• Jake Wright

The 10 Greatest Batman Villains Of All Time

When it comes to rogue’s galleries in comics, it doesn’t come any better than Batman’s. The embodiment of the diabolical nature of Gotham City, every one of those adversaries stands in perfect opposition to the Caped Crusader. What makes Batman’s villains so compelling is the fact that most, if not all, are a few shades of grey away from the Dark Knight himself.

To celebrate the new upcoming DC movie, The Batman. We have put together our list of the top 10 Batman villains of all time.

10 - Penguin

(via: DC Comics)

Created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane and first appearing in Detective Comics #58 (1941), Oswald Cobblepot is a ruthless criminal mastermind with his hands dipped in all sorts of criminal activities throughout Gotham City. Thinking his family deserved to be as beloved as the Wayne’s, Penguin feels a strong sense of hatred towards the world for what he thinks is injustice and channels the feelings of rejection and trauma from his early life to dominate Gotham through his diabolical criminal empire.

Penguin will be portrayed by Colin Farrell in The Batman and is set to receive his own limited series on HBO Max.

9 - Mr Freeze

(via: DC Comics)

Created by Dave Wood & Sheldon Moldoff and first appearing in Batman #121 (1959), Victor Fries is not your traditional DC universe villain. His motivations stem from saving his terminally ill wife Nora, and after putting her in cryostasis when she contracted the deadly disease, interference from the company’s corrupt leader caused Victor himself to be transformed via his own technology.

Due to this accident, Victor can no longer live outside of sub-zero temperatures leading him to build his freeze suit to survive. Though he has his noble cause, he took to a life of crime to raise the money he needs to survive which has ultimately pitted him against Batman on numerous occasions. Although not evil at heart, Mr Freeze’s crime still class him as one of Batman’s fiercest foes.

8 - Hugo Strange

(via: DC Comics)

Not the most well-known Batman foe, Hugo Strange was created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane and first appeared in Detective Comics #36 (1940). Strange has risen in popularity in more recent years due to his appearances in Rocksteady Studios Batman: Arkham City game and actor BD Wong portraying the character in the Gotham TV series.

Strange is psychotic but incredibly smart, he is most notably known as being a psychologist who is obsessed with Batman. Being one of the only ones to deduce the Batman’s identity, he often puts on his own Batman costume in private to understand what goes on inside Batman’s head, but don’t underestimate him, as Batman himself stated that Strange is one of the most dangerous men on the planet.

7 - Harley Quinn

(via: DC Comics)

Possibly one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, Harley Quinn was created by Bruce Timm & Paul Dini and first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode titled “Joker’s Favour”. Originally created for a one-off appearance, Harley’s popularity was so vast she was quickly integrated into DC’s comic book universe as the Joker’s main accomplice and made even more popular thanks to actor Margot Robbie’s fantastic portrayal of the character within the DC Extended Universe.

Harley has spent many years as a psychotic killer with a bubbly personality who has opposed the Bat. Often taking pleasure in causing chaos and destruction for others, she can also be seen as a tragic character being manipulated by the Joker. After realising the toxicity of her relationship with Mr J. she has since broken it off and taken on more of an anti-hero role. Though trying to redeem herself of her horrific actions from her earlier years, it is no doubt that Harley will always be on our list of great Batman villains.

6 - Two-Face

(via: DC Comics)

Created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane and first appearing in Detective Comics #66 (1942). Harvey Dent’s tragic story is oh so similar to our beloved Bruce Wayne’s. Both driven for justice in a quest they cannot abandon, Bruce Wayne can sometimes “turn if off” and hide his vigilante crusade behind his playboy billionaire persona, but that’s not the same for Harvey. The former district attorney and close ally of Batman now bears horrific scars over half of his body thanks to infamous mobster Sal Maroni, which brings out his true obsession with duality and chance.

Two-Face is one of the most prominent gangsters in Gotham with his untapped rage and violent tendencies only kept in check thanks to his famous two-headed coin's toss falling in his victim’s favour. Like Batman, Harvey is a product of a corrupt justice system but where Batman uses this as fuel to fight his moral mission, Two-Face leaves it to chance and embraces the idea that no one pulls the strings of fate.

5 - Riddler

(via: DC Comics)

Possibly one of the more unique Batman rogues, the Riddler was created by Bill Finger & Dick Sprang and first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (1948). Where often brawn comes into play in many of Batman’s fights, Riddler challenges the Dark Knight to live up to his name as “the World’s Greatest Detective” by offering him a mental challenge instead.

Having many bright and colourful costumes, do not be fooled by his appearance as Edward Nigma is as sadistic as they come and his obsession to be Batman’s mental superior constantly drives him to create more traps and riddles for the Caped Crusader to solve.

We are about to witness a new and interesting take on the Riddler in live-action as Paul Dano will be appearing as the question marked killer in The Batman.

4 - Scarecrow

(via: DC Comics)

The master of fear, Scarecrow is yet another iconic Batman villain to be created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane as he made his first comic book appearance in World’s Finest #3 (1941).

Thanks to a tragic and abusive upbringing that left him traumatised forever, Johnathan Crane managed to work his way up to becoming a professor of psychology and developed an obsession with inflicting fear and understanding the effects of it caused Crane to take up the criminal identity of Scarecrow.

Contrasted with Batman’s use of intimidation, Scarecrow uses his own toxic gas that causes anyone who inhales it to experience their deepest darkest fears that often inflicts endless trauma for the rest of their life. In more recent years, Scarecrow has been depicted as attempting to use fear to evolve the citizens of Gotham. Best shown in the recent Batman story Batman: Fear State, writer James Tynion IV used Scarecrow attempting to expose the whole of Gotham to his newest fear toxin to evolve them as a civilization showcasing him as the true menacing villain he will always be known as.

3 - Ra's Al Ghul

(via: DC Comics)

International eco-terrorist Ra’s Al Ghul was created by Julius Schwartz, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams and first appeared in Batman #232 (1971). The Demon’s Head has taken Batman’s mission of purging Gotham City of crime and expanded it to strive for a worldwide purge which he believes will benefit the earth. The immortal leader of the League of Shadows and League of Assassins has an extreme passion for building a better world, a noble cause for sure, however his way is maniacal and murderous as he seeks to use genocide to aid his mission.

On top of being the world’s deadliest eco-terrorist, the respect that he has for Batman is upmost as he constantly strives for Batman to take over as his successor and marry his daughter: Talia Al Ghul. Though Batman now has close ties with Ra’s due to the son both him and Talia share, Damian Wayne (Robin), this doesn’t stop Batman in his quest to shut down Ra's Al Ghul's terrorist operations.

2 - Bane

(via: DC Comics)

The one who broke the Bat, Bane was created by Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench and Graham Nolan and first appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (1993). The fact he is one of the only people to defeat Batman and put him out of action for a while is impressive enough, but what makes Bane so compelling his not just his physical strength, but the way that he is a dark reflection of Batman’s own up bringing and discipline.

Growing up in one of the worst prisons around, Bane had a harsh upbringing leading him to fend for himself from the get-go. Brutal conditions forced Bane to craft his body and mind into an unstoppable machine ready to conqueror crime. Powered by the experimental serum called “Venom” Bane's already-impressive strength is boosted tenfold and with the use of his brilliant mind, he is more than capable of pushing Batman to his mental and physical limits.

1 - Joker

(via: DC Comics)

Agent of Chaos, Jester of Genocide, Harlequin of Hate, the Joker was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane & Jerry Robinson and first appeared in Batman #1 (1940). Joker is everything that Batman isn’t, both crafted through tragic events who see Gotham as broken. But with Batman doing everything in his power to fix it, Joker sees Gotham (and life itself) as one big joke.

Joker is one of Batman’s oldest foes but a huge element that makes him so great is the mysterious origin. Though we know he was crafted from a tragic doing, the mystery surrounding the Joker adds much more value to his chaos and psychotic nature. The character is one of the only villains in comic books to receive multiple on-going comics, numerous features in both movie and TV and receive his own solo movie back in 2019. The impact that Joker has had (and will still have for many more years) is easy to see and pits him deservedly in the number one spot on our list.

Who is your favourite Batman villain? Let us know in the comments down below.

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