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"Young Jaden here didn't even exist a week ago. Now here he is in all his newborn glory. His mother must be worried to follow my request, bring any of your "partners" with you, and the baby dies."
"Do you know what happens now, Mr. Wayne? I'm not going to kill you...I'm going to set you free...Free to see the city you swore to defend tear itself apart. Free to see everyone you love hunted down and killed. Every scream, every death, vengeance for all that Batman has done."

Given the source material, it comes as no surprise that video games (and tie-in works) based on The DCU feature heinous villains.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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Batman: Arkham Series (chronological order, by first appearance)

  • The Joker serves as the Big Bad of the series. The Arch-Enemy of Batman, Joker regularly commits crimes solely to torture his nemesis throughout the series. When first establishing himself in Gotham, Joker hijacked Black Mask's organization, and used his influence to torture and murder innocents, along with bombing multiple buildings across the city. In one notable instance, Joker staged a breakout at Arkham Asylum, ensuring the slaughter of as many people as possible. Left dying of a TITAN overdose in the wake of this incident, Joker forces Batman to find a cure for his condition by poisoning more than two thousand people with his infected blood; he also executes Batman's Love Interest, Talia al Ghul, right in front of him. Caring nothing for his subordinates, The Joker regularly abuses his "girlfriend," Harley Quinn, and tortures and murders his henchmen, along with threatening their family members, for fun. Even after his death, flashbacks further show his wicked deeds, such as crippling Barbara Gordon and physically and psychologically torturing Jason Todd for months, then sending Batman videotapes of said torture; this torture resulted in Jason becoming the Arkham Knight. Tie-in material only adds to his list of crimes, with his many crimes including trying to blow up Gotham City; and, in the digital comic, Arkham City: End Game, rigging fireworks with Joker toxin that kills hundreds. A narcissistic sadist with a pathological need for attention, the Joker is determined to make Gotham forever remember him by writing his name in the city with blood.
  • The Calendar Man, real name Julian Gregory Day, is a soft-spoken psychopath who commits crimes during and based on holidays. In Arkham City, he boasts about a sizeable rap sheet over the years, from murdering his parents and potential lovers to laying siege to maternity wards and poisoning entire gangs working for him. Day kicks off his next spree in the Arkham Knight tie-in comic by murdering dozens of people in stores across Gotham on holidays. Later capturing Batman, Day forces him to fight monsters continuously for an entire week while using an infant as a hostage, before revealing he has poisoned over 300 people in Gotham—many of whom are children and toddlers—hoping for Batman to tire himself into exhaustion and allow Day to strike the killing blow. Day ultimately flings the hostage infant off a ledge to enable his own escape, successfully evading capture and ending his current spree solely to bask in Batman's coming defeat at the hands of Scarecrow.
  • The Riddler, aka Edward Nigma, born Edward Nashton, is a narcissist determined to prove his superior intellect no matter how many people must die. First appearing as Enigma, he collects blackmail material on Gotham City officials, intending to release it to cause widespread death and destruction. When Batman interferes, Enigma christens himself the Riddler and begins placing civilians in torture rooms that eventually kill them if they don't outsmart him. In the lead-up to the Joker's breakout from Arkham, Riddler tricks an unsuspecting user into weakening the Asylum's security, directly leading to Joker murdering over 100 people; he then kills several people to set himself up in Arkham City, captures everyone in the church to place in his traps, and puts anyone else in bombs that blow up if they stop walking. To fill the power vacuum after Joker's death, Riddler begins a master plan that leads to Mr. Freeze almost killing thousands of people; Mad Hatter taking dozens as mind-controlled slaves; Vicki Vale's cameraman Phil Chester being dismembered; and Robin being locked in a Mechanical Guardian that Riddler controls as it massacres everyone it comes across on its way to Gotham's most populated areas. Even at his most pathetic during Scarecrow's attack, Riddler places a bomb around Catwoman's neck and several inside the brains of thugs. An ego-driven narcissist who can't let anyone else win, Riddler kills countless people and threatens even more in the name of protecting his fragile ego and outsmarting Batman by any means necessary.
  • The Penguin, real name Oswald Cobblepot, stands out in this franchise as a calculating and sadistic mob boss, intent on ruling Gotham's criminal underworld through any means necessary. A vicious crime lord who runs illegal gambling rings and fight clubs—where the losers of each are tortured and murdered—Cobblepot engages in weapons trafficking and black arms deals, supplying Gotham's criminal element with weapons that cause catastrophe all over the city. An absolutely horrendous employer, Cobblepot routinely tortures and murders his own men for failure, feeds them to sharks and hands them off to Solomon Grundy to be ripped to shreds for the most petty of reasons, and leaves an entire gang of them to die in enemy territory to strike a minor blow against his enemy. Cobblepot also sets Wayne Manor aflame during a charity gala, brutally tortures any police officers he gets his hands on in Arkham City, forces dozens of Blackgate guards to fight to the death for their survival, and bombs an entire building filled with his own men. Cobblepot is a ruthless sociopath masquerading as a "gentleman," with no care or concern for anyone but his own selfish desires.
  • Firefly, real name Garfield Lynns, stands out as a vicious sadist among Batman's lesser foes. When Joker puts out a $50 million bounty on Batman, Firefly goes an entirely different route than his fellow assassins, leading an attack on the Gotham Pioneer Bridge and endangering hundreds of people. Taking nearly a dozen people hostage, Firefly uses them as bait to lure in Batman and various squads of the GCPD, planning to blow up the bridge once they are all gathered so as to kill them all. Even when Batman informs Firefly that the bounty is called off, the assassin continues his attempted mass murder just for fun. A decade later, Firefly returns to mass murder by trying to burn alive over a dozen firefighters, leaving them to be tortured and killed by gangs after that fails, and then plans to set Gotham aflame one building at a time until all that is left are ashes of building and citizen alike.
  • The Scarecrow, real name Dr. Jonathan Crane, first appears while participating in Joker's plan to take over Arkham Asylum, attempting to Mind Rape Batman several times with his fear toxin; defeated, he threatens to contaminate Gotham's water supply with the toxin simply to spite Batman. Returning in Arkham Knight as the Big Bad, he takes advantage of the power vacuum created by Joker's death and to unite the remaining villains against Batman. After his newest fear toxin causes a diner full of people to rip each other apart, Gotham is evacuated, allowing Scarecrow to manufacture an extremely powerful fear bomb; when this is foiled, he steals a superweapon called the Cloudburst to drive all of Gotham temporarily mad with fear. He leads Batman to believe that his toxin caused Barbara Gordon to kill herself. He then manipulates Commissioner Gordon into betraying Batman, later forcing the disobedient Jim to watch as he drops the still-living Barbara off of a building. In the end, he captures Batman and forces Gordon to unmask him on live TV, planning on letting Batman go so he can watch as Gotham is torn apart and everyone he loves is hunted down and killed. All of this was done to completely destroy the myth of the Batman as a savior, and force everyone to experience true fear by destroying their symbol of hope.
  • Arkham City: Professor Hugo Strange is the narcissistic architect of Arkham City. A brilliant psychologist who used his position at Arkham Asylum to horribly experiment on hundreds of patients, Strange had them lobotomized and left to die to cover up his crimes, later handing victims like these over to criminals to be killed in exchange for resources. Strange drove Warden Quincy Sharp into becoming a Serial Killer of asylum inmates, unleashed the vicious Zsasz onto Gotham, and bombed a public event to rack up a body count and justify the construction of Arkham City, a nightmarish Hellhole Prison. Throwing thousands of people into Arkham City—from genuine criminals to completely innocent protesters—Strange subjects the prisoners to starvation, assassinations, and lethal experiments, as well as instigating gang wars amongst them and playing on their psychological issues and loved ones to torture and manipulate them. Strange ultimately plans to completely wipe out Arkham City and its thousands of prisoners, then repeat the entire process in cities across the world until he has eradicated all those he deems to be criminal filth and taken his place as the self-proclaimed savior of the world, finally fulfilling his obsession with one-upping and humiliating Batman.
  • Arkham Knight: Simon Stagg is a corrupt, depraved businessman who turned his philanthropic company into an arms and drug dealing enterprise to satisfy his own greed. Stagg began kidnapping countless people who "wouldn't be missed" and subjecting them to torturous experiments to develop chemical weapons that he then sold off to militaries around the world, profiting from war and death. After allying with Scarecrow, Stagg secretly uses his Fear Toxin to torture dozens of people, keeping them alive and pumped with Fear Toxin for weeks on end to drive them mad, hoping to then sell the Toxin as a new bioweapon for more profit. When Stagg's lifelong co-worker Alex Sartorius tries to expose his evil, Stagg turns him into another experiment, and even after being beaten, Stagg nearly allows Scarecrow to kill millions of people just to evade blame for his own crimes.

Injustice franchise

  • Gods Among Us & Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe: Darkseid is the despotic ruler of the planet Apokolips and one of the most sworn and powerful enemies of Superman. Torturing Black Racer into submission, Darkseid allows his son Kalibak to lead an assault on Earth, killing tens of thousands of people, before his army was destroyed by Superman. Angered at the fact that Superman sullied his reputation by killing Kalibak, Darkseid starts scheming the destruction of Superman more aggressively, first hiring Lobo to take him down and then, when that failed, joining the conspiracy with Ares and Hera, manipulating humans, superheroes, and Olympians into a bloody conflict, with the human government even launching nukes as a result. After this, Darkseid found the weakened Skeletor in the cosmos, and from him, he found the location of the solution to Anti-Life Equation to be in Castle Grayskull. Invading Eternia, Darkseid kills, captures and transforms thousands of people into his obedient slaves, as he tries to uncover Anti-Life Equation, to take control of the multiverse, killing the minds and personalities of every living being aside from himself.
  • He-Man/ThunderCats & Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe: Skeletor is a vile warlock and the most relentless enemy of He-Man. Discovering the existence of another universe, Skeletor has made a contact with the Ancient Spirits of Evil, having them bring their world closer to Eternia, causing a cataclysm that destroyed part of the great city of Eternos, before he captured their agent Mumm-Ra and transformed him into a liquid, which he drank, despite Mumm-Ra still being alive and sapient. Later bringing Mumm-Ra back to his original form, Skeletor joined forces with him, enslaving the Ancient Spirits of Evil and having them spread chaos and destruction all over Eternia, killing thousands. Desiring to transform Eternia into a horrific place, where all those who oppose him will die and the rest of the population will be enslaved, Skeletor transformed himself and Mumm-Ra into Mumm-Ator, before he tried to take over the multiverse. Failing at that and being banished, Skeletor starts pretending to serve Darkseid and the brutal version of Superman, using them to get his way into Castle Grayskull again, while assisting Superman in upholding his tyrannical regime and revealing to Darkseid that the answer to Anti-Life Equation was always in Castle Grayskull, leading to Darkseid attacking Eternia, slaughtering thousands and brainwashing thousands more.
  • Injustice 2: Brainiac is The Collector of worlds who threatens the universe. Shown in a flashback to have stolen Argo City and Kandor before destroying Krypton, Brainiac arrives on Earth after learning that Superman was defeated. Intrigued, Brainiac sends his Betas to round up, scan, and vaporize civilians, as well as brainwashing several heroes. Stealing numerous cities, Brainiac smiles as he takes Metropolis, after which he seemingly kills Superman. He declares that unless the heroes give him Supergirl to study how yellow sun radiation affects Kryptonian cells, he will order his Betas to self-destruct, igniting Earth's atmosphere and wiping out all its life; in doing so, he betrays Gorilla Grodd and the Society that were working with him. When Supergirl and Batman infiltrate his Skull Ship, they find at least dozens of shrunken cities from different worlds giving a small glimpse of the scale of Brainiac's atrocities. They are captured, Brainiac intending to vivisect Supergirl while dismissively leaving Batman to be killed. Personally murdering Doctor Fate, Brainiac is confronted by Superman, to which Brainiac boasts that he has killed billions of Kryptonians. With countless crimes of theft and genocide, the cold, ruthless Brainiac justifies himself with this line: "I value knowledge. And like your metal trinkets, knowledge is more valuable when it is rare."
  • 2021 Animated Adaptation: The Joker here lacks the sole redeeming quality of his original counterpart. After getting bored from losing to Batman, he decides to go after Superman, murdering the latter's best friend Jimmy Olsen and kidnapping his Love Interest Lois Lane. The Joker then brainwashes Superman with a combination of kryptonite and Scarecrow's fear toxin, which he had previously killed Scarecrow for, and left a trap that kills the Flash. The toxin makes Superman kill Lois and her unborn child. Just for pleasure, Joker had linked the nuke's trigger to Lois's heartbeat, destroying Metropolis and killing over 11 million people.

Other Games (by release date)

  • Batman: Vengeance: The Joker is the true Big Bad and the ultimate mastermind behind the game's evil. Faking his death to keep suspicion off himself, Joker manipulates the supervillains Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy into committing various crimes, from flash-freezing a factory of workers to implanting carnivorous plants inside innocents to blackmail them, and uses the ensuing chaos to initiate his own scheme. Joker plans to pump Joker Gas and the highly flammable substance Promethium into Gotham City's sewers, then giddily watch as millions of innocents choke on their own laughter as they burn alive. Even when beaten, Joker attempts to fling himself to his death, hoping to both torment Batman and immortalize himself as the greatest nightmare in Gotham's history.
  • Superman: The Man of Steel (2002): Mongul, as usual, is the ruler of Warworld and a galactic tyrant. When Superman discovers Brainiac 13 is about to return, Superman decides to go to Warworld to obtain some weapons to defeat Brainiac. Knowing Mongul will not help him, Superman frees Mongul's slaves on Warworld, saving them from Mongul's forces and receiving help from them. When Mongul learns Superman has freed his slaves, he demands compensation. When Superman refuses, Mongul's ship attacks Superman and the escaping slave ships. When Superman defeats Mongul's ship, Mongul launches the ship's reactor at the Earth, telling Superman the reactor is powerful enough to destroy the world, with Mongul wanting to punish Superman for his interference by killing everyone on Earth.
  • Batman Begins: Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, helps Ra's al Ghul by developing the gas needed for his plan, then tests it out on innocent people, having them driven insane and using them as attack dogs. Scarecrow shows no concern when many of his men are infected by the gas and holds hostage the brother of one of his men. When Batman reaches his lair, Scarecrow tries to leave his patients to burn to death. When Ra's starts his plan to release the gas into Gotham, Scarecrow tries to lower the bridge to allow the first few people to be infected into the city to start tearing it apart.
  • Justice League Heroes:
    • Brainiac, after receiving a telepathic message from a meteorite, promising him great power and knowledge if he can release the power within the meteor, launches a complex scheme to get the equipment he needs. He creates a series of disasters to keep the Justice League busy: He has his robot minions attack random citizens; has Queen Bee transform people into bee creatures; hires the Key and Killer Frost to set off several nuclear weapons; frees the White Martians so they can attack Earth; frees Gorilla Grodd so he will use his Earthquake Machine, eventually planning to destroy Gorilla City; and uses a Doomsday clone to help him take over the Justice League Watchtower, imprison Martian Manhunter, and steal a Mother Box. Brainiac is willing to endanger millions of lives just as a distraction tactic, so the Justice League would too busy to stop his quest for power and knowledge.
    • Darkseid himself, while trapped inside an extradimensional prison, had been manipulating Brainiac the whole time, communicating telepathically via the meteorite. He makes his actual appearance by vaporizing Brainiac. Darkseid then uses the Mother Box and a Sensory Matrix Field Generator to banish the Justice League, before transforming the Earth into a new Apokolips, which he describes as "something far, far worse'' than Hell on Earth; he then incarcerates Superman in a Kryptonite prison.
    • The Flash spinoff: Brainiac is once again portrayed as a sociopathic robot with zero redeeming qualities. Having set his sights on freeing a presence within a meteor in exchange for knowledge and power, he allows Gorilla Grodd to wreak havoc in Keystone; sends Killer Frost to destroy Gotham; sends Circe to take over and, eventually, destroy Themyscira; and gives Zoom the means to destroy the Pacific Coast, which will flood Coast City in order to distract the Justice League from his plans. After all his subordinates are defeated, Brainiac personally invades Metropolis and, when confronted by Flash, reveals that he has triggered the bomb that will atomize Metropolis.
  • Superman Returns: Lex Luthor is worse than his film counterpart. Faking reports of Krypton still existing to get rid of Superman, Lex is released from jail and cons an elderly woman out her belongings. Lex steals and experiments on the data crystals, causing a blackout and unleashing multiple criminals and creatures onto the city, including Bizarro and Riot. Lex's ultimate goal is to use the crystals to build a continent that would destroy most of North America and potentially kill billions. Lex later plants the crystals, causing tornadoes, and abandons Lois Lane to die. When Superman comes to the island, Lex beats him up and throws him into the ocean to die. Uncaring and out only for himself, Lex laughs off any of the damage he causes.
  • DC Universe Online: Legends: Brainiac is as narcissistic and destructive as always. Having already conquered and destroyed the Earth in the future timeline, alongside thousands of other planets, the present Brainiac introduces himself by destroying the Watchtower and intending for the debris to crash into Metropolis, almost killing one million people. While helping Lex Luthor with his vendetta against Superman, he ultimately forces Superman to murder his own wife Lois before trying to dissect him, attempting to create an army of Supermen. Briefly held back by the Justice League, Brainiac massacres the Sinestro Corps and steals their central power battery to recharge himself; unleashes his army of enslaved aliens onto Earth to wipe out humanity; forces Lex to attack and kill the heroes with his own armor just to torment his former ally; and massacres his own allies when he believes he has the upper hand.
  • Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters: Amon Sur is the son of Abin Sur, the greatest member of the Green Lantern Corps, who died before the game began. Amon presented himself as a kind and dutiful son at his father's funeral, but that was all an act. Amon was secretly bitter that his father's ring was given to Hal Jordan instead of him and planned to exact his revenge. Allying himself with the Green Lantern's old enemies, the Manhunters, Amon has the Manhunters attack Oa. This attack was a diversion so that the Manhunters could locate the Yellow Fear Battery hidden beneath Oa and steal its power. The Manhunters succeed and with this new power Amon orders them to brainwash and enslave another race, the Zamarons, so that they will attack Oa. Foiling this scheme, Hal Jordan heads to the Manhunters' home world, where he discovers Amon's treachery and finds his friend Kilowog trapped in a giant Manhunter that is slowly draining away his life force. After freeing Kilowog, Hal Jordan finds Amon leading the Manhunters in another attack on Oa, with Amon intending to kill everyone on the planet for revenge.
  • Scribblenauts Unmasked:
    • Brainiac stands in stark contrast to the rest of the series. Once again a being desiring perfection, he manipulates the friendship-seeking Doppelganger into helping other villains cause mayhem and destruction so that he can collect the Star Sprites. Hacking Cyborg into leading the Justice League into a trap, Brainiac steals Lily's globe and reveals his plan: gather up his 52 other versions from the multiverse, for a Hive Mind, and destroy ever living being in the multiverse so that he remains, calling them "imperfect" compared to him.
    • A Crisis of Imagination comic: Anti-Monitor sends his Shadow Demons to possess civilians to instigate chaos across the universe while supplying advance weapons to several supervillains to further spread destruction and corrupt heroes into fighting their own allies. The Anti-Monitor later has his Weaponers invade the planet Rann, installing a tower to telepathically control the civilians into attacking each other. When his fortress has been invaded by the Justice League, Anti-Monitor destroys Brainiac's ship, knocking out almost all of the heroes, and attempts to kill Maxwell and his twin sister Lily until the Phantom Stranger intervenes, at which point Anti-Monitor murders the latter by erasing him from existence. Anti-Monitor imprisons all of the defeated heroes within his tower until Maxwell and his friends break them out and attack Anti-Monitor, to which he would later activate his tower and successfully destroys the multiverse, leaving nothing but a blank void.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series's "Guardian of Gotham" & "City of Light": The Vales, John and Patricia, are a pair of monstrous foster parents who are responsible for Lady Arkham's insanity. Under the guise of being loving parents, the Vales take in foster children, but truthfully only want the government stipends that the kids' presences bring. Showcasing their heinous hatred for children, the Vales would lock their kids inside an underground room, shackling them and beating them bloody with belts over the course of years, regarding the children as nothing but animals to abuse and profit from to their liking.