The Bat-family of the DC Universe is one of the most engaging places to explore for many DC Comics fans. From the Dark Knight himself to the various groups he’s begun like the Outsiders to former sidekicks turned bonafide heroes like Red Hood, Nightwing, and Batwoman.
Yet one of the longest-running and most iconic of all those heroes who have trained under or worked with Batman has to be Batgirl. The original Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon and a brilliant tech genius with an eidetic memory. Let’s look at the ten most powerful villains in Batgirl’s Rogue’s Gallery.
10 Velvet Tiger
The first villain on this list has to be Velvet Tiger. Otherwise known as Lani Gilbert, Velvet Tiger is a ruthless villain with one of the more unique powers in the list of Rogues to face Batgirl. Velvet Tiger has the ability to manipulate the temporal energy around her, stepping in between seconds literally and giving her the illusion of using super speed.
She is known as an extortionist who specializes in blackmail and began using her abilities and talents to pursue greater power within the criminal underworld, even going so far as to threaten her own brother. She would battle both Batgirl and the team of Hawk and Dove.
9 Condiment King
This next villain is unique in that he originally began as comic relief for the comic book world, and was one of Barbara Gordon’s first foes she faced in her early days of being a hero. That foe is The Condiment King, aka Mitchell Mayo. A man who uses condiment guns to shoot various condiments at people, he is considered a joke to many within the justice department.
In later years, it was revealed he had been destroyed mentally by the Joker, and his sauces have been known to cause anaphylactic shock in his victims, having even faced the Birds of Prey.
Over the years as Barbara Gordon and others have worn the Batgirl mantle, many foes have popped up in one-off stories and have never appeared again. One foe that Batgirl faced in the past was Agrippina. A woman who believes herself the direct descendent of the Claudian line of Roman Emperors, despite the last of that line being Nero who died long ago, Agrippina was searching for an artifact from the Ninth Legion known as the Eagle.
After arranging several assassinations, she attempted to kidnap Jack Drake, but at the last moment was foiled by Batgirl and Connor Hawke. Despite her average fighting skills, she was no match and was last seen playing her harp in the burning down building of her headquarters.
In the Rebirth era of Batgirl comics, many new foes have come to Batgirl’s home of Burnside and caused trouble for the young Barbara Gordon. One such foe was Ethan Cobblepott, the long lost son of Oswald Cobblepott, aka the Penguin. Ethan was a handsome young business owner who owned a tech-incubator company known as VicForm.
Using various startups and apps, he fueled a campaign against Batgirl and attempted to “clean up” Burnside of those he deemed unworthy. All the while Barbara pretended to date him briefly until, finally, the two clashed, disfiguring Ethan and leaving him at his father’s merciless disposal.
One of the first truly powerful foes Batgirl faced in her career had to be Grotesque. A powerful thief who ran a criminal empire in Gotham, Batgirl crossed his path as he was attempting to steal a bottle of wine worth half a million dollars. Barbara stopped him but he escaped.
He nearly ended her using his power of absorbing and projecting electrical energy, but while he was distracted she managed to subdue him. Later, the Grotesque identity was whisked away from the original thief to police detective Evan Douglas, who used the identity to end the lives of several rich elites in Gotham.
5 Shauna Belzer
One of the more brutal villains in Batgirl’s rogues gallery has to be Ventriloquist. The latest iteration of the character at the time was Shauna Belzer, who as a young child grew resentful of her brother Ferdie for being a talented child star while she was considered “plain”. He became her first victim, leading to an obsession with taking lives.
With telepathic abilities, she would take more lives, and the second victim she took was a clown at a child’s birthday party. She would take his ventriloquist doll, name it after her now gone brother Ferdie, and use it to become the deadly villain.
Sometimes the most unique foes that a hero will face are the ones who are able to be turned to the light later on in life, becoming heroes themselves. Batman did this recently with Clayface in his own comic line, but years ago Batgirl did this with none other than one of the Court of Owls Talons.
That Talon was Mary Turner, who was sent to take down Batgirl on the Night of the Owls but refused after sensing a kinship with Batgirl. Later Catwoman helped Mary escape with Batgirl in another plot, and Batgirl helped the former foe turn into a hero she named Strix.
Of course with any hero who has become a part of the Batman family, there are several foes of Batman who have set their eyes on other heroes like Batgirl over the years. One of those foes, who is notorious for battling many of the Bat-family heroes, is The Penguin.
AKA Oswald Cobblepott, the Penguin is a powerful criminal mastermind and leader in the Gotham Underworld. He not only was the fuel for Ethan Cobblepott’s Blacksun to arrive in Burnside, but he later used Ethan to help Oswald launch a congressional run by making him appear to be helping Burnside during a weather disaster.
There is one villain in Batgirl’s life who caused more damage personally than any other. One villain who took Barbara Gordon away from the vigilante life of Batgirl for a number of years and left his mark on her career moving forward. That villain was of course none other than The Joker.
Batman’s greatest foe put Batgirl in his sights unknowingly, targeting Barbara specifically in an attempt to make Commissioner Gordon like him. He shot and severed Barbara’s spine, disabling her for a number of years, something he would throw in her face in future battles after she had a chip installed to allow her to walk again.
1 James Gordon Jr
One of the truly most disturbing villains and the most psychologically painful to Batgirl has to be James Gordon, Jr. The son of Commissioner Gordon and his wife Barbara, James was a diagnosed sociopath with the lack of an ability to empathize with others. Despite his sister Barbara loving him, he grew resentful of her natural gifts and the love their father showered on her.
After taking many lives, it was revealed he was instrumental in Barbara’s initial paralyzation, as it was revealed he arranged to have Barbara taken to the Joker in exchange for their mother. Barbara threw a batarang at her brother and he fell off the roof but survived.