Characters / Batman Rogues Gallery Part 1
aka: Harley Quinn

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    The Joker 

The Joker/Red Hood I

The 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, although he was far more rational and less insane, being essentially a murderous, arrogant jewel thief with a risus sardonicus. He was then 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, but made more scary by also retaining his Silver Age mischievousness and random craziness - such as trying to patent Joker-fish and murdering patent office staff when they wouldn't let him. 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: The former is treated (if in unspoken terms) as a gadfly who has managed to con (or will con) the mob, crimefighters, and even the legal system into thinking he's insane in the clinical sense of the term, when really he just enjoys carnage and mayhem, and was likely a murderous bastard even before donning the clown mask. The modern, mainstream comic book Joker is treated as though he really is crazy and (in abstract terms) someone Batman sees as a psychological torment rather than just a guileful crook; a sort of demon sent by the city itself to foil his mission. In truth, most versions fall somewhere in the middle, largely Depending on the Writer. His Harmless Villain phase from the 60's, for what it's worth, 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, Eric Border, 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. If you want to see them read in his own voice, see here.

     Joe Chill 

Joe Chill (Joseph Chilton)

Joe Chill is the man who shot and killed Thomas and Martha Wayne in front of their son Bruce, traumatizing him and leading to the creation of Batman. Since his debut in Detective Comics #33 Chill's backstory, motivations and appearance have been subject to multiple retcons, which are further changed in adaptations. About the only thing that remains consistent with Chill is that he shot Thomas first as he tried to protect his family, then shot Martha, then ran away.


  • Anti-Villain: When Chill's just a guy who pushed to villainy that the Waynes had the misfortune to run afoul of. This is often used to illustrate to Batman that anyone can be a criminal.
  • The Butler Did It: Almost. Pre-Crisis, Bruce was raised by his Uncle Philip, and Chill was revealed to be the son of Philip's housekeeper.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Accidentally created Gotham City's greatest hero.
  • The Dragon: in most interpretations he's working for someone else (usually mobster Lew Moxon). In a twist, Bruce usually cares more about catching Chill than Chill's boss, because it was the man holding the gun, not his employer, who scarred Bruce for life.
  • He Knows Too Much: Those times Joe does figure out Batman's identity he is killed shortly afterward, usually by other criminals who are not happy to find out he created Batman.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Was Joe Chill a lone wolf mugger or did he work for the mob? Did he have a personal vendetta against the Waynes or was it just business? Was he a greedy opportunist or a down-on-his-luck guy pushed to desperation? His story changes almost every time it is told.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In those instances where he figures out he murdered the prominent Wayne family, or even worse, when he figures out he created Batman.
  • Nice Hat: Joe's flat cap has stuck with him since the beginning, since it was the only visually distinctive thing in his original appearance.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Most versions of him have no real enmity against the Wayne family and are just doing a job (which, pending telling, may be why he didn't have the stomach to kill young Bruce).
  • That One Case: Sometimes Batman never figures out who Joe Chill was, making his never ending quest to clean up Gotham an extension of his quest to find out who murdered his parents.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Sometimes. Either he doesn't bother with Bruce, or plans to kill Bruce but runs when he hears the cops approaching, or he leaves Bruce alone out of sadism, or he wants to maintain Plausible Deniability that the whole event was just a robbery that escalated, and needed a surviving witness to testify along those lines.

     Catwoman (I) 

Catwoman I (Selina Kyle)

     Harley Quinn 

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.

Has had three solo series, the tropes for which can be found here.

Thanks to the character's popularity, she has appeared in various adaptations. In addition to Batman: The Animated Series, she has also been featured in The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and was the Big Bad of the short-lived Birds of Prey TV show. She was also one of the main characters in the Batman: Assault on Arkham film. She's a major character in the Batman: Arkham Series, and is playable in Batman: Arkham Knight. She appears as one of the main characters in the Suicide Squad (2016) movie, played by Australian actress Margot Robbie. She's also one of the students in DC Super Hero Girls; in that continuity, she's undergone Adaptational Heroism and is portrayed as a lovably mischievous prankster.


  • Abnormal Ammo: Those oversized "popguns" she carries can fire anything.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Harley's malevolence in comparison to the Joker is usually pretty low-key, but she takes it up a notch or three in some continuities.
    • In the Arkham videogame series, Harley is a lot more murderous, though that's partially because the Joker ends up dying due to his Titan exposure. It gets to the point she just wants to kill everyone in the city out of sheer spite.
    • In the elseworld depicted in the animated film Justice League: Gods And Monsters, Harley is a full-fledged psychopathic Serial Killer who keeps fridges full of mangled human body parts, makes "toys" out of mangled corpses, and even has a makeshift "family" made of people she's murdered, crudely preserved and stapled their faces into perpetual smiles — including a little brother. Worse, unlike the mainstream Harley, she seems to have no connection to her world's version of the Joker (assuming he exists); she's just a murdering maniac. She's so creepy, it actually comes as a relief when this world's version of Batman, a scientifically created vampire, murders her for a meal at the end of her episode "Twisted".
  • Affably Evil: Harley is insane, no doubt about it, but she's also one of the more social members of Batman's Rogue Gallery, having genuine friendships with several of the other rogues.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Justified. Despite her sympathetic portrayal, she's very far from being innocent and virtuous herself.
  • Anti-Villain / Anti-Hero: She fluctuates between a good-hearted villain and devious but heroic very rapidly. With the New 52 she became a full Anti-Hero in her solo series; she doesn't try to cause trouble, it just happens, and she enforces justice in her own way, like freeing a neglected dog and punishing the owner, and rescuing an old woman who was robbed and giving her some money despite her own day going wrong in every way possible.
  • Ascended Extra: Originally designed so Joker could have a female henchman. Her design proved popular enough with the fans that eventually she made more appearances and more of her personality was fleshed out (she was more of a Deadpan Snarker in the early days chiding at one point to the Joker "You're sick, you know that, boss?") and got bigger roles till a back story was eventually made for her.
    • Breakout Villain: As a Canon Immigrant, she proceeded to become one of the main characters (if not the main character) of several comic series, such as the Harley & Ivy mini-series, her own ongoing and Gotham City Sirens. She became the main villain in the Birds of Prey TV adaptation even though she's not prominent in the original comic, and got major roles in the Batman: Arkham Series videogames. She also became a member of the Suicide Squad and got a second ongoing which became DC's highest-selling title with a female lead!
  • Ascended Fangirl: In the New 52, she's a big Wonder Woman fan, and is overjoyed whenever she gets the chance to team up with her.
  • Ax-Crazy: Not as concentrated on single, gruesome killings as her puddin', but much more enthusiastic towards large-scale property damage.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: One of her origin stories has her going for a job at Arkham Asylum because she doesn't feel challenged enough with regular therapy sessions. She got the job... and then met The Joker.
  • Berserk Button: As of the New 52 she is the Joker's Ex-Girlfriend. Bringing him up at all is a good way to set her off.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She 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.
  • Big Bad: She's the main villain in the live action TV series, Birds of Prey. This version of Harley is much more cunning and intelligent, rather than bubbly and childish like in the comics.
  • Bi the Way: Her relationships with Joker, Deadshot and Poison Ivy (as confirmed by Word of God) and overall flirtatious nature confirms this.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blonde to Ivy's Redhead and Catwoman's Brunette in some cases.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Depending on how her Broken Ace and Sex for Services (grades) tropes are interpreted, she may be this as well.
  • Broken Ace: In her most recent interpretations, she was so gifted both physically and mentally (and 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 Lawyer: 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: Her first appearance was in Batman: The Animated Series, and she proved so popular that she was eventually canonized into the comics proper.
  • Cheap Costume: Her pre-Flashpoint outfit was an off-the-rack jester costume she stole from a costume shop, while her New 52 costume consists of items she pilfered from various women around Gotham.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Even when she does get declared sane, she's still weird.
  • 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: Despite her ditzy personality, Harley is a competent fighter and is unstable enough to be unpredictable. She's even gotten the drop on Batman once or twice. From time to time, the comics will remind the reader that Harley is trained in the art of getting into people's heads and will use this to her advantage.
  • Cute and Psycho: Cute as a button and more than willing to murder.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: When voiced by Arleen Sorkin her voice definitely has a Fran Drescher quality to it. The BTAS origins episode shows that she's capable of speaking in a more normal voice and only switched to the "Harley Screech" after donning the costume.
  • Dark Action Girl: She is a very spectacular gymnast. Her skills rival those of Catwoman and Nightwing.
  • Dark Mistress: Harley is in an abusive relationship with the Joker. It's a connection she can never quite shake off even when Poison Ivy shows her she can be a supervillain without him, and Batman shows her she doesn't have to be a supervillain at all. In fact, it seems that every time Harley isn't Joker's Dark Mistress, she's Ivy's. In the DCAU it's only after Joker dies that she's finally able to get out of it.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Is Harley a psychologist or a psychiatrist? In Batman: The Animated Series she was a psychologist; however, the comics have zigzagged between the two. It's possible the writers don't recognize they're two very different careers and mix them up.
    • It's almost always agreed upon that Harley is smarter than she lets on but just how much and how sensible she can be varies greatly from story to story. She can be a Dumb Blonde, a Genius Ditz, in reality her entire personality can be a facade that she changes depending on the situation, or she could be anything in-between. Similarly, is she clinically insane or does she understand her actions?
    • The details of her life before meeting the Joker - what her family's like, how she got through college, whether she was already psychologically broken, etc.
    • In the New 52 she is a fun Anti-Hero in her solo series while totally Ax-Crazy in Suicide Squad.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Subverted. While she is both depraved and bisexual, one is not implied to have anything to do with the other; indeed, her relationships with the Joker and Ivy are more humanizing and sympathetic than anything else.
  • Domestic Abuse: Perhaps the poster child for this trope in the Superhero universe. If you were going to give the Joker a girlfriend, it really couldn't go any other way.
  • Domino Mask: She wears one as part of her classic outfit. She also wears a hat and full face paint, which gives the impression of a full mask. However this might have something to do with her costume being based on that of Harlequin, a stock character of the Italian Commedia dell'arte. However, once she loses the harlequin theme in the New 52, the mask is replaced with streaked eye makeup.
  • The Dragon: For the Joker.
  • Drop the Hammer: Mallets have been identified as her Weapon of Choice, though the Joker does use them on occasion as well.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: When visiting Black Canary in hospital after she's given birth, one of the gifts she brings is a muzzle. Canary is mildly exasperated by the gift until this exchange:
    Black Canary: "Why would he need a muzzle?"
    Harley Quinn: "Please. I can't tell you how useful muzzles were when I first got my hyenas."
    BC: "He's a baby. Not a pack hunter."
    HQ: "Yeah. But babies scream. And when you scream, crazy, deafening, smashy power comes out. If he gets that power early..."
    BC: "...Give me the muzzle."
  • Dumb Blonde: She's really psychopathic, but still a ditzy, kinda sweet girl. Though this personality can be either genuine, Obfuscating Stupidity, or both, depending on the writer. Paul Dini, her creator, arguably saw her as this, but later writers have upped her intelligence and capability, particularly after leaving the Joker behind.
    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!note 
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Although this is rarely brought up, in the main DC continuity Harley is mildly superhuman, with enhanced strength, healing, and an immunity to most poisons, because of being dosed with a herbal Super Serum by Poison Ivy in her first appearance.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She has a soft spot for animals and does NOT take kindly to people who abuse them. In one story, she and Ivy also rescued a young girl who was being chased by a sexual predator. Harley may be a homicidal supervillain, but even she thinks child abusers are the scum of the Earth. She also refused to keep fighting Black Canary when she worked out Canary was pregnant. In the New 52 Harley still loves animals to the point of saving a whole bunch from being killed with the help of Ivy.
    • She didn't like the new female Ventriloquist Peyton Riley, especially when she trash-talked her predecessor Arnold Wesker, since Wesker was kind to her when she first became an inmate at Arkham. She went so far as to tip the Gotham police off when Riley recruited her for one of her crimes (Riley had kidnapped her from Arkham at the time, and Harley was legitimately trying to go straight).
  • Females Are More Innocent: Despite being just as insane as her puddin' and just as indifferent to other people's deaths, 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: Hyper cheerful all the time.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Harley wears her hair in a pair of side pigtails to mirror the shape of her jester hat. This came in full effect after the New 52, where she's done away with the jester cap and uses her hair to replace it.
  • 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.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: She and the Joker invert this. Joker's usually armed with a gun, and Harley has a mallet.
  • 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.
  • Insanity Immunity: In Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad, she looks into Johnny Sorrow's face, which usually kills anyone who sees it. She's unaffected, describing it as "cute", and subsequently explains to Wonder Woman "Once you've looked into one abyss you've seen 'em all".
  • Love Makes You Crazy: She fell in love with The Joker. Crazy doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Love Makes You Evil: She was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum until she was assigned to The Joker. Falling in love with him, she broke him out and joined him as his girl sidekick. To what degree the Joker returns her feelings is questionable, ranging from 1% to zero. However, almost all her evil acts are an attempt to secure his affection.
  • Love Martyr: Oh, God, Harley Quinn, going back and forth between a girlfriend who treats her like dirt and a boyfriend who frequently tries to kill her. She bounces back and forth between this trope and Mad Love, depending on how sympathetically her romantic woes are treated in the current story.
  • Mad Love: The Trope Namer by way of a story arc from the comics that was later adapted into an episode, though the degree that she and Joker actually apply (whether Joker actually cares about Harley in any way) varies Depending on the Writer.
  • Master of Disguise: One of her more understated talents, but she's very good with disguises and impersonations. In the animated series, she was able to fool the police by dressing as a lady cop, an attorney, and a security guard in various episodes. In her first solo series, she actually spent a significant period practicing psychiatry under a fake identity, and has a similar set-up in her New 52 and Rebirth series.
  • Meganekko: Before her transformation.
  • Morality Pet: Oddly, not just for the Joker or Poison Ivy; almost all the other inmates at Arkham seem to have a bit of a soft spot for Harley. (For example, in the cartoon episode "Harley's Holiday", the Scarecrow pauses mid-villainous rant to greet her warmly.) It's implied that most of them don't look down on the Joker because he kills people, but because they disapprove of his abuse of Harley.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She often wears a tight jester suit and switches it out for what can best be described as a bikini designed to resemble her former appearance. In "Mad Love" she wears a see-through red negligee also. And in the New 52 her outfits are more incredibly revealing.
  • Mugged for Disguise: She's been known to mug people in order to replace them, such as an opera singer in the Hush storyline, a rock groupie in "Love on the Lam", and an Arkham guard in the Arkham City prequel.
  • 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. For DC Rebirth, she has a makeover which changes her hair to blonde with red and blue pigtails, in line with her Suicide Squad (2016) look.
  • 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.
  • The Nicknamer: She lovingly calls the Joker "Mr. J" and "pud'n". She also refers to Poison Ivy as "Red", Catwoman as "Kitty" or "Whiskas", and (occasionally) Batman as "B-Man".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Often implied.
  • Odd Friendship: Harley is one of the most social members of Batman's Rogues Gallery. 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 into of Arkham. She also views the Riddler as a friend, and has occasionally helped him in his detective work. In the animated series, she also appears to be on friendly terms with Professor Jonathan "Scarecrow" Crane — he even stops ranting and screaming at the guards just long enough to smile and say hello to her. The Animated Series also implies that she even views Killer Croc as a friend.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: All versions of her outfit in the New 52 feature a tiny, barely closed corset.
  • Only Sane Woman: Briefly, in the 2016 Suicide Squad run; the Black Vault energies which are driving everyone else in Belle Reve insane have the opposite effect on her, bringing her rational side to the fore. It lasts until the Vault's properly sealed again.
  • Perky Female Minion: She's an unrepentant murderer, but so cheerful and so absolutely devoted to "Mistah J" that one can't help but pity her when he slaps her around and/or threatens to kill her.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Occasionally pops up in the main comics, and practically outlined in her original solo series - which all but established that she's detached from reality and now sees the world like one big cartoon, and that her actions are like a game. As a result she often acts, and sometimes thinks, like a sugar-high kid.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: She wears a black and red playing card motif.
  • Sex for Services: Some versions of her origin story indicate 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: While showing minimal skin, too!
  • She-Fu: She studied to be a doctor, but can do Olympic-level gymnastics as she went to college on a gymnastics scholarship, and received superhuman abilities from Poison Ivy during the first of their adventures.
  • Shrinking Violet: She's usually portrayed as being very shy and reserved before meeting The Joker. Needless to say, that's changed quite a bit.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Though she's officially listed as bisexual, it's possible she's this way with Poison Ivy. She has a long list of random men she gets with, but Ivy is the only female she has shown to be sexual with. The New 52 has started to rectify this and in her solos, if she teams up with a female, like Power Girl or Wonder Woman, expect her to make come-ons.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: At least one iteration of her origin story shows that the Quinzel family was not kind to Harleen; her siblings whine incessantly, her mother is very demanding of her, her father belittles her quite hard, and none of them care about her future. Part of her motivation to get her college degree was to get a job was so she could get away from her family first and foremost.
  • 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: Suggests 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.
  • Stripperiffic: While she had a traditionally conservative costume where only her face is uncovered, the New 52 makes her outfit incredibly revealing. This is lampshaded by Harley herself, at one point referring to her look as a "stripper clown outfit".
  • Unholy Matrimony: She and Mr J. are one textbook example.
  • Villainous Friendship: She may find Ivy too serious at times but their friendship is genuine on both sides.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Her name and costume is based on a Harlequin.
  • Wolverine Publicity: In the Suicide Squad. Even when she is not the main character in the story, she features as central on the cover.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In Detective Comics #23.2, the New 52-Harley massacred hundreds of children by using bombs disguised as handheld gaming consoles. All stories after it came out treat the story apart from the origin (which has also been changed in some ways in Harley's solo book) part as non-canon due to having Harley wildly out of character and having Harley do things that no main incarnation of her would ever do. Harley's crazy but she doesn't kill kids.
  • 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.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Every possibility for her to return sane is always shut down.


Two-Face/Harvey Dent

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 second 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. Shedding his old belief in justice, and fixated on proving the arbitrariness of free will, he is one of Gotham's most volatile crime bosses. He has 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. Thus his crimes and choice of victims are all determined by random chance. That being said, Two-Face has a particular animus for lawgivers, and will frequently target police stations or courts. (Yet even this is dependent on what mood he's in; the "Harvey" personality once carried a torch for a comely police officer, Renee Montoya. As Renee was a closeted lesbian, this proved a disappointment.)

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.

In spite of his stature, Two-Face never made an appearance on the sixties show. (FALSE Face did, but that's a different character altogether.) Rumor has it that they considered his scarring origin too horrific for the series' tone. Another legend claims that they did briefly consider Clint Eastwood for the role, though.

For a full listing of the tropes surrounding this Fallen Hero, see his dedicated tropes page.


Deadshot/Floyd Lawton

Has his own page here.

    The Penguin 

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". 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, meanwhile, 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.
    • In Batman Returns, they didn't do this. They did, however, bundle him up in an enclosed baby carriage and throw him into a river when he was about a year old. This is how he wound up in the Red Triangle Circus freakshow.
  • 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.
  • 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 counts, but not all of it: there is typically a back room where the supervillains and criminals hang out, drink and shoot the breeze / threaten to kill one another. It's kept very separate from the main area, because most of Gotham's villains aren't exactly good with people and Cobblepot has a reputation to uphold. However, while the main area of the Lounge does not, itself, count, being a Bad-Guy Bar is still the theme of it - Penguin himself cites the touristy appeal of hobknob with famous "gangsters" and "supervillains" as the main draw to the establishment.
  • The Beastmaster: Especially in his pre-Iceberg Lounge days, he would often employ one or more trained birds in his crimes. In one comic, a former mook of his even noted that he'd never seen his boss pecked by a bird, even by accident.
  • 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 Cityís oldest and most prestigious families, second only to the Waynes.
  • 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: Or Classy Umbrella in any case. He's rarely seen without one.
  • Consummate Liar: Comes with the job description.
  • The Chessmaster: Is quite talented at the actual game as well.
  • Chronic Villainy: He's tried to go straight a few times, but eventually he always returns to his bad habits.
  • 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.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Depending on the Writer. He's always short and usually fairly chubby, but how depraved he is depends on who's telling a story with him.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • The Don: After retiring from committing crimes personally and setting himself up as proprietor of the Iceberg Lounge, he runs all organized crime in Gotham.; Batman tolerates this (more or less) because you never know the information he might "overhear", and be willing to share, "off the record".
  • 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: Sometimes. Otherwise, this is an affectation, if something implied at all.
  • Evil Counterpart: Not to Batman himself, but rather to his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, with both of them being aristocrats and having various gadgets...but only one of them actually uses those gadgets for evil.
  • 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.
  • Evil Laugh: In the comics, this used to be an effeminate "Hee-hee", but he's since picked up the hoarse "Waugh, waugh!" from the 60s TV show.
  • 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 canít let go of his anger and his vindictiveness, he unintentionally sabotages those opportunities whenever they arise. In the end, his greatest enemy isnít 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 heíll 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, heís usually not written to suffer from any specific mentally illness, heís simply a man who can't allow himself any long-term peace or happiness. That said, do not hurt a bird in his presence. Not that this stops him.
  • Fat Bastard: He's usually portrayed as fairly portly.
  • 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 is 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.
  • 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, wouldnít 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 before evolving into more of a mob boss.
  • Gonk: Depending on the Artist he may be deformed in some way.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He has a cigarette holder, signifying his status as a villain.
  • 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. Some works decide to play with it:
    • In the Arkham games, it's actually the stump of a broken bottle that got shoved into his eye during a bar brawl, to emphasize that he's a thug with delusions of classiness.
    • In Batman: The Telltale Series it's a smartglass he uses to jam Batman's communications and interface with military drones he's swiped.
  • 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 fatherís despising ghost).
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 ó myself included. In point of fact, Cobblepot is ruthless, vindictive, calculating, inventive ó 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.
  • Parasol Parachute: Not only parachutes, but pogo sticks, mini-helicopters, and jetpacks have been equipped into his umbrellas.
  • 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.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: At least, he tries to be. Apparently "Stuffy English gentlemen" reminded creator Bill Finger of emperor penguins.
    • Defied in Batman: Arkham City. Penguin's backstory in this (and subsequent) games is that he was sent to a private school in England to study, but preferred the company of the criminal element in the East End and came back with a rough disposition and cockney accent.
  • 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: Regardless of the existence of his deformities across his various incarnations, he typically has a very prominent nose.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: 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 Man Behind the Man: Has been in both positions.
  • Red Right Hand: His short stature and beak-like nose are a more subtle version of this. In Batman Returns, Tim Burton decided to enhance Penguin's physical resemblance by giving him deformed hands, where the three lower fingers fuse together into ugly flipper-like paddles. This has enjoyed some vogue in animationnote , but has never been accepted in the comics.
  • 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 Thomasí 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.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Relentlessly Exploits this trope.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Crush: Seemed to have a thing for Dawn Granger (Dove II) for a while.
  • "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 maintained a classy attitude even in criminality, and kept wearing formally, with a tuxedo, a top hat and 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.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When investigating the Red Triangle Gang in Batman Returns, Batman notes that the Red Triangle Circus was shut down, shortly after announcing an "aquatic bird-boy" in the freakshow, due to an alarming number of children disappearing or turning up dead in the wake of the circus' visits, with "one freak" evading capture and interrogating. Combined with the fact that Penguin's plan is ultimately to murder every first-born child in Gotham City, it's quite obvious Penguin has been a child murderer since he was fairly young himself.

    The Riddler 

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.

See his own page here.

    The Scarecrow 

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"note  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.

Oh, and thanks to Batman: Arkham Knight he's the only bat-villain ever to reveal Batman's Secret Identity to the world.


  • 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.
  • Adaptational Badass: While he's almost always a threat to some degree, he's rarely more than a minor threat. In the Batman: Arkham Series, his threat level is raised to enormous new heights, especially in Batman: Arkham Knight, where he is the game's Big Bad and unleashes destruction on Gotham that not even The Joker was able to reach, nearly becoming national threat.
  • 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.
  • Badass Bookworm: A former Psychiatrist and college professor, who regularly faces the Batman and threatens the entire city.
  • 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.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The mask sometimes enhances his voice, and those exposed to his fear toxin generally hear the Voice of the Legion.
  • For Science!: When writers decide to go for the Mad Scientist 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: Scarecrow is extremely slender and lanky, and of course he's a psychotic killer.
  • 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: In most continuities, he is a legitimate psychological therapist. You'd have to be out of your mind to seek him for treatment now, of course.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Almost literally, as his fascination of fear reaches disturbing proportions, and he may seek out conflict with Batman just to feel afraid.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Literally. The man's signature and deadliest weapon is a fear gas that makes its victims experience their worst fears in horrifying ways.
  • Odd Friendship: He's been known to hang around the Mad Hatter/Jervis Tetch from time to time.
  • 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.
  • The Paranoiac: He was violently bullied in his youth and was left with a crippling inferiority complex that developed into an obsession with fear and a career in supervillainy, his "gimmick" being scaring people to death with hallucinogens and drugs. Like most Batman villains he is prone to Bad Boss behavior and violent overreactions. He also believes that the entire world runs on fear; hard to get a bleaker worldview than that.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: See Papa Wolf above. Also, in the animated series, he's actually quite nice to Harley, stopping his ranting long enough to smile at her and greet her in one episode, and willingly standing in between her and danger in another.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He tries really hard to stick to this, as his motivations are largely economical (there's no way 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: His oldest and most established backstory is that he's a psychologist, specialising in phobias, who eventually became so obsessed with fear that he went insane and began conducting extreme experiments in inducing fear in others.
  • 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: His entire reason for dressing up like a scarecrow is because of the symbolism; after all, a scarecrow's purpose is to scare.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: When not wearing his mask, he tends to have these.
  • Scary Stitches: Most of his outfits feature these, to go with the scarecrow theme.
  • 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: Depending on the issue, he may wield a scythe as his preferred weapon of choice, although pitchforks are somewhat more common.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Nursery rhymes, when written by Jeph Loeb.
  • 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.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Crane's a scrawny man, and while somewhat stronger than he looks (he's often depicted as being able to support his entire body with his arms spread out for a reasonable period of time, allowing him to hang himself like an actual Scarecrow) he is constantly depicted as having low durability and not being hard to overpower. However years of practice in his own personal created style of combat to fit with his body (which he dubs "Violent dancing"- a cross between Crane style Kung Fu and Drunken Boxing) has left him able to trade blows with the likes of batman, sometimes
  • 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 great-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.
  • You Don't Look Like You: In the New Batman/Superman Adventures cartoon, he went from his iconic scarecrow costume to a new outfit consisting of a burlap face mask, ragged black clothes like some old-timey Western Preacher Man, and a noose around his neck. In an interview on the character's design change between seasons, the artists and directors confessed that he now looked absolutely nothing like a scarecrow and instead looked more like a hanged man who'd come down off of his lynching tree for revenge, but stood by their statement that the redesign made him scary-looking, which had proven problematic for his traditional costume.

    Mister Freeze 

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 no longer married. Although he still seeks to awaken and cure Nora, he's actually totally deluded; Nora was cryogenically preserved long before Fries was even born. As Batman rather pointedly deconstructs, Freeze doesn't really care about Nora as a person, she just makes a perfect figurehead for his obsession with ice and cold.


  • Adaptational Heroism: In Batman The Animated Series, Arkham Knight and a few more portrayals, he is a jaded man trying to save his wife, but has no morals for it, instead of being a stereotypical Mad Scientist like in Batman and Robin (though he still wished to save his wife in it), and the Adam West series.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Villain: Depending on the Writer sometimes, but he's one of the greatest examples of a Type II of all times.
  • 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 60's series as well—he 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. Arguably more Blessed with Suck, since super-cold environments are comparatively rare/temporarily limited and usually very barren, whereas the world where all the people live is out to kill him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His desire to save his wife is a major part of his motivation.
  • Freak Lab Accident: Something that every version of him has in common.
  • Freeze Ray: The exact size and shape of Freeze's Freeze Gun has varied wildly over the years; when it first debuted, it looked more like a teakettle than anything. Since then, it's been portrayed as everything from the standard futuristic-pistol design to a massive two-handed cannon connected to a backpack to a tiny, unassuming-looking device mounted on the wrist of his armor.
  • 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, pre New 52 — afterwards, he fell in love with Nora specifically because she is on. 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 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.
  • Tragic Villain: A depressed scientist desperate to save his wife's life before it's too late, and is forced to live in coldness, never getting attached to warmth due to the incident by one specific person.
  • 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: He's a master of cryogenics and cybernetics, creating his mechanized life-support suit and his trademark Freeze Ray himself, but he uses his genius to help in his crimes.
  • 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.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In the New 52 version. He became obsessed with the ice after his mother fell through thin ice and nearly died from the cold. The following winter, he led her back to the same spot and pushed her through deliberately. This time, she didn't survive.
  • Sinister Shades: He's usually seen with red goggles.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The version of him created from the DCAU and which became his main comics persona prior to the New 52. Freeze was made into a person biologically incompatible with human warmth, and all he wants is to restore his wife to full health, which is what he was trying to do before he was transformed. Even if he succeeds, he'll never be able to hold her again, as the temperature difference would kill them both.



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 '90s 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 initiative.

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.
  • Delinquent Hair: Underneath his mask, Bane styles his hair in a short mohawk.
  • Destination Defenestration: Used hilariously in one of the Secret Six books.
  • Determinator: This is what makes him so dangerous, rather than Venom.
  • The Dreaded: During Knightfall, not so much later.
  • 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.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His first name is never revealed (although Batman & Robin gives him the name Antonio Diego), although in this circumstance it's possible that his name really is Bane or he doesn't have another name.note 
  • 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 Intelligence: Of the super learning and Photographic Memory kind. However, he doesn't boast on his intellect. Or apply the knowledge he has learned to practical use, except strategic skills. Willpower and discipline are his more defining attributes anyway.
  • Super Serum: The Venom formula, a military project to create a super-steroid that could be used to make {{super soldier}]s.
  • Super Strength: When juiced up on Venom, Bane's strength is beyond human, making him one of the most dangerous of Batman's opponents in hand to hand.
  • Super Toughness: In his original appearance, part of the Super Soldier project he underwent was implanting subcutaneous armor implants — or, in layman's terms, peeling him open and inserting slabs of bullet-proof plastic into his flesh over his vital spots. This made him extremely resistant to damage, as most attacks would penetrate the skin and then be absorbed by the armor plating.

    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)note , Hugo Strange was introduced as The Moriarty to Batman's Holmes, a Mad Scientist who used ingenious 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. His function in the modern Rogue's Gallery is arguably usurped by Hush. 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.


  • Actually a Doombot: Used robotic decoys in a couple of stories. These schemes also contained a fake Robin, Alfred and Thomas and Martha Wayne.
  • 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-Enemy.note 
  • 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: He is always depicted with a clean-shaven head, to highlight his villainous nature.
  • 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: He's one of Batman's oldest villains and is made in the iconic villainous archetype of his day.
  • The Chessmaster: Naturally, Strange's intelligence and ego means he loves to weave plans and manipulate others for the sheer joy of displaying his intellectual superiority.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Strange is a genius, but only interested in using his smarts for evil ends.
  • 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 that's why he wants to be Batman.
  • Evil Is Petty: In Batman and the Monster Men, he had a couple of rich socialites at a charity gala kidnapped and fed to his experimental monsters simply for making fun of his appearance and genetic theories.
  • 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.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: His glasses usually obscure his eyes completely, effectively masking his emotions in most depictions.
  • 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: He is a legitimate doctor, of both medicine and psychiatry. He uses his training to drive people into insanity and mutate them into horrific monsters.
  • Made of Iron: Once survived dropping through a floor to impale himself on a weathervane. Which is impressive enough but over the next few days he held perfectly still, allowing rats to come nibble on him so he could eat them, and playing dead while Batman and Crane were fighting right next to him, only revealing himself when the basement started to flood.
  • Mad Scientist: Even more so than he is a Mad Doctor.
  • 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.
  • Mind Rape: He uses his fear gas to make his victims experience their worst fears.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Historically, his ability to return from death is ascribed to his mastery of yoga.
  • Mundane Solution: Pre-Crisis, Hugo discovers Batman's Secret Identity not through any fancy psycho analysis or some sort of Zany Scheme. How does he do it? Simple: He drugs Batman and takes off his cowl. Easy-peasy.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Literally. One of his creations is a fear gas that makes its victims experience their worst fears in horrifying ways.
  • 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: He is a legitimate psychiatrist, and a damn skilled one too. It's just he's more interested in driving people insane or brainwashing them than healing them.
  • 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: Naturally, as a villain who wears glasses, he has a tendency to catch the light with them in a way that makes him scarier to look at.
  • 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: Hugo Strange is a big believer in humanity's submission to the principle of "survival of the fittest".

     Poison Ivy 

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 fame).

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. She received her own six-issue miniseries in 2016.

Has her own page here.

    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" or "Rahz Al-Ghool" depending on the adaptation) 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 Lazarus 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.

    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 LexCorp 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 is still infatuated with him, and has recently returned to Batman's life to let him know that he owes roughly eleven years' worth of child support payments.


  • Adaptational Consent: Exactly how willing Bruce was during the encounter that produced Damien has flip-flopped between writers, with it originally being shown as her drugging and raping him, but after the New 52 relaunch it was retconned into a consensual relationship, which now seems to be the official version.
  • Anti-Villain: Most of the time in the old days. Nowadays not so much.
  • Betty and Veronica: The (relative) Veronica to Catwoman's Betty for Batman's Archie. Gotham City Sirens states that they are the only two women that hold a place in Batman's heart.
  • Big Bad: Revealed to be this for Grant Morrison's Batman epic in Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Her own personal guard.
  • 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: She often flip-flops between loyalty to her father and to her "beloved". In the comics, it is usually unwavering. She foils his 'destroy the written word' scheme, a lackey shoots her in the leg and the lackey is fed to lions.
  • Dark Action Girl: Talia has been written to be an athlete at the peak of physical conditioning and has been trained in many forms of martial arts. She is also quite proficient with most hand weapons. Often underestimated, Talia is also an excellent hand-to-hand fighter.
  • Dark Chick: For being her daddy's right hand, and her romantic tension with The Hero.
  • Dating Catwoman: Arguably the most famous example after the Trope Namer herself.
  • 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.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: In some continuities, Damian is the product of Talia drugging Batman and having her way with him. Batman himself never calls it a sexual assault, but he is clearly not happy with her. This was originally a retcon of a story in which Damian's conception was consensual, but the newer version has stuck.
  • Fatal Attraction: To Batman, and vice-versa.
  • 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.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: A classic example of
  • Mind Rape: At the hands of her own half-sister, no less.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Played With. While perhaps not to the extent of her father, she notably never objects to his plans to kill the majority of the world population. Often, she outright agrees that it has to be done.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the videogames and the animated series, her "accent" is anything but Persian.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Her iconic hairstyle has her eyes frequently disappear behind her bangs, which helps reinforce her "shady" nature.
  • Persian Babymama: She's an exotic "oriental" woman (Persian rather than Asian, however) who ultimately bears The Hero's lovechild. However, Talia is given a lot more characterization than most examples of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Talia Al Ghul takes the cake, on one instance trying to utterly destroy Batman, kill his "family" and ruin everything he'd ever worked for... because he wasn't paying attention to her.
  • Yandere: Occasionally. More common in non-comic adaptations.

Alternative Title(s): Harley Quinn