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The Joker: Your city is under attack by Gotham's greatest criminal minds! Including... The Riddler! Scarecrow! Bane! Two-Face! Catwoman! And let's not forget Clayface! Poison Ivy! Mr. Freeze! Penguin! Crazy Quilt! The Eraser! Polka-Dot Man! Mime! Tarantula! King Tut! Orca! Killer Moth! March Harriet! Zodiac Master! Gentleman Ghost! Clock King! Calendar Man! Kite Man! Catman! Zebra Man! And... The Condiment King.
Pilot: Okay, are you making some of those up?
The Joker: Nope! They're all real. Probably worth a Google!note 

A superstitious, cowardly lot. The United Underworld and the all-too-frequent patients of Arkham Asylum.

The Rogues Gallery.

Batman has built up one of the biggest and most popular Rogues Galleries in the history of all media. Here are his deadliest and most recurring foes.

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    In General 
  • Anti-Villain: Not always, but anytime there is a major city wide disaster many of the villains work to help regain order, if only because said order benefits them more than utter chaos. Or for pure self-defense against the most chaotic villains.
  • Ax-Crazy: The majority of Batman's enemies are known to be a
    Merlyn: Luthor and Grodd do it for power. Cheetah and Sivanna do it for kicks. And the Bat-villains... Well, they're just fried to begin with.
  • Badass Normal: Like their nemesis, very few of them have actual powers and instead rely on their skills, gadgets, weapons, and craziness to get ahead. There are some exceptions though, such as Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, and Clayface.
  • Cardboard Prison: Arkham Asylum cannot hold any of them for long. The Joker and Scarecrow have stated that they feel that Arkham is not so much a prison but a place to relax in between Evil Plans, and it's implied that the rest of the rogues view Arkham in a similar manner. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker even manages to use the asylum as an evil lair. Blackgate Penitentiary (Gotham's actual prison, most of the time) only fares better because few of them end up there to start with.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: When one of the rogues acts alone they always stand a fair chance of beating Batman- at least, they manage to get him into the deathtrap of the day before he brings them in. On occasions when they mob him en masse he takes them out one-by-one easily.
  • Dysfunctional Family / Evil Is One Big, Happy Family: Depends on the writer and/or the age of the comics, but the Batman's Rogues often are portrayed in this way, especially the regular Arkham inmates. Joker in Death of the Family clearly maintains that Batman's Rogues are the real Bat-Family, and not their sidekicks. They're actually one of the more tight-knit rogues galleries in The DCU, after The Flash's Rogues, happily playing card games with each other or swapping stories about trying to kill Batman.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Some of them can have their moments where they put aside their criminal, anti-social behavior to do what's right. During a prisoner riot at the asylum, Joker, Harley, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Clayface, and Solomon Grundy shielded the pregnant Ingrid Arkham from the violence, with Joker even helping her to deliver her baby, Astrid. All of them were shocked when a new inmate killed Ingrid and just for that, Grundy took the man's head off.
  • Freudian Excuse: Almost all of them have some sort of reason they became villains, usually some sort of untreated mental illness, Abusive Parents, and/or traumatic incident(s) that turned them into the people they are, such as The Joker's "One Bad Day".
  • Gang of Hats: Gotham's rogues are fond of dressing up hired thugs under their command with "official" uniforms as a symbol of their loyalty. Joker is fond of clowns and cartoon characters, Penguin of sharp suits with bird masks, etc.
  • Idiosyncrazy: Many of the Rogues are (or were, at some point) defined by an absolute fixation on a particular theme or motif, particularly during the Silver Age.
    • Joker & Harley Quinn: Comedy (particularly of the dark and gruesome flavors) and comedic figures (clowns, comedians, etc).
    • Penguin: Birds or umbrellas in the Silver Age, though downplayed in the modern era, where he tends to be depicted as a Pragmatic Villain whose odd appearance is simply affectation.
    • Two-Face: Duality, with doses of chance and coins on the side. Occasionally also courts and criminal justice.
    • Scarecrow: Fear and psychoactive toxins.
    • The Riddler & Cluemaster: Riddles and tests of mental adeptness.
    • Catwoman: Cats, for a time, before she cast that off. She's still depicted as a Kindhearted Cat Lover, though, and will target cat-themed items for the joke of it, just not exclusively.
    • Poison Ivy: Plants and ecoterrorism.
    • The Mad Hatter: The works of Lewis Caroll, with particular favor to Alice in Wonderland.
    • Maxie Zeus: Greco-Roman mythology.
    • The Ventriloquist zigzags the trope. On the one hand, his crimes don't usually have a theme to them. On the other hand, he's a sufferer of split personality disorder who projects his "crime boss" persona through a puppet and insists to the point of insanity that it's the puppet that's the real criminal.
  • Shadow Archetype: Many of Batman's villains have personality traits, powers, or a character background, similar to his own, but twisted into something criminal and vile. Adaptations and storylines that focus on these villains may play this trope up more to make them a direct Evil Counterpart to Batman, or to provide a Commonality Connection between them that he'll use to try and reason with them.
    • The Joker is the prime example: a Straw Nihilist vs an Anti-Nihilist; a colorful and wacky sociopath vs a dark and stoic crimefighter; both had their lives destroyed by "one bad day" that made them what they are; both have no true superpowers and rely on their intellect and gadgets; both are arguably insane but express their madness differently, and so on.
    • Two-Face/Harvey Dent is a dark reflection of Batman's dual identity between Batman and Bruce Wayne, with "Two-Face" being the dominant personality over Harvey and acting as a criminal while Batman is the dominant personality over Bruce to be a vigilante.
    • Scarecrow instills terror in his enemies, but he enjoys doing it while Batman usually does it as a means to an end, and Scarecrow uses chemical agents to induce a fear response while Batman uses theatrics and stealth.
    • Penguin puts on a face of being a wealthy socialite who owns a business that acts as a front for his covert activities, but he uses it to carry out crimes. It's also sometimes said the Cobblepots were an aristocratic family like the Waynes who fell to poverty, which is a motivating factor for Oswald trying to rebuild his family's wealth through illegal means.
    • Riddler and Cluemaster are geniuses with intellect that could rival Batman, but their arrogance is their biggest weakness, and they enjoy lording their superior intelligence over others.
    • Catwoman is an animal-themed costumed character, but she commits crimes. Even on her best days when she's an Anti-Hero, she's usually willing to cross moral lines and commit illegal acts that Batman wouldn't.
    • Ra's al Ghul is the brilliant and well-connected head of an underground organization that is devoted to bringing justice and order to the world. But Ra's idea for doing so is killing humanity for being too corrupt and self-destructive.
    • Mr. Freeze is a brilliant scientist motivated by grief and love for his lost family, but he resorts to criminal acts to try and save her and take revenge on those that wronged him.
    • Hugo Strange has trained himself to peak physical and mental acuity, but he's a sociopathic narcissist who commits crimes. Some depictions have him even want to become Batman.
    • The Court of Owls consists of all the other richest families in Gotham and they also have secret identities and operate through an elaborate underground base. Hush also comes from one of Gotham's riches families and witnessed his parents death as a child (at his own hands). However unlike Batman who invests large amounts of his own money into helping people however he can, they use their money selfishly and see the lower-classes as beneath them.
  • Technician vs. Performer: One thing the rogues do is that they're trying to make the death of Batman or their crimes works of art. As Penguin once said:
    Penguin: What is the point of the perfect crime if there is no one to witness it?
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery: There's several different themes present in Batman's rogues; madness (every single member is insane in some way, from Ra's Al Ghul's megalomaniacal savior's complex to the Penguin's Napoleon complex), split identities/faces/masks, and animals.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: In canon, Batman is considered one of the world's greatest martial artists. However, with very few exceptions, most of his traditional rogues never attain anything remotely close to Bruce's level of fighting skill and have to rely on death traps, brute force in cases like Killer Croc, or hordes of thugs to take him on. This is justified in that most of them are mentally insane and don't have the same mental discipline Bruce has to improve their fighting skills. And even in individual cases like Penguin or Scarecrow who do study martial arts, Batman is still much bigger and heavier than them so the best Penguin or Scarecrow can hope for in a straight fight against Batman is to be Weak, but Skilled while in comparison to them, Bruce is Strong and Skilled.

Specific villains

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    • Bane
    • Catwoman
    • Clayface click to expand 
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  • Spin-Offs