In all of comics, no other hero has a rogues gallery as interesting as that of Batman. Villains like The Joker and Two-Face have been reeking havoc in Gotham since the 1940s. For some, the bad guys are the stars of the stories even more than the Caped Crusader himself. So let's take a trip down the Arkham Asylum and rank the best of Batman villains!
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The Joker is what all villains aspire to be: obscenely dangerous, wildly unpredictable, and always one step ahead of the hero. He’s a villain who can’t be beat with punches, a psychopath who murders for laughs, and a man who fancies himself as the clown the prince of crime. He’s the Joker -- and he’s the greatest Batman villain of all time.
Having half his face melted off by acid brought out the dual personality in Gotham DA Harvey Dent, turning him into the criminal mastermind known as Two-Face. He’s obsessed with duality, and he often uses a coin flip to make radical decisions that could mean life or death for both Batman and innocent people. He was once an ally of Commissioner Gordon and Batman but now he lives on the other side of the law, representing both the best and the worst that a citizen of Gotham can be. There are two sides to everyone, a good and a bad side. This dichotomy of good and evil has often been explored in literature (and in Batman/Bruce Wayne himself), but never quite so literally as through Harvey Dent. A former lawyer who fought to keep those who'd seek to do Gotham's residents harm off the streets, Dent was scarred physically and mentally when a mob assassin tried to kill him by throwing a vial of acid in his face. With a half-healthy and half-hideously disfigured face, the dichotomy of Harvey’s personality is displayed on his skin.. He takes things a few steps farther though, making all his decisions with the help of a two-headed coin (one head is scratched up, naturally), and usually theming everything from his crimes to his hideouts to his henchmen around the number 2. Two-Face has been adapted to the big screen twice, including in the fan-favorite The Dark Knight. Recently, he was literally handcuffed to Batman as the pair went on the run in a story in "Rebirth's" All-Star Batman.
Bane has the same physicality and unbreakable will as Batman, but a childhood spent in a hellish prison molded him into a hardened killer. Thanks to his Venom super-steroid, he broke Batman’s back and took over Gotham. How many of these villains can say that?
The Riddler is an intellectual equal to Batman but with a psychological need to leave him clues to foil his plans. And that’s what makes him so dangerous: he’s a madman who will come up with deadly games and puzzles, all so he can test his wits against the world’s greatest detective. But what Riddler truly adds to Batman's crew of villains is something that's always been an important part of the mythos - fun.
Ra's al Ghul best represents the different type of threats Batman has to deal with. It would be enough that he’s a genius and a master-swordsman, but he’s also lived hundreds of years thanks to the life-giving Lazarus Pits, making him a formidable threat that Batman will never truly be rid of. Just killing people off is setting the bar too low for Ra's; as the Demon’s Head runs the League of Assassins -- a group dedicated to restoring balance to the world, he'd rather wipe out almost all of humanity.
A cat burglar with astonishing acrobatic skills, Catwoman is able to steal whatever she wants, including diamonds, rare cat statues, and even Batman’s heart. Because of her romantic ties to Batman, she often tiptoes the line between good and evil -- helping him in a fight one moment and then making off with a priceless jewel the next. And if you thought she’s only about cracking her whip and making cat puns, know that Selina Kyle is currently one of Gotham’s biggest crime bosses.
Debuting in 1966, Poison Ivy is one of the most iconic female characters in DC comics. Like many other Batman baddies, she actually she has some valid points rather than being pure evil. Pamela Isley fights for the nature and the planet Earth - albeit through criminal and murderous means.Her cause could gain more sympathy only if she didn't happen to be dangerously crazy. With her ability to control plant life and ensnare the minds of men, Poison Ivy is easily among the most powerful of Batman’s foes.
She first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series as the Robin to Joker’s Batman, but these days Harley Quinn has a rabid following all her own. True to her jester costume, her weapon of choice is a comically large mallet. But she’s also a profoundly sympathetic figure who struggles to move past her unhealthy relationship with the Joker.
The distinguishing attribute of Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot III is that he is actually rather sane unlike most of Batman's villains. Instead of being driven to do bad things, he does them because he stands to gain from them, and isn't that a true villain? Penguin is a very versatile character, taking on many personas over the years. Be a quasi-legitimate businessman or a disfigured weirdo,Penguin has been a consistent presence in comic books for 70 years now.
Fear is perhaps the greatest tool in Batman’s arsenal. Scarecrow is the only person in Gotham who understands its power better than the Dark Knight. This twisted psychiatrist-turned-costumed villain has literally weaponized fear, and even Batman isn’t immune to its effects.
Most of Batman’s villains are crazy maniacs, but Mr. Freeze is no such thing. He’s simply a gifted scientist driven to extreme measures to find a cure for his beloved Nora, who is frozen in cryogenic stasis. He only turned to crime in order to fund his research, and between his vast intellect, deadly freeze gun, and strength-enhancing refrigeration suit, he’s more than a match for Batman. It’s a testament to the strength of this tragic character that when Batman does take him down, you actually feel bad for the guy.
Few villains have such a personal connection to Batman. Talia loves Batman as both the father to her child and the only man worthy to inherit the empire of Ra’s al Ghul. But that hasn’t stopped her from waging all-out war on her “beloved” in the name of the League of Assassins.
Tommy Elliot is a master of elaborate conspiracies. This bandage-clad, Aristotle-quoting villain has manipulated Batman’s life and in his first story, he forced Batman run a gauntlet of his worst villains. All due to a rivalry born when Bruce and Tommy were childhood friends. Much of Tommy's tragedy was shockingly self-inflicted, however, but that didn't mean he couldn't blame the Wayne family for it.
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