Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disgruntled Monkey's Top 10 Batman Villains

This has been a list that’s been percolating in my brain for a while now. Of course this isn’t going to be a massively original list as most of you will recognize the villains. Still I wanted to do it and it’s now finally done. So please sit back and relax as I now go through my favorite Bat Villains.

10: Humpty Dumpty: Not a major villain to be sure but there is just something about this characters back story that is disturbing. It’s that nice balance of horror and sadness. We have a man who was abused as a child. He has an obsessive compulsive disorder to dismantle things and put them back together. Eventually he snaps and tries to ‘fix’ his abusive grandmother. Truly a broken soul, in a broken city. He is a reflection of the madness Gotham City can cause on the innocent.

09: Professor Pyg: A relatively new villain, this one gets on my list as yet again the disturbing factor is high. A man obsessed with making people perfect, grafts doll faces onto people and then turning them into mindless slaves, this is all done through what looks like some pretty gruesome surgery. He is a mad scientist combined with the mentality of a schizophrenic artist. The fact that he doesn’t kill his victims but destroys their entire persona is scarier in my mind and brings up that old quote “there are things much worse than death.”

08: Man-Bat: This is a little bit of a weird one as I don’t really care about his back story, though I do remember enjoying the hell out of the Man-Bat episodes on the Batman Animated Series. For me my enjoyment of this villain comes down to the look. I love the giant mutant bat look, scares the crap out of me and yet there is just that little bit of camp enjoyment so as not to turn me away. Honestly if I saw this in the middle of the night I would need a new pair of pants. Oh and on the Morrison run of Batman he gives us Ninja Man-Bat’s, AWESOME!

07: Poison Ivy: The first lady villain and it’s one with a massive green thumb. Batman and Robin the movie almost destroyed this character for me. Every time I read a comic with her in it I couldn’t help but think of Uma Thurman. For Ivy the plants are truly her friends, no human is really close with her (barring Harley Quinn) and yet while she is a character we shouldn’t be able to relate to, her message is one we can. Humans can be bastards and we do wreck nature, is it wrong of Poison Ivy to be on mother natures side? She’s also up on the list because I like red heads. Sorry I’m a guy, if I didn’t mention it I wasn’t being truthful.

06: The Penguin: There are kind of two versions of this character, deformed outcast and aristocratic crime lord. For me, my favorite version is the aristocratic crime lord though I don’t mind him when he’s played as the outcast. What also draws me to this character is that unlike probably 99% of the Batman villains he is not insane. He’s is well aware of his actions and doesn’t seem to have big schemes to destroy Gotham, he’s more about the wealth and working within Gotham’s underworld of crime. In fact at times he’s tried to go straight (sort of) as at the time it seemed more profitable. It’s always nice to have a major villain of Batman’s not be obsessed with killing etc.

05: Harley Quinn: The one thing about insane girls is that they’re committed. Now moving away from that awful joke as quickly as possible lets look at Harley Quinn. Sure you could ask fan boys why they like her and would get the response back “cause she’s hot,” but leaving it at that would be doing this character a disservice. Harley Quinn formally Dr Harleen Frances Quinzel is one of the better examples of those who deal with monsters come under threat of becoming a monster. Obsessed with the Joker Harley Quinn was a normal person who is yet again tainted by the madness that is Gotham City. Unlike Humpty Dumpty however she like the Joker is an agent of chaos and madness with the faintest strands of humanity left. She is a warning to people as well as someone you should really run away quickly from. She also tried to reform somewhat and in this regards does remind me of the marvel character Deadpool and seeming he’s a fav character of mine this is not a bad thing. I think that’s what draws people to the character, despite being evil in her actions there is an honest to god decent person buried beneath everything and people just want to see her saved, as then there is hope for others.

04: Two Face: Speaking of good people, this leads us to Two Face or otherwise known as Harvey Dent. As Harvey Dent he was an ally of Batman but with some acid to the face he was transformed into Two Face and went completely insane. Now he has a coin and with one flip his actions are decided for good or bad. However there is an underlying theme of pain, and inflicting that pain on Gotham. He was one of its hero’s and yet against the sea of corruption he was destroyed. As much as he claims to be guided by chance, you can also see a need to inflict upon Gotham and its people what happened to him. To me he represents the tragic villain. Long gone there is no real hope for his soul, instead all must be fearful of what they could become. I put Two Face before Harley because I can be a depressive ass sometimes and tragedy in my mind works better story wise, than a chance for redemption. Or at least it hits me in the right places.

03: Joker: You knew he had to be on this list but yet he isn’t my number one. Now while I think he is the best villain Batman has, he isn’t my favorite. Still there is much love for the psychotic clown from hell. While I agree that the best villains are often those who have some sympathy or well thought out background, there is something about a villain so evil and totally embodying chaos that can be satisfying. His background is somewhat shrouded, ‘The Killing Joke,’ is often cited as the truth but I don’t really care. In fact I like Morrison’s idea that the Joker is actual not insane but ‘super-sane’ and that he recreates himself each day to cope with the modern world. However no matter his origins it’s what he brings to Batman world is more important and that is Batman’s opposite. It’s stated that most main Batman villains in someway reflect a dark aspect of Bruce, yet the Joker seems to be his opposite. Batman wants order, Joker wants chaos. Batman won’t kill as that is the line he won’t cross, Joker kills because it’s not a line to be considered. Batman has rules, Joker has none. There is more but this would become even longer. Joker is every bit the sickness that runs through Gotham and he’s the one person where the only way for it all to end is if Batman kills him, but if he does then he will no longer be Batman and that’s the greatest joke of all.

02: Bane: The man who broke the bat. I’m ecstatic that Nolan will be giving us Bane for the next Batman movie as I always thought this Villain was somewhat short changed. Growing up in a hellish prison he learnt to survive, forced into an experiment with the drug known as venom he did not die like everyone else but survived. Bane’s entire life if about surviving and proving himself, and what better place to prove himself than in Gotham. During the Knightfall story arc he showed intelligence as well as strength and actually managed to destroy Batman. Recently with Gail Simone’s Secret Six I’ve started reading a whole new development for Bane and I’m really enjoying it. I know where it’s heading and I must say I like the way the entire story is being handled. Showing a fatherly side to Bane and one that was never really given to him. Bane is the villain that beat Batman but also was able to claw back his own redemption. A unique character and obviously one of my favs.

01: The Riddler: On the threat level he’s pretty low. Most of his crimes are actually done not for personal gain but to show off how intelligent he is to people. Over the years he has changed and for the better it would seem. While I have no problems with the change in direction, in fact I kind of dig it. I like him being the cerebral villain of Batman. Sure the city wasn’t exactly at threat but he would still test Batman. In fact I really did like Hush where he took the centre stage and showed how major a villain he could truly be. At that time he even found out who Batman was. I think main reason why I like The Riddler is there is a certain underdog feel to him. You know that barring his intelligence he’s really outclassed by nearly every other villain and the bat family, but yet he still hurls himself into the thick of things and does manage to win a few fights. Also I think green is really a wonderful colour.


  1. What about black mask,killer croc,vantrilqust? Dr.hugo strange?

  2. All fine villains. The thing I like about Batman is that his villains are so strong. For me this list is just the ones that had a lasting impact on myself. But I know people out there who really dig those other four villains. I also know normally The Riddler is nowhere on others lists.

  3. Love that Professor Pyg made the list. Easily one of the best newer villains to hit the franchise in a long time.