The main Player Character of Bioshock Infinite. Booker is a former soldier and Pinkerton Detective who has been tasked by a mysterious employer to extract Elizabeth from Columbia. He is world-weary and cynical, having been involved in his fair share of dirty business over the years, and will do whatever it takes to complete the job.
Action Dad: With his child by his side for a lot of it.
The Alcoholic: If the bottles all over his office are anything to go by, he became this after My Greatest Failure. Comstock also mentions drinking and gambling when he first addresses Booker.
Alternate Self: Booker is the Columbia counterpart to Jack (with elements of Delta as well) with the journey starting at the lighthouse. As Elizabeth reveals in the ending, this is a bit more literal than it appears at first. In every universe, there is a man, a lighthouse, and a city. He is also Zachary Comstock, but only in a universe where he underwent the baptism and became a new man.
The Antichrist: The Founders, a very zealously religious faction, refer to him as the "False Shepherd". Given what ideology the Founders hawk, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
Anti Anti Christ: Booker is, in a roundabout way, both this and a Satanic figure. As Father Comstock, he is destined to wreak havoc on human civilization, and likely won't stop until the world bows at his feet. As Booker DeWitt, it is foretold that he will attempt to topple Columbia and steal back Elizabeth.
Anti-Hero: Booker has done a lot of bad things in the past, and he's the "hero" of the story.
Nominal Hero: Kills plenty of enemies and only wants to bring Elizabeth out of Columbia to "wipe away the debt", even going as far as to lie to her about going to Paris. Later, he softens more into an...
Unscrupulous Hero: He later starts to care about Elizabeth and genuinely wants to bring her out of Columbia so she can have a good life. That said he still does kill a lot of people, and he initially isn't very interested in stopping Comstock, only doing so later at the insistence of Elizabeth.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Yes, sure, a city at the bottom of the sea is ridiculous. Unlike all the other sights Booker has seen by that point, starting with a floating city in the skies and getting more insane from there.
The Atoner: For his part in the Battle of Wounded Knee and the things he's done as a Pinkerton. Unbeknownst to him, he is also atoning for selling his infant daughter.
Booker: Sometimes there's a precious need for folks like Fitzroy. 'Cause of folks like me.
Badass: An entire city of crazies with superpowers and guns won't keep him and his objectives apart.
Badass Normal: How he started the game. He fights for a while before getting his first offensive Vigor and Gear. He was also one in his past and since he's the past version of Comstock, it adds a whole new light to the words, "Comstock wasn't there".
Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Enforced. Booker does not consider himself a good guy, and unfailingly insists on performing any morally dubious actions that Elizabeth would be willing to do.
Big "NO!": He lets one out when Anna/Elizabeth is being taken from him in the ending.
Brooklyn Rage: He lives in New York and he's a very violent individual.
Byronic Hero: Let's just say Booker's life isn't a road of sunshine and happiness, what with taken part in a massacre at a young age, being a thug Pinkerton Agent, alcoholic and cynical as hell. And that's not even getting into the fact he sold his daughter...
Combat Pragmatist: The very first in-game fight sees Booker distract the men about to execute him by tossing a baseball into the air, grab one by the collar and drag him to meet his buddy's skyhook face-first, then steal the skyhook and turn it against its owner (breaking his neck) before putting down another half a dozen police. It's not hard to guess how he might have been deemed too vicious for the Pinkertons - he never hesitates to kill nor is he ever particularly repentant about doing so in the name of protecting himself or Elizabeth.
The Comically Serious: Booker is this trope, which is why many of the things he says are so hilarious even though his sense of humor is almost non-existent.
Dark and Troubled Past: He was told to "bring us the girl" to "wipe away the debt". That's only the tip of a very big, very complex and very dark iceberg.
Dark Is Not Evil: He is firmly opposed by the very religiously-flavored Founders and Comstock (often characterised by them as a devil, a satanic influence or The Grim Reaper), and he has done a lot of bad things the specifics of which we're probably better off not knowing. He's still more palatable as an individual than Columbia's collective jingoistic insanity, though and becomes a better person over the course of the narrative.
He also has a fairly progressive attitude racially (in that he treats everyone with an equal amount of indifference). His response to a black man he sees smoking and is afraid of Booker telling anyone: "Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em." And if you choose to throw the ball at Fink instead of the mixed-race couple, there's the fact that he even does that, not to mention he sounds quite pissed about the situation. Considering the time period, such an action would be surprising even coming from a non-Columbian ten times nicer than Booker is. [[The Atoner (Not that there isn't a good reason for him to be more sensitive than most about racism* During the Battle of Wounded Knee (now called the Massacre of Wounded Knee), he killed countless Native Americans, and burned teepees down with women and children still inside (ostensibly to gain the acceptance of his comrades after a comment about him having some Native ancestry). Regret and self-loathing over this is largely why he is so fucked up. So opening up that wound by trying to stone a mixed-race couple probably isn't a good idea....)
Elizabeth: So, Mr. DeWitt, is there a woman in your life? Booker: There was. She died. Elizabeth: How? Booker: Giving birth. Elizabeth: Oh...you have a child? Booker: No. [Player: Jesus Christ.]
Dead Man Writing: You find at least two recordings from him in an alternate Columbia where he was killed - including one he recorded as he lay dying.
Earn Your Happy Ending: One possible interpretation of the post-credits ending, though in the most extreme variation possible. Through Booker's death at the baptism at the end of the game, the only universe which remained a constant was the one where he refused the baptism and never went through with selling his daughter - an outcome which leads to Comstock never being "born", Columbia never being built, and neither civilization coming to an end. Essentially, he had to kill himself in an infinite number of universes so he and Anna can presumably live happy, normal lives.
Determinator: He can and will weather all the hell Columbia throws at him to get Elizabeth out of Columbia, especially when his motives for doing so shift from business to personal. This is eventually subverted in the Bad Future, when it is revealed that not even his Heroic Resolve can overcome Songbird, and he has died in many realities attempting to do so. He gets help from that reality's Elizabeth to defeat it and rescue his Elizabeth.
Even the Guys Want Him: At least three male NPCs around Columbia come at him with thinly-veiled overtures, including one as blatant as "Howdy, sailor..." (as well as "I'm fond of the Greco-Roman style. If you want, I could always teach you," and "If you're willing to go into that booth with me, I'm sure I could find you a set of trunks...").
Extreme Omnivore: You can make him eat food that has been thrown in the trash bin.
Featureless Protagonist: Averted; unlike the previous protagonists in this series, he has a full name, an established personality, a consistent voice and a backstory. His face is also seen in two reflections at the beginning of the game, in the voxophones recorded by an alternate reality version, and is visible on the alternate versions running around the multiverse confluence in the finale.
First-Person Ghost: Does not cast a shadow or have a reflection, except during some scripted events (e.g. the washbasin at the start of the game, or his reflection in the glass while being rocketed to Columbia).
First-Person Smartass: Particularly when encountering the Siren. To say nothing of his first impression of Rapture.
Booker: A city at the bottom of the sea? Huh. Ridiculous.
For Want of a Nail: After the battle of Wounded Knee, Booker attempted to cleanse himself through a baptism. In one reality, he accepted the baptism and became Zachary Comstock; in another one, Booker was unable to follow through it, and rejected the whole notion of redemption, leading to a life of deep gambling debts.
Future Me Scares Me: Booker avoided baptism at the last moment, while in another universe he took the baptism, found religion, and became Comstock.
Heroic Sacrifice: Allows Elizabeth to kill him so that Comstock is destroyed for good.
Heroic Neutral: Couldn't spare a damn about the corruption of Columbia or the budding revolution. All he cares about is finding the girl, and wiping away the debt. Everything in between is a means to an end.
Hot Dad: Before everything goes to shit, the citizens of Columbia will remark on how attractive he is. He also turns out to be Elizabeth's biological father.
I Did What I Had to Do: Booker's fairly unrepentant about being forced to kill in order to protect Elizabeth and himself, which initially causes her to try to run away, scared out of her wits at witnessing such carnage:
Elizabeth: You killed all those people! You're a monster! Booker: [sighs] What did you think was going to happen?
It's All About Me: At the start of the game, Booker is only motivated to complete his job largely out of self-interest. He later goes as far as to lie to Elizabeth that he's bringing her to Paris just so he can finish his task.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's especially evident near the end of the game that he's become one of these, when he pleads with Elizabeth to go to Paris after dealing with Comstock and just getting away from his dark past. And then there's he recalls seeing Anna get taken away from him, in which he just starts become so regretful and horrified at what he's done.
If you note the Lat/Long coordinates when they finally get the airship underway, they are headed to Paris.
Manly Tears: Though we don't see them, we can hear Booker cry when he fails in trying to get Anna back from Comstock.
Mark of the Beast: The "AD" scarred onto the back of Booker's hand mark him as "The False Shepherd" to any of Comstock's followers that bother to look.
Mark of Shame: It's revealed that the letters marked on the back of his right hand are a self-inflicted version. They are actually the initials of his daughter, Anna DeWitt, aka, Elizabeth Comstock, whom he sold to Comstock, aka, his alternate self; after trying and failing to rescue her, he branded himself as a reminder of his crime - a "hair shirt," as the Luteces put it.
Meaningful Name: "Booker" - one who makes and binds books. "DeWitt" - of white. A blank book. Appropriate for a video game protagonist. And for the umpteen versions of himself — not just one blank page, but an entire book of them
Mixed Ancestry: Despite being nominally Caucasian in photographs, it's revealed that he has more than one Native American ancestor in his family tree and is capable enough at speaking Sioux. During the Wounded Knee Massacre, he acquired the nom de guerre of "The White Injun" for all the gruesome trophies he collected. Adding fridge horror if you know what tribe was there, the Lakota Sioux, his own people.
Moral Event Horizon: Deliberately invoked to be Deconstructed, as his story shows what kind of psychological damage an ordinary person can do to themselves after they do something they consider irredeemable. As soon as Booker gave his daughter away to clear his debts, he went mad with grief and regret, chased down the people he sold her to and tried to fight them to get her back. When that failed, the shame of what he'd done and the self-loathing it brought influenced his reconciliation sickness upon entering Comstock's universe, transforming a desire to get his daughter back into Fake Memories about someone asking for Elizabeth in exchange for his (now no longer existence) debts being settled. When Booker realizes this, it breaks his heart so completely that he chooses to quietly Face Death with Dignityand allow himself to be drowned by his daughter so that the whole thing is wiped from history.
Noodle Incident: If you know anything about Pinkerton's usual MO (if you don't, Google it. Or check the tropes page below. It won't take long), then you really have to wonder just how in the hell someone gets kicked out of them. Especially for "Behavior beyond the Acceptable Bounds of this Agency."
Not in This for Your Revolution: He temporarily helps out Daisy and the Vox solely for the purpose of securing an airship out of Columbia. However, in one alternate universe where he falls in with the Vox at a much earlier time, he ends up becoming a martyr for their cause without intending to be. He was killed in action, and Daisy Fitzroy decided to enshrine him to give the rebellion the spark she needed.
Pet the Dog: Booker's racial attitudes for the time are fairly enlightened, in that he doesn't treat other races differently (depending on player choice, of course). This may stem from his experience at Wounded Knee; while Comstock buried his guilt with a veneer of saintly righteousness, Booker instead became more humble and thus less likely to look down on others.
Cowboy Cop: If how he interprets his 'job' during the game is any indication, being an insanely violent loose cannon with a disregard for rules is probably part of what got him fired.
Player Character: Though in the second "Burial At Sea" DLC, Elizabeth will be playable for part of it.
Psychic Nosebleed: Father Comstock appears to demonstrate his supernatural powers by seeing into Booker's "bloody" past, triggering a nosebleed. The bleeding is actually caused by Booker's suppressed memories of his earlier encounter with Comstock.
Retgone: Booker kills himself in the dimension where he took the baptism and [[spoiler:became Comstock, so all the Comstocks of every universe no longer exist. And seeing how Comstock was responsible for Columbia's creation and Elizabeth's abduction, apparently no Columbia and super-powered Elizabeth, either...which means the whole game's events are erased from existence. Perhaps.
The Reveal: Comstock was at Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion because he is a renamed Booker. He still didn't lead the battles, mind you; making Slate's rage still somewhat justifiable.
Self-Serving Memory: A rare case where this is a plot point. In the ending, when the Luteces recruit him, they mention that his memories are changing. "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt" thus becomes "rescue Elizabeth" rather than "I sold my daughter."
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Booker did not die in the version of reality where he rejected the baptism. He died in the version where he did get baptized and went on to become Comstock. Thus, the "Evil" Booker is erased from existence, while the "good" Booker never crosses paths with his inter-dimensional counterpart, thus never selling Anna to him, and allowing father and daughter to finally have a normal life... as long as he can take care of that gambling debt.
The Stinger shows Booker waking up in his office, and heading into the room where he keeps Anna's crib. The screen blacks out before we see if she is there. It is possible he remembers what happened during the story, but it's never indicated...
Roaring Rampage of Rescue: At first Booker is only interested in retrieving Elizabeth to do his job and wipe away his debts. However as the story unfolds he's willing to tear Columbia apart to get Elizabeth to safety. He goes on a more direct one after she's recaptured late in the game, blasting his way into Comstock House and potentially murdering in cold blood several of the unarmed scientists torturing her to get her back. To be fair though, those scientists may have chosen to turn the generators back on in alternate realities.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: He was traumatized by his own actions in the Battle of Wounded Knee. To put it in perspective, it is now known as The Massacre of Wounded Knee. It's easy to see how a baptism to "wipe away" all his sins would have been appealing; even easier to guess why he decided he didn't deserve it. At least, this version didn't.
Supporting Protagonist: Booker, The Protagonist, is a deep, three dimensional character who gets plenty of development in his own right, but the story isn't about him. The whole game is focused on Elizabeth, from the narrative to her importance in gameplay.
Subverted at the end of the game, where the focus shifts to Booker's past and his alternate self. In fact, the sudden revelation at the end and all the foreshadowing in the game make it feel like the story was about Booker all along.
Teens Are Monsters: He was only sixteen years old when he was at the Battle of Wounded Knee, which nowadays is often referred to as a massacre. It's implied Booker himself might be the reason why. It's revealed that Slate's soldiers gave him the nom de guerre of "The White Injun" because he collected so many grisly trophies from the dead, while Comstock's voxophone recordings reveal that after he was (correctly) accused of having Indian blood, he decided to prove them wrong by burning tepees down with the inhabitants (women and children) still inside. Since this took place before the point of divergence that turned Booker into Comstock, then Booker is guilty of this as well.
Tomato in the Mirror: Father Zachary Comstock is actually a Booker DeWitt who takes the Baptism and a new name following the events of Wounded Knee.
Trapped by Gambling Debts: The reason for his mission: "Give us the girl, and wipe away the debt." Turns out that line actually means he had to sell his daughter Anna to Comstock (via the Luteces) in order to clear his debt. When he's dragged through a tear, his brain made up memories to give him the justification for finding Elizabeth.
You Are What You Hate: In a recording of Comstock's, he rages about his fellows looking down on him because they guessed at his Native American ancestry, and did what he did in the Battle of Wounded Knee to put the "lie" to the idea.
Also his rant at Comstock about abandoning his daughter, while killing him, is very likely directly just as much at himself.
Elizabeth Comstock/Anna DeWitt
"There's a world of difference between what we see, and what is."
—Voiced by: Courtnee Draper
The main heroine of Bioshock Infinite. Elizabeth is a young woman who has been locked in a tower in Columbia for most of her life, being isolated from the rest of the world and guarded by the mechanical Songbird. She jumps at the chance to escape her imprisonment, but her idealism is slowly hardened as she is faced with a number of truths about herself and the city she is in. She has the ability to manipulate "tears" in reality that bring objects in from and often create passages to parallel worlds, though she is unsure about whether her power creates new universes (based on her own desires) or simply opens the gateway to pre-existing ones.
Action Girl: In the second part of the Burial at Sea DLC.
Action Survivor: While she generally doesn't participate directly in combat, Elizabeth is quite helpful in a fight, either by using her Tears to open up new combat possibilities for Booker or by tossing items for him to use.
Adorkable: Due to her life of confinement and limited real world experience she tends treat even the most mundane of things with a sense of wonder, and those can lead to some really funny moments. On the other side of the trope, she's spent that life of confinement becoming educated in a variety of fields.
Brainy Brunette: Elizabeth is very intelligent, and extremely book-smart, growing up in a tower with nothing to do but read, practice whatever skills struck her fancy, and repeatedly attempt and fail to break out. However, being isolated in that tower with no other contact also means she is very inexperienced at actually interacting with people.
Break the Cutie: The game is not kind to her, especially in the later levels. She starts out rather perky and somewhat childish, but gradually grows shell-shocked and steely.
Mercy Kill: She's forced to do this to Songbird by drowning it outside Rapture.
Girl in the Tower: Well, not exactly a tower, more like a very tower-like science facility inside of a tall statue, but since it's based in a literal flying city it's not like she can easily escape. The development team even refers to her as a girl "trapped in her tower."
Heroic Sacrifice: She and her alternate versions drown their father Booker despite knowing they would cease to exist.
Idle Animation: The developers gave her a lot of these to make her more life-like. She examines furniture, inspects merchandise, looks inside pipes, reads books, leans against walls, sits on benches, sidles up to people to overhear their conversations... trying to find every one of her behaviors is almost a game in itself.
Innocent Blue Eyes: Considering the range of emotions she needs to exhibit, her big, sky-blue eyes are one of the most important aspects of her design. They serve as a form of visual shorthand. Her baby-self is instantly recognisable as Elizabeth by her distinctive eyes, despite lacking every single other distinguishing feature, and the scene being Deliberately Monochrome.
It Makes Sense in Context: By the way, that image is a late-game spoiler. It also is the only in-game image that has her as she is speaking from the Voxophone. You'll know it when you see it.
Master of Unlocking: One of the skills she's picked up in the tower is lockpicking. As long as she has a hairpin, she can bypass most locks.
Men Act, Women Are: Enforced by the in-game mechanic: Earlier builds had her able to use weapons and vigors, but likely proved too expensive to be feasible in the long-term. In the final build, Elizabeth is in more of an assistant role. In-Story, however, this trope is lampshaded and gradually subverted, especially in the game's final act.
Of Corsets Sexy: After being forced to change into a new outfit, Elizabeth comes out wearing her corset outside her dress. While a corset is a period appropriate piece of clothing (and Elizabeth is in fact wearing one beneath her first outfit), it would commonly be worn as underwear rather than outerwear in that era, suggesting that it is for a bit of light fanservice. Justified in the same scene, where Elizabeth notes that the hijacked airship (which used to ferry the now-deceased Lady Comstock) had nothing else available. Lady Comstock is depicted in the same outfit only with a proper shirt, so it can be assumed Elizabeth couldn't find it and just didn't bother.
Older Than They Look: Due to her petite build, somewhat adolescent personality (from having grown up locked inside a tower her whole life), and the schoolgirl-like outfit she wears for the first half of the game, it's very easy to mistake Elizabeth for someone in her mid teens. She's actually about 20 years old. Indeed, your subjective impressive of her age goes a long way towards whether you see her as a daughter figure, or as a potential romantic interest for Booker, which can really affect your impression of the ending revelations.
The Omniscient/The Omnipresent: After her Power Limiter is destroyed, she dramatically increases in power and ability. She claims she can see "through every door" into an infinite number of alternate universes, and is able to guide Booker through his own flashbacks.
Only One Name: Her last name is never mentioned, but it's assumed to be Comstock. In reality, it's DeWitt.
Power Incontinence: Early in the game, a kinetoscope shows tears appearing all over the city, with the populace confused as to their origin. This is implied to be a result of Elizabeth creating them unknowingly prior to the Siphon being brought online.
Power Limiter: Her tower is designed to Siphon off most of her power. When she is removed from the tower, her power begins to grow and she gains further ability to manipulate tears. Once it's destroyed at the end of the game, she reaches godlike levels.
Psychic Nosebleed: Can get these if she uses her powers too much, though this only appears in the first gameplay demo. However, use of her power can cause others to have nosebleeds when her manipulation of Tears in reality re-aligns their background and hence their memories.
Ret Gone: Her other selves cease to exist once they help Booker kill himself in the dimensions where he took the baptism and became Comstock. However, Elizabeth still exists, but now as the normal child Anna DeWitt, since Comstock is now gone and thus never abducted her or exposed her to dimensional travel in the first place.
Restraining Bolt: In the Bad Future Columbia, Comstock's scientists installed a device that would give her horrible shocks if she tried to use her tear powers.
The Scrounger: Searches anything useful for Booker, during and out of combat. She even calls it "scrounging".
Shows Damage: Throughout the game Elizabeth wears two fancy royal-blue dresses. Both of them get dirty and torn throughout the game. Elizabeth's hair and skin gets dirty during the game was well. And later in the game after Elizabeth is kidnapped and experimented on, the bruises of the torture she endured are still visible. And of course there is the Character Development scene where she cuts her long hair and wears a short hairstyle throughout the rest of the game.
Super Empowering: Word of God is that Vigors are manufactured from the constant flow of power cosmic being drained from her by the Siphon. In the Bad Future, Evil Overlord Elizabeth is able to impart some of her powers to her "children", the Boys of Silence and their minions.
Superpower Lottery: It's made very clear that Elizabeth is the most powerful thing in Columbia, if not the Bioshock franchise in general. The only reason she can't just mop the floor with everything on her own is because there's a Power Limiter in place. Once that's removed, she becomes deific in power and capable of perceiving time "as it is", essentially omniscient.
Video Game Caring Potential: Much like ICO, you'll end up worrying for her. Unlike Ico, she ends getting split up multiple times and, while fighting, there's no way she can ever be captured permanently. When it comes to the buildup of the Bad Future, this is effectively a Player Punch.
Vocal Evolution: Of the tied-into-character-development type. She actually runs an impressive gambit of wide-eyed innocence, to disturbed acceptance of the violence and death Booker leaves in his wake, to barely-tolerant frustration, to a more cold cynical outlook, to a retention of warm belief, to post Break the Cutie vindictive Tranquil Fury, to creepy monotone omnipotence on the levels of Dr. Manhattan. It's especially noticeable because her mode of speech is unusual to begin with, archaic in word choice and poetic in cadence.
Vocal Dissonance: This does result in a bit of oddness in the later parts of the game, when she's become quieter and more ragged-sounding when she speaks. When Booker asks her to pick a lock, her responses are still in her chipper Cheerful Child tone.
When She Smiles: She is by no means unattractive but her smile when Booker wakes up after their escape from her tower is simply beautiful.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: According to her Bad Future self, Elizabeth didn't turn evil because she believed in Comstock's cause; instead, because the Booker DeWitt of her timeline was killed before he could rescue her from the Songbird, the specialists managed to convince Elizabeth that "The False Shepherd" had abandoned her. It was this sense of betrayal, more than any the tortures that had been used to indoctrinate her, that left her accepting Comstock's mantle simply out of a desire to see the world burn.
"Father" Zachary Hale Comstock AKA Booker Dewitt
"The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet... so I don't have to. Amen."
Voiced by: Kiff VandenHeuvel
The leader of the Founders, and an embodiment of their ultra-nationalist, xenophobic and hyper-religious beliefs. Comstock is known as "The Prophet", and has turned Columbia and its people into a living shrine to himself. He is obsessed with the concept of cleansing the soul to achieve rebirth, and wishes for Elizabeth to follow in his footsteps.
Abusive Parent: He had his daughter Elizabeth locked up in a tower for her entire life. She didn't even know he was her father! ...Though technically, he's not.
In Burial At Sea, turns out the player character isn't an alternate version of Booker, but rather an alternate version of Comstock, who had the Luteces send him to Rapture to forget the awful things he had done.
Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: He spearheaded the campaign that lead to the creation of Columbia, a floating city, which is seven kinds of awesome. The fact he then turned into a nightmarish, theocratic dictatorship is... somewhat less so.
As the Good Book Says: While he does not use many exact quotes, he does pepper his speech very frequently with allusions to The Bible. Most of the voxrecorder memos of him the player can listen to sound like sermons, and given his position and the echo in the recording suggesting a very large enclosed space, they may very well be literally recordings of sermons he made.
Becoming the Mask: Comstock works tirelessly to keep up his image as a religious leader. He boasts about Wounded Knee, even though Slate and his comrades knew him as DeWitt. He really was at Wounded Knee, but he would rather mark them as traitors than reveal his original identity as Booker. A voxophone found in the Clash in the Clouds DLC has Rosalind say this of him explicitly.
Rosalind: But at some point, the man became incapable of distinguishing his performance from his person.
Beard of Evil: Cleverly, it keeps the player from noticing that his face is very similar to Booker's. It was way easier to tell in his previous incarnation, where he didn't have the beard and only sported slicked back hair.
Boomerang Bigot: Possibly. An audio log implies that he is part-Sioux. Though Comstock vigorously denies this, he blandly remarks that he burned alive a good many "squaws" before his regiment finally accepted him.
This is Foreshadowing to his identity as an alternate universe Booker from an audio log found in Emporia of Preston E. Downs meeting of Booker and finding out that he speaks Sioux and one from Slate referring to Booker as "the White Injun".
Cast as a Mask: Does not share Booker's voice actor, despite being him.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Just ask the Luteces; he had both of them killed because they knew the truth about Elizabeth. And killed his wife when she threatened to go public with that same truth.
Cutscene Boss: Booker wrenches him away from Elizabeth, strangles him, then drowns him in a baptismal font, all the while in a state of abject and frothing rage.
Dark Lord on Life Support: It's revealed fairly early on that Comstock has been diagnosed with cancer, and does not expect to live to see Columbia conquer "the Sodom below" - hence the reason why he needs Elizabeth to take up his mantle. Later entries reveal that he is also sterile and prematurely aged, all three conditions being a side-effect of his overexposure to the Luteces' machine.
Death by Irony: Comstock's beginning as a villain was a baptism, and he forced all newcomers to Columbia to be baptized as a sign of loyalty to him. Fittingly, Booker drowns him in a baptismal font.
Deader than Dead: However, to prevent the bad future from occurring, it would require removing the possibility that it could ever occur, and thus require the death of Comstock at the very moment he is born. As Comstock is an alternate universe identity created by Booker accepting his baptism, eliminating Comstock requires that Booker must die at that moment.
Dramatic Wind: Pretty much every statue of him in the game is carved to make his beard be blowing noticeably to his right.
Played With in regards to Lady Comstock. In his rise to power, Comstock genuinely loved Lady Comstock and meant a whole bunch to him. But as he become more megalomaniacal and monstrous, Lady Comstock couldn't take it anymore and was about to tell the truth about Elizabeth. Comstock then subsequently murdered Lady Comstock in a fit on panic.
His relationship with Elizabeth is a subversion. He claims that everything he does to and for her is for love, but it all falls flat. And then there's getting into details to what he does to her in the Bad Future....
Fallen Hero: Booker DeWitt with a baptism who no longer accepted the responsibility of his actions while basically considering himself A Prophet Am I.
Faux Affably Evil: He behaves like a calm, loving and caring father-figure. In truth, he's an utterly ruthless megalomaniac with one hell of a god complex. He even says that forgiveness is the Lord's duty and, therefore, he doesn't have to forgive anyone which means that he's free to kill anyone who has "wronged" him.
Foreshadowing: Much of it at the start, beginning with pointing out the initials on Booker's hand to mark him as the "False Shepherd", even knowing about Booker's past along with his supposed "deal". It's because he is Booker and he knows everything about him, including that he would be coming to Columbia sooner or later to reclaim his daughter.
Comstock: Go back to the Sodom from whence you came!
A God Am I: Well, he at least claims himself to be just be following than will of God, but he's not very humble in general past that...
Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Whatever moves Booker makes against Comstock, Comstock will still remain alive in at least one of his "tears" in the universes; the Luteces have already tried to enlist Booker numerous times to end the cycle. Booker is content to go back in time and strangle Comstock in his crib if necessary. Unfortunately for Booker, that would mean killing himself.
Hypocrite: "The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet... so I don't have to."
Comstock espouses feminism, but objectifies his daughter to the extent of imprisoning and later torturing her into compliance, seeing her as more of a means to an end than anything else.
I Hate Past Me: Both Comstock and Booker despise each other. Whereas Booker grows to despise Comstock over the course of the game, Comstock has held Booker in hostility long before he arrives in Columbia. They're both the same person, with different reasons to hate their shared past.
Ignored Epiphany: It's implied he started using his religious faith as a shield against his guilt, rather than being forced to deal with it like our Booker - leading him to conclude the Indian Wars were justified and that America is still being undermined by undesirables.
Knight Templar: He sincerely believes in what he does as the will of a perfect and all-forgiving God, even knowing how harsh his actions often are.
Comstock: Is it not cruel to banish one's children from a perfect garden? Is it not cruel to drown your flock under an ocean of water? Cruelty can be instructive, and what is Columbia but a schoolhouse of the Lord?
Large Ham: Though not always, he does occasionally chew the scenery, particulary in some of his Voxophone recordings and in the later half of the game.
Zachary is a shortened and Americanized pronunciation of the Hebrew name Zechariah, meaning "The Lord has remembered" in English. It is the name of two biblical figures: the priest Zechariah ben Jehoiada and the prophet Zechariah.
He shares his surname Comstock with a number of 19th century U.S. politicians and judges. One of the more noteworthy associations is with moral crusader Anthony Comstock, who, in his position as postmaster general, introduced stringent obscenity laws and prosecuted violators with such zeal (personally crediting himself with driving 15 artists/authors to suicide) that his name is synonymous with heavy-handed censorship laws.
Hale is a name which is believed to have originated from either the Old English word halh, which refers to a nook or hollow where people may find shelter, or the Saxon term haelaeh, which refers to qualities of heroism such as courage or strength.
Messianic Archetype: Comstock wields this trope like a bludgeon in Columbia; half the population are convinced that he's a prophet, and that Elizabeth is his divinely ordained successor.
Dark Messiah: "The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet... so I don't have to."
Comstock escaping the guilt and misery of his past lead him to becoming who he is, as opposed to Booker
Mistaken for Cheating: Lady Comstock thought he was having an affair with Rosalind Lutece. He wasn't, of course, but in her defense that sounds far more plausible than "Lutece helped me buy this baby from an alternate universe version of myself."
Never My Fault: Comstock has severe trouble facing his own guilt, to the point that this is arguably his most defining trait. He only exists because he's a version of Booker that accepted baptism and created a new identity to bury his guilt over Wounded Knee. Driving the point home further, Burial at Sea features an alternate Comstock who accidentally killed Elizabeth when he tried to take her from her own world, and then had the Luteces move him to another world so that he could escape his guilt over that too.
Rosalind Lutece: Comstock was never one to own up to his errors, was he, brother?
Robert Lutece: Never comfortable with the choices he made.
Rosalind: Always seeking someone else's life to claim as his own.
Non-Action Big Bad: Despite his vast propaganda toward militarism, the most violent thing he does himself personally is grab Elizabeth's right arm and demand Booker tell her why she's missing digits from her pinky. After that, Booker smashes his head, strangles and drowns him with ease. Of course, he's prematurely aged and terminally ill, so that's about all he could be expected to do.
Not So Different: From Daisy Fitzroy or Booker DeWitt. All brutally dedicated to achieving their goals, whatever lies they have to tell or means they have to resort to. There is a reason for that. This is extremely emphasized in the first Burial at Sea episode: When he's left without his city and his resources, he's so similar to Booker that it's hard to tell the difference but for a few key differences in perspective.
Omnicidal Maniac: He plans for Elizabeth to destroy human civilization on the surface world as his version of the final judgement.
Orcus on His Throne: Comstock rarely attends to matters directly, preferring to let either his army or the Songbird deal with you; the only time he ever confronts you in person, it's to command a suicide bomber to destroy the airship you're riding. Of course, given the poor state of his health, this is justified.
Also it's debatable how genuine his racism is. His identity as Comstock certainly is racist, but Booker doesn't appear to be, at least from his interactions with people of different races. Booker may have deliberately chosen this character trait for his new identity to feed Columbia's sense of isolation, superiority, and victimization, to better present himself as a savior and protector. When he became the mask, however, his pretend racism may have shaded into the real thing.
Time Master: He's Nostradamus with heavy artillery; a formidable foe, indeed.
Utopia Justifies the Means: He goes farther than either Andrew Ryan or Sophia Lamb in trying to make his vision of Eden a reality, ultimately plotting to have his utopia destroy "the Sodom below."
Visionary Villain: And an extremely charismatic one, too, able to secure funding to build a flying city on the basis of a few visions.
Comstock: "And then, the archangel showed a vision: a city, lighter than air. I asked her, "Why do you show this to me, archangel? I'm not a strong man. I'm not a righteous man. I am not a holy man." And she told me the most remarkable thing: "You're right, Prophet. But if grace is within the grasp of one such as you, how can anyone else not see it in themselves?"
Villainous Breakdown: in the last third of the game, his repeated failures at capturing Elizabeth/killing Booker slowly make him more unstable. When confronted in person on the Hand of the Prophet, the previously Faux Affably Evil Comstock ends up flipping out at both in rage.
Voice of the Legion: Often addresses Booker through speakers that cause a deeper-pitched delayed echo of his voice. On the other hand, this could just be Booker's perception; his brain's way of telling him that Booker and Comstock are one and the same.
He also says the trope name word for word in an audio log.
You Killed My Wife: Daisy Fitzroy was accused of killing his. It is later revealed that Comstock had her killed because she wouldn't be willing to keep Elizabeth's secret. Fitzroy was a scullery maid in the wrong place at the wrong time he could use to deflect blame away from himself.
Younger Than They Look: Comstock is the same age as Booker, but appears older due to the Luteces' experiments taking a toll on his health.
The late wife of Comstock who supposedly gave birth to Elizabeth a mere seven days after conception. She is worshipped as a martyr after her assassination at the hands of Daisy Fitzroy.
All-Loving Hero: Much loved by her servant staff for this reason, and why she stuck around Comstock despite his supervillainy. This did not end well. It's also deconstructed, implying that the reason she was like this is because she was codependent.
The Atoner: In contrast to the saintly persona Comstock built around her, her personal voxophone recordings reveal she was some sort of dangerous Femme Fatale before she joined up with Comstock. However, Comstock convinced her to seek redemption and she genuinely devoted herself to being a better person, which is why she remained so loyal to Comstock even after she began to realize just how much of a monster he was.
Ax-Crazy: After being raised from the dead, infused with Elizabeth's hatred.
Brick Joke: She is actually the first person you hear from when you acquire the Voxophone. On the second playthrough, her words will hit like a brick. Plus it is also in a church.
Lady Comstock: Love the Prophet, because he loves the sinner. Love the sinner, because he is you.
Came Back Wrong: All those with Tear Sickness did, but Siren is the only one to actually go Ax-Crazy. Partly because the Siren isn't just her, but also Elizabeth's feelings of who she would be. Once Elizabeth talks to her, she calms down.
Flunky Boss: Despite her high health, Lady Comstock herself is objectively a pushover. She only possesses a single, medium-range AOE attack, and she telegraphs it well in advance. What makes her dangerous is her small army of zombie soldiers which she can resurrect if they are killed (unless you vaporize them).
Foreshadowing: She asks if it's possible to redeem Comstock. It was, by killing the man who would become him and leaving the alternate DeWitt who would never become him.
No Name Given: Only referred to as Lady Comstock, her first and maiden names are never revealed.
Necromancer: Raises enemies from the dead as the Siren.
Posthumous Character: Died nineteen years before Booker reaches Columbia. Until Comstock uses Elizabeth's powers to resurrect her as the Siren. But even that isn't really her.
Red Herring: Believed to be Elizabeth's mother, but it's revealed that Comstock was infertile and thus could not have had a child with her. She didn't take kindly to that, thinking Comstock and Rosalind were having an affair behind her back; when that was debunked by Rosalind, she confronted Comstock, who murdered her and framed Daisy Fitzroy. There are hints, however, that she is an Alternate Universe version of Elizabeth/Anna's mother: Her first initial is A, which may mean that protagonist!Booker did the religious thing, and named his child after a dead relative.
Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: She's an example of where this trope doesn't work. Destroying the heads of her undead minions will kill them, but she can put the heads back. Complete vaporization, however, will do them in for good (most of the time).
Strong Family Resemblance: She looks quite similar to Elizabeth, especially when their clothing matches. She is implied to be an alternate universe version of Elizabeth's mother.
Tragic Monster: Gets turned into the Siren, born out of Comstock's mad science, grief and Elizabeth's negative feelings for her.
Voiced by: Bill Lobley
The major leader of industry within Columbia. Though affable, his business practices are wildly unethical, to the point where he demands sixteen-hour work days and ruthlessly exploits the underclass of Columbia in the name of profit.
Asshole Victim: Tears shed when Fitzoy kills him are probably very few in number.
Bad Boss: Constantly makes excuses why he won't better pay his employees, give them any time off or make their workloads easier. Usually comes down to "The Vox is planting ideas in your head!" or "I don't want anyone taking advantage of you!" (Except him, obviously.)
Boom, Headshot: How Daisy Fitzroy takes him out during the Vox Populi rebellion in the third universe that Elizabeth and Booker visit.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: A money-grubbing industrialist who enjoys trampling on his workers' welfare and maximize profits in any way he sees fit. He's practically everything wrong with them turned Up to Eleven.
Dastardly Whiplash: Significantly more serious than most examples, but has the top hat, handlebar mustache, and utter lack of anything resembling human decency.
Dirty Coward: Both used and averted. While he clearly is afraid of the Vox and runs from their forces, he does die trying to protect a child that may have been his.
Egopolis: Finkton. The only part of town controlled by him. It is a shantytown, though....
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Possibly, seeing as in his last moments before Daisy Fitzroy shot him he was standing almost defensively in front of a child who may have been his son. Judging from Voxophones, he also seems to have at least some affection for his brother, Albert.
Eviler than Thou: Played with. In a few voxophone recordings, it's shown than Fink has no scruples at all and is pretty much a sociopath, whereas Comstock at least feels somewhat guilty about some of the horrible things he does to keep Columbia operational (or at least, Fink seems to believe that he does). However, Fink ends up dying unceremoniously without actually doing much of anything about halfway through the game, while the last act of the game goes to great lengths to show that Comstock is much more evil and ruthless than he initially appears.
Evil Genius: Like any industrialist, he no doubt outsources a lot of his work, but he's nonetheless shown to have a technical background, and is responsible for the production of much of Columbia's high technology, including Songbird and the Handymen. This is why Comstock hired him to assassinate the Luteces, as only he had the skill to sabotage their machine in such a way that their deaths would look like an accident.
Family Values Villain: As part of his "upstanding Christian" public image, he insists he can't allow his workers any sort of leisure time, lest their idle hands turn to women, whiskey and dice.
In Love with Your Carnage: Upon observing Booker in combat at the fairground, Fink starts sending him compliments by way of gifts. It turns out that he's actually hoping to employ Booker as his new security chief after the old one, uh, got the sack.
Make It Look Like an Accident: Fink was selected to assassinate the Lutece twins because he knew how to make the incident seem accidental. It didn't stick, or at least in the way Comstock wanted to.
Meaningful Name: The name "Fink" is actually pretty old and derived from finch - the bird - but these days holds general connotations of scumminess and dishonesty.
Narcissist: Brought into sharp relief by the hundred-foot-tall golden statue of himself outside his factory.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: He seems to be inspired by various 19th century industrialists, notably George Pullman (who also built a town for his employees and paid them in tokens worthless outside company stores, exactly like Fink) and Henry "Most Hated Man in America" Frick who had similar attitudes toward strikes, at one point hiring 300 Pinkertons and siccing them on striking workers, the similarities being such that Frick was probably the direct inspiration for Booker's "I've worked for men like Fink" line.
Nice Hat: Sports a spectacular top hat. He's shot through it once Daisy Fitzroy catches up to him.
Only in It for the Money: In the Voxophone recordings, he explicitly says this is the sole reason he works for Comstock.
Plagiarism: Most of his tech is copied from things he saw through the tears, and a voxophone in the Clash in the Clouds DLC by Rosalind accuses him of patent theft even before he found the tears. Given Rosalind has no reason to lie, she's probably not wrong. This is taken further in Burial at Sea: Vigors are plagiarized from Dr. Yi Suchong's work with plasmids.
Politically Incorrect Villain: In his very first appearance, he presides over the stoning of a mixed-race couple and if Booker hesitates, he teasingly accuses him of "liking your coffee black."
A Voxophone recording found not long afterwards reveals that he was once involved in the transport of "Negro convicts" from Georgia to use as cheap slave labor in Columbia, and tells Comstock to pass them off as "seeking forgiveness" for "rising above their station" if it helps ease his conscience. Fink himself obviously doesn't care so long as he gets workers.
Smug Snake: Fink certainly has enough influence and cunning on his side to make him a formidable enemy, but his over-inflated ego and profound greed keep him from being truly impressive.
A musician by trade and brother of Jeremiah Fink. Albert was the one who introduced his brother to the use of Tears, after finding one in his studio.
Plagiarism: All of "his" music is stolen from bands he observed through his Tear.
Posthumous Character: His only appearance is in the "Vox have guns" universe, where he's found lying on the floor of his studio after being killed.
The relentless mechanical guardian of Elizabeth. He resembles a cross between a dragon and a giant bird, and seems hell-bent on preventing Elizabeth from escaping Columbia.
Achilles' Heel: For all his impressive strength and resilience, Songbird's body was not designed to cope with constant water pressure; after diving into Battleship Bay in an attempt to pursue and kill Booker, the pressure at less than thirty feet is enough to actually fracture one of its eyes and force it to retreat. In the finale, Elizabeth takes advantage of this weakness by teleporting the Songbird, Booker and herself to Rapture- ensuring that Songbird arrives at the bottom of the ocean.
Alas, Poor Villain: Songbird's final moments are an unexpectedly peaceful and sombre affair, with Elizabeth comforting him and Songbird reaching out to her before he calms and finally breaks down.
Disco Tech: He is activated by a series of notes that he can hear across Columbia. Playing the notes on a special set of pipes will summon him to the location.
The Dragon: Elizabeth even refers to him as Comstock's pet.
Expy: Of a sort to the BigDaddies of Rapture, with his need to protect Elizabeth, an alternate Little Sister. His eye color change is even identical. In terms of obsession and because of his mysterious past and transformation, he is similar to Subject Delta, aka, Johnny Topside.
Giant Flyer: Essentially a Big Daddy with wings and a bird-themed helmet rather than a diving bell. It's remarkably agile for its size and the fact it's built in 1912. Though its technology is definitely not just from 1912...
Implacable Mechanical-Dragon-Bird-Thing: You don't fight him so much as inconvenience him so you can run away some more... and given that he can destroy battleship-sized zeppelins and entire floating islands in seconds, you really can't inconvenience him much.
Leitmotif: Both this song and a short whistling tune which signals his arrival. It's actually the notes C-A-G-E played in sequence, and someone who plays it can control him.
Overprotective Dad: How he comes off in the final product due to his role in raising young Elizabeth, fittingly for a Big Daddy Expy. Lampshaded by Rosalind Lutece in the DLC:
After all one might observe a baby chimpanzee to accept a wire replica for its mother. But I did not expect the brute to be capable of forming an attachment in return. Perhaps it [the Song bird] could prove to be a better father than the two she has known.
Person of Mass Destruction: His very first appearance involves him ripping the Monument Island statue almost in half in his attempts to retrieve Elizabeth; further appearances show that he's more than capable of knocking airships out of the sky and tearing the roofs off houses with his bare hands. During the finale, he not only destroys Vox Populi airships and zepplins with ease, but obliterates what little remains of Monument Island, taking the Siphon with it.
Reality Ensues: Dies when Elizabeth transports herself, Booker, and him to Rapture. Unlike the Big Daddies, he isn't built for high pressure, so the undersea pressure crushes him.
Crazy Jealous Guy: He immediately grows suspicious when Booker enters Elizabeth's tower, and quickly degenerates into tearing the place apart, along with trying to kill Booker every time the two meet.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Has been programmed to kill anyone who tries to help Elizabeth escape from him. Even if he reclaims her, he'll continue attacking in rage unless she claims responsibility herself and apologises.
Yandere: What, the obsession and tendency for murderous rages didn't tip you off?
Summon Bigger Fish/Eleventh Hour Superpower: Booker gains control of the Songbird for air strikes in the end of the game using a whistle, until the whistle is damaged by the power surge from the Siphon being destroyed.
The Unfought: Despite all of the foreshadowing and build-up, you never end up in a boss battle against Songbird. Instead, he joins your side for a battle against an army of enemy Zeppelins. In fact, it's stated that Booker will always fall to Songbird and only succeeds when an Elizabeth from the future has him pass Songbird's control song over to her past self.
The Unreveal: We vaguely learn how he was made, and that he was probably once human, but we never learn who he was. He is by far the most mysterious entity in the game.
Was Once a Man: One of Fink's diaries reveals he is a cyborg. Given his sheer size, it must have taken a lot of augmentation.
Weaksauce Weakness: Water, specifically water pressure. When he dives into Battleship Bay after Booker, what little water pressure there is causes his eye to crack. So you can imagine what happens when Elizabeth opens a tear leading to Rapture...
A Columbian politician, he was originally a major character. He was removed later in production, although there is the possibility of him being reintroduced in the DLC.
Bald of Evil: Well, in the trailer, he's still got some hair on the back of his head. Enough for the Vox to scalp, anyway.
Dummied Out: Was removed from the game despite being a major character in the trailers. The citizens still talk about him, so most likely he is just behind the scenes.
What Could Have Been: A politician in the promotional information about the game and a minor boss, he doesn't show up except in comments from civilians offhand. In Emporia, you can find his scalp nailed to a board.
Voiced by: Kimberly Brooks
The face of the Vox Populi, working to free Columbia from the iron fist of the Founders so it can be seized by the iron fist of Daisy Fitzroy instead. Originally a hapless servant girl, she went on the run for the murder of Lady Comstock, which radicalized her. Daisy is highly intelligent and resourceful, with once-noble intentions that have been worn down years of fruitless fighting into an all-consuming thirst for violence.
Ax-Crazy: While the Daisy we meet is bossy and ruthless, she pales in comparison to Alternate!Daisy, who's more the willing to kill children if it means putting a stop to people like Fink.
Big Bad Ensemble: It initially appears, from early press releases as well as the first few hours of the game, that Comstock and Fitzroy are equally positioned in terms of being the main antagonists of the story... however, Fitzroy is killed rather unceremoniously halfway through before the plot even really takes off, and the finale clearly shows that Comstock was always the main event, and that Fitzroy is entirely incidental to the multiversal destiny of the main plot.
Driven to Villainy: After Lady Comstock's death, every Founder in Columbia wanted her head, but she evaded them for more than 15 years. Then she started going after them.
The Extremist Was Right: Probably an entirely unintentional example. Daisy justifies her actions, most prominently attempting to execute Fink's young son, by stating that simply cutting down the Founders isn't enough, you need to "pull them up by the roots" before they can sprout again. This is meant to show how far she's crossed the Moral Event Horizon, but in the ending Elizabeth and Booker end up using the exact same logic to put an end to the entire cycle by killing Booker before he can become Comstock.
Frameup: It turns out that she was framed for Lady Comstock's murder, in part because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from a fugitive scullery maid to a violent revolutionary more than willing to kill children if it serves her cause.
Improbably High IQ: Justified. The psychologist that was testing her was using a highly-racist and sexist version that made the internal assumption that she would naturally score far lower than a white male. She, being a smarter-than-average intellectual, really threw it off.
In the Back: Stabbed by Elizabeth from behind in order to save the kid she was holding hostage.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Arguably, declaring Booker an enemy for "confusing the narrative." Definitely when she tries to kill a young boy simply for being the child of a Founder.
Not So Different: Both Booker and Elizabeth note she's Comstock by another name. Of course, she would die rather than admit it.
Ironic Echo: While rallying the Vox Populi, she notes that Fink and Comstock see them as nothing but livestock. When she is about to murder a child, she compares him to a weed.
Rebel Leader: For the Vox. It's decidedly not a very sympathetic portrayal.
She Who Fights Monsters: In her quest to take down Comstock and everything he stands for, she becomes exactly what he always claimed her to be.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: She is charismatic and idealistic, as well as tough and clever - all admirable qualities - but bent solely upon destruction.
With Us or Against Us: Asks Booker this right out, even if his presence in the city has nothing to do with it.
Fitzroy: There's already a fight, DeWitt. Only question is, which side you on?
Would Hurt a Child: Attempts to shoot a white boy in the head, stating that she has to start "pulling weeds from the roots". This is her Moral Event Horizon as far as Elizabeth is concerned. Also, a Voxophone from Downes reveals that Daisy uses kids as messengers, with little concern as to their possible fates (something that Preston Downs considers an act of "low cunning").
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: One of the reasons that the Daisy in the universe where Booker joined and died for the Vox wants Booker dead is that aside from thinking that he's an impostor, she considers Booker more useful to her as a martyr than alive as a possible complication.
Bald of Awesome: Other than his impressive facial hair, he's got no hair on the top of his head. This makes his scarring (and apparent vigor mutations) more visible when you get the chance to Shoot the Dog.
Berserk Button: Hates it when people talk about "Comstock's" achievements, especially when he's around to hear it.
Comstock being heralded as the "Hero of Wounded Knee", when he wasn't even there. At least, he didn't fight at Wounded Knee as Comstock, but as Booker DeWitt. It's implied that Slate knows they are the same person, but considers Booker to be the real one.
Cutscene Boss: He powers himself up with Shock Jockey and it looks like he's going to be an actual boss fight, but he just ends up tossing down a few pre-scripted lightning traps before summoning more men to fight you and then running away. By the time you catch up to him, he's too exhausted to fight and wants Booker to Mercy Kill him.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Comstock glorified Wounded Knee and the battles of the Columbian military as his own accomplishments, without so much as mentioning Slate's involvement or the sacrifices made by the men under his command. When Slate called Comstock out on this, he was removed from command and publicly disgraced.
Fallen Hero: He eventually stops caring about anything but a soldier's death for himself and his men, killing anyone (soldier or otherwise) who crosses his path in hopes of provoking a lethal enough response.
Fate Worse Than Death: If he's spared in the Hall of Heroes, he's captured by Comstock's men and later found in one of Fink's interrogation cells, evidently mentally broken by torture or lobotomised.
A Father to His Men: His men love him, and part of the reason he rebelled is because Comstock took the credit for his men's actions, not even acknowledging the loss of his men in Peking.
Mercy Kill: When you kill him after taking the Shock Jockey vigor, Elizabeth is initially horrified but she concedes that this was probably the best for him. If you don't kill him, you can find him in Fink Manufacturing, quiet and broken by the Founders. If you kill him then, Elizabeth notes it's what he wanted.
Not in This for Your Revolution: Slate is only affiliated with the Vox Populi simply because he despises Comstock and otherwise has no real interest in their ideals.
Patriotic Fervor: He and his men consider themselves true patriots, having fought bravely for America and later Columbia. That said, they would rather die with honor at Booker's hands rather than put up with Comstock's betrayal, since this would allow them to die fighting as soldiers.
Pet the Dog: A voxophone from a female soldier under his command talks of how he also commanded her father. Slate recognises her, informs her that her dad always wanted a son, and tells her that he hopes her father isn't stupid enough to value her any less for being a daughter.
Shock and Awe: He possesses the Shock Jockey Vigor, which is the main reason why Booker pursues him.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He wants Booker to kill him and his followers, just to spite Comstock. It's subtly implied that he knows that they are the same person, but considers Booker to be the real one instead of Comstock.
A Chinese gun manufacturer who has secretly agreed to supply guns to the Vox Populi.
Alternate Universe: After discovering that the original version of Chen Lin has died in Founder custody Booker and Elizabeth attempt to get around this by "borrowing" another version of him from a different universe, assuming this trope is in play. It doesn't end well.
Butt Monkey: No matter what version of him Booker and Elizabeth encounter, he is never afforded much of a happy ending.
The first is arrested by the Founders and is revealed to have been tortured to death.
The second was driven insane by "reconciliation sickness": contradictory memories about two different versions of his life. Worse still, his gunmaking tools, the only things that might have kept him stable, have been seized by the Founders.
The third version of Lin, and his wife are killed during the Vox Populi uprising. It's not even clear who did it.
Came Back Wrong: "Reconciliation" or "Tear sickness" drives him insane and delusional after a living and a dead version of him are merged.
Happily Married: One of the few constants throughout his alternate versions is that Chen Lin is married, and his wife genuinely cares for him.
Living Macguffin: He is a gunsmith who Daisy sends Booker after to secure weapons for the Vox in exchange for his airship back. The plot is very unkind to him.
Robert and Rosalind Lutece
"Heads?" / "Or tails?" Voiced by: Oliver Vaquer and Jennifer Hale
Two mysterious twins who keep appearing before Booker in the most improbable of places.
Alternate Self: It is pretty heavily implied, and actually confirmed in one of Rosalind's voxophone recordings, that they are alternate universe versions of each other.
The Atoner: Having given Comstock the technology to build his utopia and directly aided in the kidnapping of Anna DeWitt, the Luteces assist Booker and Elizabeth in undoing it. Robert in particular feels the most remorse about the whole ordeal; Rosalind was indifferent to the status quo, but Robert threatened to leave her if she didn't help. Though they remain emotionally detached throughout the game, they do mention that Booker's presence serves as a "hair shirt" to them.
Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Though they provide support at some key points, their answers to Booker's questions tend to be utterly useless. Justified by the fact that they're unstuck in time and by their beliefs about free will — from their perspective, there's no point in telling him anything, since they already know what will happen.
Beware the Silly Ones: For the most part, the twins seem fairly lighthearted and comedic, despite the air of mystery about them. Then it turns out that they're complicit in Comstock's rise to power and a very nasty incidence of kidnapping; true, they're doing their best to make amends, but it's still quite jarring. For good measure, it's strongly implied that they are in the habit of murdering the less noticeable of Comstock's assassins before they can reach Booker - the first and most obvious instance being the lighthouse keeper found shot in the head.
Opposites Attract: That said, there are subtle differences in their personalities; Rosalind is more serious, while Robert is more of a goofball. Not to mention that, as Rosalind puts it, where Robert sees an empty page, she sees King Lear — she is a fatalist, while Robert is more optimistic.
Rosalind: Brother, what Comstock failed to understand is that our contraption is a window not into prophecy, but probability. But, his money means the Lutece Field could become the Lutece Tear — a window between worlds. [earnestly] A window through which you and I...might finally be together. Rosalind: You have been transfused, brother, into a new reality, but your body rejects the cognitive dissonance through confusion and hemorrhage. But we are together, and I will mend you. For what separates us now, but a single chromosome?
Seems to be fairly one-sided, as Rosalind is the one so set on them always being "together"* You could make a drinking game based on how many times she says "together" in her voxophones. And you wouldn't be finished yet., and Robert was the one who threatened to part from her if she didn't help him — i.e. he was willing to part ways, she was decidedly not.
Rosalind: My brother has presented me with an ultimatum: If we do not send the girl back from where we brought her, he and I must part. [inhales] Where he sees an empty page, I see King Lear. But...he is my brother. So I shall play my part, knowing...it shall all end in tears.
She was willing to do something she didn't want to do and already thought was completely futile, just to avoid parting. Not to mention that she seems to be happy with pretty much any situation, as long as they're together:
Rosalind:Comstock has sabotaged our contraption. Yet, we are not dead. A theory: We are scattered amongst the possibility space. But my brother and I are together, and so, I am content. He is not.
You can explore the Luteces' house later in the game. There is only one bed.
Bystander Syndrome / Not in This for Your Revolution: Of a sort. It's revealed that Rosalind originally agreed to work with Comstock for funds and his support for her theories. She (and her brother) couldn't care less for his plans for Columbia and "drowning in flames" the Sodom below; in fact, she privately considers his stint as a prophet an elaborate show. It wasn't long however before she began regretting that decision, especially as Comstock grew increasingly twisted and Elizabeth entered the picture.
Catch Phrase: "X? Or Y?" Also, "[Blanks], [blank]ed, will [blank]."
Robert: Lives, lived, will live. Rosalind: Dies, died, will die.
They remind one of the G-Man's transdimensional shenanigans...though they're not as creepy. They're also a considerably more human version of Dr. Manhattan given their relationship to quantum physics.
Their role in the story is similar to Tenenbaum's from the first BioShock.
Fashion Dissonance: It's not so obvious but their outfits in 1912 are nigh identical with the flashbacks in 1893, which would make their attire late-Victorian at best. This isn't helped by the fact that both Luteces were presumably killed years before the game takes place.
Mad Scientists: It's soon revealed they designed both the technology that keeps Columbia afloat and the first interdimension travel machine. They are also a bit nuts.
Meaningful Name: Their last name comes from the French word for the Roman city that became Paris. In a way, Booker did take Elizabeth to Paris as a baby.
Morality Chain: Apparently, even after Comstock's attempted murder, Rosalind was just fine with letting things stand, having gotten what she wanted, i.e. an eternity to study science with her brother-self. Robert, having seen the natural end of all the Comstock futures (and possibly feeling guilty over the initial abduction of Anna), isn't as copacetic, and actually threatens to leave Rosalind forever unless she helps him fix things. So she plays ball, even if she thinks the whole thing's stupid.
Robert issued Rosalind the ultimatum before Fink sabotaged their machine. She still agrees to do it afterwards.
Robert: So you expect me to shoulder the burden?
Rosalind: No. But I do expect you to do all the rowing.
Mother Nature, Father Science: Downplayed and inverted. Rosalind is the cold, intellectual one while Robert is the more emotional and the more morally concerned one, as he's the one that suggested they should fix what they caused.
Narcissist: Given that they're technically alternate versions of each other, they take this to an uncomfortable level.
Offscreen Teleportation: The two tend to pop in and out all over Columbia offering random choices to Booker and Elizabeth.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Although sometimes they don't even bother waiting for you to turn your back before they just vanish into thin air. Especially after it's revealed that actually they're omnipresent across the multiverse.
The Omnipresent: They were scattered across space-time by their accident, gaining the ability to appear wherever they wished.
Physical Gods: A freak accident with Rosalind's dimension-bending machine made them able to bend the world to their liking, which explains how they repeatedly show up in random places doing strange things and how they can't be shot, even at point-blank range.
Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: Their combined research has allowed them to not only traverse alternate dimensions but also bend the laws of physics to their will, hence why Columbia manages to float at all. This also extends to surviving their own deaths, allowing them to exist across all time and space. Which would also explain why it's impossible to shoot them. The latter case is probably an instance of the quantum immortality thought experiment come true.
Red Herring Shirt: These people turn out to have a lot more involvement in the plot than they initially let on.
The Power of Rock: Rosalind was able to cure Robert's reconciliation sickness with the help of music to calm his nerves.
Schrodinger's People: They keep popping up throughout the story. It's a side effect of dying when Comstock had Jeremiah Fink sabotage one of their machines.
The Unfought: Their distinctly unhelpful advice and the way they treat Booker are vaguely reminiscent of Fontaine/Altas' manipulation, so one can be forgiven for thinking they would betray Booker.
Women Are Wiser: While they're equally brilliant, Rosalind seems to be the more mature. Exemplified by one scene early in the game, where the two of them can clearly be seen through the binoculars across from Monument Island: Robert is juggling while Rosalind looks on disapprovingly. Subverted when it's revealed that while Rosalind might be the wiser of the two, Robert is ultimately revealed to hold himself to a higher moral standard (or at the very least is more idealistic), being the one who decided that Comstock had to be stopped.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Luteces were this for the Founders. Once Comstock had all he needed from them and was taking steps to conceal Elizabeth's true origins, he had Fink arrange for the pair to be offed in an unfortunate experimental "accident." It didn't exactly work as planned.
Preston E. Downes
A bounty hunter who is employed by the Founders to track down Daisy Fitzroy.
Badass: He takes on and kills two Vox who tried to kill him in his sleep.
Bounty Hunter: His trade and craft. At least, in most realities...
Even Evil Has Standards: He set bear traps for Daisy Fitzroy's messengers, with the intention of catching them and interrogating them for information regarding her whereabouts. It worked, as he then discovered that Daisy was using children as messengers, which resulted in a young Native American orphan being mangled by his trap. After being forced to amputate the boy's leg, he takes on the responsibility of taking care of the child.
Later on, he's sent to hunt down (alternate universe) Booker DeWitt, who turns out to be fluent in Sioux, the same native tongue as his ward. He then makes a Heel-Face Turn after learning why the boy is an orphan and why he is working for the Vox Populi.
Great White Hunter: He even makes a habit of scalping his targets. In the case of Comstock, he states that he'll give the boy the honors.
The Unfought: Not any sign of him in the flesh is ever encountered in the game, though an alternate Booker does meet him at some point.
A blind old preacher in charge of baptism for those trying to enter Columbia.
For Want of a Nail: If he just didn't baptize Booker DeWitt, Comstock and thus pretty much the entire game would have never happened.
Preacher Man: His role in Columbia. In a slight twist, he seems to be more devoted to Comstock than to God.
Prophet Eyes: His blindness isn't clear from his movements, but his eyes which have cataracts.
Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He almost assuredly had no idea that giving a troubled young soldier a baptism would lead to Comstock's rise to power.
Heavily-armoured members of Colombia's military. Equipped with the Devil's Kiss vigor, they are often sent into situations that ordinary police officers or soldiers cannot handle alone.
The Atoner: According to the player's guide, Firemen are actually former Columbian criminals who've been captured by the Founders and sealed into iron maiden-like suits that constantly burn them, before being equipped with Devil's Kiss and put to work as shock troopers. Their dialogue suggests that they honestly believe they're repenting for their "sins", and that their fiery attacks are infernal judgment meted out against the enemies of the Prophet.
One-Way Visor: Presumably they can see out, but from the outside it looks mirrored. This is Truth in Television with welding masks. The mask is very reflective so the sparks from welding don't blind the welder with light alone.
Playing with Fire: Hurling fireballs, using an AOE fireburst attack, and then potentially exploding when they die.
Pyro Maniac: Implied, given that they're very enthusiastic about seeing Booker "BURN IN HELL!"
Reformed Criminal: In a twisted way—they're only "reformed" in the sense that they're now serving Comstock instead of defying him. Once the Vox uprising is in full swing, they appear to be more commonly aligned with the rebel forces than with the Columbian military and police.
Taking You with Me: A critically-damaged Fireman will activate a self-destruct and charge in your general direction. Pretty painful if it connects, but they only have a few seconds to reach you and tend to be easily outwitted by using environmental cover or Vigors to stall them. They also detonate prematurely if you damage them enough.
Tragic Monster: Some of their non-combat lines include "Let me out, it burns, it burns!" and "There's no forgiveness without sacrifice!" Sometimes they sound pained and exhausted even if uninjured. So...what kind of effect has constantly being steeped in Vigors had upon them?
Zealots of the Lady
Elite members of the Fraternal Order of the Raven, the Zealots of the Lady and their underlings are a religious movement that demonize Abraham Lincoln for his role in ending slavery in America and venerate his assassin, John Wilkes Booth, as a saint. While she was alive, they also worshiped Lady Comstock, hence their name; they blame themselves for failing to prevent her untimely death, and have sworn to vanquish the enemies of Columbia in their Lady's name. Furthermore, their devotion to blackbirds has led them to adopt the Murder of Crows Vigor as their weapon of choice, making the cultists challenging foes. Up close, they wield deadly swords to supplement their Vigor powers.
Death of a Thousand Cuts: They're are introduced by one of their number using his vigor to execute a Chinese captive in this way.
Degraded Boss: At first, the only one encountered is the head of the Lodge, and is officially a boss; then, as Booker continues across Colombia and the other dimensions that contain it, he starts meeting them as mooks.
The Klan: Strongly reminiscent of them, particularly with their hooded uniforms.
Mark of Shame: The Zealots have a clothing-based version of this in the form of the large wooden coffins they have chained to their backs, as a reminder of their failure to protect Lady Comstock.
Politically Incorrect Villain: The Fraternal Order of the Raven takes this to an extreme - they're a turbo-charged, super-powered, government-sanctioned Ku Klux Klan.
Ravens and Crows: Quite so. They utilize the Murder of Crows Vigor, dress in black, and are perpetually surrounded by flocks of crows. Even their meeting hall is infested with birds; nests in their statues, straw all over the place, and a lavish feast laid out and left to rot presumably to attract them. They don't even seem to bother cleaning up the mess the crows leave everywhere.
"You won't hide long from her! She knows no blindness!"
"I don't see you, but she does! She does!"
A "Heavy Hitter" enemy that resembles a clockwork soldier. Originally designed as tour guides, they were given ridiculously unnecessary amounts of armour and firepower to help combat foreign spies, and now serve as mobile tanks.
American Robot: Animatronic old U.S. presidents who blare anthems, spout slogans, mount stars and stripes flags, and wield Pepper Mills.
Attack Its Weak Point: The gears on their backs are their primary vulnerability, though head shots will do in a pinch until you've completely blown it off. They won't be dead, but pretty close.
Abraham Lincoln: The Vox Populi ones are styled after him instead late in the game.
Robot Me: In the "Vox have guns already" Columbia, Comstock uses versions modeled after himself.
Giant Mook: They're almost twice as tall as a normal man and behave the most like a "standard" FPS Giant Mook out of any enemy in the series; they can take a lot of bullets, are equipped with a minigun-like weapon, and slowly walk relentlessly towards you while firing.
Implacable Robot: Ken Levine has said that what makes these such dangerous enemies is that they have no sense of self-preservation and simply march forward through any damage and danger to focus relentlessly on attacking the player.
Lightning Bruiser: Patriots march forward at a steady pace, pumping bullets into their foes with deadly precision... until you manage to keep out of their line of sight long enough. Then watch those things double in speed and smack you with their guns before you know what's hit you.
Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: They were originally used as tour guides: why would they need to be strong enough to carry a BFG? Since Columbia is paranoid about foreigners, they might be used to summarily execute any spies who've come under the guise of tourists.
Handymen are primitive cyborgs employed in Columbia as brute labour. They are created from the merging of a crude exoskeleton (with the proportions of an ape) and human bodies, most of them unwilling. Due to the imperfect nature of the process, most "Handymen" have lost their sanity and are in constant pain.
Advertised Extra: They appeared prominently in almost every preview and trailer, and were billed as this game's equivalent to the Big Daddies. Booker fights maybe four in total, and they have basically zero relevance to the overall plot.
And I Must Scream: Unable to sleep, suffering from constant pain and barely sane - all things considered, these guys were probably better off sickly and crippled...
Apologetic Attacker: If you listen carefully, you'll realize that quite a few of their combat 'taunts' aren't actually taunts at all. They're shouting at you to run away so they won't be forced to hurt you in the incoming berserk rage. And when they electrify the skyrails, they'll preface it with "GET DOWN!", as a warning that if you don't let go, things will very shortly suck. Further emphasized by the fact that, in the Bad Future version of Columbia, a photograph of a Handyman has been added to a bulletin board of known sinners- the "sin" in question being pacifism.
Attack Its Weak Point: A glaringly obvious one in the form of their still beating hearts on display in the front of their bodies. Justified by the fact that they were designed for labor, not combat — they might even have been intended to be easy to shut down in case they ever get out of control.
Bald of Evil: Since no Handyman is shown with hair, presumably it's part of the transformation process.
Cheap Costume: Handymen loyal to Vox Populi go into battle wearing only strips of red cloth wrapped around their hands and face.
Clothing Damage: Non-fanservice example; the Founder Handymen apparently were once dressed in formal-looking jackets and trousers, but thanks to the exertions of their work, their uniforms have been worn down to rags.
Incurable Cough of Death: Sometimes after exerting themselves, they will stop and cough violently, pausing from their otherwise rapid rate of movement. Given many of them are implied to have been sick patients before being made into Handymen, this may be related to that, or difficulty getting enough oxygenation in their artificial bodies. This is the point at which they are most vulnerable to careful shots from the player.
The Quiet One: Handymen can talk, it's just that not many of them are in the mood to do so outside of combat.
Shock and Awe: Can use their suits to manipulate electricity, throwing balls of it at Booker and electrifying Sky-Lines.
Shrinking Violet: The first Handyman encountered in the game is clearly an example; exhibited at the fairgrounds before a sizable audience and at least one photojournalist, he is seen hiding his face with his hands and flinching at the camera flashes.
Was Once a Man: Ken Levine hints that there is something very sad as to why they are in mechanical bodies. The posters of their transformation at the 1912 Columbia Fair showing a bedridden and ill man in the "before" image hints at what this might be.
When you reach Columbia's shipping district, you can find a Voxphone with a recording by a working-class woman that says her husband was dying of stomach cancer, and she permitted him to be turned into a Handyman because that's still better than him being dead. Thus, it's a safe bet that every Handyman you see in the game is what's left of a terminally ill workman in Fink's employ.
We Can Rebuild Him: Most of the Handymen-to-be were disabled or in a critical condition around the time they were modified, and the adverts still emphasize the "rebuilding" aspect of the process. Of course, none of them mention the obvious problems in it.
Unstoppable Rage: Thanks to their current condition, the Handymen are often overcome with fits of berserk rage - combat being a very easy way to ensure a rampage.
Boys Of Silence
The mysterious (and creepy) guards of Comstock House. If they detect an intruder, they raise the alarm and cause all nearby enemies to attack you.
Art-Style Dissonance: They have giant ear horns and no eyes. Yet they spot Booker visually, with a light, and are completely deaf to the environment- you can run right past them, even shoot around in the air, and they still won't detect you.
Child Soldier: Implied. Given that their school uniform-like clothes appear to be a few sizes too small for them, the Boys were likely recruited, trained and conditioned when they were children.
Demoted to Extra/What Could Have Been: The featured Heavy Hitters trailer implied they'd be scattered throughout the game on the streets of Columbia. Instead, they only appear in one level towards the end of the game; you only encounter about five. It was also implied you could kill them if you were stealthy enough, but in the final version, hitting them just alerts them to your presence before they vanish.
Patrolling Mook: If a Boy of Silence detects you, he will call in other opponents to attack you.
Reality Warper: Able to pull in soldiers from other dimensions via Tears.
Villain Teleportation: The Boys of Silence have a limited ability to open Tears of their own, allowing them to escape if threatened.
One of the Heavy Hitter types that appear serving both the Founders and Vox. Though their personalities are different, their weapon and lethal accuracy is the same.
Cold Sniper: The Founder-loyal ones only. Vox Populi ones love to scream and yell at you.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted. Snipers usually fight from only a reasonable distance away. Logical given Columbia is mostly winding streets and courtyards, so there's not much room for mile-away marksmanship.