Rayzor’s Top 10 Batman Villains

I have been going over old articles and seeing older articles about my favorite superhero, Batman, I stumbled upon this article from 2012 and it is time to resurrect this one and make a few edits.  So, here it is, a nearly 4000 word article on my 10 favorite Batman villains.  I just really love the Caped Crusader.  This is of course my list and it contains my top 10.  I am pretty sure the majority of people would say Joker is the best of Batmans villains.  I agree to a point, but he is not my favorite.  Joker will make my top 10 but where does he fall in the countdown?  Stay tuned as I count down Rayzor’s Top 10 Batman Villains.

Batman has one of the most celebrated list of villains, nicknamed “The Rogues Gallery”.  So where do I begin, who makes the cut.  To be honest there are so many I love, but many more that I just don’t understand.  A few examples, Killer Moth, he originally wore a costume with striped purple and green spandex, orange cape and a moth-like mask and I feel he just does not belong.  He seems more like one of Flash’s villains.  Also you will not see any of the mobsters like Carmine Falcone, or Salvator Maroni, Rupert Thorne from Batman the Animated series.   Two that will not show up and will not see for sure is Selina Kyle, Catwoman.  She is a jewel theft that pretty much rides the fence for most of her history and in recently times has been an ally.  The other has become one of my favorite comic book characters of the last 10 years or so, Jason Todd.  I did not add him, he was Robin at one time and even as Red Hood has helped the Bat Family, sure when Bruce Wayne “died” he tried to kill Tim Drake and Dick Grayson, hell he even tried to kill Batman.  But he was in the top 11 and I needed to make a cut so I cut him.  So let us move on to the countdown.

Warning, this will contain comic book spoilers!

10. Mr. Freeze aka Dr. Victor Fries

Why in the heck has Mr. Freeze not killed Batman?  Freeze can, well freeze anything with freeze gun.   The man is a freaking genius and an expert in cryogenics.  And along with his freeze gun wears an exo-suit that keeps his body temperature below freezing and gives him superhuman strength.  So I ask again, why has he not killed Batman?  I do not have the answer.

Mr. Freeze was created in 1959 but called Mr. Zero, his name would change to Freeze because of the television show.  His origin has recently changed but pretty much is similar to the old.  Check it out in the New 52’s Batman Annual number 1.  To sum it up, he works in cryogenics, he wife Nora contracts a disease and is dying and he is looking for a cure.  Freeze uses a device on Nora, to put her in cryo-stasis, but due to tampering from his boss, Nora is frozen and shattered.  This drove Freeze insane and he was bent on revenge targeting those responsible for the death of his wife.

According to the Graphic Novel “Snow”, Mr. Freeze is Batman’s first “Super-villain”.  I would recommend reading this book, it is all about Mr. Freeze, but I do like the new 52’s story a little bit better and it is easier to find.  I believe it was released only a month ago.  It is similar but also very different.  He was one of the more difficult bosses in the 2011 Batman: Arkham City game, but it was nice to finally beat him.

As for me, I loved seeing Mr. Freeze in the 1960’s television show but never really care.  It was not until I saw an episode from Batman: The Animated Series, titled Heart of Ice, that I understood and really liked him.  You could always watch Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1997 disaster, Batman & Robin.  But, with the way the new DCEU is, we could see Freeze in a better role, similar to what we saw in Arkham City, which would be nice.

Freeze did show up in Gotham, which in a few years we will all forget about.

9. Black Mask aka Roman Sionis

Ah yes, the Black Mask, he is a freaking nut ball.  I never knew much about him until I read the great story arc, Under the Hood.  By that point he was the big fish in Gotham’s underworld and made a huge name for himself by killing, SPOILER!  He kills Spoiler, are you confused?  Stephanie Brown was a character named Spoiler and for e brief time she was Robin, while Tim Drake took some time off.  She did not listen to Batman and Black Mask caught her and tortured her and she died, so we thought.  Anyway, if you want to see Black Mask in action his is in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, Under the Red Hood.  He also appears in a few episodes of the Batman from 2004.

Black Mask was created in the times just before Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, in 1985But he really got the attention he deserved shortly after in 2004 and in two major story arcs.  War Games and Under the Hood, that’s what you want to read for some good Black Mask.  War Games, there are three trade paperbacks available and Under the Hood is one full book now.

After the Under the Hood arc, he loses a lot of respect and decides to threaten Catwoman and her extended family.  She kills him and gives up being Catwoman for a short time.  She was not arrested for his death, Holly Robinson was arrested.  Rest well my friend, rest well.  The last time Black Mask was seen in Gotham, it was Jeremiah Arkham under the mask.

As for me, I picked up Under the Hood shortly after I read Hush and that is when I really started to like Black Mask.  I really recommend reading the arcs I mentioned.

Black Mask showed up in Batman Arkham Origins and it was finally nice to see some love other than the comics, not to mention the animated movie Under the Red Hood.  But now, we are going to get to see a live action adaptation played by Obi-wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor in Birds of Prey.  That is something to look forward to.  Gotham, Black Mask was in Fox’s Gotham and it is pretty forgettable, like the entire show.

8. Riddler aka Edward Nigma

After the Dark Knight ended everyone thought the follow up would have the Riddler as the villain.  We were all wrong and I am not sure why he was not considered, we will find out in 3 days.  Go figure, but I cannot wrap my head around the Riddler.  He is an interesting character for sure but, why no big story arc for him.  [SPOILER!] I know he was the master mind behind Hush.  But why not go back and do the origin story, I think most people are left with Batman Forever.  He did play kind of a big part in the Catwoman follow up to The Long Halloween, which atcually took place during Dark Victory, Catwoman: When in Rome.  You know the more I think about it we do see him often, Hush beat him near death in Hush Returns.

Oh Eddie your so smart.  The Riddler was created by one of the greats, Bill Finger in 1948 and appeared in Detective ComicsThe Riddler is obsessed with riddles and puzzles.  He loves to try to prove he is a better detective than Batman by using complex clues.  He is often depicted as wearing a domino mask either with a green suit and bowler hat, or a green uni-tard with question mark prints.  You always know it is the Riddler because of the question marks.

Post Hush he is cured of his insanity and of his obsession with riddles.  He does retain both his genius intellect and his giant ego.  He practices as a detective for some time and he even says Dick Grayson at one point.  But it does not last long.  In Tony Daniel’s Life After Death, Riddler is rocked by a bomb detonation, the trauma re-awakens his psychosis.  In Eye of the Beholder, Batman (Dick Grayson at this time) is ambushed by Riddler and a young woman introduced as Enigma, Riddler’s daughter. Riddler and Enigma escape.  At the end of the arc he actually kills his daughter Enigma.  I was disappointed and happy at the same time considering what I said about a big Riddler arc.  One of the best things ever done for the Riddler was the Arkham video game series, he is all over those game and annoys the crap out of everyone.

As for me, I have always liked him, his is the only man who can come close to matching Batman’s intelligence.  I first saw him portrayed the the fantastic Frank Gorhsin in the television show.  In 1995, we saw Jim Carry’s Riddler in Batman Forever and of course Gotham, which he was one of the better parts of the show.

 

 

 

7. Poison Ivy aka Pamela Isley

She is the only female on my list, so there now don’t expect Harley Quinn, I will explain later.  I love her very much, she is one of Batman’s toughest enemies.  She has the power to control and kill.  She controlled Superman for goodness sake.  Again I don’t remember many or any big arcs of her own, the first that comes to mind is the One Year Later arc, written by the horrible James Robinson.  But she is a team player, played for team Hush and played for Harvey Two-Face in Dark Victory.

Created in 1966 and appeared in Batman #181.  She has expertise in botany and toxicology, can control plant life and Immunity to all toxins, bacteria, and viruses.  She uses some of the these powers to control people and overtake buildings.  During the animated series she becomes friends with the Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn.  There is a great episode about them, they team up with Livewire a Superman villain, but are taken down by Batgirl and Supergirl.

The last few things I read about Poison Ivy was before DC’s New 52.  Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy all live together in a book called Gotham City Sirens.  I actually enjoyed the book and wish it was still around, only 26 issues were printed and I would love to see these girls together again.  The covers were great, reminded me of James Bond movie intros.  I am looking forward to collecting the trade paperbacks, I think it is very important and really you get a lot of Poison Ivy.  Also in the brilliant video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, she is a boss battle

As for me, the first time I saw her was Batman & Robin.  I loved Uma Thurman playing her and I must have been under Ivy’s spell, the first time I saw it I enjoyed the movie.  It is awful.  Again, she shows up in Gotham, which, what is there to say?

6. Ra’s Al Ghul aka the Demons Head

“But is Ra’s al Ghul immortal”, I was very happy to see Ra’s show up in the first of Nolan’s Batman films and played by one of the best, Liam Neeson.  He is a complex character and really not a villain, in his mind.  He is for sure one of Batman’s greatest enemies.  He once tried to use Batman as he heir and marry him off to his beloved daughter Talia.  He has an ultimate goal to restore the world in perfect environmental balance.  He believes that the best way to achieve this balance is to eliminate most of humanity.  Ra’s al Ghul usually tries to assault the world’s human populace with a some kind of biological weapon, such as a genetically-engineered virus.  He is aided in this quest by the Lazarus Pits, they can rejuvenate his body and mind.  He has lived over 800 years I believe.

He was created by two of the best in the business, Dennis O’Neil and Neil Adams in 1971.  There are three of four major story arcs I would recommend, his does appear in Hush, as I have mentioned a lot.  First I would check out Trinity, Ra’s al Ghul, recruits Bizarro and the Amazon warrior Artemis to aid him in his plan to create global chaos, the Batman suddenly finds himself working with the Superman and Wonder Woman.  Check out Justice League of America: Tower of Babel, really cool story Ra’s discovers Batman’s contingency plans for stopping the other members of the Justice League of America, should they turn or be turned bad, and uses them to try to destroy the league.  Death and the Maidens is great also, I am not gonna explain that because I have said too much already.  The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul is the final book I would say to check out, it is interesting.

Batman the Animated Series is the best depiction in my mind of Ra’s to date.  I loved what the did in Batman Begins and he did show up and was a tough boss in Arkham City.  Batman Begins was great and I wish he would have not shown up in Arrow, nor Gotham.  The Arrow storyline played more like a Batman story.

5. Scarecrow aka Jonathan Crane

I say this every time I think, one of the cooler villains of all time.  I remember reading single issues with the Scarecrow growing up and fear is his weapon.  I loved that about him uses a fear toxin.  Crane’s obsession with fear leads to his becoming a psychiatrist, taking a position at Arkham Asylum and performing fear-inducing experiments on his patients. He is also a professor of psychology at Gotham University, specializing in the study of phobias.  There some strange inconsistencies in his character.  If you read anything done by Jeph Loeb, he seems to make Scarecrow extremely deranged.  Most of the time he is running around singing nursery rhymes.  But most of the time he just uses the fear gas and is very smart.

He was created by the man himself Bob Kane and of course Bill Finger.  He has been a part of the biggest story arcs in Batman’s history.  He was one of the main villains in Batman Begins and was to be the featured villain in the canceled Batman Triumpant.  I was happy to seem him again for just a moment in the Dark Knight.  One of my favorite moments and it seemed a long time coming, in Knightfall he teams up with the Joker and it was pretty fantastic.  He has is own story arc called As the Crow Flys, it’s not too bad.

As for me, I loved it when a the yellow power ring of Amon Sur tries to seek him out at Arkham after its master’s death, though it does not reach him. But during the Blackest Night he finally gets the chance to wield the yellow fear power ring.  He was so happy, finally being able to feel fear again, he gleefully and without question follows Sinestro’s commands.  But Lex Luthor who had the orange ring of greed stole the yellow ring from Scarecrow.

It was pretty awesome seeing Scarecrow as one of the main villains in the final Arkham game, Arkham Knight.  He was pretty cool looking in Gotham.

4. Bane

Yep, the first time a comic book ever made me cry.  I read this issue when I was I think 13 years old and it leaves you thinking Bane just killed Batman.  I was afraid to buy the following issue, I mean  DC killed Superman and Jason Todd and Supergirl.  It seemed like Dick Grayson was ready to Batman.  The story, Knightfall was one of the greatest Batman arcs ever told and the first I read as it came out.  The name of this website, my comic book company is based off the title, I just lost the K.  Batman met his physical match in Bane.

Batman: The Vengeance of Bane, was released in 1993 just before Knightfall introducing Bane.  I to this day have never had the chance to read this book.  But Knightfall was enough for me, not knowing anything about him made the story better.  Bane uses Venom to enhance his physical abilities to superhuman levels.  He is also an expert strategist, martial artist, and escapologist.

Lets talk Batman & Robin for a second, what in the hell.  Why did they have to do one of the smartest villains and make him a hulking mindless turd.  So this is what I have to say about the Dark Knight Rises, if Bane does not us venom which it seems to be, I am fine with that.  From what I have seen in trailers and previews it is more about his merc side than anything and that is way more interesting than a hulking turd.

As for me, I hated what they did to Bane in Batman & Robin that is all.  Check out Batman the Animated Series episode called “Bane”.  It has a lot of Knightfall elements. Bane has shown up in other antimated series and movies, he is a great character.  Of course, The Dark Knight Rises is the best live action version of Bane we may ever get.

3. Hush aka Dr. Thomas Elliot

This will be riddled with spoilers.  One of the best story arcs ever for Batman was called Hush.  We get a little insight into what kind of a kid Bruce Wayne was before the death of his parents and get to meet his closest childhood friend.  The story had everyone on involved in trying to mess with Batman’s mind.  It all came down to one person who I spoiled earlier, Riddler.  But Tommy Elliot was the driving force behind the story arc.  When it was revealed who Hush really was, under the bandages revealed the second Robin, Jason Todd.  But that was not Hush.

Hush was created by the great Jeph Loeb and the best, Jim Lee in 2003.  Brought in as a master surgeon to help repair an injury for Bruce Wayne.  He is enraged with jealousy because Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered and he was left with the kingdom.  Tommy tried to kill his parents or have them killed but his mother lived on.  That is part of what drove him to try to kill Batman.

If you want to read anything about Hush, pick up the trade paperback of the same name, but don’t stop there.  Read Hush Returns, the Heart of Hush and the House of Hush.  Awesome stories.  I would love to explain more of why I like him so much but it would totally ruin the stories and I think you should just read them.

As for me, In the summer of 2006, I was out of comics and looking to get back into reading them.  I went to my favorite comics book shop, Fantasy Books in Belleville and asked where should I start.  Mike hands me Hush and I was back.  I was out of comics for about 8 years at that point and Hush brought me back, thank you Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee.

2. Joker aka Unkown

Batman’s archenemy.  There is a line in the Dark Knight, I don’t know it off hand but it sums up the relationship perfectly.  When I said Ra’s al Ghul was complex well lets think about it for a second, all of Batman’s villains are.  Who is the most complex of them all, is it Joker?  Sometimes I think about Joker’s origin and wish there was a full story that was his actual origin.  That would not make sense. there are three trade paperbacks that offer an origin for Joker and all good.

Batman #1, 1940.  Joker’s first appearance created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and concept by Jerry Robinson.  In the Killing Joke, it shows Joker pre prema-clown as Red Hood.  He does some of the nastiest things I have ever seen in a comic and he gets Batman to kind of laugh.  People call the Killing Joke the ultimate Joker story and I agree.  There are a few others that are great, but again he really does shine in the group stories like Long Halloween and Hush.  Up to 2008 he had been kind of out of the loop, after Batman RIP he has been missing and it is kinda hard to understand what is going on.  Scott Snyder brought Joker back in 2012 in a big way with Death of a Family, which worked over all Bat family titles.

The other two trades I would read are Lover and Madmen and The Man Who Laughs.  The title is a reference to the movie The Man Who Laughs, whose star, Conrad Veidt, was an inspiration for The Joker.  Do not bother reading Kevin Smith’s Cacophany, it makes the Joker look bad.  I did not add Harley mostly because she is Joker’s sidekick, so say what you want.

As for me, I do in fact love the Joker and when he is in a book or on screen I cherish the moments.  My first experience with Joker were from the 1966 show and Cesar Romero and shortly after Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman.  I would like to say a few words about the Dark Knight and Heath Ledger.  He stole the movie from Batman, but I do not think this is the best depiction of the Joker, has anyone ever heard of Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill is the Joker, maybe not in the flesh.

Of course, 2016 we got to see a new live action Joker in the Suicide Squad movie,  Most of us were less than thrilled with what we got.  But, there is a new “Joker” movie coming this year, starting Joaquin Pheonix, so that is something.  Jared Leto has said he would like to play the Joker again, which I am not totally against.

1. Two-Face aka Harvey Dent

The Long Halloween is my favorite Batman story arc by far.  I always loved Harvey Dent from the animated series and wanted more and more.  In the Long Halloween we get to see Harvery Dent rise and fall.  It was great reading him working together with Jim Gordon and Batman and finally to be turned into Two-Face buy Sal Maroni.  In some ways he reminds me of myself, I have two sides, that laid back Ray and then the Ragin Rayzor.

Created in 1942 by the two some of Bob Kane and Bill Finger used ne of many gimmick-focused comic book villains, plotting crimes based around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2.  Two-Face was once Harvey Dent, the white knight district attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. However, Dent goes insane after mob boss Sal Maroni throws acid at him during a trial, hideously scarring the left side of his face. Dent becomes “Two-Face”becomes a crime boss, choosing to bring about good or evil based upon the outcome of a coin flip.  Honestly the best stories are The Long Halloween and Dark Victory.  He shows up in alot of different books, but these two center around Two-Face.

As for me, He is my favorite because I feel like I can relate to him more than any other villain, he had a short fuze before he became Two-Face as do I.  I did love to see Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face but loved Aaron Eckhart,  I was disappointed at the ending of the movie and I will be honest the death of Harvey Dent is my main motivation for not liking the Dark Knight.  I wanted more Harvey Dent and expected the end of the movie to set up the next movie, not his death.  This is a part of why I do not like the Dark Knight.  But as they say, it is what it is.

That’s my list of the top 10 Batman Villains, it is my list and I want to make that clear.  Joker is probably everyone’s favorite and for sure the most well know.  I enjoy reading Batman comics anytime these guys and girl shows up.  Do me a favor think about your top 10 post it up here let me take a look.

 

 

About Ray Marek III 13 Articles
My fandom started early, I saw Star Wars at a young age and I was off and running. Growing up in the 1980s was probably the best decade to grow up in. We had the best cartoons, music and movies. I also read comics, Batman, Star Wars and many more. Oh, by the way, I write comics for Unparalleled Comics

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*