar, similar to the Joker's own. After his connection with the Valestra mob had been exposed, his political career was destroyed, making him regret that the doctors managed to prevent his death from the toxin. This, combined with the lingering effects of the toxin, had driven him insane, plotting revenge on Batman, Phantasm, and Joker. Discovering the Phantasm's true identity as Andrea Beaumont, he chased her across a high balcony, but accidentally fell to his death after Andrea tricked him into charging at her mask and cape.
- Reeves closely resembles Harvey Dent, before his pre-disfiguration in "Two-Face".
- "Beware the Creeper" (Cameo on photograph)