The Caped Crusader has one of the most impressive rogues galleries in all of comic books, so I thought I’d share my top ten favourite Batman villains
In comic books the hero always needs a great villain to fight. It helps when they have multiple great villains to fight. When it comes to The Dark Knight, his rogues gallery is like no other. The collection of misfits and freaks the Batman goes toe to toe with on a nightly basis is just outstanding, and something that fans have always come to appreciate. In order for a hero to reach their true potential, they need an arch nemesis, someone who will test their limits, and someone who will ultimately bring out the best in our hero. I’ve loved Batman for as long as I can remember, and to be honest what separates him from other heroes is his rogues gallery. They are all so special and unique, and sometimes I find myself liking the bad guys more than the Caped Crusader himself. From the Batman movies, comic books and the beloved animated series from the 90’s, I’m going to go through my top ten Batman bad guys!
“No. No! You broke my concentration. It won’t work. Don’t you see? It’s too hard. It’s like tensing a muscle. I can’t keep it up for long! MY CAREER, MY LIFE, IT IS GONE! AND I CAN NEVER GET IT BACK! I’M NOT AN ACTOR ANYMORE! I’m not even a… man.” – Clayface
The shape shifting clay guy! Things got pretty messy when Batman went toe to toe with Clayface, who first appeared in Detective Comics #40, in 1940! Throughout the years he has had many aliases but the one I know him for the most is Matt Hagen, an A-List Hollywood actor who was getting too old to be getting parts anymore. When a pharmaceutical company offers to help by offering him a new “aging cream” it soon consumes Hagen, and he turn into the blob you see in the picture above. All around cool villain, with his shape shifting abilities, he is able to turn into anyone or anything for that matter. So he was quite the handful for old Batsy to take on. He has two really fantastic episodes in Batman the Animated Series titled Feat of Clay!
“All my life people been screamin’… ever since I was a kid — just cuz I was born different… just cuz I look different, but lemme tell ya… you people ain’t no joy to look at neither!” – Killer Croc
Waylon Jones was born with a rare disease called atavism, which gave him reptile like features. From the moment he was born he was different from everyone else, and he’s always felt like an outsider. As he grew older so did the disease, and it consumed him. Turning him into half man half crocodile. He is one of Batman’s toughest opponents, and first appeared in Detective Comics #583 in 1983! Before turning to a life of crime, his backstory usually involves him being a side show at a circus or a pro-wrestler turned baddie.
“Know that the mask destroys one identity while creating anoter. Know that the mask recreates its wearer. Know that, through the sublimation of personality, inhibitions die and the nature of the wearer is altered–so that deeper drives and more primitive instincts rise to the surface.” – Black Mask
Roman Sionis aka Black Mask, originally a business man who had a hatred for Bruce Wayne rather than his alter ego. Jealous of the life a young Bruce Wayne had, Roman also came from money, but his parents didn’t use it to help others like the Wayne’s, nor did they care for Roman like the Wayne’s cared for their son Bruce. Black Mask, then set his sights on the criminal underworld of Gotham, where he led the group known as the “False Facers,” he wears a black wooden mask to scare his enemies, much like the Batman himself. First appearing in 1985, Black Mask has been a worthy opponent of the Batman, and a few years ago, he appeared in the Batman: Arkham Origins video game and I thought that was a really great portrayal of the character.
“I’m Cobblepot, you cretin. Do you think my parents named me “The Penguin”?” – The Penguin
Born Oswald Cobblepot, he is one of Batman’s many super villains, and was first introduced in 1941, in Detective Comics #58. Known for his love of ornithology, and trick umbrellas, that double as deadly weapons and fancy gadgets. Penguin is a criminal mastermind, who uses his club The Iceberg Lounge as a front for all the shady criminal dealings and other nefarious operations he is involved with. Usually a short, cubby, well dressed man, who was always seen sporting a tuxedo, monocle and top hat, the Penguin does have a sense of style. Usually surrounded by beautiful women, to remind people just how powerful a man he is, despite his grotesque appearance. Physically he is no match for Batman, but intellectually he can manipulate Batman, and their relationship isn’t as intense as with other villains. At the end of the day, Penguin is a businessman, not a killer, so Batman is usually stopping bad business deals, and making sure the Penguin is kept in check.
9.) Poison Ivy
“You’re not my enemy, Batman. I used to think defeating you was my main objective in life. No. You’re merely a hindrance. My main goal now and forevermore will be a better world. If that means we cross swords, so be it, but… I’ve changed.” – Poison Ivy
Dr. Pamela Isley, she was once one of the most promising young botanist minds, when a horrible accident, which nearly killed her turned her into something evil. Poison Ivy was born, and it was that very accident that she acquired an immunity to all natural toxins and deadly diseases in the world. Introduced in 1966, in Batman #181, she has been around in the comics for over 50 years now. Obsessed with plant life, botany and environmentalism, she wanted to save the world, one plant at a time, but now she uses them as her most dangerous weapon. Using toxins from not only plants by her own poisonous bloodstream for criminal activities, and harming her enemies. Known to create love potions, those have been used on Batman, Robin and even Superman to help her with her schemes. She still wants to save all her precious plants and the environment but now she goes about doing it in a much more sinister and evil manner. Depicted in the comics as the most formidable eco-terrorist, her abilities make her a worthy advisory to Batman, and anyone else standing in her way. She has also been known to team up with Catwoman and Harley Quinn, in the comics and cartoons. We can all just try and forget her on screen performance in Batman & Robin, I know I have
“A master strategist would have killed me when he had the chance. It’s clear you lack the foresight… or the nerve. So I’m your prisoner. You know I’ll escape.” – Hush
One of Batman’s greatest enemies might also be one of his lesser known to casual Bat fans. That doesn’t mean this guy is a push over in any sense, making his debut in 2003, in Batman #609, Hush is both a physical threat, as well as a mental threat for our hero. Thomas Elliot was Bruce Wayne’s best friend growing up; they did everything together, as their parents ran in the same social circle. Growing up wealthy, much like Wayne, Tommy had it all, except for what Bruce valued the most, which was love and support from his mother and father. When Tommy’s failed plan to murder his parents backfired, due to Thomas Wayne’s incredible surgical skills, he then vowed to himself that he would seek revenge on Bruce, as he took it upon himself to blame Bruce for everything. When Thomas grew up, he became a masterful surgeon himself, and used those skills, to seek revenge on his once childhood friend. Wearing bandages to cover his face, he took on the persona of Hush, and in some cases he would take pieces of his murdered victims faces and use it to create a replica of Bruce Wayne’s face where he use it to not only destroy his reputation, but to lure out the Batman. He’s such an interesting villain and I hope we get to see him in the DCEU, maybe played by Ben’s real life best friend Matt Damon.
“Do you know why you always catch us? It’s because we want to be caught.” – Scarecrow
The professor of fear himself Dr. Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow. Introduced in World’s Finest Comics #3 in 1941, Scarecrow remains one of Batman’s toughest mental challenges. Obsessed with fears and phobia’s, an ex professor of psychology at Gotham State University. He was experimenting on students in an unorthodox way and pushing the limits on these experiments, and soon was fired from the university. Using fear toxins to subdue is opponents, Scarecrow commits his crimes not for money but rather as a form of research, in his never ending quest to bring Gotham to its knees in the form of fear. Remains one of my favorite Batman villains to date, I wish he would get a proper onscreen representation. He was fine in the Nolan trilogy but it could be way cooler and much more scarier. His scarecrow appearance and lanky demeanor were inspired by the fable tale of Ichabod Crane in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
“I am Bane and I could kill you… but death would only end your agony and silence your shame. Instead, I will simply…BREAK YOU!” – Bane
The man who broke the Bats back. Bane is without doubt Batman’s greatest physical threat and in the comics one of my favorite villains to read. Seriously though this guy broke the goddamn Batman, and the only man to do so. The Knightfall comic story arc where this happens is simply incredible and a comic read for any nerd. Bane an escaped convict is a super-villain/assassin who gained his strength from an experiment gone wrong. He gains his powers by pumping “venom” into his veins which causes him to have increased size, strength and speed. Introduced in 1993, in Vengeance of Bane, he has been a formidable foe ever since. Not a whole lot is known about Bane’s background or even his true name, but not only does Bane possess immense power, but he is also one of Batman’s most intelligent bad guys. Even though, Bane is one of Batman’s greatest foes, he is also known to take down drug lords, and help fight crime as well. Recently he even took over the mantle as Batman, when the Caped Crusader was out of action, that didn’t work out well in the end for Bane. Loved Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, but would love to see a more comic book take on the character in the movies, he’s just not the same without the classic venom serum running through his veins.
5.) The Riddler
“Life’s full of questions, isn’t it, Batman? Though, naturally, I prefer to think of them as riddles.” – The Riddler
Riddle me this, riddle me that, who’s afraid of the big black bat? The Riddler also known as Edward E. Nigma, is a without doubt Batman’s most intelligent foe, and that in the end is always his downfall. He first appeared in Detective Comics #140 in 1948, and is known for his signature purple domino mask and green question mark-covered costume, that varies in appearance. It can either be in the form of a skintight cat suit or what I prefer a business suit, with a bowler hat and his special question mark shaped cane, that usually doubles as some sort of weapon. Ever since he was little The Riddler has been obsessed with puzzles, games, word games and most importantly riddles. When he does commit a crime he usually leaves behinds clues for the police and Batman, solving them usually lead straight to him or help them solve the case. Always complex, but the Batman has never been stumped by The Riddler, and with his obsessive compulsion to ask riddles, having them constantly solved by the Dark Knight, drives him ever more insane. Again, The Riddler is a troubled person, who commits crimes because of his obsession, and does not do so for money or to kill, but rather because he cannot help himself. Recently the Batman comics had a really good Riddler run, and it made me realize how much I love this villain. Early on, Riddler was a campy villain, but in recent years has shifted towards a more darker tone, which somewhat suits the character more. There was a Riddler easter egg in Batman v. Superman, so I would love for him to be introduced into the DCEU, and my personal casting choice would either be Jim Parsons or Eddie Redmayne, I think he could do a really good job.
4.) Two Face
“Why are we doing this? Because we are now two faces. One good, the other bad. Half-and-half. Fifty fifty. Opposite and equal. And we’re deadlocked. When that happens… we let the coin decide.” – Two Face
Two Face has one of the saddest stories in all of Batman lure. Harvey Dent once the promising young DA of Gotham, and best friend to Bruce Wayne, he had everything going for him. Serving as one of Batman’s greatest allies before the horrible accident, where mob boss Sal Maroni threw acid in his face, scarring him for life. That was just the beginning, see Harvey suffers from split personality disorder, and once his face was burned it unleashed the bad side in Harvey, and from there Two Face was created. Two Face, obsessed with duality and the number two, relies on the flip of his good luck coin to make all his decisions for him. Everything he does is calculated, and relies solely on luck, he doesn’t make any decisions without flipping his coin first, and this is always his biggest flaw. Introduced in 1946 in Detective Comics #66, Two Face has been on the big screen twice and is a prominent figure in the comics today. Batman, feeling for his old friend is always trying to help save Harvey, and to try and cure him of his disease, but Two Face is always set on is fixation with chance and his lucky coin and his crimes are always planned and schemed in design of these fixations. Growing up I loved Two Face in the animated series, I thought his character design was so cool, and I was so excited for him to be on the big screen. It just never really panned out the way I wanted it to. Also if Two Face enters the DCEU and it’s not Jon Hamm, we riot!!
3.) Ra’s al Ghul
“Welcome home, Bruce Wayne — or shall I address you as the Batman?” – Ra’s al Ghul
No no, they just didn’t make this guy up for Liam Neeson to play in Batman Begins, he’s actually been around for a long time. 1971 to be exact, in Batman #232, Ra’s al Ghul is Arabic for “The Demons Head,” and he is one of Batman’s greatest enemies, and he has great admiration for The Worlds Greatest Detective. Little is known about his background, as it varies, but one thing is certain, he is very old. You see Ra’s is immortal, due to his use of the “Lazarus Pit” which turns the dying into new life. These pits have helped him live for hundreds of years. He wants to conquer the world, and his ideal perfect world is one that is in environmental balance. He wants to rid the world of most of humanity seeing how he believes this is how he can achieve his ultimate goal. He considers Batman to be his worthiest opponent and at times as asked him to be his successor, seeing how he wants to leave this world, because he has lived for so long, but Batman does not share the same beliefs, so they have a serious conflict. His biggest achievement is deducing that the Batman is in fact Bruce Wayne, something that very little criminals have been able to achieve. Sworn enemies, but things get complicated between the two, due to Bruce’s love for his daughter Talia. She shares the same beliefs as her father, but she is also madly in love with Bruce Wayne, and they end up having a child together Damian Wayne, who ends up becoming the forth Robin.
2.) Mr. Freeze
“Have you ever seen a flower die? Watched something that was once so beautiful, so full of life, collapse and rot from within”. – Mr. Freeze.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know this guy, really? Arnold really screwed this incredible character over after Batman & Robin. Just look at that photo! Mr. Freeze is in my all time top 5 comic book characters, I think he is such an interesting person. There is no other Batman character I want to see more in the DCEU than this guy, I think they could just do this character the justice he deserves. Since Patrick Stewart is done with Professor X, how about he jumps ship and comes over to WB to play Mr. Freeze for us. Go back, and watch Heart of Ice, an episode of the animated Batman series, and you’ll see and finally understand that this guy is more than just a meathead who talks only talks in ice puns. You got to go all the way back to 1959, in Batman #121 when he first appeared in comics. Victor Fries, once an accomplished cryogenicist, he was on a mission in life to save his wife Nora who was stricken with a rare disease. Growing up Victor used to freeze animals so he could study them and preserve their life, so he decided to do the same with Nora, freezing her until he could fine a cure for her disease. Everything was going fine, until the lab he was working at found out and shut it down, and when a struggle ensued, it caused Victor to be transformed into a cold-blooded human that must always be kept at a subzero temperature in order for him to survive. When he turned cold, so did his heart, and he is no longer able to feel any emotion, which makes him a deadly and complicated villain. Wearing a kick-ass cryogenic suit, that keeps his body cold as ice, and wielding powerful freezing weapons is a formidable foe for Batman. Again driven by the obsession to save his wife, he stops at nothing to find the cure for her so they can be reunited once more, and no one, not even Batman will stand in his way. You always feel for Mr. Freeze, because he just wanted to save his wife, and now he’s a monster, and the comics and animated series really make you feel for his character. I just think he’s just Batman’s coolest villain, and I just wish they wouldn’t have screwed it up back in the 90’s.
1.) The Joker
“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once. Am I right? You had a bad day and everything changed.” – The Joker
The Clown Prince of Crime himself, The Joker comes in at number one (duhhhh). Introduced in the first ever Batman comic, Batman #1 in 1940, he is Batman’s greatest foe and his archenemy. Honestly what can I say about this guy? He’s one of literatures greatest characters, a dead guy won an Oscar for portraying him (RIP Heath), and he’s the classic ying, to Batman’s yang. Origin mostly unknown, name is also unknown. See that’s the brilliant thing about The Joker, you don’t know anything about him, a few things here and there have been talked about in the past, but for the most part he is a mystery. That’s the coolest thing about this guy; he has no super powers, nothing. He is simply bat-shit crazy; he’s the opposite of Batman in almost every way. Yet they are destined to be together, to always come toe-to-toe with one another, because at the end of the day, neither one of them can bring themselves to kill the other. There have been so many great Joker stories; it’s hard to even count, from comics, to the movies, hell to even the Arkham video games. Recently in the comics he cut his own goddamn face off, it was an incredible comic book run in the New 52, and that’s the thing, there will always be amazing Joker stories to tell. The guy dresses up like a clown, and wrecks havoc on Gotham, that’s about it. He’s insane in the membrane, he loves to terrorize Gotham and he loves to get his ass kicked by Batman. It’s hard to even talk about the guy because I don’t even know where to start, I almost like The Joker, more than I like Batman. He’s the greatest comic book villain ever; I wish we got to see Heath portray him once more, easily one of movies biggest what-ifs. He’s killed a Robin (Jason Todd), he’s paralyzed Barbara Gordon, he’s done some horrible shit and to me it’s incredible that still to this day, Batman has never killed him in the comics. It’s implied somewhat in The Killing Joke, arguably the greatest Joker story every told, the last few frames of the book show Batman potentially strangling Joker to death, after he makes Batman laugh after telling him a funny joke. I’m really curious to see where they take Jared Leto’s Joker in the DECU, because I love Batflecks portrayal and he needs to be in a scene with The Joker, and I didn’t mind his performance in Suicide Squad, but he just wasn’t in it enough for me to get a full grasp on it. I’d like to see him play The Joker again, because he needs to be a part of this universe, so we will see where they go with that. Meanwhile do yourself a favor, Google top Joker stories, and go pick one out and read it, I swear you won’t be disappointed.
So there you have it, my list of my favorite Batman villains. Did I miss anyone? Was I too high on certain ones? Let me know!
Check ya later.