Without a doubt, Batman has one of the most interesting and diverse rogues galleries of any comic book hero. His adversaries are complex, varied and full of surprises, each with their own motivations and desires. No matter where they originate from, each has his or her own reason to despise the Caped Crusader, and strive towards goals of domination or destruction.
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Gotham city is a dark place, rife with murderers, thieves and maniacs, and Batman has dealt with them all. As he has personally seen, some villains will go to greater lengths than others to achieve their aims, even if it requires killing those who stand in their way. Here then, are the worst of the worst — Batman’s deadliest villains — and the last people you’d ever want to see, no matter the scenario.
15. Harley Quinn
You have to be a special kind of psychotic to fall for the Joker, and even more psychotic for him to love you back. While their relationship is not always as peachy as Harley would like it to be, the Joker’s main squeeze is almost as dangerous as he is, and has given many heroes a run for their money.
With her acrobatic skills, trusty mallet and flat-out derangement, you’d be lucky to leave an encounter with this mad jester unscathed. Her fierce friendship with Poison Ivy and twisted relationship with the Joker ensure that she is never alone, and messing with her truly means you’re messing with all three. Looking at Harley the wrong way can result in a quick skinning by a jealous Joker; and yet, an abandoned Harley is even more dangerous. On her own, she has been known to murder countless children with an exploding video game, just for the fun of it, or may make you wear the Joker’s face and interrogate you as if you were him. Moral of the story: don’t get on Harley’s bad side!
14. The Penguin
Oswald Cobblepot may have a comical outward appearance, as well as a laughable name, but he is certainly not one with whom to trifle. After killing Gotham’s mob boss with his rifle umbrella, The Penguin became the most powerful crime lord in the city. His vast wealth and numerous criminal resources have allowed him to expand his deadly influence, and with a simple wave of his hand, Gotham’s most dangerous thugs will descend upon you.
On his own, The Penguin is a force to be reckoned with. His umbrella is his most well-known tool, having been fashioned into all manner of weaponry, from guns and blades to shields and gas. However, it is not the greatest trick in his arsenal; sure, he is master of judo, but it is his sharp criminal mind (and sharper tongue) that get him into and indeed out of the most trouble. He has a furious temper, too, and will happily dispose of anyone who interferes with his plans. His criminal exploits are hidden behind a front of professionalism and dignity, but beneath it all is a dejected man looking to take his anger out on an unsuspecting Gotham.
Though the identity applies to multiple people and personas, the combined entity of Clayface is a deadly menace to both the citizens of Gotham and Batman himself. Originally introduced as Basil Karlo, Clayface began his murderous career by killing off actresses in a film he fancied himself the star of. His next iteration, in the form of Matt Hagen, would give Clayface the transformative powers we know him for, granted by a deep-sea protoplasm. Clayface can temporarily shape-shift into any form he chose, making it impossible to know where he would strike from next.
A third iteration gave Clayface completely toxic skin, making even his touch deadly. The ultimate form of Clayface would emerge when the iterations joined together as the Mud Pack, and Basil Karlo stole his comrade’s blood to make himself the ultimate shape-shifting death machine. His brute strength, frightful clay weaponry and physical malleability have made him a worthy match for the Caped Crusader, and a serious threat to all who attempt to thwart his plans.
12. Killer Croc
With a name like that, it’s no wonder Killer Croc made it onto this list. Born with a hideous birth defect, Waylon Jones suffered relentless torment as a child from his peers, and attempted to kill one of them as a result of this bullying. This would open the doors to Waylon’s murderous career as a supervillain, as his years in prison hardened him even further.
When he was finally released, he was a force to be reckoned with, physically monstrous and reptilian in both body and mind. He began a life of crime in the underbelly of Gotham, murdering countless innocents in his efforts to become the ruler of the criminal underworld. He made his home in the sewers, and fell deeper into his beast-like tendencies, even developing a taste for human flesh. Killer Croc’s ruthless nature and terrifying appearance make him a foe unlike any that Batman has ever seen, and he has earned his rightful place as one of Bruce Wayne’s deadliest adversaries.
11. Profesor Pyg
Professor Pyg is undoubtedly one of the most twisted members of Batman’s rogues gallery, and appeared for the first time in the aptly numbered “Batman” #666. Professor Pyg is loosely based off the Greek tale of Pygmalion, who fell in love with a statue that he created. Pyg spends the majority of his time kidnapping innocents and transforming them into “Dollotrons.” He grafts a doll’s face upon these freakish minions, and controls them with an identity-destroying serum, which he himself has been subject to. A skilled surgeon, Professor Pyg is always striving towards his versions of “beauty and perfection” in his creations; an ideal that he may never achieve.
Pyg is as ambitious as he is unhinged, and once sought to spread his brain-cleansing drug throughout the entirety of Gotham. Thankfully Batman and Robin stopped this plan, but it showed the deadly lengths Pyg would go to achieve his confused idea of perfection.
The deadliness of Hush not only comes from his sociopathic, identity-shifting tendencies, but from his closeness to Bruce Wayne. Hush, also known as Tommy Eliot, grew up with Bruce, and always seemed to be one step ahead of him in the games they would play. His murderous lifestyle began at a young age, when he attempted to kill both his parents to acquire their fortune. Bruce’s father stopped this plan when he saved Tommy’s mother in surgery. The years twisted Tommy’s perception of this event, until he harboured an uncontrollable disdain for Bruce.
Hush’s efforts to kill Bruce and claim his fortune would lead him to recruit many other members of Batman’s rogues gallery, and he utilized his plastic surgery skills to continuously craft new faces for himself. He has been known to fake his death, befriend Batman and then double-cross him once more, all while dabbling in ruthless murder to achieve his aims. Hush is the type of adversary who takes things far too personally, which leads him to act recklessly, causing great suffering in both himself and all those around him.
Bane is undoubtedly one of the most ruthless, deadliest and downright most successful of Batman’s adversaries. Unjustly raised in a prison for the crimes of his father, Bane grew up in a world of struggle, and became a force to be reckoned with after his marriage to the super-steroid Venom, which drastically increased his physical strength. After faking his death to escape prison, Bane headed to Gotham to hunt Batman, who he was convinced was the demonic bat in his dreams. This derangement would lead to Bane’s pivotal moment, where he broke Batman’s spine over his knee and took complete control of Gotham’s criminal underworld.
Bane’s immense strength makes him a match for any foe. He is the type of character who does what he must to achieve his aims, and is far more intelligent than his appearance and upbringing would suggest. He even managed to get involved in the politics of his home country, for better or worse. Bane is a well-rounded and dangerous villain, and, if you value the condition of your backbone, one who any hero would do best to avoid.
8. The Court Of Owls
A relatively new addition to the DC Universe canon, the Court Of Owls have a long-reaching influence, and a loose identity that prevents them from ever being pinned down. They are an anonymous organization that has reigned over Gotham for hundreds of years, and pull the strings of the fair city from the shadows. They control a legion of assassins known as The Talons, and use these assassins to destroy anyone who interferes with their plans. Their arrival into the light was an event that nearly put an end to Batman… for good.
Bruce Wayne sought to reinvigorate the infrastructure of Gotham, a move that interfered with the agenda of The Court Of Owls. As such, a bounty was placed on his head, and multiple encounters with the Talon showed Batman just how deadly this new foe truly was. Their power, influence and wealth allow them to be anywhere and everywhere in Gotham at once, and no enemy of theirs is safe for long.
There are few things deadlier than an expert marksman, and that’s exactly what Deadshot brings to the table. When he gets you in line with his tamper-proof sight and takes aim with his wrist-mounted firearm, little hope remains. After a traumatizing event from his childhood resulted in the death of his beloved brother, Deadshot swore that he would never miss a shot again. Naturally, the only target he ever missed was Batman, a failing that has deepened his already fierce disdain for the Dark Knight, who he once wished to overthrow.
One of the most dangerous things about Deadshot is his complete disregard for all human life, even his own. He originally joins the Suicide Squad with a desire to die in a spectacular fashion; a wish he is granted in “The New 52” series, when he sacrifices his life to kill Regulas, an evil cult member who had brainwashed the rest of the Squad. Deadshot’s self-destructive attitude and frightful marksman abilities make him more dangerous than most. If you’re on his hit list, you had best say your prayers.
There is something primally terrifying about an encounter with Two-Face. You’re not guaranteed to die, but on the other side of the coin (pun absolutely intended), you almost certainly are not going to live. Former district attorney Harvey Dent found that his split personality favored an element of chance after half his face was horribly disfigured by acid. Each decision he makes is determined by a coin toss, a habit that was hammered into his brain by an abusive father who employed the same technique when deciding whether to beat him or not. These events fuelled his underlying schizophrenia, and his dark side was unleashed on Gotham after his transformative injuries.
Two-Face is a dangerous criminal who can never be trusted. While the Harvey Dent side of him may occasionally shine through, Two-Face is really in control. He is a master of planning heists, a sound marksman and a formidable physical combatant. He is always willing to kill at a moment’s coin toss, and is as deadly as he is insane… which is to say, very.
5. Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy is a villain who fights for something greater than any individual: the Earth itself. She is one of the few characters in the Batman Universe who has genuine super-powers, unwillingly forced upon her by a selfish colleague. The serum in her blood gives her the power to control all plant life, and has made her into something of a plant herself.
Poison Ivy’s power seems to come directly from Mother Nature, and she is indeed immensely powerful. She can summon vines to crush and strangle her foes, and can kill with a toxin-infused kiss. She can release a pheromone that drives men mad with lust, and it is seductive enough to even ensnare The Bat. More than anything, Poison Ivy just wants to be left alone with her plants, and yet her paradisiacal island home was destroyed by a Gotham weapons test. This sent her into a mad rage, and she has sworn to return Gotham to its natural, human-free roots, and her methods are the type that no man can survive.
4. Victor Zsasz
While all serial killers are certainly deranged, Victor Zsasz takes things to another level. The victims he murders are arranged in grotesque tableaus, and with each kill he carves another tally mark on his skin. Zsasz has killed hundreds of Gotham citizens, and the tally marks cover him from head to toe. He has been thrown in Arkham Asylum countless times, yet always seems to find a way to worm his way back into Gotham and begin his killing sprees anew.
Zsasz is physically fit, highly intelligent and has a twisted motivation to kill. After losing it all in a high stakes bout of gambling, Zsasz looked in the mirror and saw nothing but emptiness in his soul. To him, all life is meaningless, and he is giving a “gift” to each person he murders — the quiet of death. This makes him extremely dangerous, as killing is a way of life for the frightful Victor Zsasz. His only motivation is to liberate his victims from their pointless existence, from which he derives his greatest form of pleasure.
3. Talia Al Ghul
As Batman’s primary love interest, Talia Al Ghul is extremely deadly for a number of reasons. She is the quintessential villain for Batman: intelligent, a skilled martial artist, unrelenting in her motivations and perhaps most importantly of all, his perfect romantic foil. She is a character that Batman has an irrevocable soft spot for, even though she has crossed him numerous times, and holds most of her allegiances with her genocidal father. Through her manipulative methods, she brought Damian Wayne into the world, which further complicated the relationship between the Batman and her.
Talia kills those who oppose her without mercy, and is proficient with both blade and firearm, not to mention her own two fists. She is cunning and ruthless, and unreliable towards anyone with whom she is aligned — even if it’s family. She is one of Batman’s deadliest foes, because if nothing else, love is an Achilles heel that not even the Dark Knight can be dully prepared to fight.
2. Ra’s Al Ghul
Ra’s Al Ghul is a man who never seems to stay dead, and has been a plague on humanity for hundreds of years. He was originally born to a nomadic tribe in the Arabian Desert, and after moving to the city to study science, discovered his first Larzarus Pit. The natural chemicals in the pit had the ability to heal wounds, prolong life and reverse the tide of death. With this tool, Ra’s has been able to establish his powerful presence in the DC Universe. A ruthless killer, Ra’s has, over the years, amassed a great deal of wealth, influence and knowledge — three very dangerous weapons in his hands. With them, he was able to grasp the leadership of the League Of Assassins, which trained several of Batman’s deadliest adversaries.
After centuries of existence, Ra’s has come to a conclusion about humanity: it is corrupt, and must be wiped clean from the face of the Earth. Ra’s Al Ghul’s motivations for destroying the world are somewhat “admirable,” in that at least he wishes to bring order and balance back to the world. But regardless of this, his methods are genocidal and murderous, and he is a deadly threat to every person on the planet.
1. The Joker
Was there ever any doubt? The Clown Prince Of Crime is the embodiment of chaotic evil, the most well known villain in comics, and Batman’s deadliest adversary. The Joker’s key strength is of course his unpredictability. He has no motivation for the destruction he causes, and simply does it for the joy of chaos. At his disposal are a range of deadly weapons and tricks, from acid-shooting flowers to sleeping gas and hidden blades. He is utterly psychotic, and will kill on a moments notice. He flies into a blind rage if his mindless plans don’t go as expected, and he is a constant danger to both his enemies and those who foolishly consider him an ally.
The Joker is especially dangerous to Batman because of his deep obsession with him. Batman motivates the Joker to act, and he does whatever he can to get on his nerves and push him closer to the edge, even if this entails murdering those closest to him. The Joker sees them as two sides of the same coin, and will continue his deadly crusade of destruction as long as Batman is there to stop him.
What did you think of our list? Who did we leave out that MUST be on it? Let us know in the comments!
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