Characters: Batman Rogues Gallery
has built up one of the biggest and most popular Rogues Galleries
in the history of all media. Here are his deadliest and most recurring foes:
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- Axe Crazy: The majority of Batman's enemies are known to be a little...off.
- Dysfunctional Family / Evil Is One Big Happy Family: Depends on the writer and/or the age of the comics, but the Batman's Rogues often are portrayed in this way, specially the Arkham's inmates. Joker in Death Of The Family clearly maintains that the Batman's Rogues are the real Bat-Family, and not their sidekicks.
The Joker/Red Hood IThe Joker
is one of the most (in)famous supervillains in the history of comic books and a character who is equally as famous as his archnemesis. In sharp contrast to Batman, The Joker's skin tone is chalk white, his hair a bright green, and his costume consists of a bright purple tuxedo. Oh, and he is an Ax-Crazy psychopathic maniac.
It's not so much a question of what Joker's done — it's rather a question what hasn't
he done. His first appearance had him effortlessly killing two millionaires, a judge, and a rival mob boss; since then, he's sneaked into a fur warehouse using a model Trojan horse, made his own utility belt, tried to dump one of his henchmen in a Shark Pool
, infected every fish off of the East Coast with his Joker venom (and then tried to patent the fish for royalties
), tied his enemies to a giant exploding cake to celebrate his birthday, shot Barbara Gordon in the spine (and tortured her father to boot), killed Jason Todd (the second Robin), killed Jim Gordon's second wife, became stupidly powerful
after stealing Mr. Mxyzptlk's
powers, and nearly destroyed the world singlehandedly when he thought he was dying.And he's far from done.
Like the rest of the senior Bat-cast, the Joker started out as a pretty dangerous guy in his earliest appearances before being turned into a guffawing, buffoonish trickster thanks to the combined influence of The Comics Code
and the 1960s television series
. When he was revived in the 1970s, he was turned back into the dangerous madman of his earliest appearances (although — and this cannot
be emphasized enough — he was still
crazy enough to try and patent Joker-fish). When the Dark Age
came along, Joker soon had the single highest body count in The DCU
. While he's outdone by the aliens and supervillains who can (and do) wipe out cities/planets, for a man who has nothing other than a criminally sharp mind and a twisted sense of humor, he's still got an "impressive" body count. And keep in mind, those aliens wipe the cities and planets from orbit, while the Joker will do it to your face, and he'll scare you half to death before he kills you the rest of the way.
Why doesn't he get the chair? That's what many of us are asking. In-universe, however, it seems to be due to the courts pronouncing him insane and whisking him off to Arkham Asylum
His relationship with Batman is... unique, to say the least. In nearly every published Batman crossover/AU comic, The Joker is there as well. Joker has claimed again and again that Batman is the sole reason for his existence — and that they're more alike than Bats will ever admit.
The Joker, as portrayed in various media — Tim Burton's 1989 film
, Batman: The Animated Series
, The Dark Knight
, and many an Alternate Continuity
— is a little bit different from the comic book version; specifically, the former are generally treated (if in unspoken terms) as evil, sadistic psychopaths who have conned (or will con) others into thinking they are psychotically insane in the legal sense of the term, when really they just enjoy carnage and mayhem, and were usually murderous bastards even before becoming a Monster Clown
. The modern, mainstream, comic book Joker is treated much more like he really is
psychotic and crazy (or at least, crazier than those other versions) and (sometimes) sees Batman as something of a psychological torment rather than an enemy or someone Joker just enjoys tormenting. Many versions fall somewhere in between the two extremes, largely Depending on the Writer
. His Harmless Villain
phase from the 60's, by contrast, was actually pretty short lived.
As for his origin... well, no matter who tells it, it almost always involves him falling into a giant vat of acid (or something green). Most accept Alan Moore's portrayal of Joker in The Killing Joke
as an unsuccessful comedian with a pregnant wife prior to the transformation as the character's canon origin, but as Joker said himself in that very story: "Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes the other! If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!
The Joker's true identity is perpetually unknown, but he has gone by Joseph "Joe" Kerr, Jack Napier, Jack White, Oberon Sexton,
and Clem Rusty among others. (Because the name Jack Napier was given as the Joker's pre-transformation real name in the 1989 film, some fans accept it as his real name overall. note
For a full listing of the tropes surrounding this most iconic of supervillains, see his dedicated tropes page
Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel)
Which genius decided to let a fresh-out-of-college intern be The Joker's therapist, we'll never know (it's heavily implied that no one actually wants to work at Arkham), but Harley Quinn was the result. As Joker's doctor, Dr. Harleen Quinzel tried — like so many others before her — to restore the psychotic killer to sanity. She not only failed, but fell in love with him
. The countless Freudian Excuse
stories that Joker fed her were likely a part of it, since Harley has proclaimed that ever since she laid eyes on the clown, it was love at first sight.
Though it was Batman: The Animated Series
that introduced her (originally as just the Joker's henchgirl), Harley became popular enough to be included in the comics as well, and it was a comic (later adopted into a TV episode) that first told her origin. Perhaps even crazier than the Joker himself, you can count on Harley to be right alongside her "puddin'", mindlessly loyal to him, but cleverly lethal.
Not even Harley can stand the Joker's endless tirades of abuse and madcap lifestyle, however, and when she's in her downtime, she often finds consolation in Poison Ivy, whom she has a deep friendship with
Had her own series for a time, see the page for it and its examples here
- Abnormal Ammo: Those oversized "popguns" she carries can fire just about anything.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Justified. Despite her sympathetic portrayal, she's very far from being innocent and virtuous herself.
- Ax-Crazy: Not as concentrated on single, gruesome killings as her puddin', but much more enthusiastic towards large-scale property damage.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Harley is, by far, the nicest, sweetest member of Batman's rogues gallery. However, do not think her lovelorn origin and bubbly demeanor means she isn't a homicidal psychopath.
- Bi the Way: Her relationships with Joker and Poison Ivy (as confirmed by Word of God) and overall flirtatious nature confirms this.
- Blonde: To Ivy's Redhead and Catwoman's Brunette in some cases.
- Blondes are Evil
- Broken Ace: In her most recent interpretations, she was so gifted both physically and mentally (not to mention being extraordinarily attractive) that she labored under immense pressure to be perfect. She jumped so eagerly into her role as the Joker's dumb blonde sidekick because it freed her from people's expectations. If she's a dumb, clumsy blonde, or the Joker's mentally broken victim, no one expects anything out of her.
- Brooklyn Rage: She has a very nasal New York accent and it is later revealed that she is from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
- Bunny Ears Psychiatrist: Naturally. While the writers flip flop on whether she skirted her way through school or not, every once in a while she does show she's still a pretty skilled psychoanalyst despite the crazy.
- Catch Phrase: An inter-media one, in that it shows up at least once in most mediums that she appears in.
(as an introduction): "Call me Harley! Everyone does."
- Canon Immigrant
- Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Granted, Joker does this a lot, but none of his other doctors wound up in love with him.
- She once wrote up a report on the Joker claiming that he was perfectly sane, but simply faking it to avoid the death penalty, and because he was enjoying his own maniacal behavior. This arguably subverts this trope, since Depending on the Writer this is exactly what The Joker is doing, meaning she is the first one to crack him (she probably thinks this makes him a genius).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
- Cute and Psycho
- Cute, but Cacophonic: When voiced by Arleen Sorkin her voice definitely has a Fran Drescher quality to it.
- Cute Clumsy Girl
- Dark Action Girl
- Dark Mistress
- Depraved Bisexual: She skirts this trope, but she is bisexual, and definitely psychotic.
- Domino Mask
- The Dragon
- Drop the Hammer: Mallets have been identified as her Weapon of Choice, though the Joker does use them on occasion as well.
- Dumb Blonde: She's really psychopathic, but still a ditzy, kinda sweet girl.
Harley: Hah! And here you thought I was just another bubble-headed, blonde bimbo! Well, the joke's on you; I'm not even a real blonde!
- Empowered Badass Normal: Thanks to Ivy, Harley has enhanced strength, healing, and an immunity to most poisons.
- Females Are More Innocent: Despite being just as insane as her puddin' and just as indifferent to other people's death, she's still portrayed as being a sympathetic abuse victim of The Joker.
- Fluffy Tamer: To everyone else the Joker's snarling pet hyenas are a menace; to her, they are her "babies."
- Genki Girl
- Girlish Pigtails: Harley wears her hair in a pair of side pigtails to mirror the shape of her jester hat.
- Glass Cannon: In all continuities. Even though she definitely can fight, she isn't very resistant and is often easily knocked-out when things get physical.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Poison Ivy, though the Heterosexual part is questionable.
- DC officially lists her as "bisexual."
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Often depicted as such but she still has some bouts of true efficiency and is in fact the villain who got the closest to actually killing Batman. But well, Mad Love you know...
- Informed Judaism: So informed indeed that she never talks about it.
- Love Freak
- Love Makes You Evil
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Love Martyr
- Mad Love
- Meganekko: Before her transformation.
- Multicolored Hair: The cover for the 2011 Continuity Reboot version of Suicide Squad shows Harley sporting half red, half blue/black hair, replacing the iconic jester hat of the same colors.
- Naughty Nurse Outfit: In Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- This costume became iconic more or less instantly. In subsequent appearances across all media, Harley is as likely to show up wearing her Asylum outfit as her original harlequin tights. New designs (like the Suicide Squad cover above) tend to draw from the elements of the Asylum costume (red/blue/purple palette, medical gear, corset) as much as the old one.
- Odd Friendship: She's actually quite fond of the original Ventriloquist, Arnold Wesker, thanks to his trying to cheer her up the first time she was thrown of Arkham.
- Perky Female Minion
- Psychopathic Manchild: Occasionally pops up in the main comics, and practically outlined in her solo series. She often acts, and sometimes thinks, like a sugar-high kid.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over
- Sex for Services: Some versions of her origin story indicates that she got through college by sexual favors rather than academic performance. The extent to which this is the case depends on the writer, however, and she occasionally shows glimpses of great intellect even in stories involving this.
- Sexy Jester
- She-Fu: We're still not sure how someone who's studied to be a doctor can suddenly do Olympic-level gymnastics.
- Because she went to college on a gymnastics scholarship.
- And received superhuman abilities from Poison Ivy during the first of their adventures.
- Shrinking Violet: She was very shy and reserved before meeting The Joker. Needless to say, that's changed quite a bit.
- Spell My Name with an S: The DVD captions for Mad Love in Volume Four of Batman: The Animated Series spell her real name as "Harlene Quinzelle".
- Stating the Simple Solution: Suggested just shooting Batman to Joker, who proceeds to blow up on her (then later use this idea).
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: C'mon, Harleen Quinzel? Batman: The Animated Series lampshades it by having Joker point it out in the episode showing her origin, and her dryly responding that she's heard it before. This conversation was replicated in Batman: Arkham Asylum in one of her interview tapes.
- Unholy Matrimony: She and Mr J. are one textbook example.
- Villainous Harlequin
- Would Kill Hundreds Of Children: You really can put anything inside a box.
- Yandere: It's rare, but even the Joker is scared of her when she goes into this mode. Or turned on. It could go either way.
Much like Jim Gordon, Harvey Dent was one of the few honest law enforcers in Gotham. Young and handsome, he was nicknamed "Apollo" by the press, but beneath his good looks lay an unstable, schitzo personality rooted in his abusive childhood. The details vary from origin to origin, but Dent eventually got doused with acid, burning away the left half of his face until it resembled the monster within.
Dent's mind snapped after that, and he declared himself a mere puppet of fate. Eschewing his old belief in justice, Two-Face becomes fixated on proving the arbitrariness of free will. He quickly became one of Gotham's top crime bosses, with the unusual habit of making all of his decisions with a two-headed coin - scratched on one side and clean on the other. All of his important decisions are decided by a flip of this coin - the scarred side representing evil, the clean side representing good.
Alongside the Joker and Ra's al-Ghul, Two-Face is one of Batman's greatest enemies, but not because of the threat he poses to the rest of the world. Instead, he reminds Batman of how far the greatest can fall, and how he cannot save all of his allies - Batman's feelings of guilt that he failed to save his old friends and constant attempts to 'reform' Dent remain one of the biggest themes of the character.
Note that in spite of his stature, Two-Face never made an appearance on the sixties show
(likely because that he wouldn't fit into their campy approach; however, Joel Schumacher proved them wrong in a big way). FALSE Face did, but that's a different character altogether.
For a full listing of the tropes surrounding this Fallen Hero
, see his dedicated tropes page.
The Penguin/Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot
Being born into a rich family can suck sometimes. While we already know about Bruce Wayne's woes, Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot was not without troubles of his own. Having been bullied for most of his life due to his short stature, obesity, and beak-like nose (hmm... wonder where this is going...), he was an outcast in his own family besides his beloved mother. Eventually his frustration built up to a point where he finally decided to release it by becoming a criminal. Due to his upbringing, he always tries to look his best in a tail-coat, top hat, and monocle (so yeah, that's where we were going).
All of that, in addition to his notable love for birds, inspired him to take the moniker "The Penguin" (Tim Burton's version of the Penguin was much more grotesque, almost literally appearing to be a penguin). Whereas most of the Bat-Villains are insane to a degree, Penguin is usually portrayed as sane, and operates the "Iceberg Lounge" nightclub, as equal parts legitimate business and front for his OTHER business. The Penguin is mainly an idea person, relying on others to carry out his crimes (although he does get personally involved from time to time), and in more recent years, he has been shown to attempt to be an organizer for a larger group and more of a mob kingpin. Also notable is that Penguin, like Catwoman, skirts the line between being criminal and being on the up-and-up, to the point Batman will even be willing to give him some leeway as long as he doesn't get too dirty, although unlike Catwoman this isn't because he is an Anti-Villain
but mostly just a case of Pragmatic Villainy
. Batman's even used him as an information source on underworld info, since The Penguin knows everybody
. They're enemies, but they're willing to let each other be as long as their paths don't cross.
- Abusive Parents: Mr. Cobblepot was one nasty piece of work who neglected and abused his son physically, emotionally, and sexuallynote . Mrs. Cobblepot was certainly not up for any parenting awards herself. Any time Mr. Cobblepot said or did something to their son she would either downplay it or take his side. She would become even worse after the untimely death of her husband, as she, convinced Oswald might catch pneumonia and die like his father, made her son carry an umbrella whenever he went outside, and beat him with it whenever he refused. Some comics, such as The Penguin Returns make it clear she saw her son as a tool for social gain and the violence enacted against him was her way of controlling him and keeping him in line.
- Acrofatic: While he is usually portrayed as a capable physical combatant when he feels the situation calls for it, his level of skill varies widely Depending on the Writer and he has been written both as a physical match for Batman and as a character the masked vigilante can floor with a solid punch (even if it takes him a while to actually land one) and anywhere in between.
- Confusing things further is his propensity towards intentionally throwing fights as part of a scheme or to avoid exposing his respectable businessman persona as a sham.
- Affably Evil: Penguin conducts himself in a gentlemanly fashion, is almost always very polite, civil, and refined, prefers negotiation to bloodshed, can be very charming when he wants to be, has a (twisted) sense of honor, still has a heart and when he cares does so genuinely, is willing to work with Batman, and has helped pull said hero's ass out of the fire more than once. He's also a ruthless mob boss, responsible for much of the illegal trade in Gotham as well as a greedy, often amoral cold-blooded killer and if you happen to offend him, he will slit your throat with a razor sharp ferrule, and, as you lie on the floor choking on your own blood, the last thing you'll hear is him calling the florist to send condolence flowers to your widow. If you're lucky. Bruce has recently reluctantly admitted that a united criminal underworld in Cobblepot's control tends to be less dangerous for ordinary civilians. He's still scum, but there's worse people out there who would be more than happy to take his place if the situation to do so arose.
- Faux Affably Evil: When he's either in a bad mood, or when writers choose to focus on the more unstable aspects of his personality. The Penguin a gentleman. A vindictive, dangerous subclinical sociopath, yes, but a gentleman nonetheless. He'll slaughter everyone you know and hold dear and leave you to live the remainder of your life alone, but he'll do it with a polite smile and civil tone.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Almost all versions of his backstory incorporate this.
- Aloof Big Brother: When they weren't joining in on it, his more accepted, physically attractive brothers turned an uncaring eye as their brother was harassed by other children.
- Badass Normal: Has no powers and still managed to battle Firestorm (who has powers of molecular reorganization) to a standstill armed only with an umbrella.
- Badass Bookworm: He's a portly, middle-aged businessman who majored in Ornithologynote , and has been drawn wearing glasses when not using his trademark monocle. Though he's more apt in using range weapons against his foes(which he often makes himself), the Penguin is a blackbelt in Judo and no slouch in melee combat.
- Bad-Guy Bar: The Iceberg Lounge technically counts.
- Big Brother Bully: Oswald's brothers brutally abused him, physically and emotionally and got away with it. He was willing to tolerate their maliciousness right up until they started killing his birds.
- Blood Knight: He may exert a good amount self control over it but when he feels that circumstances are such that he can allow himself a proper smack down he expresses a good deal of enjoyment in mutilating his opponents.
- Blue Blood: The Cobblepots were one of Gotham City’s oldest and most prestigious families, second only to the Waynes.
- Impoverished Patrician: They would eventually fall on hard times due to some poor business deals made by Oswald's father, leading to his motive to restoring his family's former wealth and status, thus "proving" his own worth as a Cobblepot (and defeating his father’s despising ghost).
- Break Them by Talking: Like any true master, The Penguin can effect others with hardly a sign that he had ever done anything at all, Cobblepot, through expert use of his massive network of connections, piles on the mental misery in a steady, methodical monologue, until the victim, without having ever once been touched, curls in a fetal position on the floor, head in hands, as good as dead.
- Camp Straight: Has his moments, but has been engaged twice.
- The Charmer: Strangely enough for someone who considers himself The Grotesque, Oswald really has charm: if you can charm◊ the Joker, then◊ you can charm anyone else.
- Classy Cane
- Consummate Liar: Comes with the job description.
- The Chessmaster: Is quite talented at the actual game as well.
- Civilian Villain: Even before his "official" reformation, he's gone through supposed reformations countless times...
- Creepy Child: Initially an idealistic, sweet, and generally nice kid, he eventually becomes one in the Penguin: Pain and Prejudice backstory after being put through a few rounds of Break the Cutie.
- Cuddle Bug: Zigzagged. It's a little off-putting at times but on a good day the man is remarkably affectionate with those he considers his friends. Yes, even towards The Joker. On an off day, however...
- Cultured Badass: Cobblepot is a polished Sharp-Dressed Man who loves tea, is a wine connoisseur, can play the violin, studied Shakespeare, has an appreciation for opera, poetry, and world history, and is capable of utterly wrecking your shit if given a reason.
- Deadpan Snarker: Frequently. The Penguin's commentary towards his fellow rogues, the heroes, and life in general has a tendency towards being rather dry and sarcastic. Can overlap with Stepford Snarker.
- Depending on the Artist: His appearance can vary wildly from issue to issue. How obese and grotesquely deformed he is can never be made consistent. Sometimes he is a squat spherical creature with a two foot nose and sharp piranha teeth, and sometimes he just looks like a perfectly ordinary mildly chubby man in a suit.
- Determinator: "You see strength isn't about size, or muscle, or looks. It's about strategy, delay of gratification, the long term plan. It's about determination, perseverance, about getting up every single damned time they kick you down."
- Diabolical Mastermind
- Disproportionate Retribution: As a villain with a reputation to uphold this is usually toyed with but ultimately either Downplayed or Subverted, however...
- His story in the comic book Joker's Asylum has him doing everything he could to ruin the life of a chef who was laughing when he went on a date with a beautiful woman. Less than two months later, he had ruined the chef's life so thoroughly that the guy hung himself, and it wasn't even certain that the guy was laughing at him!
- This happens again in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice. At a party, a guy bumps into him and starts to call him a fatass before he sees who it is and begs for forgiveness. Penguin responds by having him fired from his job, burning down his apartment, cutting the brakes on his parent's car and having his girlfriend infected with an unknown substance.
- Dissonant Serenity
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In most of his backstories he has a loving if strained relationship with his controlling and sometimes abusive mother.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: He loves all birds, but identifies most with Penguins.
- Evil Brit
- Evil Debt Collector: More Apathetic than evil. Not long after graduating college and prior to officially becoming a criminal, Cobblepot is unable to make a required payment because his mother's long illness had run up enormous debts, and everything in his store including the birds who were Oswald's only companions were seized by creditors.
- Evil Is Petty: Make sure you mind your manners around the guy. If you do something that pisses him off, he will ensure you pay dearly for it.
- Face Death with Dignity: In Gotham Underground, the Penguin finds himself on the losing side of a war against Intergang, with his government contact dead, his dragon having deserted him, and all his Mooks scared off. He's got the chance to flee the city, but instead readies his umbrella, dismisses his employees with generous severance packages, and wills the Iceberg Lounge to the Riddler before settling down with a bottle of wine to await his killers. He survives, but he had no way of knowing he would.
- Family Honor: Part of his motive as a villain. He plans to restore the Cobblepot family name to its former glory but has a very skewed idea of how this should be accomplished.
- Fatal Flaw: Despite his physical deformity, Oswald Cobblepot is capable of finding the love and acceptance that has evaded him all his life. But because he can’t let go of his anger and his vindictiveness, he unintentionally sabotages those opportunities whenever they arise. In the end, his greatest enemy isn’t Batman, or any of the people who have shunned him for being different. The Penguin is Cobblepot's own undoing, and the cause of Oswald's own misery. And he’ll never be able to change that until he realizes the elements that helped him to survive his childhood now prevent him from welcoming decent people into his world and are now a part of who he is. Unlike many of the other members of Batman's Rogues Gallery, he’s usually not written to suffer from any specific mentally illness, he’s simply a man who can't allow himself any long-term peace or happiness.
- Fat Bastard
- Foil: Bruce Wayne and Oswald Cobblepot both hail from Gotham's oldest and most respectable families and have a deep understanding of what it is to feel obligated to their family's legacy and for that obligation to cause them to be dysfunctional in their relationships with other people. Bruce with his playboy lifestyle, his beneficent, charitable attitude and his supermodel girlfriend of the week, and the talk of the town with his latest cause celebre, is a cipher for the new aristocracy: the celebrity. Oswald Cobblepot, however, with his top hat and dickensian name, wouldn’t look out of place in a BBC period drama. He's a throwback to a different time and social order. Seedy and repulsive, his power and authority used to muster up votes, control government officials, and secretly damage Gotham City from the inside by policy to the benefit of him and his, old money making no conscession to the new or lesser fortunate, and everything Bruce would instinctively rail against.
- Freudian Excuse: Teased and bullied by other children and rejected both at school and his family's wealthy circle for his appearance, lonely socially-awkward little Oswald, despite yearning for human company, turned to his mother's pet birds as his only friends because they wouldn't judge the strange-looking misfit. His overbearing mother, the only one to show him affection, suffers a stroke and became invalid(and in some stories dies), leaving him with a great deal of debt that sent their holdings into foreclosure and he loses everything he had clung to for security, the prosperity, the pets, even the birds get repossessed. Cobblepot, strapped for cash, went to a known criminal and his confederates, and offered his services, only to be kicked out and mocked for his appearance. This final rejection spurred Oswald to become the cold, callous criminal he'd later become, and obsessed with proving his nay-sayers wrong, he'd return later to kill the head of the group and ensure the late criminal's accomplices were arrested as revenge for their ridicule. Having always ached to fit in among the social elite, he still seeks validation and acceptance, but uses illicit means to buy his way back into high society, as his mind had been far too twisted from his life experiences and his raging inferiority complex to believe he can successfully attain his goals through purely legal means.
- Gentleman Thief: Started out this way.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He has a cigarette holder, signifying his status as a villain.
- Graceful Loser
- The Grotesque: Oswald's deformities usually are not that hideous, but he certainly considers himself one of these.
- High-Class Glass: His trademark monocle, almost always over his right eye.
- Improbable Weapon User: Umbrellas. It also serves as a metaphor for the Penguin's character and nature. Like his umbrellas, the Penguin appears completely harmless perhaps even mundane, but also like his umbrellas he conceals a darker nature.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Heavy emphasis on the jerk. Between hiring ex-cons to his authentically legitimate business who had been having trouble getting steady work because no one else would give them a chance in Love Bird, and saving the lives of a doctor, a cop and a group of children they are trying to get out of Gotham in The Underground Railroad. Cobblepot has been shown to be capable of compassion and not just for his mother or his pet birds, both of whom he couldn't be more protective of if he tried.
- Kids Are Cruel / Teens Are Monsters: Sadly, yes. Let's see here, in addition to the traditional pastimes of beatings and name calling: They would hang Cobblepot from the monkey bars with his hands and legs roped to the bars with his own suspenders so he would look like a bird in mid flight, children would burst in on him while he was using the restroom to make egg laying puns, his brothers and some kids from school tore down every nest in the aviary forcing him to watch the eggs crack on the floor, his brothers killed Speck(a sick bird he was nursing back to health), had a group of teens knock over a portable temporary toilet while he was still inside it, soaking his hair and clothing with the waste material inside, was made to remove his clothing in public, and a gang killed all his birds after he stood up to their leader who had been picking on him. His early life was not kind.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Rarely fights, but has been shown to be a very effective combatant.
- Mad Scientist: He's a gifted engineer who usually makes his umbrellas and other mechanisms himself when not delegating the job to his employees to save time and uses his devices in his schemes.
- Man of Wealth and Taste
- Manipulative Bastard
- Momma's Boy: Cares deeply for his mother. Almost to Norman Bates's levels in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.
- Mister Big: Has always been depicted as a man of below standard height, sometimes comically so. The Batman Arkham Series stats places his height at "4, 10" which is average... if you happen to be a 10 year old.
- Nice to the Waiter: Subverted. Big tipper. Exemplary etiquette. Unquestionably evil bastard.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Absolutely loves this trope. He is well aware that he appears non-threatening, even silly, and uses the assumption to his advantage. note
- Quote from Bruce Wayne/Batman to Tim Drake/Robin in Penguin Triumphant: "Everyone seems to consistently underestimate the Penguin — myself included. In point of fact, Cobblepot is ruthless, vindictive, calculating, inventive — and perhaps the most brilliant man I've ever fought."
- Odd Friendship: The Penguin with any one of his friendsnote , really.
- Only Sane Man: One of the few recurring Batman villains who is generally considered sane and as such rarely gets sent to Arkham. He usually goes to Blackgate Penitentiary instead.
- Oral Fixation: The Penguin is almost never seen without his trademark cigarette holder.
- Papa Wolf: Do not harm his birds. It may take time, but he will find a way to suitably destroy you.
- Parasol of Pain: He's famous for his "trick" umbrellas in combat—primarily umbrellas with concealed blades or guns.
- Playing Both Sides: While he manages to successfully manipulate both sides to his benefit, it's a fragile balance always on the verge of collapsing
- Psychopathic Manchild: Shows signs of this in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice and Batman Returns.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He's a Villain with Good Publicity and would like to keep it that way.
- The Rat: Sometimes. To what degree he will sell out his fellow rogues and his motive for doing so is Depending on the Writer.
- Secret Identity Identity: Does he truly fancy himself a refined gentleman who longs for the acceptance of his peers or does he think of the Penguin, his darkest, most vicious animalistic criminal nature as his true self and the gentleman criminal as a necessary Halloween costume? Or are they both aspects of a more complex personality? It's hard to say as the opinions of comic writers seem to vary widely on the subject.
- Self-Made Orphan: In most versions his father dies of bronchial pneumonia, but in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice His father's behavior and commentary eventually pushed him too far, and he murdered Tucker Cobblepot, leaving him alone with his mother. The only one that showed any signs of loving him.
- Shadow Archetype: His public persona represents a dark, corrupted version of Bruce Wayne's Rich Idiot with No Day Job identity.
- Sinister Schnoz
- Shell-Shocked Abuse Victim: Although varying based on the interpretation, his modern self appears to exhibit many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Stepford Smiler: Intelligent, rich and sophisticated; Oswald Cobblepot puts up a friendly gentlemanly front, but behind closed doors he is a power hungry criminal with quite a few easily pressed Berserk Buttons. He has flashes of compassion, but he is dominated by a desire to be respected and to control those around him. The Penguin combines Types C and A with Obfuscating Stupidity to hide just how dangerous he is.
- "It is important to keep up appearances."
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: This is a prominent gimmick of The Penguin in almost all of his incarnations.
- While it still comes out, especially during moments of stress where he'll go from comparatively straightforward to suddenly sounding as if he'd swallowed a thesaurus, he's been shying away from it lately to avoid communication error.
- Also he hates repeating himself.
- The Don: Runs all organized crime in Gotham.
- The Man Behind the Man: Has been in both positions.
- The Resenter: Of almost everyone. note
- But Bruce Wayne in particular. Cobblepot blames the Waynes and Thomas in particular for his family's fall from grace and this feeling put a bitter enmity between him and Thomas’ heir, Bruce, who he sees as spoiled and immature.
- Training Montage: Briefly shown during Secret Origins Special #1, where he was shown lifting weights and practicing with a punching bag as a kid. Result? He knocks out a bully's teeth with a single punch.
- Tranquil Fury: If he has just cause to be angry and is instead calm, understanding, and cheerful instead of dryly sarcastic and snide... be afraid.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: At least, he tries to be. Apparently "Stuffy English gentlemen" reminded creator Bill Finger of emperor penguins.
- Underestimating Badassery: Relentlessly Exploits this trope.
- Verbal Judo
- Villain with Good Publicity: As of now in the mainstream DCU continuity, he is a successful businessman and mob boss. In the DCAU he eventually became Gotham's mayor.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Oswald tried his hardest to gain the approval of his mother.
- In Once Upon a Midnight Dreary, it was revealed that he feared that his mom never truly loved him as much as his brothers and father and pretended to love him because no one would, sadly there may be some truth into that because even those we see her treat him with fondness in the flashbacks, we also never truly see her defend him either.
- Wicked Cultured: Faithful to his origins, the Penguin mantained a classy attitude even in criminality, and kept wearing formally, with a tuxedo, a top hat and even a monocle.
- With Friends Like These...: Sums up his on-again/off-again relationship with the Joker. Despite their fundamental differences in personalities, frequent power struggles, and having practically made a hobby out of their multiple betrayals, numerous murder attempts, and constant verbal sparring, they've been friends for years.
The Riddler/(Edward Nigma/Eddie Nashton)
Thanks to the unforgettable sixties show
(where he essentially replaced the Joker as Batman's lead villain), the Riddler is one of the "big four" classic Bat-Rogues (alongside the Joker, Catwoman and the Penguin). Like most of the Bat-Rogues, the Riddler is victim to a mental disorder - in his case, an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that subconsciously forces him to leave clues in the form of riddles at the scenes of his crimes. Flashes into his past have shown an abusive father that would beat him every time he lied and an obsession with riddles, puzzles, and word games, all of which probably didn't help his descent into a criminal life.
The Riddler is best known for his many (often silly) riddles that confound all but the Dynamic Duo, as well as his over-the-top deathtraps. He is, however, incredibly intelligent, yet considers his battles of wits with Batman to be a game - one in which he heavily respects his opponent.
For his own page, see here
- Abusive Parents: His father used to beat him for "lying" (he wasn't) and "cheating" (he did) and called him "moron" a lot.
- Affably Evil: When he's in a good mood.
- Ascended Extra: A rather minor villain until his first appearance on the sixties show. A combination of the series' popularity and Frank Gorshin's memorable performance saw Riddler become far more prominent in the comics.
- Attention Whore: His justification for becoming The Riddler, as shown in Detective Comics Annual #8:
"It wasn't the money I wanted. It wasn't the action I sought. I just liked the attention."
- Big Bad: In the sixties show.
- Brains and Bondage: Occasionally referenced—his minions Query and Echo used to work at a fetish club.
- Butt Monkey: Jeph Loeb's The Long Halloween and Dark Victory both portray him as this. Catwoman: When in Rome and Hush (both written by Loeb as well) avert this, however. Although, the aftermath of Hush shown him getting beaten up by everyone he used before.
- Calling Card: His riddles.
- Cane Fu: To the point where his cane in Batman: Arkham City looks more like blunt weapon than a walking aid.
- Catch Phrase: Sometimes has a tendency to introduce his riddles with "Riddle me this."
- The Chessmaster / The Dog Was the Mastermind: During the Hush arc. For crying out loud, one of the cover arts even shows him playing chess with pieces looking like the characters! BUT Batman had dismissed him earlier since he had not updated his tactics like the others had.
- Bigger Bad / The Man Behind the Man: Another interpretation is, since he didn't use his signature riddles, that he more likely mostly provided contacts and resources for the other chessmaster Hush, as Batman suspects.
- Chronic Villainy
- Civvie Spandex: His trademark outfit. Now almost exclusively associated with the goofy, harmless trickster version of him; he's preferred the question-mark smoking jacket more recently.
- Classy Cane
- Convenient Coma
- Criminal Mind Games: His M.O.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He actually does follow it in his reformation.
- Cutting the Knot: Batman often defeats Nigma using either this or by taking a third option.
- Death Trap: He loves these.
- Demonic Possession: During the "Dark Knight, Dark City" storyline. The result? An Ax-Crazy version of the character that only Batman: Arkham Asylum's version can compete with.
- Depending on the Writer: Bumbling Cloudcuckoolander? Scheming near-equal to Batman? A Bunny-Ears Lawyer version of both? Or a psychopath who could go head to head with the Joker in terms of insanity?
- Diminishing Villain Threat: Inverted, began as a relatively harmless, some-what ridiculous villain and escalated into a genuine threat.
- This is also kind of applied in universe; throughout his criminal career the Riddler has felt the need to pull bigger, more dangerous and more complicated stunts mostly out of a compulsive need to "play" with Batman.
- Domino Mask
- Giggling Villain: In the sixties series, even more so than the Joker.
- Harmless Villain: Frequently. Even in the Dark Age, he tries to avoid needless violence...
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Sometimes retires from crime and uses his skills for puzzle solving to do detective work. Though inevitably never for long.
- Humiliation Conga: Had a big one post-Hush.
- Idiosyncrazy: He actually gets mad when King Tut starts cribbing his gimmick despite having reformed.
- Insufferable Genius
- Large Ham: The Gorshin version especially had a tendency towards giggling, manic monologues.
- Linked List Clue Methodology
- The Mad Hatter: Played for angst instead of laughs; he's crushed at how his insanity renders him incapable of not leaving Batman riddles that lead to his defeat.
- Master of Illusion
- Nice Hat: It started with Frank Gorshin, but even in the comics the Riddler is now often found wearing a snazzy green bowler hat.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: As Hush proved.
- "Dark Knight, Dark City" shows that if Riddler ever stepped up his game, he would completely own Batman.
- In Batman: No Man's Land, a group of hoods working for the Riddler get anxious of waiting for him to put to motion a plan he had for a robbery (he was waiting for Batman to find the riddle he left for that particular crime) and did the robbery without him. After the robbery goes off without a hitch, one of the hoods actually comments that, if it weren't for his habit of leaving clues, the Riddler would be a bonafide supercriminal mastermind.
- Shadow Archetype: He's a reflection of Batman's nature as a intellectual.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: During Catwoman: When in Rome.
- Private Detective: A slightly crooked one, but still legit until the New 52.
- Psychotic Smirk: A trademark of his.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His reaction to the earthquake that created No Man's Land arc. He's the only Arkhamite to even consider making a break for it. Which he does.
- Spell My Surname With An S: Is it "Nigma" with an "I" or "Nygma" with a "Y"?
- Spirited Competitor
- Smug Snake
- Symbol Motif Clothing: When his outfits are adorned with question marks.
- Take a Third Option: Batman often gets past his riddles by doing this, beating them in ways Nigma didn't anticipate.
- His transformation into a mostly legit private detective is this: Nigma finally realised that there was a way he could still match wits with Batman without copping beatings and prison time as a result.
- Tongue Tied: He knows Batman's identity, but he can't reveal it due to his psyche; as Batman says, "A riddle that everybody knows the answer to is useless".
- Also, Batman hints to Riddler that Ra's might find out he used a Lazarus Pit if he bragged about it.
- Trickster Archetype
- Villainous Breakdown: He's had a lot of these over the years.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: He'll just coat the truth in an enigma, wrap it in a riddle, and stuff the whole thing into a Chinese puzzle box!
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Batman this, due to him being the only one smart enough to solve his riddles.
The Scarecrow/Jonathan Crane
Much like Mr. Freeze, and to some extent, the Riddler, the Scarecrow was a one-shot character in the comics, revived decades later to become a major part of the Bat-Rogues. Thin and bookish, he was (predictably) bullied by kids at school. As a result, he became even more withdrawn and angry at the world, culminating in him bringing a gun to the high school senior prom and attacking Jerk Jock
Bo Griggs and his Alpha Bitch
girlfriend Sherry Squires (who had rejected Crane's affections), killing the latter.
As an adult, Crane's psychopathic tendencies grew and grew. His interests in the human mind (especially fears and phobias) got him a job as a psychology professor at Gotham University, but firing a gun during one of his classes soon led to him being kicked out. Crane, obviously not taking this well, used his chemistry and psychology smarts to concoct a "fear toxin" and get his vengeance on the ones who fired him. Naturally, Batman stopped him. Naturally, he went to Arkham. Naturally, he would come back time after time to battle the Bat. As a character (inexplicably, given his use of gas) ignored by the sixties show
, Scarecrow didn't require much of a revival when the Batman comics returned to their roots in the 70s, and as such didn't change much when he took on animated form (although his look certainly did).
Later Crane has had a bit of a Freak Out
over the fact that he is nothing without his toxin. As a result, he abandons use of it (almost) entirely and instead relies on his expertise with the human mind in his criminal activities, beginning by driving two prison inmates to suicide with words alone
- Abusive Parents: His great-grandmother was very abusive. In the New 52, he was subject to similar experiments he uses on others when he was a child by his own father, and kept in a basement filled with crows when not.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises he is played by Cillian Murphy.
- In Year One: Batman/Scarecrow, Crane looks nothing like his previous portrayals. While tall and thin, he doesn't have the same gangly awkwardness as he is usually given, and comes across looking more like David Tennant than Icabhod Crane. Likewise, in Blackest Night when drawn by Ivan Reis, without the mask Crane doesn't look anything like how artists portray him.
- A God Am I: Alan Grant's "God of Fear" mini-arc (which took place shortly after Azrael had taken over as Batman) portrays him with this personality.
- Break Them by Talking: Specializes in this after realizing how dependent he was on his fear gas.
- Cerebus Retcon: Crane's initial backstory was that he was mocked and bullied by his peers because he looked like a scarecrow, culminating in his first act of violence being a case of Who's Laughing Now? when he scared two of his tormentors so bad one died in a car crash and the other was crippled for life. Year One added that Crane was raised by a sadistic great-grandmother, snatched from his teenage mother's arms the moment he was born. Great-Grandmother Keeny made him work on their dying plantation's crops while regularly punishing him via locking him in an abandoned aviary as prey for the birds. It later turned out she was the inspiration he received for his work in chemistry, as the reason the birds always attacked him was because she would soak his clothes in rat's blood mixed with a blend of chemicals meant to drive the birds crazy. Crane's first act of violence was now doing to her what she was doing to him as a matter of survival. Batman and Robin found her bones buried in the aviary years later. This backstory seemed to have stuck before the Flashpoint reboot, since Crane's birth mother was featured in a standalone story, feeling guilty for how her son turned out and attempting to kill herself before she was saved by Deadman.
- Evil Mentor: Eventually revealed to be one to an Evil Student, Thomas Elliot aka Hush.
- For Science!: When writers decide to go for the MadScientist interpretation. Other times, he seems to just spray people with fear gas For the Evulz.
- Freudian Excuse: Bullies + Abusive Parents + Unstable Nerd = EVIL.
- Harmful to Minors: Though they sometimes accidentally invoke his sympathy, he is not above using young children in the testing or construction of his fear toxins.
- I Know What You Fear: His gimmick.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: When written by Jeph Loeb, he has a tendency to sing bird-related nursery rhymes.
- Lean and Mean
- Nerd: His original Golden Age counterpart was actually treated this way as an adult. The Post-crisis version is the stereotypical teenage Nerd / Geek fusion seen so often in fiction.
- Mad Scientist: Well, not quite a scientist, but definitely the gist of this trope.
- Master of Illusion: Particularly the scary kind.
- Meaningful Name: He's possibly named after Ichabod Crane.
- Mind Rape: His shtick. He uses his fear gas to make his victims experience their worst fears.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate
- One-Winged Angel: The notorious incident where he became "Scarebeast".
- Later on, Darkseid turns him into an even stronger creature, Schrocken, that can take on Superman.
- Papa Wolf: He has had these moments especially with students that he either finds very smart like Molly Randall who was raped by her boyfriend or has problems with bullies.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He tries really hard to stick to this, as his motivations are largely economical (there's no way in hell that he'd ever get grant money for his research, so he has to commit crimes to get the money he needs to fund it), but he depends on Batman to validate his existence way more than he'd like to admit.
- Psycho Psychologist
- Relative Button: Inadvertently pushes Batman's during the Knightfall saga. The results were not pretty.
- Revenge Of The Nerd: Took this to a murderous extreme (see Griggs and Squires incident detailed above).
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Sadist Teacher: Okay, so most of the time, the "sadist" and "teacher" parts don't really appear together much, but there was that time when he fired a gun in the middle of one of his classes to inspire fear in his students.
- Scary Scarecrows
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Self-Made Orphan: According to The Long Halloween, he killed his mom. On Mother's Day.
- Shadow Archetype: Like Batman, he uses fear as a gimmick in his actions, except Crane uses fear for malicious purposes.
- Sinister Scythe
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: Pretends to be such a thing.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He himself is often depicted with either a fear of birds or a fear of bats. His fear gas reveals his victims' greatest phobias.
- In Blackest Night, it's revealed his constant exposure to his own fear gas has left him incapable of fearing anything. Except for Batman.
- Wolverine Claws: Has taken to using a mix of this and Playing with Syringes in the New 52, as per his incarnation in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Victim of a Prank Date, bullying throughout his school years, absentee parents, and an abusive grandmother with trained crows to attack him for the slightest mistake, no wonder the poor kid became obsessed with fear.
- From Bad to Worse in Blackest Night. Due to being exposed to too much of his own fear gas, he can't even feel fear. Or nearly any other emotion anymore, except when facing Batman. Yeah, it means the Black Lanterns don't consider him a priority target and he brought it upon himself, but it's still a raw deal. By the New 52, however, he seems to have overcome or have never had this problem, as his toxins have become so powerful they even affect him again.
Mister Freeze/Victor Fries/Mister Zero
Victor Fries was once a great scientist, who was accidentally exposed to some chemicals and was forever changed. While this sort of thing had been beneficial to The Flash
, it ruined Fries' body physiology and he cannot survive for very long in high temperatures (even being in room temperature would eventually kill him). Being forced to create a suit to keep him cool, Fries eventually turned to crime, becoming the sinister Mr. Freeze.
That was all there was to the original Mr. Freeze (who actually debuted as Mr. Zero). He was just the gimmicky cold themed villain to fight and was eventually sent to Comic Book Limbo (where Animal Man
actually met him!). Then Batman: The Animated Series
gave him a tragic backstory and personality, turning him into an Anti-Villain
Nora Fries, wife of Victor, contracted a rare disease, of which there was no cure. Victor, wanting to save his wife, put her in cryo-stasis. Unfortunately, Fries' boss, Ferris Boyle
tried to pull the plug on Nora and knocks Victor into some chemicals and... yeah. Later, when Mr. Freeze
tried to get revenge on Boyle, he was foiled by Batman and Nora's capsule was destroyed, killing her. Swearing revenge on Batman, he escapes. Although, like the Penguin, he is not truly insane, whenever Freeze is captured and taken into custody, he is always taken to Arkham Asylum, as it is the only place where he won't die due to the temperature while in custody (his room being essentially a remodeled meat locker).
In recent history, Freeze managed to revive his wife with one of Ra's Al-Ghul's Lazarus Pits in exchange for building a machine to capture Cassandra Cain. However, due to Nora being dead for so long, she gains superpowers from the pit. She is pissed off at her husband and left him becoming the villain Lazara. Poor, poor Victor
The New 52
reboot made a major alteration to Freeze's backstory. After the changes to the timeline, Victor is now a deluded scientist who fell in love with Nora, who was actually preserved long before Fries was actually born.
- Abusive Parents: The Mr. Freeze graphic novel by Paul Dini shows an origin in which Victor's father was a violent control freak.
- A Day in the Limelight: An issue of Legends Of The Dark Knight has him narrating a retelling of his own origin.
- Affably Evil: The George Sanders version in the 60s series is very affable. He admits that he doesn't actually hate Batman that much—killing him is just a matter of principle seeing as how he's responsible for the accident that made him Mr. Freeze. He even makes Batman and Robin dinner.
- An Ice Person: Unlike most examples, his powers don't come naturally. Instead, he has to use his gun (which may or may not be linked to his sub-zero body temperature) to achieve this. And although his condition would kill him in a room-temperature environment, he can walk around openly and quite comfortably in the frigid polar regions, as depicted in the DCAU.
- Most of the time. On The Batman however, he does have genuine freezing powers and thus has no use for a gun.
- Anti-Villain: Depending on the Writer sometimes, of course, but he's one of the greatest examples of a Type II of all times. In fact, he's the current God of it.
- Bald of Evil: The transformation process apparently caused all his hair to fall out.
- Create Your Own Villain: In the New 52, the executive who shut down Victor's research and unwittingly exposed him to the chemicals that made him dependent on sub-zero temperatures... was Bruce Wayne.
- In 60s series as well—Victor was an ordinary criminal who got frozen by Batman in a bank robbery gone wrong. Batman even expresses guilt over the incident although the others are quick to point out he was just doing his job.
- Cursed with Awesome: Freeze's condition means that room temperatures will kill him. However, he can survive without his suit in bitterly cold regions that would kill ordinary humans.
- Freak Lab Accident: Something that every version of him has in common.
- Harmless Freezing: Sometimes, in more kid friendly versions. Most of the time, he does kill whoever he freezes.
- Human Popsicle: Did this to his wife. He's kind of a walking, talking, killing one himself.
- Icy Blue Eyes: A literal example. Batman & Robin even brings it further with ice-like lenses.
- Literally Shattered Lives: He invokes this trope with objects just as much as with people.
- Lost in Imitation: With the exception of the one in the Adam West show and the The Batman version (which uses his original characterization, though references his later look), every version of Freeze draws from the DCAU one. This is partially because the comics themselves adopted the DCAU version as his official backstory.
- The Lost Lenore: Nora is perhaps one of the best examples in comic books.
- Love Makes You Evil: Especially when the one you loved is dead.
- Mad Scientist
- Necromantic: Not at first, since his wife was technically still alive, but after her death, he still did everything he does out of his love for her.
- Only Sane Man: Usually shares this role with Penguin. He goes to Arkham not because he's insane, but because they're the only place that can accommodate him.
- A notable exception is his appearance in City of Crime, in which he is a delusional psychotic. Penguin even remarks that he hates working with crazy "freaks" like Mr. Freeze.
- Another exception is the New 52 incarnation, who is delusional and obsessive.
- Playing with Fire: In one storyline he attempts to use the Lazarus Pit to restore his wife. She came back with powers. Guess what they are. Did we mention his life sucks?
- Psycho for Hire: Often shows up in stories not centered around him as a mercenary, hired by a crime lord to do some damage and/or attack Batman. Freeze, who often agrees on the condition that he gets to kill a lot of people, is known to be difficult to work with.
- Ret Canon: After the animated episode won an Emmy, DC Comics hastily adapted Freeze's new origin into the comics as well.
- And then the New 52 made another retcanon to invalidate his DCAU origin.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: On Boyle at first. His later career is supposedly one targeted towards Batman, and to a lesser extent, the rest of Gotham.
- Sinister Shades: He's usually seen with red goggles.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
You'll note that most of the entries on this page are rather old characters. One of the more recent Bat-Villains to make "the leap" to a top-tier threat was Bane, created in the 1990s for a specific purpose: to enable the writers to get Bruce Wayne out of the Bat-costume and replace him with a character intended to turn the readers against Nineties Anti-Hero
Azrael, and Nineties Anti Heroes
in general. The gambit worked spectacularly well.
To say Bane had a bad life is putting it mildly; he was essentially raised in a Central American prison, sentenced there for life while still in the womb
for a crime committed by his father. However, once he managed to be old enough to defend himself, he thrived, and was selected for an experimentation program where he was made more durable (via the implantation of subcutaneous armor) and, more importantly, had a delivery system for a super steroid implanted in his body. While not quite superhuman in strength, when on the drugs he was very close, and combined with his genius-level intellect represented a foe unlike any Batman had faced to that point: one arguably as cunning as he was, but with far more physical prowess. After wearing Batman down, Bane eventually caught up to him and shattered his spine. Although eventually defeated by AzBats, that one storyline gave the character enough credibility that he instantly shot up to be one of the top Bat-Villains, and merited appearances on Batman: The Animated Series
, Batman Beyond
, and in the disastrous Batman & Robin
movie as a result. The final installment
of The Dark Knight Saga
features him as the primary antagonist.
In recent years, he has weaned himself off the drugs and become something of an Anti-Hero
himself, and was a member of the Secret Six
until their dissolution shortly before the New 52
For his page, see here
- Aborted Arc: There were hints in his origin that he might have actually been Bruce Wayne's half-brother, as various passing references indicated that his father had been a foreign doctor who had fled the country. While Batman having to deal with the idea of the saintly image he's built up of his father being tarnished might have been interesting, it's pretty understandable why future writers declined to follow up on this.
- Batman Gambit: By releasing every inmate in Arkham from the Joker to Mr. Zsasz, he (successfully) wore Batman down enough to easily crack the guy's spine.
- Catch Phrase: He tends to give out the phrase, "I WILL BREAK YOU!", quite a bit.
- Characterization Marches On: The Bane that was originally introduced was much more cruel and petty than the version that has endured today. Though he was arguably portrayed as smarter than he often was afterwards, he also murdered prostitutes and was out to destroy Batman for little reason other than the "find the toughest guy in the place and beat him up" gambit. Flash forward to years later, after Bane has actually adapted to life outside the hellish prison he grew up in, and he's one of the few villains honorable and articulate enough that Batman will actually chat with him as they fight.
- The Chessmaster: figuratively and literally. He beat Ra's Al Ghul in chess, having never even seen a chessboard before, only read extensively about the game. And he had engineered Batman's weakened state before the back-breakage in Knightfall.
- Combat Pragmatist: Given his upbringing in a brutal prison, Bane naturally had to become this just to survive. Additionally, in contrast to the also pragmatic Bat-Family and due to his rather villainous nature he isn't afraid to use lethal force or firearms if the situation warrants it. In fact, given his great strength, he can make use of much heavier artillery than most of Batman's other foes, who usually stick to handguns. Bane on the other hand has made use of a bazooka to blow Arkham wide open, a gatling gun to demolish Two-Face's army of goons, and a miniature nuke to destroy some evidence.
- The Comically Serious: Much like Bats himself, he ended up as this in Secret Six.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Why arrange an elaborate game of cat and mouse when you can have others do all the work and then finish the job like a piece of cake?
- Delinquent Hair: Underneath his mask, Bane styles his hair in a short mohawk.
- Destination Defenestration: Used hilariously in one of the Secret Six books.
- Drugs Are Bad: He's been used a couple times to deliver An Aesop on the dangers of steroid abuse. In the DCAU, he's reduced to a vegetable who needs venom to stay alive - and still needs machines to breath for him anyway. In the comics, Bane has kicked his Venom addiction and relies on his natural strength—still way above average, but no longer quasi-superhuman.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: He started out as this, (though he did at least get an issue to explain his backstory beforehand), rolling into Gotham, easily breaking Batman's Rogues Gallery out of Arkham, quickly deducing Batman's secret identity, before ultimately breaking his back and, having served his purpose, gets thrashed by Azrael in what almost seemed like a bit of an afterthought. Eventually the writers fleshed Bane out more, giving him an identity beyond being "the guy who broke Batman's back once". Unfortunately, there is also a tendency for some of his portrayals (especially in adaptations to other media) to focus on the steroidal "Venom" aspect of his character and nothing else meaning that once someone cuts his tubes, he goes down quick.
- Genius Bruiser: Stronger than Batman and the 600-year old Ra's Al Ghul once said that he had a mind equal to the greatest he had ever known.
- In prison, he learned how to read six languages, he devoured every book in the library while training himself.
- Hoist Hero Over Head: It's his Signature Move. The first time, he delivers the iconic back-breaker. The one pictured above is actually after that.
- Poirot Speak: While Bane often drops spanish words into his speech in the various adaptations he appears in, he's almost always written with perfect english in the comics. If you only know him from there and don't know his origin, you might not even realize that he's supposed to be Latin-American.
- Prisons Are Gymnasiums: When Bane decides to get himself clean of Venom, he gets himself locked in solitary confinement in Blackgate and uses the time to rebuild his physique back till he is almost as tough as he had been on the drug.
- Recycled IN SPACE!/This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Bane's was created as Doc Savage except EVIL AND ON STEROIDS!
- Shadow Archetype: When he first appeared, the impression was given that he was comparable to Batman in terms of intellect and physical prowess; essentially, Batman if he had grown up hated, abused, and imprisoned rather than loved, privileged, and free.
- Super Serum
- Super Strength
- Super Intelligence: Of the super learning and Photographic Memory kind. However, he doesn't emphasize his intellect any more than a strength. Willpower and discipline are more of his defining aspects anyway.
Professor Hugo Strange
Professor Hugo Strange
One of the very first recurring villains Batman ever fought (the others being Doctor Death
and The Mad Monk
, Hugo Strange was introduced as The Moriarty
to Batman's Holmes, a Mad Scientist
who used ingenius inventions and brainwashed, mutated goons to carry out crimes
. Post-Crisis he was reinvented as a criminal psychiatrist who had ties to the mob who became obsessed with Batman, and again experimented with mutated brutes (this time round known as the "Monster Men"), but both versions have him eventually figuring out the Dark Knight is really Bruce Wayne, making him one of his most dangerous and personal enemies.If he were used more.
Despite being one of the oldest and more important of Batman's regular foes, Strange nowadays is mostly notable by his absence. He rarely appears in the modern comics and is more associated with stories around Batman's early career. He had a single appearance in Batman: The Animated Series
and a cameo in Justice League Unlimited note
, which would have led to something more were it not for the infamous Bat Embargo
in place at the time. However, he made up for it in The Batman
where he became a major villain (he even became the final
villain in the last episode... almost)
. He did receive a MASSIVE role in the Batman: Arkham City
game, where he's the big bad driving the plot, and that is possibly his most memorable role to date.
One of the more cerebral Bat rogues, Strange is nonetheless preoccupied with physical as well as mental perfection. He regards Batman as the embodiment of both, and at times his obsession reaches the point where he wants to 'be'' Batman, however he is just as often trying to create his own giant bruisers, and he is interested in pushing his own limits.
- Arch-Enemy: In the early years, he had arguably a better claim to being this than The Joker, who was Put on a Bus shortly after his debut since the writers didn't want Batman to look impotent by letting the clown rack up a ridiculously high body count. Strange was a more frequent villain, and predated him.
- In The Batman, he actually arguably does fit this trope better than that show's version of the Joker (who is still an A-list villian, but doesn't seem as menacing as the show's Strange.)
- Which is either plain ironic or a Fridge Brilliance Actor Allusion, seeing as Strange was voiced by Frank Gorshin, the Riddler from the 60's Live Action series, and in that show the Riddler had the best claim to being Batman's Arch-Enemynote
- Awesome by Analysis: His usual MO, and how he figures out at least one Secret Identity.
- Badass Bookworm: Inverted. He's a short guy but his obsession with bodybuilding and physical perfection means he is all muscle. The inversion is that he almost never actually uses them; its largely for show.
- Bad Boss: Has a nasty habit of brainwashing his own men and turning them into drugged up mutated brutes who will do his will. He once had a devoted Indian manservant named Sanjay who worked for him for years in return for Strange trying to save his brothers life- Strange fails, so he secretly experimented on the brother too.
- Bald of Evil
- Beard of Evil: Originally modeled a classic "villainous" goatee; he boasts a shaggy chinstrap in most recent appearances.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Averted in one Pre-Crisis story. You want to know how he originally found out Batman's secret identity? He took his mask off while he was bound and unconscious. It was later changed to be a little more complicated than that, but you still have to admire his prudence.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The Monster Men; Quincy Sharp.
- Classic Villain
- The Chessmaster
- Diabolical Mastermind
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He successfully deduced Batman's identity but he is convinced that Bat's is driven by a power fantasy, not by actual heroism. This says more about Strange himself since thats why he wants to be Batman.
- Evilutionary Biologist: His "Monster Men", and his obsession with Batman.
- Faking the Dead: Done it so many times he even mocks Catwoman once when she pulls it off.
- Freudian Couch: He once had Bruce as a client and tried to get him to admit that he was Batman; since he ''was'' Batman, Bruce thwarted the effort with a Memory Gambit, forcing himself to forget his secret identity for the duration.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: In Prey, Gordon gives Batman his bio and mentions that he used to have this.
- I Just Want To Be Batman: In Prey, he even has his own Batman costume and spends his free time sitting around his home wearing both it and a Slasher Smile.
- Mad Doctor
- Mad Scientist even more so.
- Manipulative Bastard: One of the masters in the Bat-verse.
- The Man Behind the Man: To the 2nd Black Mask, Jeremiah Arkham.
- Mind Control / More Than Mind Control: Several. The Monster Men again; Sgt. Max Cort from Prey.
- Nietzsche Wannabe
- Not Quite Dead: God knows how many times.
- Paranoia Gambit: Rupert Thorne, a crooked politician and a crime boss, once has Strange abducted and beaten to death because Thorne wanted to know Batman's identity. Except, Strange was Faking the Dead, and in revenge he made Thorne think he was haunted by his own vengeful ghost, driving him mad and leading to him publicly confessing to his crimes.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: In Batman and the Monster Men, he is even shorter than normal, practically a dwarf, but he is still pretty buff.
- Psycho Psychologist
- Put on a Bus: He hardly ever shows up in the comics Post-Crisis despite being one of Batman's most notable enemies.
- Renaissance Man: He's an expert in psychiatry, philosophy, literature and biology, as well as bodybuilding.
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Shadow Archetype: Like Batman, he's a Crazy-Prepared Badass Bookworm who is determined to push the limits of physical and mental perfection, the difference being he's a self-centred sociopath and a criminal mastermind, and Batman's limits are much higher than his.
- One comic plays this to the hilt, showing a muscular man engaging in exercise while giving an inner monologue; the reader initially assumes it's Bruce Wayne, until The Reveal that it's really Strange.
- The Social Darwinist
- Stalker Without A Crush
- The Syndicate: They funded some of his Monster Men research and its implied that they put him through college. Howver, he eventually decided that it wasn't working for him.
- Third-Person Person: Pre-Crisis at least.
- Übermensch: Sees Batman as one, and wants to be one himself.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Didn't last long, though.
Poison Ivy/Pamela Isley
Introduced (not surprisingly) in the sci-fi obsessed
sixties, Poison Ivy is one of the few Bat-Rogues with actual powers. In her case, powers over all manner of flora. In addition, she's also got a special immunity towards all illnesses and toxins (sometimes naturally born with; sometimes not), and that's just as well, because she's often portrayed with the ability to naturally produce both lethal and non-lethal toxins from her body. This stems from her being seduced by her senior professor, Dr. Jason Woodrue, and used as a guinea pig for his experiments, although her origin comic by Neil Gaiman
and his Black Orchid
miniseries establish that the science was just a channel and she's actually, like Black Orchid, a mystical being called a May Queen with a connection to The Green (of Swamp Thing
She was originally just another gimmicky villain, but quickly grew into one of the senior members of Batman's rogues gallery. Instead of being after money, "Pam" was instead an eco-terrorist who genuinely cared about the well-being of plants (and animals, to a certain degree). Violent person that she was, she often attacked businessmen and others who damaged the environment for monetary gain... and her love for "innocent" living things, including human children, has made her waver
on the path of villainy from time to time.
Despite having a generally dismissive attitude towards men, Ivy can be incredibly seductive when she needs to be, and many times, she's shown to be able to take control of men with special lipstick and pheromones. When it comes to a melee fight, her chemically-enhanced body provides an incredibly athletic frame, but she usually prefers to let her mutant plants do her fighting for her.
From the year 2000 and on, her role in the comics changed a bit, as elements from the DCAU version became integrated. Namely, it's now rather rare to see her without her pal Harley Quinn, with Ivy tending to be cast as the straight man to Harley's wackiness.
As of the New 52 Poison Ivy has recently been experimenting with siding with the good guys, and has been making a shaky bond with the Birds of Prey
- Anti-Villain: At least, when she isn't in it for the money (apparently killing trees is okay if it turns into cash) or out to kill as many people as possible. Also, she has a soft spot for children- ignoring her many, many plans that would have involved murdering scores of them. Yes, Depending on the Writer is definitely at work here.
- Bi the Way: Depends who's writing.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Her New 52 design has made her eyes entirely black, save for her glowing green irises.
- Dark Chick: As said below, she isn't much of a fighter but that doesn't make her any less dangerous.
- Deadpan Snarker: Being around Harley so much gives her a lot of practice.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Upon meeting Harley, Ivy softened somewhat towards humans, but still manages to be quite strict whenever Harley screws up her plans. Which is frequently.
- In the New 52 Birds of Prey, she is completely unapologetic for her murderous crimes in the past, but is willing to assist Black Canary and company and work as a team. Even if she does mutter complaints along the way.
- Depending on the Writer: Sometimes she is an extremist eco-terrorist bent on protecting Mother Earth from the ravages of humanity; originally and just as often, she is just a glorified superhuman crook and seductress in it for the money. She's even occasionally shown concern for "innocent" human life, children especially, most famously in a particular issue of Gotham Central, and in Gotham City Sirens.
- Does Not Like Shoes/Earthy Barefoot Character: Some versions of her, such as the one from The Batman and the one from Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- Drugged Lipstick
- Evil Redhead
- Fiery Redhead
- Flanderization: Ivy went from a normal woman who just used plants as a gimmick out of insanity to a half-plant woman with actual power over plants and who, Depending on the Artist, even looked plant-like. Many people seem to prefer this latter iteration.
- Gaia's Vengeance
- Garden of Evil
- Garden Garment: She's usually wearing leaves and flowers.
- Glass Cannon: Ivy relies mostly on her plants when it comes to physical fights and isn't a very effective hand-to-hand combattant against more highly-trained brawlers like Bats himself or even Catwoman.
- Green Thumb: She is one of the most famous examples of this trope. Her levels of deadliness vary across different adaptations. She has shown some capacity for good, also. When Gotham was in the midst of No Man's Land, Ivy killed Clayface and used her powers to grow fruits and vegetables for the stranded people to eat in a coordinated effort with Batman. Other times, she can at times be an eco-terrorist, ranging from destroying polluting industries to considering exterminating the human race so they'll knock off the polluting.
- Otherwise, she gets her kicks by feeding people to giant pitcher plants and Venus Fly traps. Lady's in Arkham for a reason.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Harley Quinn, though the Heterosexual part is questionable.
- Hot Scientist
- Humanoid Abomination: Some portrayals of her verge on this.
- Kiss of Death: When it doesn't brainwash you instead, this is often the alternative.
- Mad Scientist
- Mama Bear: Towards the orphans she looked after, as well as her plants, and Harley when the Joker's involved.
- Man-Eating Plant: Always has some kind of it ready & waiting to eat Batman.
- Master Poisoner
- Never Be Hurt Again: Some portrayals of her emphasize this motivation. She got mutated when she fell for a guy Playing with Syringes; now she is obsessed with controlling men.
- Not Good with People: By which we mean that she cares little for their lives, with exceptions (like Harley).
- Pet the Dog: Several, most notably during the No Man's Land arc, where she took in several dozen orphans despite her grudge against humanity.
- Poisonous Person
- Redhead: To Harley's Blonde and Catwoman's Brunette in some cases.
- Redhead In Green
- Shrinking Violet: Pre-transformation.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: It's probably the chlorophyll running through her veins.
- The Sociopath: This is sometimes presented as more along the lines as wishful thinking since she is shown to have the ability to genuinely care for others, such as the orphans she cared for, Harley, and her plants.
- Stripperific: Justified given her seductress persona.
- Though her outfit in the New 52 is much more modest, being a black and green jumpsuit covering her entire body.
- Sudden Name Change: While her civilian name was initially established as Pamela Isley, Gerry Conway inexplicably gave her the name of "Lillian Rose" when he wrote her origin in World's Finest #252. Post-Crisis, Neil Gaiman would re-establish the Pamela Isley name (along with overhauling her origin).
- Token Evil Teammate: During her stint on the Birds Of Prey
- Torture Technician: Almost as much as the Scarecrow, she's a dedicated misanthrope who loves making people suffer.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Clayface briefly in the New 52.
- The Vamp: Started out this way, but eventually became an eco-terrorist. She still has shades of it though.
- Villainous BSOD: When she accidentally poisoned on of the children under her care in No Man's Land. It ultimately causes her to give them up.
- Villainous Crush: Depending on the Writer, she could have an attraction to Batman that stands from either a minor attraction to either lust or genuine affection. While not at the same level as his relationship with Catwoman Batman could return her affection in some way, also depending on the writer.
- In one such issue, she mistook his saving her from death as proof he loves her, though he responds that she doesn't know the meaning of love.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: But not in the same way as Ra's al-Ghul, since she couldn't care less about the morality of humans. She mainly wants to kill them all so that they can't harm her precious plants.
- Yandere: Countless cheesy analogies towards flowers (especially roses) have been made about this aspect of her personality.
Ra's Al Ghul
Ra's Al Ghul
Probably the biggest threat to the world in Batman's Rogues Gallery, Ra's Al Ghul (Arabic for "The Demon's Head
", and pronounced "Raysh Al-Ghool") is a centuries-old man who leads an enormous international terrorist organization known as DEMON (as well as the League of Assassins). Unlike most of the other Bat-rogues, he is actually quite cultured and polite, if ruthless, and genuinely believes his goals to be noble. Of course, since his goal is to "purify" the world by killing off ninety percent of its population, Batman disagrees.
With the assistance of the mysterious Lazaurus Pits, Ra's has achieved limited immortality, as they rejuvenate him every time he takes a dip. Such a practice has allowed him to live centuries, if not millennia, and he's taken advantage of such a long lifespan to master swordsmanship, war strategies, various fighting styles, and many other skills.
Interestingly, after being created in the 70s revival period, Ra's took much of the 1980s "off", rarely appearing as a Batman antagonist, before being revived in a big way for the 1990s. He's one of the few top-tier modern Batman villains who was created after the sixties show
aired, and as such didn't have a counterpart there.
Ra's has come to blows with both Batman and the rest of the Justice League of America
many times, one time unleashing a genetically engineered virus on Gotham, and on another occasion, taking down most of the JLA with Batman's contingency files. He himself, however, was killed by one of his daughters, also a user of the Lazaurus Pits, who was furious at him for leaving her to die at a Nazi Concentration Camp. Though he eventually returned to life, Batman was able to imprison him in Arkham Asylum under the guise of an inmate named Terry Gene Kase, and assigns him "medication" that keeps him highly sedated.
See his own page here
- Affably Evil: Genuinely courteous to his antagonists, especially Batman.
- Affectionate Nickname: Always refers to Batman as "Detective" as a sign of respect. Tim Drake managed to thwart Ra's single-handedly, earning himself the same nickname (which is a big deal, since it means Ra's thinks he's a comparable opponent to Bruce). On a related tangent, he refers to Superman as "Icon".
- Age Without Youth: Becomes this if he doesn't periodically rejuvenate himself in the Lazarus Pits.
- Arch-Enemy: Another potential candidate. He's the only Bat-foe who routinely threatens the safety of the entire world. He can match Batman both mentally and physically. His conflict with Batman also has a strong personal dimension, what with both the romantic attachment the Detective has to his daughter and his desire to see Bruce become his heir. Ra's potential archenemy status is highlighted in the DCAU, where Bruce refers to him as "my most powerful enemy", and describes him to Superman as "a criminal mastermind more dangerous than the Joker and Luthor combined".
- Ax-Crazy: When he surfaces on the Lazarus Pits at first.
- Badass: One of the few Rogues whose fighting skills match those of Batman himself, gained from having centuries to practice.
- Badass Grandpa: He´s around 500 years old and is still a fighter on level with Batman.
- Beard of Evil: It's practically mandatory, seeing as how he's probably a Captain Ersatz of Fu Manchu.
- Big Bad: For stories involving the League of Assassins.
- Boomerang Bigot: Detests humans in general, to the point of being an Omnicidal Maniac who fancies himself as Gaia's Vengeance. He wants to save the world by destroying 90% of humanity and ruling the ones left over.
- The Chessmaster
- Contractual Immortality
- Dirty Coward: A high-functioning example; he is more than willing to engage in mortal kombat (albeit usually with Batman, who adheres to Thou Shall Not Kill) and do other dangerous things, but a big part of his character is his fear of death and the murderous extremes he will go to escape it, including plots against his own family.
- The Dragon: Often employs one. His official Dragon is named Ubu and is actually a Legacy Character usually recruited from a clan that is loyal to him, but he once made Bane this.
- Even Evil Has Standards
- Evil Albino: When he is forced to possess the body of his son, Dusan.
- Expy: With his unnaturally prolonged life, seductive daughter, large army of ninja-like operatives et al, he in many ways resembles a Middle Eastern Fu Manchu. Word of God is that he was inspired by James Bond villains.
- Friendly Enemy
- Grand Theft Me: How he escaped death.
- Heir Club for Men: Despite Talia's already effective running of his terrorist empire, he insists on finding a male heir to marry her with. He considers Batman to be the perfect candidate, if only he could get the "Detective" to accept the righteousness of his cause.
- It's All About Me: For all his lofty ideals and excuses, he frequently lapses into this. He seems to have a Messiah Complex of the Tautological Templar sort- he is going to make the world a better place, so in the meantime he should be treated like God. Notably, he is trying to murder billions of people so that his family can inherit the Earth, and on his terms. He is willing to commit Grand Theft Me, even on his own family members, and do anything to cheat death. He is willing to die, unlike most examples, but only if he is martyred for his cause, ie, if Batman or someone else he respects kills him and takes over his legacy, so Martyr Complex can be added to that as well.
- It could be argued that even his grandiose scheme to save the planet is yet another selfish attempt to cheat death and stroke his own ego. He knows, and has known for some time, that he will eventually run out of Lazarus Pits, meaning that eventually he will die. He ultimately plans for his family and cult to inherit the Earth after he has turned it into Eden, hence his desire to make Batman his heir. This will cement his legacy and in the long-term he might even be remembered and revered as a god; in other words he might fail to stave off physical death, but if he gets his way his name at least will last forever.
- It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Word of God is that it is pronouned Raysh Al-Gool, not Raz Al Gool. Adaptations go one way or the other. May be an honest mistake - it's the latter that is correct in Arabic (more or less) — however, it might also be indicative of a mixed ethicity — his creator ploughed not just Arabic but Hebrew and other related languages for his nom de guerre; "Raysh" is correct in Hebrew, but "Al-Ghul" is Arabic through and through.
- Knight Templar: Not quite a textbook example, as he cares more about the planet's ecological balance than the morality of humans, but he has shades of this.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Used Catwoman this way in the Legacy arc.
- The Man Behind the Man: Is the head of the League of Assassins, which were introduced as a seperate threat, so David Cain, Lade Shiva and several other Batman rogues answer to him. He is a prominent and powerful enough villain to occassionaly be this to several other bad guys in the DC universe.
- Misanthrope Supreme
- Moral Myopia: Bruce battles Ra's by destroying his Lazurus Pits, forcing the villain to live out his unnaturally long life. Ra's considers this outright murder, like keeping an old man from his medicine, but he doesn't really have any more right to the pits than anyone else (they are a naturally occuring phenomenon). Despite this, he was prepared to kill The Riddler for using one behind his back, to say nothing of his genocidal plans for humanity.
- Motive Decay: Nearly every version of Ra's begins with Utopia Justifies the Means but ends up more and more obsessed with cheating a natural death, finding alternatives to his Lazurus Pits (which aren't reliable, and which Bats goes out of his way to destroy) no matter how immoral, up to and including Grand Theft Me on his own family members, completely forgetting about all that "saving the world" stuff.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Much like Talia, regardless of the adaptation, there's nothing "Persian" in his accent, let alone Middle-Eastern.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His idea of mercy is "only" killing off about 90-95 percent of the human population. Though as he sees it, mercy isn't a factor; he just thinks that's the number of humans Earth's environment can handle.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Ra's Al-Ghul" roughly translates as "The Demons Head"note and is taken for the star "Algul", which in the astrology of several cultures is a star associated with bad luck and misfortune. On a less symbolic level, the organization that he heads- of which the League of Assassins / Shadows is only one branch- is named "The Demon"; thus, he is the "Head of the Demon".
- Al Ghul's Are Different
- Really 700 Years Old
- Shadow Archetype: In this case, he represents what Batman might have become in his quest for justice.
- Skunk Stripe: It's stated to be a side-effect of using the Lazaurus Pits.
- Stellar Name: Ras Al Ghul's name is based on the Star Algol (Beta Per, β Persei, β Per).
- Tautological Templar
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Not quite a textbook example here, either, since he did admit that the Holocaust would be beneficial to his plans.
- In the story Death and the Maidens. Ra's Al Ghul allying with the Nazis required him to overlook his bloodkin being murdered. They're sort of the people he also intends to (nearly) wipe out humanity because of.
- Only in adaptations, mainly the Nolan seres. In the mainstream comics he is concerned about industrialisation and overpopulation- Nazi or Jew, good or evil, daughter or stranger, he's an equal-opportunity genocidal lunatic. Though to be "fair" to the man, he only did that to her because she left his orgnanization, and he didn't target her or anything. He just refused to save her.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Lazaurus Pits temporarily makes anyone who uses them insane (though Riddler claims it just made him very, very angry, followed by clarity- the clarity to deduce Batman is Bruce Wayne). Apparently, long-term effects are present in Ra's as well.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Batman this and pre-Flashpoint, considered Robin III (Tim Drake) this as he managed to foil a massive plan to take over Bruce Wayne's assets, earning him the title of "Detective", something he only called Batman.
Talia Al Ghul
Talia Al Ghul
The daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, Talia was once Catwoman's primary competitor for Batman's Love Interest
. Despite her father being opposed to the Dark Knight, Talia finds herself in love with him, and is often torn between loyalty towards her father and her love for Batman. Much like with Catwoman, Batman has genuine feelings for her, and has even fathered a child by Talia (albeit one which he was told had been miscarried). She's normally not above co-operating with Batman if it would serve her own ends, yet has firmer ties to the rest of the DCU
villain community than her father, even taking over for Lex Luthor as CEO of LuthorCorp upon his election as president.
Eventually, she was kidnapped and brainwashed by another one of her father's daughters, thought to have died in a Nazi concentration camp. Said daughter planned to kill Ra's for abandoning her at the camp, and succeeds in doing so. This, however, turns out to be The Plan
on Ra's' part to make his daughters accept their destinies as his heirs. Since then, Talia has severed ties with Batman, but still holds infatuation for him, and has recently returned to Batman's life to let him know that he owes roughly eleven years' worth of child support payments.
- Amazon Brigade: Her own personal guard.
- Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero: Most of the time in the old days. Nowadays not so much.
- Big Bad: Revealed to be this for Grant Morrison's Batman epic in Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Getting killed and resurrected countless times will do that to anyone.
- Cain and Abel: Talia and her sister, Nyssa Raatko have had many problems; including Nyssa killing and reviving Talia numerous times with a Lazarus Pit. Nyssa also once killed Ra's (even though for Ra's, Death Is Cheap, due to the Lazarus Pits). Nyssa Raatko is later killed by the League of Shadows with a car bomb.
- Convenient Miscarriage: In the graphic novel Son Of the Demon. Said novel's canon level has ping-ponged back and forth.
- Daddy's Little Villain
- Dark Action Girl
- Dark Chick
- Dissonant Serenity: No matter how upset, enraged, or surprised she gets, she almost always looks completely calm and seductive. Even when her son is critically injured after an explosion at sea, her orders for help are as calm as though she were ordering lunch at a restaurant.
- Fatal Attraction: To Batman, and vice-versa.
- Femme Fatale
- Glass Cannon: Much like Harley and Ivy, she isn't very resilient when it comes to physical fights and relies on her Amazon Brigade to protect herself. But she can definitely dish out a lot more than she can take.
- Hypocrite: She hates Ra's for trying to control her destiny, apparently not realizing she does the exact same thing to Damian.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In "Hush", she was perfectly content to let Batman have his romance with Catwoman. Though that was mostly because she was not threatened, as she considers it simply a matter of fact that Batman is destined to marry her someday.
- Mama Bear: Mess with her son and you won't live long enough to regret it. Eventually subverted in Batman Incorporated v2 when she becomes an outright Abusive Parent Evil Matriarch.
- Immortal Terrorist's Beautiful Daughter
- Mind Rape: At the hands of her own half-sister, no less.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the videogames and the animated series, her "accent" is anything but Persian.
- Persian Babymama
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: When she finally dons a supervillain costume, it's a plain, all-red jumpsuit with a black Batwoman-esque mask.
Thomas Elliot was born into a highly respected family in Gotham City, and as a child was a great friend of a young Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately, Tommy's dad was an abusive alcoholic and his mother a controlling Rich Bitch
who made him study philosophy and strategems to help him succeed in life. Eventually his father's abuse got so bad, he decided to apply his studies to improve his own life, by cutting the brakes on his parents car before they had a drive, so he could inherit their money and live by his own way. Unfortunately, thanks to Bruce's father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, Tommy's now crippled and needy mother survived, which was the worst thing that could happen to him. When news of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne's deaths
reached him, Tommy's already budding hatred of his former friend only grew stronger.
Mrs. Elliot then manipulated her son into staying with her so he could take care of her. Eventually Tommy had enough and suffocated her
. After his mother's death, Tommy left Gotham, entered medical school and became one of the country's best surgeons. However, when when Eddie Nygma AKA The Riddler offered him a way of curing his mother's cancer, Tommy learnt that his former friend Bruce was the Batman (Riddler having figured out his identity in a moment of Lazarus Pit-induced insanity). Tommy decided that enough was enough and that Bruce had to be cut down to size and pay for "his crimes against me". Creating the identity of Hush, Elliot became arguably the most prominent Bat-Villain created in the 2000s.
In an effort to further bedevil Batman, Hush has recently altered his face to become a perfect duplicate of Bruce Wayne.
The Mad Hatter
The Mad Hatter/Jervis Tetch
Jervis Tetch, a man of short stature and large head, went through his life friendless, becoming a scientist and experimenting with technology, specifically that of mind control. His psychosis is a mix of paranoid schizophrenia and manic depression, all of this centering on his fascination with both hats and Alice in Wonderland
. Using his technology, Tetch turned to a life of crime as the Mad Hatter, inserting his devices into headgear in order to turn unwitting victims into his slaves. His technology has advanced to a point that where not only can he put his mind-control devices into almost anything (free meal tickets, Walkmans, etc.), but he is now able to miniaturize his technology to a point of simulating telepathic hypnosis/mind control.
The Mad Hatter is possibly one of the strangest Bat-Rogues ever (which is saying something). Throughout his tenure, Tetch has been subject to several redesigns in both appearance and personality; he has gone from average height to quite short to an actual dwarf and has been a goofy thief, a scheming mastermind and a creepy pedophile-esque kidnapper. He's gotten a lot more serious in the comics and has proven to be a formidable and unpredictable opponent.
This character was indeed used in the sixties show
, but the version was based on an imposter who posed as Tetch during a period in the comics. He appeared in only four episodes, all of them making use of his hypnotic machinery and showcasing his desire to add Batman's cowl to his collection of hats. The animated series
turned Tetch into a criminal through his obsession for a co-worker (ironically named Alice), swearing vengeance on Batman when he foiled his plans to be with her (read as "hypnotize her boyfriend and stalk her"). This motivation went away though as the Hatter soon became another common thief. Still, he had a good run and several good episodes.
Incidentally, few people remember that his debut comic, Batman
#49, also featured the debut of Vicki Vale.
- Alice in Wonderland: Tetch quotes this constantly, with Jeph Loeb's incarnation speaking in nothing but quotes from the book.
- Berserk Button: Do not touch his hat.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Not dead so much as missing, but his redheaded Silver Age counterpart apparently stole his identity and M.O. for a time. The real Tetch later turns up alive; the latter does not.
- Depraved Dwarf, although this varies.
- Evil Brit
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Gonk: Most current artists depict him as, like the Tenniel illustrations, having a very large and crooked overbite, with a nose to match.
- Hypno Trinket
- Let's Get Dangerous: You'd think that he's completely ineffective in combat. Hoo boy, would you be wrong.
- The Mad Hatter: Oddly enough, subverted. He's often depicted as struggling with his mental illness, and dislikes having it mentioned.
- Master of Illusion
- Mad Scientist
- Man Child
- Meaningful Name: "Tetch" is a variation of "touch", as in "touched in the head".
- More Than Mind Control: Some of Tetch's schemes have become very elaborate through this trope.
- Nice Hat: The Hatter lives by this trope.
- Odd Friendship: Depending on the Writer he has this type of relationship with The Penguin. More frequently, with The Scarecrow.
- Off with His Head!: He actually utters this line in his very first appearance, appropriately holding an axe twice as tall as he is.
- Reluctant Psycho: As mentioned above, he doesn't enjoy his insanity, he suffers through every second of it.
- Rhymes on a Dime: In Gotham Central, he uses this as a coping mechanism when he feels threatened.
- Spot of Tea: Expect the Hatter's tea to always be laced with something.
Killer Moth/Drury Walker/"Cameron Van Cleer"
When sophisticated and urbane playboy Cameron van Cleer introduced himself to the elite of Gotham's social scene, nobody realized he was secretly a former prison inmate using his stolen earnings to finance a career as "Killer Moth", a Batman-like costumed figure who aided criminals instead of the police. For a price, would-be ne'er-do-wells could hire Cleer's services, and he in turn would help them evade capture and cover their tracks. After several encounters with Batman, the Dark Knight managed to permanently dismantle Moth's organization, and his secret identity and fortune were lost forever.
Killer Moth (now revealed to be small-time criminal Drury Walker) continued to endure, however, committing smaller-scale robberies and picking up jobs as hired muscle. Sick of being perceived as a joke by his fellow rogues, he made a deal with Neron for greater power and became a towering moth/human hybrid. The deal has since been written out of history
, though, and Walker has reverted to his previous form.
- Animal Motifs: A decidely less sinister take on the Macabre Moth Motif; in most appearances, he just wears a moth-like outifit and employs an adhesive "cocoon gun" during heists.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He was working with Firefly for a short while as a mercenary duo before realizing just how dangerously unstable his partner actually was (he believed that he could see visions in the flames, for starters), causing him to cut things off ASAP because he genuinely feared for his life.
- I Was Beaten By A Girl: Trounced by Batgirl on her first night of duty, before she even received any combat training.
- Joke Character: His currently-held status in The Modern Ageof Comic Books.
- Shadow Archetype: The first Batman villain explicitly designed as such, to the point of working out of a "Moth-Cave" and selling criminals infrared "Moth-Signal" beacons in his first appearance.
- Villain Decay: You'd never believe it now, but this guy used to actually be a credible threat.
Garfield Lynns was originally a hollywood pyrotechnician, a job he took because of his pyromania. However, he became a victim of Gotham City's severe poverty and turned to crime. He took up arson as a hobby, but it soon turned to an obsession, going so far that he even believes to see vision in the flames. Inspired by actual fireflies, he built a suit and became a professional arsonist.
Lady Shiva/Sandra Wu-San/Sandra Woosan
One of the premier martial artists in the DCU, Shiva is a mercenary with her own sense of honor and duty, but who really lives for the thrill of life and death combat. She has trained Batman as well as several of his allies, but that doesn't stop her from fighting them if she feels the urge to. She sometimes acts in a quasi-heroic capacity, occasionally working with the Birds of Prey, but it's a nervous time those allies.
She has her own page, here
- Action Mom
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Girl: She's constantly training and retraining herself to eternally improve her martial arts abilities. She also challenges any combatants whom she deems worthy, testing herself against them, testing them against her, and learning from them/removing them as threats for the future. The later part usually doesn't occur right away.
- Asian Baby Mama: To David Cain. She rather hates him for it.
- Blood Knight
- Charles Atlas Superpower
- Dark Action Girl
- Death Seeker: Implied in Birds of Prey.
- Dragon Lady
- Deliver Us from Evil: Type 2. In Batgirl, its shown to be her Start of Darkness.
- The Dreaded: Just mentioning that she's in town is usually enough to scare the shit out of any skilled martial artist.
- Duel to the Death: She LOVES these, but that doesn't stop her from being forced into an Involuntary Battle to the Death every now and then. Usually, people use her to get others into them. She'd rather choose her own targets.
- Forbidden Technique: The Leopard Blow.
- Finishing Move: The Leopard Blow. What it is varies from time to time, but one of the most gruesome versions involves ramming two fingers into a weapon point in the forehead, killing the target in one hit. Another version is smashing the nose and forcing the small bones of the nose into the brain. When later writers realized that was a physical impossibility, it was changed to the former version.
- Honor Among Thieves: She rarely tolerates anyone breaking it.
- It's Personal: Do not harm her sensei or her students. The latter is her job.
- Lady of War
- Lightning Bruiser
- Morality Pet: Black Canary deliberately tries to be one for her in Birds of Prey. Shiva allows it because she wants to break Dinah of that habit.
- Mugging the Monster: Done to her by Bikers. Ended about as well as one could expect.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: It's so good, other characters go to her to enact this trope.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: In-universe, no less.
- Noble Demon: Many times she shares foes with the heroes of any story she appears in. Why? Because she'd probably kill the hero too quickly in a straight contest.
- Odd Friendship: Black Canary and Lady Shiva. "Friends" may be pushing it a little far, but they are amicable acquaintances with a shared history and civil interactions. They have, on occasion, gone for drinks together, trained together and worked together. However, they also remain potentially mortal enemies from diametrically opposite sides of the good/evil divide.
- One Woman Army: To the point where people started worshiping her as an avatar of Shiva the destroyer. She couldn't care less.
- Pregnant Badass: Pregnancy barely slowed her down, beating up another world class assassin, David Cain. Ironically, it was his kid she was pregnant with. Probably what helped make her daughter so badass.
- Professional Killer
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming
- Retcon: During the A Death In The Family saga, Shiva, while shot up with truth serum, declared that she never bore any children. Years later, she is revealed to be the mother of Cassandra Cain.
- Rogues-Gallery Transplant: She started as an enemy/ally of Richard Dragon, before moving to the Question, Batman and eventually her own daughter, Cassandra Cain. As one of the DCU's best martial artists, she often appears in other titles in a similar capacity.
- The Obi-Wan: To Bruce during his recovery in Knightfall.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: When working with heroes, they insist she not kill anyone. This often annoys her, but she complies.
- Training from Hell: She puts herself through this and others come to her to get it. Its implied that the name Lady Shiva is a title and that others are going through the same training to become the next one.
- Playing into the more positive aspects of her name, Shiva has also trained an awful lot of heroes,including Tim Drake and Bruce Wayne, and her code of honor has led her to even spare them if she feels they can be a better fight later. She even resuscitated Cass Cain after beating her to death in order to gain a proper rematch!
- Worf Effect: it does happen on occasion, but she often regains herself shortly afterwards. The only person who she did not overcome in the end so far was Prometheus.
Tweedledum & Tweedledee
Tweedledum & Tweedledee (Deever, Dumfree and Dumson Tweed)]]
Despite being cousins, Deever and Dumfree were so alike in both appearance and mannerisms that they could easily be mistaken for identical twins. Drawing inspiration from their shared love of Alice in Wonderland
, the duo went on to commit multiple crimes in Gotham, dressed as the similarly-named twin brothers from Through The Looking Glass
. After the apparent death of Dumfree, his twin brother Dumson has since stepped in to take his place. Although they run their own separate criminal organization, they can often be seen in the employ of the Mad Hatter (see above).
The Ventriloquist I
The Ventriloquist I (Arnold Wesker)
Arnold was born into a powerful mafia family. However, as a kid, he witnessed his mother killed by the hands of an assassin sent by a rival gang. This sparked a Dissonant Personality Disorder within his mind. The only outlet he found to vent this trauma was through ventriloquisim. Eventually, he turned to a life of crime, following in his family footsteps. Or rather his cohort did and he pulled the strings.
Scarface is his main venting outlet for his disorder, a wooden puppet named and slightly modeled after Al Capone. He communicates his plans through this puppet, and even uses it during his various heists to the point of obsession.
- Beware the Silly Ones
- Cigar Chomper: Scarface
- Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster
- Demonic Dummy
- Diabolical Mastermind: Due to his obvious physical limitations (and his rather eccentric nature), Scarface tends to prefer operating in the shadows.
- Extreme Doormat: Wesker to Scarface.
- Gollum Made Me Do It: Some interpretations of him portray him as a perfectly innocent man being bossed around by a loud mouthed blockhead.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Scarface.
- Laughably Evil
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Depending on the Writer, Scarface is either simply a symptom of Wesker's disorder, or something more sinister and potentially supernatural.
- And on some occasions its implied to be neither and Wesker is just a Manipulative Bastard who wants everyone to think he's crazy or that the doll is possessed, and thus akin to some versions of The Joker. Given that this would mean he is willing to machine gun his own hands as part of his "act", this would probably make him even crazier.
- Mister Big
- Multiple Choice Past: Some stories use the mafia family origin above; other stories have Wesker losing control of his anger in a bar and being sent to Blackgate prison, where he acquires the "Scarface" dummy after it had been carved from a piece of gallows wood by his cell-mate.
- Name Face Name: Scarface
- Opaque Lenses
- Real After All: After Arnold's death, the dummy moves by itself for a few panels before burning up.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Wesker and Scarface are almost always accompanied by the same two thugs, Rhino and Mugsy.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the New 52, Arnold never died and becomes a mutated monster who shoves his hands into his victim's backs and makes them "talk" like a doll. That said, other writers have disregarded his return in favor of Shauna Belzer.
- Verbal Tic: Due to Wesker being unable to pronounce the letter "b" when doing his ventriloquist act, words with "b's" in them always come out with a "g" sound when Scarface says them; for instance, "Gatman" instead of "Batman."
The Ventriloquist II
The Ventriloquist II (Peyton Riley)
After Wesker's death at the hands of Tally Man
, Scarface is taken up by Peyton Riley, the daughter of an Irish gangster, who had worked with Scarface before and grown to like both him and Wesker. Like Wesker, she believes Scarface to be talking to her, although unlike Wesker, she acknowledges this could be a hallucination. She also isn't as meek as Wesker; she has plans of her own, and is working "with" Scarface, rather than for him.
The Ventriloquist III
The Ventriloquist III (Shauna Belzer)
A new ventriloquist who is seemingly able to control her dummy, Ferdie, without being in physical contact with him. She is introduced auditioning in a talent show, but was harshly rejected and responded violently. After her first defeat by Batgirl, she (or rather Ferdie) became obsessed with her.
- Berserk Button: A judge commented that he could see her lips moving during her act. Her reaction was to crack a huge Slasher Smile and attempt to drill the judge's eyes out.
- Cain and Abel: As a child, she was jealous that she was always in her twin brother's shadow. When her telekinesis manifested, she mentally pushed him on a swing until he flung off and died by falling on his neck.
- Casanova Wannabe: Ferdie hits on Batgirl during their fight and makes a move toward a female hostage. While they're obviously not interested in him, Shauna gets annoyed that he thinks they're more attractive than her.
- Dead Guy Junior: Her puppet is named after her late brother, Ferdie.
- Demonic Dummy: Shauna's wooden puppet, Ferdie. It was "given" to her by a performer named Rainbow Rodney when she was a child. He seems to move on his own and has a very one-sided crush on Batgirl. Don't tell Shauna that.
- Does Not Like Shoes
- Enfant Terrible: Shauna was picked on as child and once her telekinesis manifested, she started to get payback. Violently.
- Creepy Child: She was very calm when she killed. Not so much now.
- Freudian Excuse: From the day she was born, she was overshadowed by her twin brother. Living in his shadow and constant ridicule from her classmates made her snap.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: After she killed her brother, she sang:
Blue, green, red, Ferdie's dead. White, pink, brown, he's rotting in the ground.
- Lean and Mean: She's absolutely anorexic and insane.
- Glass Cannon: Despite her bizarrely strong puppet and telekinesis, Shauna goes down with a swift punch to the face when Batgirl finally gets the chance.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: While she explicitly has telekinesis, it's ambiguous as to whether Ferdie has a mind of his own or is just Shauna acting. The fact that she seems able to control actual corpses, however, indicates that it's not just acting.
- Mind over Matter: The Ventiloquist can seemingly control objects with her mind; such as her puppet or a batarang. Her powers manifested as a child.
- Monster Fangirl: Not to any particular person, but to the general idea of murder.
- People Puppets: She can use anything like a puppet, regardless of whether it is an actual puppet, a corpse, or a living person. That, plus her look paints her as an expy of Mary Shaw.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: She has the look down certainly. Her creator, Gail Simone, states she wasn't even aware of the similarities between Shauna and Ju On.
- Stronger Than They Look: While fighting Ferdie, Batgirl comments how strong he is, despite being a small, wooden puppet. She struggles to keep him from drilling out her eyes.
- This Is a Drill: Ferdie has pair of drills hidden in his hands. His favorite attack is to go for the eyes.
- Villainous Crush: Ferdie has a crush on Batgirl and has written letters for her. While he sweet talks Shauna, he really isn't attracted to her. In his own words, "Once you go Bat, you know where it's at".
- Voice Changeling: She can mimic anyone's voice.
- Vulgar Humor: Shauna (or maybe Ferdie himself) really likes making crass jokes when performing.
Black Mask I
Black Mask I (Roman Sionis)
Roman Sionis was about the same age as Bruce Wayne, and likewise had wealthy parents. However, Roman's parents were extremely neglectful and uncaring towards their son; he grew to resent them and the "Masks" they wore (of good, friendly people), when in private they were miserable. Sionis eventually killed his parents, but ran their business into the ground; at which point it was bought out by Bruce Wayne. Sionis snapped, breaking into his parents' crypt and carving a mask out of his mother's coffin. An attempt to get revenge on Wayne by lashing out at his employees failed due to the intervention of Batman, and ended up causing Sionis's Black Mask to be burned onto his face, making it unremovable.
Sionis was a capable gangster (often leading a mask-themed gang called the False-Facers), managing to regain his hold over organized crime after long stays in jail. Sionis grew even more insane and obsessed with torture as time went on. In a notable Catwoman
arc, Sionis discovered Selina Kyle's secret identity, and in vengeance for Catwoman attacking his drug rings, tortured Kyle's brother-in-law to death, and forced her sister to eat pieces of his corpse
, driving her insane. Sionis was thought dead when after an extended fight, he fell out of his penthouse.
Later, in the War Games
story arc, Black Mask managed to successfully play the opposing forces of a Gotham Gang war against each other. He managed to kill Orpheus, one of Batman's inside men, and assume his identity, and tortured Stephanie Brown, alias the Spoiler, leading to her apparent demise. Sionis became the de facto leader of all of Gotham's organized crime following this. He was later killed when he once again sought to ruin Catwoman's life mistakenly believing she would abide by the No-Kill rule, she responded by shooting him
. After Batman's "death
", a new Black Mask has surfaced, who turns out to be an Ax-Crazy Dr. Jeremiah Arkham
, but he was revealed to be Brainwashed and Crazy
after his defeat, and following the reboot is probably no longer in action (especially considering that the reboot also retconned
Sionis' death and he has recently reclaimed his old identity).
- Arch-Enemy: In some extent for Catwoman prior to the New 52.
- Ascended Extra: He was active since the 1980's, but though always a competent and dangerous threat Black Mask remained a fairly obscure villain until he was re-imagined as an Ax-Crazy Obnoxious Snarker with a Skull for a Head who succesfully and violently took over the Gotham criminal underworld and generally Took a Level in Badass (this also coincided with his becoming Catwoman's Arch-Enemy in her solo title). Since then he was appeared in several adaptations and has had a major impact on Gotham in general and the Bat-family in particular.
- Back from the Dead: Sionis, by way of a Black Lantern ring in the Blackest Night crossover, and by way of a Retcon in the DCnU.
- Bad Boss: Watching him in Batman: Under the Red Hood, The Batman, or Batman: Arkham Origins where he regularly beats or kills his own henchmen for little to no reason, can make one wonder who would still want to work for him.
- In Arkham Origins this is eventually subverted, as it turns out that the Joker (possibly the epitome of this trope) was impersonating Black Mask since before the game's story began, and Sionis apparently treated his henchmen well enough that many of them ended up being killed when they refused to follow Joker.
- Card-Carrying Villain
- The Chessmaster: In War Games, especially.
- Childhood Brain Damage: Dropped on his head while being delivered, no less.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: In one arc he cut up a woman's fiance and fed bits of him to her. It was given all the weight it deserved.
- Color Character
- Combat Sadomasochist
- Criminal Doppelgänger: In War Crimes, following his takeover of the Gotham City underworld, he attempts to get rid of Batman by disguising himself as the Caped Crusader and going out killing people in order to frame him for murder. It's foiled by The Joker, who is annoyed that Sionis (seemingly) killed Stephanie Brown, because she used to be a Robin and Joker thought that meant he should have been the one to kill her.
- Cult: The "True-Facers" in Batman: No Man's Land, of which he was the leader, was this.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: With his incredible skills at planning and organization, he probably could have been a great businessman, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Black Mask subverted this trope when he started out as a legitimate businessman, failed spectacularly, and turned to crime instead. He showed considerably more elan as a crime lord than he ever did as a business executive.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially during his tenure as crime lord after War Games, where most of his commentary crossed the line twice. And were hilarious.
Mask: I'm not pleased, you know. Not pleased at all. And despite appearances, this isn't a damned smile on my face.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Uses the identity of Orpheus, an ally of Batman, during War Games.
- Depending on the Writer: Just how crazy he really is. Some storylines have him as a gibbering lunatic, others as just an eccentric (and particularly sadistic) mastermind. The latter is much more common, though.
- Diabolical Mastermind: One of the few crime lords who nearly dominated the Gotham underworld, at least for a brief time. So successful was he that he became a Legacy Character when a new Black Mask used his reputation to nearly do the same.
- Disproportionate Retribution: The stuff he did to Catwoman's sister just to get to Catwoman doesn't bare repeating.
- Does Not Like Women: He's noticeably and considerably nastier to his female victims than his male ones, not that he treats them particularly well. It might not be that he dislikes women per say, just he enjoys hurting female victims more.
- Expressive Mask: Some artists seem to forget that Black Mask is, in fact, wearing a black mask.
- Freudian Excuse: Three of them: he was dropped on his head by the doctor seconds after being born (which may or may not have caused brain damage that permanently altered his personality), and was later bitten by a rabid raccoon. To top it off, he had extremely neglectful parents, who pretended to be happy to the outside world but were actually privately unloving and miserable.
- Genius Bruiser: He's a giant of a man who is both smart enough to near-completely dominate Gotham's underworld and a skilled enough combatant to fight Batman and Catwoman evenly.
- Genre Savvy: Occasionally bordering on Dangerously Genre Savvy. When Red Hood hijacks one of Black Mask's secret shipments of Kryptonite and holds it for ransom, Mask's lieutenant blurts that Hood must be crazy. Mask replies, "No. The crazy ones would make a suit out of the rock and march into Metropolis and play 'king of the mountain'. This one knows what he's doing."
- In War Games, he manages to do most of the work setting up his empire before anybody realized he was still alive.
- Guns Akimbo: Dual handguns are a trademark of his.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Really, really loves torturing women. That's not to say that he doesn't also do it to men (because he does), but when he does it to women, he does it with a special zeal and plenty of comments evocative of this sentiment.
- It's Personal: Going after Catwoman's sister was not his smartest move, though by this point It's Personal for the two of them.
- Large and in Charge: At 6'0, he's not the largest of Batman's foes, but he's still a big man with a fairly bulky build.
- Large Ham: Sometimes, like in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
- Laughably Evil: During his reign as Kingpin of Gotham, Mask got some great lines.
Black Mask: Li, will you please shut the hell up!? I swear to God it's like running a criminal organization with my mother.
- Legacy Character: A new Black Mask has been introduced, although since the recent Continuity Reboot, Sionis has reclaimed the title.
- Let's Get Dangerous: He's most well known for being a master manipulator, but he was a skilled enough combatant to hold his own against an enraged Catwoman, which is no mean feat.
- Made of Iron: Part of what makes him an effective hand-to-hand combatant. He's definitely not as skilled as Batman or Catwoman, but he's a big man who can hit hard and take a lot of punishment.
- Manipulative Bastard: In War Games especially, wen- posing as Orpheus-, he was supposed to give a speech to the assembled gangs of Gotham calling for restraint to avert a gang war; instead, he gave one that started the war, and a riot to boot.
- Mask Power: Sionis believed in this, even if it didn't help him.
Black Mask: Knows that the mask destroy one identity while creating another. 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.
- Multilayer Façade: During War Games, he assumed Orpheus's identity by applying make up over his own black mask. On top of that, he also had to wear Orpheus's helmet. He did the same thing while impersonating Batman in War Crimes.
- Mutilation Interrogation
- No Indoor Voice: Sionis often throws unnecessary tantrums with little provocation, particularly when written by Judd Winick.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: A horrific sadist and brutal misogynist. But damn if he isn't funny.
- Religion of Evil: In No Man's Land, he turned the False Facers into a cult where everybody (himself included) horribly scarred their faces and shaved their heads so that they all looked alike, and turned them loose to go on a murderous rampage throughout the already devasted city. The second Black Mask referred to his organization as a "Ministry of Science", combining this with his Mad Scientist routine.
- Revenge by Proxy
- Self-Made Orphan: He killed his parents in a fire to inherit their business and fortune. Unfortunately, he was a lousy businessman and when he tried to burn down the factory to cover his tracks, he wound up with the facial injury that gave him his villain name. He was a lot better at being Ax-Crazy than a businessman anyways.
- Shadow Archetype: Similar to Hush (and preceding him), Black Mask is a Bruce Wayne who suffered from poor parenting and ran his own company into the ground. He's a millionare who became an extremely violent masked crime lord rather than a moderately violent masked vigilante, and he relys more on his natural hidden talents as a criminal than on years of hard work and study.
- Skull for a Head: Since he Took a Level in Badass, his mask has become skull-like, whereas before it looked slightly more human if all-black.
- The Sociopath
- Straw Nihilist: His ramblings in Batman: No Man's Land had some shades of this.
- Took a Level in Badass: Mask has been around since the 80's, but it's only been in the aftermath of his recent appearances, where he's become a psycho to rival the Joker, that he's been elevated to a top-tier Bat villain, shown up in the cartoons, and is a fan favorite to appear in movie adaptations.
- Torture Technician
Mask: Before we begin, I'd like to address the topic of screaming...by saying this: go right ahead.
- Would Hurt a Child: Thinks nothing of sadistically torturing a teenage girl.
Maximilian "Maxie" Zeus
This deranged gang leader of Greek ancestry believed himself to be the incarnation of the Greek god
Zeus. He used to be a mild-mannered history teacher, but lost his wife and his sanity in an undisclosed incident. Amidst all the chaos caused by the other insane Bat-villains, he rose to power as one of the most cunning and intelligent crimelords in Gotham city. He was not only a foe of Batman alone but also a prominent enemy of Batman's Super Team The Outsiders
- A God Am I: In this case, he believes himself to be a specific god, the Greek god Zeus. In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, he also develops messianic delusions.
- Beard of Evil
- Better to Die than Be Killed: He allowed himself to be incarcerated in Blackgate Prison for the rest of his life in order to escape The Joker's wrath, since he was angry at Maxie for selling modified Joker Venom as a drug.
- Big Bad: Was one for Batman and the Outsiders.
- The Chessmaster: With his intelligence, he was able to build his gang among the chaos caused by Gotham's supervillains.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He started to become forgotten by DC's writers after Infinite Crisis and One Year Later, only coming back in Kevin Smith's Cacophony, where he got Put on a Bus at the end of that story.
- Driven to Madness: He lost his sanity in an undisclosed incident where his wife died.
- In Cacophony, he gains sanity after taking medication, but when The Joker kills his nephew, Aesop, he is shocked back into insanity.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His nephew Aesop, whose death by The Joker shocks him back into insanity.
- Gollum Made Me Do It: In the Cacophony storyline, where he has taken meds for his insanity, he refers to "Maxie" as his deranged, insane self and "Maximilian" as his saner self.
- Napoleon Delusion
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Arkham Asylum's guards initially didn't put him in the maximum-security wing where the other Bat-rogues are because they didn't think he was as dangerous, despite Batman repeatedly telling them to do so. They were proven wrong when his team of metahumans called the "New Olympians" easily broke him out.
- Psycho Electro: In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, he becomes addicted to the asylum's electroshock treatment, which makes him even more insane.
- The Psycho Rangers: He "New Olympians" team was one for Batman and the Outsiders.
- Unexplained Recovery: He was thought to be dead after he got involved in Ares' plot to turn Gotham into his capital over the world, but was eventually revealed to be alive and well for no revealed reason.
- Villain with Good Publicity: For almost all of one storyline, where he tried to pass himself off as a legitimate shipping magnate after gaining sanity from medications. It didn't last becuase it was revealed to the public that he was selling a diluted version of Joker Venom as a party drug.
The Great White Shark
An oft-seen but relatively minor bat-villain, Zsasz was once a wealthy businessman who lost fortune and family alike. The loss of his business was too much for him, and he was attempting suicide when a homeless man tried to assault him with a knife. At that point, he embraced a profoundly nihilistic
worldview: all of life is meaningless, and the greatest gift he can offer is to "liberate" them - by slaying them and leaving them in lifelike poses. He celebrates his killings by self-scarification, cutting a tally into his flesh for every life he takes.
Has no relation to Charles Victor "Vic Sage" Szasz
- Ascended Extra: Despite being a lesser-used villain overall, he was used in a substantial way in both Arkham games, which has raised mainstream awareness of the character substantially.
- Axe Crazy: Or rather, knife crazy.
- Bald of Evil or Blond Guys Are Evil: See Depending on the Artist
- Berserk Button: He made a tally mark for Batman, only to learn that the Dark Knight wasn't dead; this caused him to wig out for a while.
- Depending on the Artist: Sometimes he's lean and muscular and has a buzz cut hair style, and other times he's scrawny and looks like a balding, emaciated, meth addict.
- Depending on the Writer: Zsasz is variably depicted as either a truly dangerous and cunning foe, or just one step up from your average rank-and-file goon. It's also sometimes unclear as to whether he is a true Nietzsche Wannabe, or if he simply kills For the Evulz.
- Despair Event Horizon: As noted, he was Driven to Suicide only to be interrupted by a man trying to mug him for the money he squandered.
- Exotic Eye Designs: In his first appearance, Zsasz's eyes were often kept in shadow. They later ran with this, giving his odd, black eyes that point out with little white dots for pupils, like so◊. These aren't acknowledged in stories, so it seems to just be a stylistic choice. Whether his eyes look like this depends on the artist, and many just draw him with normal eyes.
- Feel No Pain: Zsasz has cut himself so many times that his pain reactions are in fact dulled.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Soooooo many evil scars - one for every victim.
- Knife Nut: His signature weapon is a carving knife.
- Serial Killer: One of the premier non-powered examples in Gotham.
- Straw Nihilist: His whole raison d'etre for his murderous rampage? He believes that, by killing people, he is liberating them from the worthlessness of life.
- Streets of Gotham implied that he sees everyone around him as already dead and he's just "freeing them" from that state. When Damian starts fighting on Zsasz's level, suddenly Zsasz doesn't see his opponent as just a corpse any more and freaks out because he hallucinates seeing his own dead body reflected in Damian's eyes.
- Would Hurt a Child: Not only has he killed numerous children, he even constructed an arena for the purposes of doing so when told to "fulfill his dreams", and invited crime bosses to bet on the outcome.
Clayface I (Basil Karlo)
Basil Karlo was an actor who, when he heard his classic horror film "The Terror" was being remade, went mad. He donned the mask of the film's villain, "Clayface," and went on a killing spree, murdering the members of the cast and crew. However, he was stopped by Batman, reappearing a few times before remaining unused. However, during his absence, several other criminals with the name Clayface appeared. They were all made of clay, could change shape
, and one even had a poisonous touch.
One of these new Clayfaces visited Karlo in prison out of curiosity, and they formed a plan where all living Clayfaces would team up against Batman. The group, called "The Mud Pack," was beaten, but Karlo obtained the powers of all the other Clayfaces, becoming a much bigger threat.
- Elemental Shapeshifter: Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He decides to murder people because they're remaking his film without him in the starring role, even though he was brought on as a consultant.
- Flanderization: Karlo was previously characterized as an ego-maniacal actor, but then writers and artists began depicting him more like the Clayface from the animated series, who was more-or-less an amalgamation of the first four Clayfaces, but more predominately Matt Hagen, the second. The difficulty in this is that, the comic version of Hagen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and has remained dead. Unless it's outright stated in the story featuring him, readers have a hard time telling if Clayface is Karlo or Hagen.
- Large Ham: Comes with the acting background. After receiving the abilities of Preston Payne and Shondra Fuller, Karlo regarded himself as "THE ULTIMATE CLAYFACE!"
- Legacy Character: There have so far been eight Clayfaces.
- Name Face Name: Perhaps the only thing that is consistant with all versions.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Obvious stand-in for Boris Karloff.
- Poisonous Person: Inherits this power from Preston Payne, a poisonous touch that would melt people's skin.
- Shapeshifter Weapon: Can morph his hands into maces, hammers, or other weapons.
- Tragic Villain: Some adaptations and the other versions of Clayface are shown to be this.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Poison Ivy, recently.
- Voluntary Shape Shifting: After becoming a true Clayface.
Killer Croc/Waylon Jones
Born with a rare skin disease that left him with scaly, crocodile-like skin, Waylon Jones was unaccepted by the outside world. His parents couldn't stand him, and they abandoned him in the wilderness, forcing him to become a career criminal to survive. At one point, he used his razor sharp teeth to become a cannibal and eat people. He has clashed with Batman several times over the years, each time becoming more bestial and reptilian due to a mutation of his already strange disease. He possesses superhuman strength and is much larger than the average man.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Often finds himself in one of these.
- Abusive Parents: Abusive aunt anyways.
- Beast Man: Effectively.
- The Berserker: His fighting style more or less revolves around completely overwhelming the opponent with his sheer speed, strength, and resistance to harm.
- Bizarre Human Biology
- The Brute: In most appearances following the story in which he was introduced. In his first appearance, though, Croc was actually a Genius Bruiser who manipulated Batman's entire Rogues Gallery—sort of Bane 0.5.
- Depending on the Artist: Sometimes, Croc has a crocodile-like snout and a tail, sometimes not.
- Depending on the Writer: On top of the above, he seems to be one of those villains writers can never really pin down. It's hard to believe that he was an accomplished marksman and the precursor of Bane.
- Driven by Envy: Of the normal people.
- Dumb Muscle: After Flanderization set in. Justified in that his condition is fully atavistic - everything, including his mind, just keeps regressing further and further as time goes on, which explains how he went from a Genius Bruiser who was Bane-lite to a feral, animalistic savage.
- Fangs Are Evil
- Flanderization: He was originally a somewhat intelligent gangster with a medical condition (a very severe medical condition), whose misanthropy was the result of being tormented by everyone (family included) for his freakish appearance. This was eventually downplayed, with Croc becoming more bestial and less intelligent as time went on (this was typically explained that his condition was worsening, further separating him from humanity). By the time of Hush, Croc could probably pass for a bulkier Alternate Company Equivalent of the Lizard (explained away by Hush infecting him with a virus that further increased his mutation).
- Freak Out: In Batman #471 he supposedly died when the sewer he was in flooded and collapsed. In #489 it was revealed that he was nearly drowned, was forced to live on rats, constantly suffered from fevers and was haunted by nightmares. He emerged from the sewers after six months with a radically different personality, diminished mental capacity and permanent hallucinations.
- Freudian Excuse: Between abusive classmates and his godawful aunt, his stint in reform school, and his treatment in the freakshow he was part of, Croc's got a lot of reasons to hate the world.
- Hand Wave: Originally he was a man with a very, very bad skin condition. His appearance has gotten more monstrous over time, which has been explained as his condition worsening.
- Handwraps of Awesome: He sometimes wears these (e.g., in Batman Hush and the concept art for Batman: Arkham Asylum).
- Healing Factor: Can restore missing teeth and limbs.
- I'm a Humanitarian
- Immune to Bullets: Croc's skin is thick enough to ward off even high calibre bullets.
- Implacable Man: It's not that he can't be stopped, just that it's extremely difficult to do so.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Croc's search for a cure has been a fairly consistent part of his characterisation.
- Lightning Bruiser: Superhumanly fast to the point of surprising Batman more than once.
- Lizard Folk
- The Mentally Ill: Croc is atavistic, and when intelligent, has the mindset one would expect of an alligator or similar reptile. As a result his moral agency is seriously questionable, and he's one of the few Batman rogues who legitimately belongs in Arkham.
- Morality Pet: In a rather bizarre decision made regarding the post-Flashpoint Croc, he's revealed to be Roy Harper's sponsor in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
- Mutant: Possesses an atavistic mindset, coupled with a skin condition not unlike epidermolytic hyperkeratosis, and a metagene. The end result is the crocodillian monster we all know and love.
- Omnicidal Maniac
- Parental Abandonment: Mom and dad left him with an alcoholic aunt, who could not have cared less about him.
- Red Right Hand: Croc's bestial outer appearance is indicative of his animalistic inner nature.
- The Resenter: Resents and hates "normal people" and lashes out at them constantly.
- Scary Black Man: Is technically black, and yeah, he's not someone you want to run into. Ever.
- Self-Made Orphan: Killed his abusive aunt.
- Super Senses: Possesses a highly advanced sense of smell.
- Super Strength: His strength crosses the line into superhuman, making him very difficult to stop.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the New 52 he's the only member of Batwoman's rogues to not be an original, and magic is used to upgrade him into a more ferocious and powerful multi-eyed form. Later, he's upgraded into a massive multi-headed hydra and rampages through Gotham.
- Tragic Villain: He does seem to want to be normal very, very badly. Well, Depending on the Writer, but this is a pretty frequently recurring quirk of his.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
Solomon Grundy/Cyrus Gold
Solomon Grundy is a zombie who was once a businessman, Cyrus Gold, who was murdered in Slaughter Swamp, a swamp just outside Gotham City. Supernatural forces then gathered into his dead body, causing him to resurrect as a zombie one Monday. He took the name Solomon Grundy when he heard people reciting the nursery rhyme "Solomon Grundy".
One thing unique about Grundy is that his appearance and personality constantly change. This is because whenever Grundy is killed, his body resurrects in Slaughter Swamp the next Monday. Each time he resurrects, he becomes almost a different character entirely. He has been the range of a stereotypical Hulk Speaking
zombie, an animalistic berserker, and even an intelligent Magnificent Bastard
. On at least one occasion
, he has even resurrected as a good guy. Suffice to say, it is tough to stop him without killing him, so he gets killed rather frequently.
He debuted as a prominent recurring enemy of the Golden Age Green Lantern
, Alan Scott, who also operated in Gotham. Grundy would go on to tangle with countless heroes of The DCU
, but, due to Slaughter Swamp's proximity to Gotham, eventually settled on becoming a part of Batman's Rogues Gallery
, even becoming a boss in Batman: Arkham City
For more information, see this page.
Doctor Simon Hurt
Doctor Simon Hurt/Thomas Wayne Jr.
a hardy specimen, with an above-average mind--but even a Batman
can succumb to stress and shock!"
— Batman #156, 1963
A psychiatrist that observed Batman during an isolation experiment, Simon Hurt is the leader of a mysterious organization called The Black Glove. He wants to completely and utterly break Batman, physically and mentally.
- Adaptation Distillation: His backstory had him being found by Thomas and Martha Wayne and then taken to a mental hospital to get help. In a Pre-Crisis story, Bruce discovered he had a younger brother, Thomas Jr., who suffered head injuries and was sent to live in Willowood Asylum. Thomas Jr. escaped at some point and became an assassin named the Boomerang Killer who fought Batman and Deadman together before pulling an impulsive Heroic Sacrifice to save Bruce.
- And I Must Scream: Last seen being Buried Alive by the Joker somewhere on the grounds of Wayne Manor, because there's only one person who the Joker wants messing with Batman's head.
- Ascended Extra: Grant Morrison ascended him out of an unnamed psychiatrist in the Silver Age story "Robin Dies at Dawn"
- Asshole Victim: It's incredibly hard not to fist pump as the Joker buries him.
- Big Bad: Of The Black Glove Story Arc in Grant Morrison's Batman run.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He speaks very proudly about how he wants to break the hero that is Batman.
- Crazy-Prepared: He planted the trigger Zurr-En-Arrh in order to Mind Rape Batman.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Part of his grand revenge scheme against not only Batman but Thomas and Martha Wayne is because they actually tried to help him by bringing him to the Willowood mental hospital under the guise of their other son.
- For the Evulz: Loves to make people's lives (And Batman's life, in particular) miserable and broken and hosts it as a gambling game just because he can.
- Identical Grandson: Bears a notable resemblance to Bruce Wayne's father Dr. Thomas Wayne. See below for why.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: At one point attempted to convince Bruce that he was actually his father Dr. Thomas Wayne, who had faked his own death and murdered his wife. He's actually a distant paternal ancestor of Bruce, also named Thomas Wayne, corrupted and turned immortal by Darkseid's Hyper Adapter.
- Mind Rape: What he does to the replacement Batmen and Bruce himself.
- Psycho Psychologist
- Smug Snake: Fully believed the law could never stop him due to all the Black Glove's money. He didn't count on The Joker putting a stop to him.
James Gordon, Jr.
James Gordon, Jr.
The long absent son of Commissioner James Gordon and his first wife, Barbara Gordon, James, Jr. finally made a reappearance in the 2011 arc, "Skeleton Cases". Having shown symptoms of psychopathy in his youth, James seemed to be ready to be a functioning member of society. However, it was instead revealed that he was a serial killer, having murdered several people who bullied him in his youth, and viewed empathy as a weakness. His brutality and sadism are only matched by his cunning, and proves himself to be a dangerous foe to the reluctant new Batman, Dick Grayson.
- Antagonistic Offspring: To his father, James Gordon Sr..
- Arch-Enemy: To Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. He couldn't care less about Bruce Wayne.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to his sister, Barbara's, Abel.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Back and forth, and then explained, James first appeared in Batman: Year One but was not mentioned for many years after that comic, both in and out of universe. The story arc Skeleton Cases gives very good reasons as to why he was not talked about in-universe. The Gordon family and others try not to talk about James due to his sociopathic behaviour being both disturbing and hurtful as well as being a shame on the Gordons.
- Creepy Souvenir: He had a large collection of house keys. Each one was taken off of a victim during his years as a serial killer.
- Enfante Terrible: Showed signs of psychopathy at a young age, and manage to deeply unnerve a serial child murderer to the point where he scared him away at that age.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor:
James, Jr.: (Indicating a stain on his shirt.) This? It's blood, dad. I killed a waitress while you were talking to Barbara. Her head is stuffed in the toilet of the men's room. (Pause.) It's just ketchup, see? I'm sorry.
- Evil Redhead: As a member of the Gordon family.
- Eye Scream: He had a knife shoved into the outer edge his eye one time, though it seemed to have missed the eyeball and go into the socket, or he just didn't care.
- Faux Affably Evil: He can put up a pretty good front. Sadly, that's all it is.
- Freudian Excuse:He doesn't like that Barbara got more attention when they were kids, despite his troubling behaviour. It doesn't explain all his evil actions, but it does explain why he enjoys screwing with Barbara.
- Excuse is really the word of it. Barbara tells him that he looks to be picked on so that he can satiate and justify his bloodlust.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: So much, it hurts.
- Lack of Empathy: States that he views empathy as a weakness.
- Psychotic Smirk: His default expression.
- Serial Killer: During his many years away from Gotham, he seems to have taken up this as a hobby.
- Softspoken Sadist: Unlike many other of the batman villains, he never hams it up. He always speaks in an even tone.
- The Sociopath: Averted, if only because he's a full blown psychopath.
- The Stoic: Combined with Psychotic Smirk, this is how he usually acts.
- Not So Stoic: Despite hating emotions and empathy, he has his few moments of them.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else: When you think about how many other Batman villains have either disfigurements, eye-catching costumes, or some manner of Obviously Evil design, Junior looking like a regular person is pretty startlingly creepy all on its own.
- Worthy Opponent: Views his sister as this because she's the only person who has managed to dissect his motives and rationale and understand who he truly is.
The Dealer/Etienne Guiborg
An elderly man who runs an underground auction house called Mirror House which sells off many items, gadgets and whatnot obtained from Gotham's worst criminals. By himself, he isn't much of a threat given his age, but he is a rather sinister dealer.
Professor Pyg/Lazlo Valentin
- Pig Man: It's just a mask, but he fits the bill.
- Mad Doctor: He is an accomplished scientist and chemist who uses his skills to disfigure his victims. He also has the habit of using power tools to aid in his ghastly surgeries.
- Malevolent Masked Man: He wears a horrifying pig mask.
- Mind Rape: His specialty.
- Number of the Beast: The issue wherein he first appeared was Batman #666.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The Dollotrons, Professor Pyg's mutilated victims, are zombie-like mind-controlled creatures that are obedient to the Professor. They wear doll-like dresses and have doll-like masks that cannot be removed surgically. Their creation is implied to involve brain surgery, genital mutilation, and mind-altering drugs.
- Pygmalion: The basis of Professor Pyg's crimes and theme is based on a perversion of the Pygmalion play. He mutilates his victims both physically and mentally into Dollotrons based on his warped sense of belief of what a perfect human being should look like.
- Word Salad Horror: Most of his dialog is utter nonsense.
The Court of Owls
The Court of Owls
The Court of Owls is secret organization centuries old with immense power and influence embedded into the very architecture and history of Gotham City. When Batman, and subsequently Bruce Wayne, began to make an impression on the city (through crime fighting and Bruces many charitable foundations/renovation of the Narrows), they felt threatened and declared war on Batman and his allies.
Owlman I & II
Batman's evil counterpart from another universe. There have been two main versions.
Pre-Crisis Owlman hailed from the partially reversed world of Earth-3. Born with low-level superintelligence, he experimented with his brain to increase these powers, eventually developing the power to control the minds of others. He was a founding member of the Crime Syndicate of America, and served as their idea man and evil genius. He eventually died alongside his teammates, trying to protect their world from the Antimonitor.
Post-Crisis Owlman is the Thomas Wayne Jr. of the Antimatter Universe. Driven mad by the deaths of his mother and father, and his brother Bruce, he decided to conquer the Gotham underworld as the villainous Owlman, alongside Boss Jim Gordan. He later joined the Crime Syndicate of Amerika and maintains a longstanding affair with teammate Superwoman, much to the disgust of her husband, Ultraman.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Post-Crisis Owlman to his father, Thomas Wayne Senior, who turns up alive and hoping to put his villainous son behind bars—or under the ground—for good.
- Axe Crazy: Post-Crisis Owlman is a raving lunatic.
- Badass Normal: Physically speaking, anyway.
- Cain and Abel: With the Matter Universe in an odd way Post-Crisis.
- Evil Counterpart: To Batman.
- Evil Genius: To the Crime Syndicate as a whole. This was particularly noticeable Pre-Crisis, when their every major plan was his.
- Eviler than Thou: Pre-Crisis with the Antimonitor, and Post-Crisis with the Antimatter Universe Brainiac.
- Freudian Excuse: Post-Crisis
- Psychic Powers: Pre-Crisis Owlman could use his superbrain to mind control others.
- The Resenter: Towards his father, Post-Crisis. Thomas Jr. blames Thomas Sr. for the deaths of his brother and mother.
- Smug Snake: Not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.
- Super Intelligence: Both versions of Owlman have increased their intelligence to superhuman levels.
- Vigilante Man: Post-Crisis, when he sought to control crime.
- Villainous Friendship: Pre-Crisis, when he and the rest of the Syndicate were portrayed as a close-knit group of criminal friends. Owlman in particular seems horrified when his teammate Johnny Quick perishes against the Antimonitor.