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The Joker / Red Hood I
AKA: Joseph "Joe" Kerr / Jack Napier / Jack White / Oberon Sexton / Clem Rusty...
The Joker is one of the most famous supervillains in the history of comic books and a character who is equally as famous as his archnemesis. In sharp contrast to Batman, The Joker's skin tone is chalk white, his hair a bright green, and his costume consists of a bright purple tuxedo. The trait that truly connects these two personalities, while still isolating them, is the fact that Joker is a murderous sociopath.
It's not so much a question of what Joker's done -- it's rather a question what hasn't he done. His first appearance had him effortlessly killing two millionaires, a judge, and a rival mob boss; since then, he's sneaked into a fur warehouse using a model Trojan horse, made his own utility belt, tried to dump one of his henchmen in a Shark Pool, infected every fish off of the East Coast with his Joker venom (and then tried to patent the fish for royalties), tied his enemies to a giant exploding cake to celebrate his birthday, shot Barbara Gordon in the spine (and tortured her father to boot), killed Jason Todd (the second Robin), killed Jim Gordon's second wife, became stupidly powerful after stealing Mr. Mxyzptlk's powers, and nearly destroyed the world singlehandedly when he thought he was dying.
And he's far from done.
Like the rest of the senior Bat-cast, the Joker started out as a pretty dangerous guy in his earliest appearances before being turned into a guffawing, buffoonish trickster thanks to the combined influence of the Comics Code and the 1960s television series. When he was revived in the 1970s, he was turned back into the dangerous madman of his earliest appearances (although -- and this cannot be emphasized enough -- he was still crazy enough to try and patent Joker-fish). When the Dark Age came along, Joker soon had the single highest body count in the DCU (while he's outdone by the aliens and supervillains who can (and do) wipe out cities/planets, for a man who has nothing other than a criminally sharp mind and a twisted sense of humor, he's still got an "impressive" body count).
His relationship with Batman is... unique, to say the least. In nearly every published Batman crossover/AU comic, The Joker is there as well. Joker has claimed again and again that Batman is the sole reason for his existence -- and that they're more alike than Bats will ever admit.
The Joker, as portrayed in various media -- Tim Burton's 1989 film, Batman the Animated Series, The Dark Knight, and many an Alternate Continuity -- is a little bit different from the comic book version; specifically, the former are generally treated (if in unspoken terms) as psychopathic maniacs who have conned (or will con) others into thinking they are psychotically insane in the legal sense of the term, when really they just enjoy carnage and mayhem, and were usually murderous bastards even before he became a Monster Clown. The modern, mainstream, comic book Joker is treated much more like he really is insane (or at least, more insane than those other versions) and (sometimes) sees Batman as something of a psychological torment rather than an enemy or someone Joker just enjoys tormenting. Many versions fall somewhere in between the two extremes, largely Depending on the Writer. His Harmless Villain phase, by contrast, was actually pretty short lived.
As for his origin... well, no matter who tells it, it almost always involves him falling into a giant vat of acid (or something green). Most accept Alan Moore's portrayal of Joker as an unsuccessful comedian with a pregnant wife prior to the transformation, but as Joker said himself in that very story: "Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes the other! If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!"
For a full listing of the tropes surrounding this most iconic of supervillains, see his dedicated tropes page.
AKA: Harleen Quinzel
Which genius decided to let a fresh-out-of-college intern be The Joker's therapist, we'll never know (it's heavily implied that no one actually wants to work at Arkham), but Harley Quinn was the result. As Joker's doctor, Dr. Harleen Quinzel tried -- like so many others before her -- to restore the psychotic killer to sanity. She not only failed, but fell in love with him. The countless Freudian Excuse stories that Joker fed her were likely a part of it, since Harley has proclaimed that ever since she laid eyes on the clown, it was love at first sight.
Though it was Batman the Animated Series that introduced her (originally as just the Joker's henchgirl), Harley became popular enough to be included in the comics as well, and it was a comic (later adopted into a TV episode) that first told her origin. Perhaps even crazier than the Joker himself, you can count on Harley to be right alongside her "puddin'", mindlessly loyal to him, but cleverly lethal.
Not even Harley can stand the Joker's endless tirades of abuse and madcap lifestyle, however, and when she's in her downtime, she often finds consolation in Poison Ivy, whom she has a deep friendship with.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys
- Ax Crazy: Not as concentrated on single, gruesome killings as her puddin', but much more enthusiastic towards large-scale property damage.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Harley is, by far, the nicest, most sweet member of Batman's rogues. However, do not think her lovelorn origin and bubbly demeanor means she isn't a homicidal psychopath, however.
- Bi the Way: Her relationships with Joker and Poison Ivy (as confirmed by Word of God) and overall flirtatious nature pretty much confirms this.
- Blonde: To Ivy's Redhead and Catwoman's Brunette in some cases.
- Blondes Are Evil
- Brooklyn Rage: She has a very nasal New York accent and it is later revealed that she is from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
- Bunny Ears Psychiatrist: Naturally. While the writers flip flop on whether she skirted her way through school or not, every once in a while she does show she's still a pretty skilled psychoanalyst despite the crazy.
- Canon Immigrant
- Women Are Wiser: Despite being just as insane as her puddin' and just as indifferent to other people's death, she's still portrayed and perceived as being somewhat "less evil" than the Joker.
- Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: Granted, Joker does this a lot, but none of his other doctors wound up in love with him.
- She once wrote up a report on the Joker claiming that he was perfectly sane, but simply faking it to avoid the death penalty, and because he was enjoying his own maniacal behavior. This arguably subverts this trope, since Depending on the Writer this is exactly what The Joker is doing, meaning she is the first one to crack him (of course, she probably thinks this makes him a genius).
- Dark Action Girl
- Dark Mistress
- Domino Mask
- The Dragon
- Drop the Hammer: Mallets have been identified as her Weapon of Choice, though the Joker does use them on occasion as well.
- Dumb Blonde: She's really psychopathic, but still a ditzy, kinda sweet girl. Like Misa-Misa.
Harley: Hah! And here you thought I was just another bubble-headed, blonde bimbo! Well, the joke's on you; I'm not even a real blonde!
- Glass Cannon: In all continuities. Even though she definitely can fight, she isn't very resistant and is often easily knocked-out when things get physical.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Often depicted as such but she still has some bouts of true efficiency and is in fact the villain who got the closest to actually killing Batman. But well, Mad Love you know...
- Informed Judaism: So informed indeed that she never talks about it.
- Love Freak
- Love Makes You Evil
- Love Makes You Crazy
- Love Martyr
- Mad Love
- Meganekko: Before her transformation.
- Multicolored Hair: The cover for the 2011 Continuity Reboot version of Suicide Squad shows Harley sporting half red, half blue hair.
- Naughty Nurse Outfit: In Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- Perky Female Minion
- Psychopathic Manchild: Occasionally pops up in the main comics, and practically outlined in her solo series. She often acts, and sometimes thinks, like a sugar-high kid.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over
- Sexy Jester
- She Fu: We're still not sure how someone who's studied to be a doctor can suddenly do Olympic-level gymnastics.
- Because she went to college on a gymnastics scholarship.
- And received superhuman abilities from Poison Ivy during the first of their adventures.
- Shrinking Violet: She was very shy and reserved before meeting The Joker. Needless to say, that's changed quite a bit.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The DVD captions for Mad Love in Volume Four of Batman: The Animated Series spell her real name as "Harlene Quinzelle".
- Stating the Simple Solution: Suggested just shooting Batman to Joker, who proceeds to blow up on her (then later use this idea).
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: C'mon, Harleen Quinzel? Batman the Animated Series lampshades it by having Joker point it out in the episode showing her origin, and her dryly responding that she's heard it before. This conversation was pretty much replicated in Batman: Arkham Asylum in one of her interview tapes.
- Unholy Matrimony: She and Mr J. are one textbook example.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Harley is just as, maybe even crazier than Joker, but her demeanor is still pretty childish. When she goes to see Santa in a mall and he gets cancelled, she cries along with the other kids.
- Villainous Harlequin
- Word of Gay: With Ivy. It isn't known if her relationship with The Joker means she is bi or has a case of Single-Target Sexuality.
- Though she did kiss Batman at the end of Harley's Holiday, though it's still hard to tell.
- Yandere: It's rare, but even the Joker is scared of her when she goes into this mode. Or turned on. It could go either way.
AKA: Harvey Dent
Much like Jim Gordon, Harvey Dent was one of the few honest law enforcers in Gotham. Young and handsome, he was nicknamed "Apollo" by the press, but beneath his good looks was hidden an unstable mind. The details vary from origin to origin, but he eventually had half his face doused in acid, turning the left half of his face into a nightmarish, demonic monstrosity.
Dent's mind snapped after that, and the distraught District Attorney declared himself a mere puppet of fate. He quickly became one of Gotham's leading crime bosses, with the unusual habit of making all of his decisions with a two-headed coin - scratched on one side and clean on the other. All of his important decisions are decided by a flip of this coin - the scarred side representing evil, the clean side representing good.
Alongside the Joker and Ra's al-Ghul, Two-Face is one of Batman's greatest enemies, but not because of the threat he poses to the rest of the world. Instead, he reminds Batman of how far the greatest can fall, and how he cannot save all of his allies.
Note that in spite of his stature, Two-Face never made an appearance on the sixties show (likely because that he wouldn't fit into their campy approach; however, Joel Schumacher proved them wrong in a big way). FALSE Face did, but that's a different character altogether.
- Amoral Attorney: Averted; he was an incredibly honest and hardworking D.A. before the transformation.
- Anti-Hero: There are moments when he seems to be gunning for the title "The DCU's Punisher". It doesn't last.
- Anti-Villain: Sometimes, Depending on the Writer. Type I, II and/or III, Depending on the Writer as well.
- Black and White Insanity: The majority of his modern interpretations, from 1990 onwards. Quoting his revised origin:
"Harvey": Good boys don't do bad things.
- Chronic Villainy: No matter how many times they repair his face, Two-Face always eventually comes back. Most recently the damage was self-inflicted, using a scalpel and concentrated nitric acid. Yikes.
- Depending on the Writer: Was Harvey Dent one of Bruce Wayne's best friends or did he consider Bruce to be a useless fop? Did Harvey consider Batman to be a great ally in the war against crime, or merely a slightly more benign symptom of what was wrong with Gotham? The answers to these questions depends on if you read The Long Halloween, saw Batman the Animated Series or The Dark Knight. The main consensus in the main comics seems to be that yes, he and Bruce were good friends, and yes, Dent grudingly considered Batman an useful ally.
- The nature of his psychosis and morality changes so much it's ridiculous. The statement in Arkham Asylum about Joker's changing personality would likely better describe Dent.
- Fallen Hero
- Freudian Excuse: Being beaten as a child by his father. In fact, several versions actually state that this is where his coin came from in the first place.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Bruce Wayne has been known for going down to Arkham to play chess with Harvey Dent.
- Gollum Made Me Do It: During No Man's Land, Jim Gordon escapes a "trial" that he set up by taking advantage of this.
- Guns Akimbo: Much less than you'd think, but still there occasionally.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: With shades of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking; Two-Face often tends to explode over damn near anything, even trivial issues.
- In one issue, he and his gang are playing cards, and the rest of them are terrified that he'll set off when they start beating him, or other small stuff. He doesn't and actually laughs it off, and they let their guard down... then one of them spills some wine by accident, and he shoots the guy dead.
- For a time, he was infatuated with Detective Renee Montoya, who he met during No Man's Land, and tried to woo her. Then she turns out to be a lesbian, and he goes ballistic and accuses her of "betraying" him.
- In one comic book adaptation of Batman the Animated Series, Bruce and Gracie - Harvey's ex-fiancee before his accident - visit him in Arkham at a point he seems to be at last on the road to recovery; he himself notes that he's not using the coin as much, and he's genuinely grateful for the visit. Then The Joker suggests that Bruce and Gracie are seeing each other behind his back... and the predictable happens.
- Heads-Tails-Edge: He constantly gets screwed over by this trope.
- Heel Face Revolving Door
- Hello, Attorney!: A male example. Dent's incredibly good looks earned him the nickname "Apollo".
- Humble Hero: During his tenure as D.A. After the accident, his self-esteem has predictably sunk even lower.
- Idiosyncrazy: Especially in the Golden Age.
- Incompatible Orientation: His obsession with Renee Montoya.
- Insanity Defense: Being compelled to follow the flip of his coin, he is one of the few Bat Rogues to meet the real life qualifications for it to work.
- Large and In Charge: Sort of. He's far from being the tallest Batman villain, but he lacks any real fighting skills or training either. He is still a big, intimidating man, however, and tends to dominate his underlings - and go toe-to-toe with Batman - by relying on size and his highly volatile moral compass.
- Jekyll and Hyde: Naturally.
- Mismatched Eyes: His right eye is almost always depicted as blue, but his left iris tends to range from blood red to milky white. In the animated series, his entire left eye turns yellow and slitted.
- Morality Pet: Depends on the writer sooo much, but his ex-wife Gilda (and arguably Renee Montoya) usually are this.
- Multicolored Hair: Usually a black/white pattern. If they don't decide to have the "bad half" of his face have its hair being burned off instead.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Two-Face's brilliant idea to win Renee's affections/attentions.
- Noble Demon
- Numerological Motif: Guess.
- The Resenter: Initially felt this way towards Bruce Wayne. Probably couldn't care less now as Two-Face.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: During his retold origin in The Long Halloween, he pulls this on his traitorous assistant, Vernon.
- Shadow Archetype: Like Batman, he shares two separate identities, although Harvey's are apart and opposed to each other, in contrast to Batman and Bruce Wayne being together.
- Split Personality
- Stalker with a Crush: To Renee Montoya.
- Tragic Monster: Played for Drama.
- Two-Faced: Ha ha ha.
- Villainous Breakdown: Often.
- What Could Have Been: There were indeed plans to include him on the Adam West series; there, he would have been a reporter whose face was scarred by an exploding TV - and played by Clint Eastwood.
AKA: Edward Nigma / Eddie Nashton
Thanks to the unforgettable sixties show (where he essentially replaced the Joker as Batman's lead villain), the Riddler is one of the "big four" classic Bat-Rogues (alongside the Joker, Catwoman and the Penguin). Like most of the Bat-Rogues, the Riddler is victim to a mental disorder - in his case, an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that subconsciously forces him to leave clues in the form of riddles at the scenes of his crimes. Flashes into his past have shown an abusive father that would beat him every time he lied and an obsession with riddles, puzzles, and word games, all of which probably didn't help his descent into a criminal.
The Riddler is best known for his many (often silly) riddles that confound all but the Dynamic Duo, as well as his over-the-top deathtraps. He is, however, incredibly intelligent, yet considers his battles of wits with Batman to be a game - one in which he heavily respects his opponent.
- Affably Evil: When he's in a good mood.
- Ascended Extra: A rather minor villain until his first appearance on the sixties show. A combination of the series' popularity and Frank Gorshin's memorable performance saw Riddler become far more prominent in the comics.
- Attention Whore: His justification for becoming The Riddler, as shown in Detective Comics Annual #8.
"It wasn't the money I wanted. It wasn't the action I sought. I just liked the attention."
- Big Bad: Of Batman Forever.
- Brains and Bondage: Occasionally referenced--his minions Query and Echo used to work at a fetish club.
- Butt Monkey: Jeph Loeb's The Long Halloween and Dark Victory both portray him as this. Catwoman: When in Rome and Hush (both written by Loeb as well) avert this, however.
- Although, the aftermath of Hush shown him getting beaten up by pretty much everyone he used before, as stated in the description above.
- Calling Card: His riddles, of course.
- Cane Fu: To the point where his cane in Batman: Arkham City looks more like blunt weapon than a walking aid.
- The Chessmaster / The Dog Was the Mastermind: During the Hush arc. For crying out loud, one of the cover arts even shows him playing chess with pieces looking like the characters! BUT Batman had dismissed him earlier since he had not updated his tactics like the others had.
- The Man Behind the Man: Another interpretation is, since he didn't use his signature riddles, that he more likely mostly provided contacts and resources for the other chessmaster, as Batman suspects.
- Chronic Villainy
- Civvie Spandex: His trademark outfit. Now almost exclusively associated with the goofy, harmless trickster version of him; he's preferred the question-mark smoking jacket more recently.
- Convenient Coma
- Criminal Mind Games: His entire M.O.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He actually does follow it in his reformation.
- Cutting the Knot: Batman often defeats Nigma using either this or by taking a third option.
- Death Trap: He loves these.
- Demonic Possession: During the "Dark Knight, Dark City" storyline. The result? An Ax Crazy version of the character that only Batman: Arkham Asylum's version can compete with.
- Depending on the Writer: Bumbling Cloudcuckoolander? Scheming near-equal to Batman? A Bunny Ears Lawyer version of both?
- Domino Mask
- Evil Is Stylish: Both his suit and his leotard have their legions of fans.
- Giggling Villain: In the sixties series, even more so than the Joker.
- Harmless Villain: Frequently. Even in the Dark Age, he tries to avoid needless violence...
- Heel Face Revolving Door
- Humiliation Conga: Had a big one post-Hush.
- Idiosyncrazy: He actually gets mad when King Tut starts cribbing his gimmick despite having reformed.
- Insufferable Genius
- Large Ham: The Gorshin version especially had a tendency towards giggling, manic monologues.
- Linked-List Clue Methodology
- The Mad Hatter: Played for angst instead of laughs; he's crushed at how his insanity renders him incapable of not leaving Batman riddles that lead to his defeat.
- Master of Illusion
- Nice Hat: It started with Frank Gorshin, but even in the comics the Riddler is now often found wearing a snazzy green bowler hat.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: As Hush proved.
- "Dark Knight, Dark City" shows that if Riddler ever stepped up his game, he would completely own Batman.
- Shadow Archetype: He's a reflection of Batman's nature as a intellectual.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: During Catwoman: When in Rome.
- Private Detective: A slightly crooked one, but still legit as of now.
- Psychotic Smirk: A trademark of his.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: His reaction to the earthquake that created No Man's Land arc. Note that he's the only Arkhamite to even consider making a break for it. Which he does.
- Spell My Surname With An S: Is it "Nigma" with an "I" or "Nygma" with a "Y"?
- Spirited Competitor
- Smug Snake
- Symbol Motif Clothing: When his outfits are adorned with question marks.
- Take a Third Option: Batman often gets past his riddles by doing this, beating them in ways Nigma didn't anticipate.
- Tongue-Tied: He knows Batman's identity, but he can't reveal it due to his psyche; as Batman says, "A riddle that everybody knows the answer to is useless".
- Also, Batman hints to Riddler that Ra's might find out he used a Lazarus Pit if he bragged about it.
- Trickster Archetype
- Villainous Breakdown: He's had a lot of these.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: He'll just coat the truth in an enigma, wrap it in a riddle, and stuff the whole thing into a Chinese puzzle box!
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Batman this, due to him being the only one smart enough to solve his riddles.
Mister Freeze / Mister Zero
AKA: Victor Fries
Victor Fries was once a great scientist, who was accidentally exposed to some chemicals and was forever changed. While this was beneficial to the Flash, it ruined Fries' body physiology and he cannot survive for very long in high temperatures (even being in room temperature would eventually kill him). Being forced to create a suit to keep him cool, Fries eventually turned to crime, becoming the sinister Mr. Freeze.
That was all there was to the original Mr. Freeze (who actually debuted as Mr. Zero). He was just the gimmicky cold themed villain to fight and was eventually sent to Comic Book Limbo (where Animal Man actually met him!). Then Batman the Animated Series gave him a tragic backstory and personality, turning him into an Anti-Villain.
Nora Fries, wife of Victor, contracted a rare disease, of which there was no cure. Victor, wanting to save his wife, put her in cryo-stasis. Unfortunately, Fries' boss, Ferris Boyle tried to pull the plug on Nora and knocks Victor into some chemicals and... yeah. Later, when Mr. Freeze tried to get revenge on Boyle, Nora's capsule was destroyed and she died. Swearing revenge on Batman, he escapes. Whenever Freeze is captured and taken into custody, he is always taken to Arkham Asylum, as it is the only place where he won't die due to the temperature while in custody (his room being essentially a remodeled meat locker).
In recent history, Freeze managed to revive his wife with one of Ra's Al-Ghul's Lazarus Pits in exchange for building a machine to capture Cassandra Cain. However, due to Nora being dead for so long, she gains superpowers from the pit. She is pissed off at her husband and left him becoming the villain Lazara. Poor, poor Victor.
- A Day in the Limelight: An issue of Legends Of The Dark Knight has him narrating a retelling of his own origin.
- An Ice Person: Unlike most examples, his powers don't come naturally. Instead, he has to use his gun (which may or may not be linked to his sub-zero body temperature) to achieve this. And although his condition would kill him in a room-temperature environment, he can walk around openly and quite comfortably in the frigid polar regions, as depicted in the DCAU.
- Most of the time. On The Batman however, he does have genuine freezing powers and thus has no use for a gun.
- Anti-Villain: Type I or II.
- Bald of Evil: The transformation process apparently caused all his hair to fall out.
- Freak Lab Accident: Something that every version of him has in common.
- Harmless Freezing: Sometimes. Most of the time, he does kill whoever he freezes.
- Human Popsicle: Did his to his wife. He's kind of a walking, talking, killing one himself.
- Lost in Imitation: With the exception of the one in the Adam West show, every version of Freeze draws from the DCAU one. Of course, this is partially because the comics themselves adopted the DCAU version as his official backstory.
- Love Makes You Evil: Especially when the one you loved is dead.
- Mad Scientist
- Necromantic: Not at first, since his wife was technically still alive, but after her death, he still did everything he does out of his love for her.
- Only Sane Man: Usually shares this role with Penguin and Bane. He goes to Arkham not because he's insane, but because they're the only place that can accommodate him.
- A notable exception is his appearance in City of Crime, in which he is a delusional psychotic. Penguin even remarks that he hates working with crazy "freaks" like Mr. Freeze.
- Playing with Fire: His wife came back with powers. Guess what they are. Did we mention his life sucks?
- Ret Canon: After the animated episode pretty much won an Emmy, DC Comics hastily adapted Freeze's new origin into the comics as well.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: On Boyle at first. His later career is supposedly one targeted towards Batman, and to a lesser extent, the rest of Gotham.
- Tragic Villain
AKA: Jonathan Crane
Much like Mr. Freeze, and to some extent, the Riddler, the Scarecrow was a one-shot character in the comics, revived decades later to become a major part of the Bat-Rogues. Thin and bookish, he was (predictably) bullied by kids at school. As a result, he became even more withdrawn and angry at the world, culminating in him bringing a gun to the high school senior prom and attacking Jerk Jock Bo Griggs and his Alpha Bitch girlfriend Sherry Squires (who had rejected Crane's affections), killing the latter.
As an adult, Crane's psychopathic tendencies grew and grew. His interests in the human mind (especially fears and phobias) got him a job as a psychology professor at Gotham University, but firing a gun during one of his classes soon led to him being kicked out. Crane, obviously not taking this well, used his chemistry and psychology smarts to concoct a "fear toxin" and get his vengeance on the ones who fired him. Naturally, Batman stopped him. Naturally, he went to Arkham. Naturally, he would come back time after time to battle the Bat. As a character (inexplicably, given his use of gas) ignored by the sixties show, Scarecrow didn't require much of a revival when the Batman comics returned to their roots in the 70s, and as such didn't change much when he took on animated form (although his look certainly did).
In recent times, Crane has had a bit of a Freak-Out over the fact that he is pretty much nothing without his toxin. As a result, he abandons use of it (almost) entirely and instead relies on his expertise with the human mind in his criminal activities, beginning by driving two prison inmates to suicide with words alone.
- Abusive Grandmother
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight he is played by Cillian Murphy, who is considerable more attractive (to most) than his geekier comic book likeness.
- A God Am I: Alan Grant's "God of Fear" mini-arc (which took place shortly after Azrael had taken over as Batman) portrays him with this personality.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Take a wild guess as to what his costume resembles.
- Evil Mentor: Eventually revealed to be one to an Evil Student, Thomas Elliot aka Hush.
- For Science!: When writers decide to go for the MadScientist interpretation. Other times, he seems to just spray people with fear gas For the Evulz.
- Freudian Excuse: Bullies + Abusive Grandmother + Unstable Nerd = EVIL.
- Hannibal Lecture: Has recently begun specialising in these.
- I Know What You Fear: his gimmick.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: When written by Jeph Loeb, he has a tendency to sing bird-related nursery rhymes.
- Lean and Mean
- Nerd: His original Golden Age counterpart was actually treated this way as an adult. The Post-crisis version is the stereotypical teenage Nerd/Geek fusion seen so often in fiction.
- Mad Scientist: Well, not quite a scientist, but definitely the gist of this trope.
- Master of Illusion: Particurlarly the scary kind.
- Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate
- One-Winged Angel: The notorious incident where he became "Scarebeast", and when he fights in Injustice 2.
- Later on, Darkseid turns him into an even stronger creature that can take on Superman.
- Papa Wolf: He has had these moments especially with patients that he either finds very smart like Molly Randall who was then raped or has problems with bullies.
- Relative Button: Inadvertently pushes Batman's during the Knightfall saga. The results were not pretty.
- Revenge of the Nerd: Took this to a murderous extreme (see Griggs and Squires incident detailed above).
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Sadist Teacher: Okay, so most of the time, the "sadist" and "teacher" parts don't really appear together much, but there was that time when he fired a gun in the middle of one of his classes to inspire fear in his students.
- Scary Scarecrows
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Self-Made Orphan: Was raised by an abusive grandmother, whom he killed when he was a teen.
- Shadow Archetype: Like Batman, he uses fear as a gimmick in his actions, except Crane uses fear for malicious purposes.
- Sinister Scythe
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: pretends to be such a thing.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He himself is often depicted with either a fear of birds or a fear of bats. His fear gas reveals his victims' greatest phobias.
- In Blackest Night, it's revealed his constant exposure to his own fear gas has left him incapable of fearing anything. Except for Batman.
I WILL BREAK YOU!
You'll note that most of the entries on this page are rather old characters. One of the more recent Bat-Villains to make "the leap" to a top-tier threat was Bane, created in the 1990s for a specific purpose: to enable the writers to get Bruce Wayne out of the Bat-costume and replace him with a character intended to turn the readers against Nineties Anti-Hero Azrael, and Nineties Anti Heroes in general. The gambit worked spectacularly well.
To say Bane had a bad life is putting it mildly; he was essentially raised in a Central American prison, sentenced there for life while still in the womb for a crime committed by his father. However, once he managed to be old enough to defend himself, he thrived, and was selected for an experimentation program where he was made more durable (via the implantation of subcutaneous armor) and, more importantly, had a delivery system for a super steroid implanted in his body. While not quite superhuman in strength, when on the drugs he was very close, and combined with his genius-level intellect represented a foe unlike any Batman had faced to that point: one arguably as cunning as he was, but with far more physical prowess. After wearing Batman down, Bane eventually caught up to him and shattered his spine. Although eventually defeated by AzBats, that one storyline gave the character enough credibility that he instantly shot up to be one of the top Bat-Villains, and merited appearances on Batman the Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and in the disastrous Batman & Robin movie as a result. The final installment of The Dark Knight Saga will feature him.
- Badass Spaniard: Damn straight.
- Batman Gambit: By releasing pretty much every inmate in Arkham from the Joker to Mr. Zsasz, he (successfully) wore Batman down enough to easily crack the guy's spine.
- Characterization Marches On: The Bane that was originally introduced was much more cruel and petty than the version that has endured today. Though he was arguably portrayed as smarter than he often was afterwards, he also murdered prostitutes and was out to destroy Batman for little reason other than the "find the toughest guy in the place and beat him up" gambit. Flash forward to years later, after Bane has actually adapted to life outside the hellish prison he grew up in, and he's one of the few villains honorable and articulate enough that Batman will actually chat with him as they fight.
- The Chessmaster: figuratively and literally. He beat Ra's Al Ghul in chess, having never even seen a chessboard before, having only read extensively about the game. And he had engineered Batman's weakened state before the back-breakage in Knightfall of course.
- Combat Pragmatist: Given his upbringing in a brutal prison, Bane naturally had to become this just to survive. Additionally, in contrast to the also pragmatic Bat-Family and due to his rather villainous nature he isn't afraid to use lethal force or firearms if the situation warrants it. In fact, given his great strength, he can make use of much heavier artillery then most of Batman's other foes, who usually stick to handguns. Bane on the other hand has made use of a bazooka to blow Arkham wide open, a gatling gun to demolish Two-Face's army of goons, and even a miniature nuke to destroy some evidence.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Why arrange an elaborate game of cat and mouse when you can have others do all the work and then finish the job like a piece of cake?
- Destination Defenestration: Used hilariously in one of the Secret Six books.
- Drugs Are Bad: He's been used a couple times (most notably in Batman Beyond) to deliver An Aesop on the dangers of steroid abuse. Currently in the comics, Bane has kicked his Venom addiction and relies on his natural strength--still way above average, but no longer quasi-superhuman.
- Genius Bruiser: I mean, this one trope may as well be called 'The Bane'.
- Only Sane Man: Excluding several of his appearances post his defeat at the hands of Azrael, Bane is actually sane and intelligent, just completely amoral.
- Poirot Speak: While Bane often drops spanish words into his speech in the various adaptations he appears in, he's almost always written with perfect english in the comics. If you only know him from there and don't know his origin, you might not even realize that he's supposed to be Latin-American.
- Recycled in Space/This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Bane's was created as Doc Savage except EVIL AND ON STEROIDS!
- Shadow Archetype: When he first appeared, the impression was given that he was comparable to Batman in terms of intellect and physical prowess; essentially, Batman if he had grown up hated, abused, and imprisoned rather than loved, privileged, and free.
- Super Serum
- Super Strength
- Super Intelligence: of the super learning and Photographic Memory kind. However, he doesn't emphasize his intellect any more than strenght. Willpower and discipline are more of his defining aspects anyway.
- What Could Have Been: There were hints in his origin that he might have actually been Bruce Wayne's half-brother, as various passing references indicated that his father had been a foreign doctor who had fled the country. While Batman having to deal with the idea of the saintly image he's built up of his father being tarnished might have been interesting, it's pretty understandable why future writers declined to follow up on this.
Professor Hugo Strange
One of the very first recurring villains Batman ever fought (the others being Doctor Death and The Mad Monk), Hugo Strange was introduced as The Moriarty to Batman's Holmes, a Mad Scientist who used ingenius inventions and brainwashed, mutated goons to carry out crimes. Post-Crisis he was reinvented as a criminal psychiatrist who had ties to the mob who became obsessed with Batman, and again experimented with mutated brutes (this time round known as the "Monster Men"), but both versions have him eventually figuring out the Dark Knight is really Bruce Wayne, making him one of his most dangerous and personal enemies.
Despite being one of the oldest and more important of Batman's regular foes, Strange nowadays is mostly notable by his absence. He rarely appears in the modern comics and is more associated with stories around Batman's early career. He had a single appearance in Batman the Animated Series and a cameo in Justice League Unlimited , which would have led to something more were it not for the infamous Bat Embargo in place at the time. However, he made up for it in The Batman where he became a major villain (he even became the final villain in the last episode....almost) and is the Big Bad in Batman: Arkham City.
One of the more cerebral Bat rogues, Strange is nonetheless preoccupied with physical as well as mental perfection. He regards Batman as the embodiment of both, and at times his obsession reaches the point where he wants to 'be Batman, however he is just as often trying to create his own giant bruisers, and he is interested in pushing his own limits.
- Arch Enemy: In the early years, he had arguably a better claim to being this than The Joker, who was Put on a Bus shortly after his debut since the writers didn't want Batman to look impotent by letting the clown rack up a ridiculously high body count. Strange was a more frequent villain, and predated him.
- In The Batman, he actually arguably does fit this trope better than that show's version of the Joker (who is still an A-list villian, but doesn't seem as menacing as the show's Strange.)
- Awesome By Analysis
- Badass Bookworm: Inverted. He's a short guy but his obsession with bodybuilding and physical perfection means he is all muscle. The inversion is that he almost never actually uses them; its largely for show.
- Bad Boss: Has a nasty habit of brainwashing his own men and turning them into drugged up mutated brutes who will do his will. He once had a devoted Indian manservant named Sanjay who worked for him for years in return for Strange trying to save his brothers life- Strange fails, so he secretly experimented on the brother too.
- Bald of Evil
- Beard of Evil: Originally modeled a classic "villainous" goatee; he boasts a shaggy chinstrap in most recent appearances.
- Blackmail: In Batman the Animated Series he ran a clinic for the wealthy and powerful where he had a machine that let him read the minds of his patients, allowing him to dig up their darkest secrets and shames and later force them to pay for his silence. When Bruce checks in undercover he discovers he is Batman, but decides to have an Auction of Evil with Penguin, Two-Face and The Joker as the bidders. Adapted from the Pre-Crisis story where Strange first finds out Bruce is Batman, except blackmail had nothing to do with that one.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Memorably averted in one Pre-Crisis story. You want to know how he originally found out Batman's secret identity? He took his mask off while he was bound and unconcious. It was later changed to be a little more complicated than that, but you still have to admire his prudence.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The Monster Men; Quincy Sharp.
- Classic Villain
- The Chessmaster
- Diabolical Mastermind
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He successfully deduced Batman's identity but he is convinced that Bat's is driven by a power fantasy, not by actual heroism. This says more about Strange himself since thats why he wants to be Batman.
- Evilutionary Biologist: His "Monster Men", and his obsession with Batman.
- Faking the Dead: Done it so many times he even mocks Catwoman once when she pulls it off.
- Freudian Couch: He once had Bruce as a client and tried to get him to admit that he was Batman; since he was Batman, of course, Bruce thwarted the effort with a Memory Gambit, forcing himself to forget his secret identity for the duration.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: In Prey, Gordon gives Batman his bio and mentions that he used to have this.
- I Just Want To Be Batman: In Prey, he even has his own Batman costume and spends his free time sitting around his home wearing both it and a Slasher Smile.
- Jossed: A scientist baring a striking resemblance to Strange appears in a flashback to Bane's origin story on how he received Venom. While helping to create a Genius Bruiser, giving him a Fantastic Drug to make him bulkier, and unleashing him against Batman is exactly the kind of thing Strange would do, it wasn't him, and seems to be a coincidence.
- Mad Doctor
- Mad Scientist even more so.
- Manipulative Bastard: One of the masters in the Bat-verse.
- The Man Behind the Man: To the 2nd Black Mask, Jeremiah Arkham.
- Mind Control / More Than Mind Control: Several. The Monster Men again; Sgt. Max Cort from Prey; Quincy Sharp as the ultimate example.
- Nietzsche Wannabe
- The Syndicate: They funded some of his Monster Men research and its implied that they put him through college. Howver, he eventually decided that it wasn't working for him.
- Not Quite Dead: God knows how many times.
- Paranoia Gambit: Rupert Thorne, a crooked politician and a crime boss, once has Strange abducted and beaten to death because Thorne wanted to know Batman's identity. Except, Strange was Faking the Dead, and in revenge he made Thorne think he was haunted by his own vengeful ghost, driving him mad and leading to him publicly confessing to his crimes.
- Recycled Script: One of his earliest stories had him unleashing a fear-inducing powder on Gotham City; the Scarecrow debuted less than a year later (though he didn't use his fear gas then).
- Renaissance Man: He's an expert in psychiatry, philosophy, literature and biology, as well as bodybuilding.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: In Batman and the Monster Men, he is even shorter than normal, practically a dwarf, but he is still pretty buff.
- Psycho Psychologist
- Put on a Bus: He hardly ever shows up in the comics Post-Crisis despite being one of Batman's most notable enemies.
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Shadow Archetype: Like Batman, he's a Crazy Prepared Badass Bookworm who is determined to push the limits of physical and mental perfection, the difference being he's a self-centred sociopath and a criminal mastermind, and Batman's limits are much higher than his.
- The Social Darwinist
- Stalker Without a Crush
- Third Person Person: Pre-Crisis at least.
- Ubermensch: Sees Batman as one, and wants to be one himself.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Didn't last long, though.
AKA: Pamela Isley
Introduced (not surprisingly) in the sci-fi obsessed sixties, Poison Ivy is one of the few Bat-Rogues with actual powers. In her case, powers over all manner of flora. In addition, she's also got a special immunity towards all illnesses and toxins (sometimes naturally born with; sometimes not), and that's just as well, because she's often portrayed with the ability to naturally produce both lethal and non-lethal toxins from her body. This stems from her being seduced by her senior professor, Dr. Jason Woodrue, and used as a guinea pig for his experiments, although her origin comic by Neil Gaiman and his Black Orchid miniseries establish that the science was just a channel and she's actually, like Black Orchid, a mystical being called a May Queen with a connection to The Green (of Swamp Thing fame).
She was originally just another gimmicky villain, but quickly grew into one of the senior members of Batman's rogues gallery. Instead of being after money, "Pam" was instead an eco-terrorist who genuinely cared about the well-being of plants (and animals, to a certain degree). Violent person that she was, she often attacked businessmen and others who damaged the environment for monetary gain... and her love for "innocent" living things, including human children, has made her waver on the path of villainy from time to time.
Despite having a generally dismissive attitude towards men, Ivy can be incredibly seductive when she needs to be, and many times, she's shown to be able to take control of men with special lipstick and pheromones. When it comes to a melee fight, her chemically-enhanced body provides an incredibly athletic frame, but she usually prefers to let her mutant plants do her fighting for her.
From the year 2000 and on, her role in the comics changed a bit, as elements from the DCAU version became integrated. Namely, it's now rather rare to see her without her pal Harley Quinn, with Ivy tending to be cast as the straight man to Harley's wackiness.
- Anti-Villain: Short of Mr. Freeze, it's hard to find a rogue who gets the sympathy treatment as much.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: It's got a fair bit of Depending on the Artist, but her appearance is always reminding of a plant.
- Dark Chick: As said below, she isn't much of a fighter but that doesn't make her any less dangerous.
- Depending on the Writer: Sometimes she is an extremist eco-terrorist hell bent on protecting Mother Earth from the ravages of humanity; originally and just as often, she is just a glorified superhuman crook and seductress in it for the money.
- She's even occasionally shown concern for "innocent" human life, children especially, most famously in a particular issue of Gotham Central.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Upon meeting Harley, Ivy softened somewhat towards humans, but still manages to be quite strict whenever Harley screws up her plans. Which is frequently.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Some versions of her, such as the one from The Batman and the one from Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- Evil Redhead
- Fiery Redhead
- Flanderization: In a positive example, Ivy went from a normal woman who just used plants as a gimmick out of insanity to a half-plant woman with actual power over plants and who even looked plant-like. Most people seem to prefer this latter iteration.
- Gaia's Vengeance
- Garden of Evil
- Glass Cannon: Ivy relies mostly on her plants when it comes to physical fights and isn't a very effective hand-to-hand combattant against more highly-trained brawlers like Bats himself or even Catwoman.
- Green Eyed Red Head: It's probably the chlorophyll running through her veins.
- Green Thumb
- Humanoid Abomination: Some portrayals of her verge on this.
- Kiss of Death: When it doesn't brainwash you instead, this is often the alternative.
- Mad Scientist
- Mama Bear: Towards the orphans she looked after, as well as her plants, and Harley when the Joker's involved.
- Man-Eating Plant: Always has some kind of it ready & waiting to eat Batman.
- Never Be Hurt Again: Some portrayals of her emphasize this motivation. She got mutated when she fell for a guy Playing with Syringes; now she is obsessed with controlling men.
- Not Good with People: By which we mean that she cares little for their lives.
- Pet the Dog: Several, most notably during the No Man's Land arc, where she took in several dozen orphans despite her grudge against humanity.
- Redhead: To Harley's Blonde and Catwoman's Brunette in some cases.
- Redhead in Green
- Shrinking Violet: Pre-transformation, of course.
- Stripperific: Justified given her seductress persona.
- Torture Technician: Almost as much as the Scarecrow, she's a dedicated misanthrope who loves making people suffer.
- The Vamp: Started out this way, but eventually became an eco-terrorist. She still has shades of it though.
- Villainous Crush: Depending on the Writer, she could have an attraction to Batman that stands from either a minor attraction to either lust or genuine affection. While not at the same level as his relationship with Catwoman Batman could return her affection in some way, also depending on the writer.
- In one such issue, she mistook his saving her from death as proof he loves her, though he responds that she doesn't know the meaning of love.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: But not in the same way as Ra's al-Ghul, since she couldn't care less about the morality of humans. She mainly wants to kill them all so that they can't harm her precious plants.
- Yandere: Countless cheesy analogies towards flowers (especially roses) have been made about this aspect of her personality.
Ra's Al Ghul
Probably the biggest threat to the world in Batman's Rogues Gallery, Ra's Al Ghul (Arabic for "The Demon's Head", and pronounded "Raysh Al-Ghool") is a centuries-old man who leads an enormous international terrorist organization known as DEMON (as well as the League of Assassins). Unlike most of the other Bat-rogues, he is actually quite cultured and polite, if ruthless, and genuinely believes his goals to be noble. Of course, since his goal is to "purify" the world by killing off ninety percent of its population, Batman disagrees.
With the assistance of the mysterious Lazaurus Pits, Ra's has achieved limited immortality, as they rejuvenate him every time he takes a dip. Such a practice has allowed him to live centuries, if not millennia, and he's taken advantage of such a long lifespan to master swordsmanship, war strategies, various fighting styles, and many other skills.
Interestingly, after being created in the 70s revival period, Ra's took much of the 1980s "off", rarely appearing as a Batman antagonist, before being revived in a big way for the 1990s. He's one of the few top-tier modern Batman villains who was created after the sixties show aired, and as such didn't have a counterpart there.
Ra's has come to blows with both Batman and the rest of the Justice League of America many times, one time unleashing a genetically engineered virus on Gotham, and on another occasion, taking down most of the JLA with Batman's contingency files. He himself, however, was killed by one of his daughters, also a user of the Lazaurus Pits, who was furious at him for leaving her to die at a Nazi Concentration Camp. Though he eventually returned to life, Batman was able to imprison him in Arkham Asylum under the guise of an inmate named Terry Gene Kase, and assigns him "medication" that keeps him highly sedated.
- Affably Evil
- Affectionate Nickname: Always refers to Batman as "Detective" as a sign of respect.
- Badass: One of the few Rogues whose fighting skills match those of Batman himself.
- Bad Boss: Surprisingly subverted.
- Beard of Evil: It's practically mandatory, seeing as how he's probably a Captain Ersatz of Fu Manchu.
- Big Bad
- The Chessmaster
- Contractual Immortality
- The Dragon: Often employs one.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Disliked the way his son Arkady Duvall treated his followers in the Animated Series.
- Evil Albino: When he is forced to possess the body of his son, Dusan.
- Expy: With his unnaturally prolonged life, seductive daughter, large army of ninja-like operatives et al, he in many ways resembles a Middle Eastern Fu Manchu
- Friendly Enemy
- Grand Theft Me: How he escaped death.
- Heir Club for Men: Despite Talia's already effective running of his terrorist empire, he insists on finding a male heir to marry her with. He considers Batman to be the perfect candidate, if only he could get the "Detective" to accept the righteousness of his cause.
- Knight Templar: Not quite a textbook example, as he cares more about the planet's ecological balance than the morality of humans, but he has shades of this.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Used Catwoman this way in the Legacy arc.
- Misanthrope Supreme
- Moral Myopia: Bruce battles Ra's by destroying his Lazurus Pits, forcing the villain to live out his unnaturally long life. Ra's considers this outright murder, like keeping an old man from his medicine, but he doesn't really have any more right to the pits than anyone else (they are a naturally occuring phenomenon). Despite this, he was prepared to kill The Riddler for using one behind his back, to say nothing of his genocidal plans for humanity.
- Motive Decay: Nearly every version of Ra's begins with Utopia Justifies the Means but ends up more and more obsessed with cheating a natural death, finding alternatives to his Lazurus Pits (which aren't totally reliable, and which Bats goes out of his way to destroy) no matter how immoral, up to and including Grand Theft Me on his own family members, completely forgetting about all that "saving the world" stuff.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Writers in and out of the comics can't decide whether his name should be pronounced "Raysh al Gool" or "Ross al Gool". The correct Arabic pronunciation is somewhere between the two leaning toward the latter.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His idea of mercy is "only" killing off about 90-95 percent of the human population.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old
- Shadow Archetype: In this case, he represents what Batman might have become in his quest for justice.
- Skunk Stripe: It's stated to be a side-effect of using the Lazaurus Pits.
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Not quite a textbook example here, either, since he did admit that the Holocaust would be beneficial to his plans.
- In the story Death and the Maidens. Ra's Al Ghul allying with the Nazis required him to overlook his bloodkin being murdered. They're sort of the people he also intends to (nearly) wipe out humanity because of.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Lazaurus Pits temporarily makes anyone who uses them insane. Apparently, long-term effects are present in Ra's as well.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Batman this.
Talia Al Ghul
The daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, Talia was once Catwoman's primary competitor for Batman's Love Interest. Despite her father being opposed to the Dark Knight, Talia finds herself in love with him, and is often torn between loyalty towards her father and her love for Batman. Much like with Catwoman, Batman has genuine feelings for her, and has even fathered a child by Talia (albeit one which he was told had been miscarried, and was concieved by what essentially amounted to a date-rape). She's normally not above co-operating with Batman if it would serve her own ends, yet has firmer ties to the rest of the DCU villain community than her father, even taking over for Lex Luthor as CEO of LuthorCorp upon his election as president.
Eventually, she was kidnapped and brainwashed by another one of her father's daughters, thought to have died in a Nazi concentration camp. Said daughter planned to kill Ra's for abandoning her at the camp, and succeeds in doing so. This, however, turns out to be a Xanatos Gambit on Ra's' part to make his daughters accept their destinies as his heirs. Since then, Talia has severed ties with Batman, but still holds infatuation for him, and has recently returned to Batman's life to let him know that he owes roughly eleven years' worth of child support payments.
- Amazon Brigade: Her own personal guard.
- Anti-Villain / Anti-Hero: Most of the time, though sometimes she slips.
- Big Bad: Revealed to be this for Grant Morrison's Batman epic in Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Getting killed and resurrected countless times will do that to anyone.
- Convenient Miscarriage: In the graphic novel Son Of the Demon. Said novel's canon level has ping-ponged back and forth.
- Daddy's Little Villain
- Dark Chick: More than a Dark Action Girl since she isn't much of a fighter all in all.
- Dull Surprise: No matter how upset, enraged, or surprised she gets, she almost always looks completely calm and seductive. Even when her son is critically injured after an explosion at sea, her orders for help are as calm as though she were ordering lunch at a restaurant.
- Fatal Attraction: To Batman, and vice-versa.
- Femme Fatale
- Glass Cannon: Much like Harley and Ivy, she isn't very resilient when it comes to physical fights and relies on her Amazon Brigade to protect herself. But she can definitely dish out a lot more than she can take.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In "Hush".
- Mama Bear: Mess with her son and you won't live long enough to regret it.
- Immortal Terrorist's Beautiful Daughter
- Mind Rape: At the hands of her own half-sister, no less.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In the videogames and the animated series, her "accent" is anything but Persian.
- Persian Babymama
- She Fu
AKA: Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot
Being born into a rich family can suck sometimes. While we already know about Bruce Wayne's woes, Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot was not without troubles of his own. Having been bullied for most of his life due to his short stature, obesity, and beak-like nose (hmm... wonder where this is going...), he was an outcast in his own family besides his beloved mother. Eventually his frustration built up to a point where he finally decided to release it by becoming a criminal. Due to his upbringing, he always tries to look his best in a tail-coat, top hat, and monocle (so yeah, that's where we were going).
All of that, in addition to his notable love for birds, inspired him to take the moniker "The Penguin" (Tim Burton's version of the Penguin was much more grotesque, almost literally appearing to be a penguin). Whereas most of the Bat-Villains are insane to a degree, Penguin is perfectly sane (Penguin is also one of the few villains to never be committed to Arkham), even operating the "Iceberg Lounge" nightclub, as equal parts legitimate business and front for his OTHER business. The Penguin is mainly an idea person, relying on others to carry out his crimes (although he does get personally involved from time to time), and in more recent years, he has been shown to attempt to be an organizer for a larger group and more of a mob kingpin. Also notable is that Penguin, like Catwoman, skirts the line between being criminal and being on the up-and-up, to the point Batman will even be willing to give him some leeway as long as he doesn't get too dirty, although unlike Catwoman this isn't because he is an Anti-Villain but mostly just a case of Pragmatic Villainy. Batman's even used him as an information source on underworld info, since The Penguin knows everybody. They're enemies, but they're willing to let each other be as long as their paths don't cross.
- Affably Evil: He knows he's a villain, but still sticks to what he believes to be gentlemanly behavior. Usually, anyway.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Almost all versions of his backstory incorporate this.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Both his clothing and his appearance evoke the image of a penguin. How strongly this is portrayed depends on the writer/artist, with the Danny DeVito version taking the cake.
- Bad Guy Bar: The Iceberg Lounge technically counts.
- Civilian Villain: Even before his "official" reformation, he's gone through supposed reformations countless times.
- Creepy Child: He eventually becomes one in his backstory of Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.
- Disproportionate Retribution: His story in the comic book Joker's Asylum has him pretty much doing everything he could to ruin the life of a chef who was laughing when he went on a date with a beautiful woman. Less than two months later, he had ruined the chef's life so thoroughly that the guy hung himself, and it wasn't even certain that the guy was laughing at him!
- Of course, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
- And played straight in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.
- Everything's Better with Penguins
- Evil Is Stylish
- Fat Bastard
- Foil: Like Bruce Wayne, Cobblepot was born in the lap of luxury, but turned out very differently.
- Gentleman Thief: Started out this way.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He has a cigarette holder, signifying his status as a villain.
- Graceful Loser
- High-Class Glass
- Improbable Weapon User: Umbrellas.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Rarely fights, but has been shown to be a very effective combatant.
- Man of Wealth and Taste
- Momma's Boy: Almost to Norman Bates's levels in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.
- Only Sane Man: One of the few recurring Batman villains who is considered completely sane and as such rarely (if ever) gets sent to Arkham. He goes to Blackgate Penitentiary instead.
- Parasol of Pain: He's famous for his "trick" umbrellas in combat--primarily umbrellas with concealed blades or guns.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Type C in Penguin: Pain and Prejudice.
- The Rat: The only reason why Batman lets him operate his nightclub.
- Rocket Ride: See above.
- Self-Made Orphan: In Penguin: Pain and Prejudice he killed his father along with his brothers so he could be alone with his mother, the only person who loved him.
- Shadow Archetype: He (arguably) represents a dark, corrupted version of Bruce Wayne's Rich Idiot With No Day Job identity.
- Sinister Schnoz
- Training Montage: Briefly shown during Secret Origins Special #1, where he was shown lifting weights and practicing with a punching bag as a kid. Result? He knocks out a bully's teeth with a single punch.
- Villain with Good Publicity: As of now in the mainstream DCU continuity. In the DCAU he eventually became Gotham's mayor!
- Wicked Cultured: At least, he tries to be.
AKA: Thomas Elliot
Thomas Elliot was born into a highly respected family in Gotham City, and as a child was a great friend of a young Bruce Wayne. Unfortunately, Tommy's dad was an abusive alcoholic and his mother a controlling Rich Bitch who made him study philosophy and strategems to help him succeed in life. Eventually his father's abuse got so bad, he decided to apply his studies to improve his own life, by cutting the brakes on his parents car before they had a drive, so he could inherit their money and live by his own way. Unfortunately, thanks to Bruce's father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, Tommy's now crippled and needy mother survived, which was the worst thing that could happen to him. When news of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne's deaths reach him, Tommy's already budding hatred of his former friend only grows stronger.
Mrs. Elliot then manipulated her son into staying with her so he could take care of her. Eventually Tommy had enough and suffocated her. After his mother's death, Tommy left Gotham, entered medical school and became one of the country's best surgeons. However, when when Eddie Nygma AKA The Riddler offered him a way of curing his mother's cancer, Tommy learnt that his former friend Bruce was the Batman (Riddler having figured out his identity in a moment of Lazarus Pit-induced insanity). Tommy decided that enough was enough and that Bruce had to be cut down to size and pay for "his crimes against me". Creating the identity of Hush, Elliot became arguably the most prominent Bat-Villain created in the 2000s.
In an effort to further bedevil Batman, Hush has recently altered his face to become a perfect duplicate of Bruce Wayne.
- And Your Little Dog, Too: Hush goes after those close to Batman (which makes Bruce realize that for a self-described loner, he sure has A LOT of friends) including, of all people, Superman. Hush thinks big. He also kills Harold, who was a severely injured cripple who used helped in the Batcave. He was a C-List Fodder who had barely appeared in any comic since the 1980s, but it was still sad.
- Ascended Meme: Hush was never a serial killer in the regular comics, but the wikipedia has been calling him one for unknown reasons. Then they actually made him one in Batman: Arkham City. As well as his Legacy Character in Batman Beyond.
- Badass Longcoat
- Batman Gambit: His mantra is "think like your opponent", which is pretty much this.
- The Chessmaster: Hush likes his convoluted plans.
- Criminal Doppelganger: Got facial reconstruction surgery to more easily get away with impersonating Bruce Wayne.
- Enfant Terrible: His parents would surely wish they hadn't abused him.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He doesn't understand why some might prefer having living parents to having lots of money, and he thinks Bruce is Batman for the fun of it.
- The usual reason for his failures is not to count on Batman getting help from friends. Friendship is a concept he just doesn't get. His past relationship with Bruce was an act and though he talks about friendship a lot, it has a mocking tone to it.
- Gambit Roulette: Possibly the whole of Batman: Hush, but there is no indication that the events could not have gone any other way.
- Guns Akimbo
- Kick the Dog: Using Jason Todd in an attempt to mess with Bruce's mind, shooting Harold, cutting out Catwoman's heart, lying to Killer Croc about having a cure for his condition and then accelerating it instead, injecting a neurotic child with venom, killing a minor villain just to have Batman for himself... yeah, this is kind of his specialty.
- It's Personal: Batman and Hush are this to one another.
- Manipulative Bastard: Already as a kid. After he has a violent outburst on a summer camp, he coincidentally has Jonathan Crane as his therapist. Tommy admits he is guilty of much more than a mere attack, but gets Crane to declare him mentally stable with just a few words:
Maybe I'll do it again.
- Motive Rant: He has one right after he kills Harold.
- My Beloved Smother: Tommy's mom was like this even before the accident. Afterwards, she became so controlling she kept her son at home for nearly twenty years, using the family fortune as leverage. When Tommy says he has enough, she tries to cut him out of her will and he smothers her with a pillow out of anger.
- Remember the New Guy?: Althought they tried justifying it with flashbacks and whatnot, one has to wonder why we've never heard of Bruce's (supposedly) dearest friend before.
- Self-Made Orphan
- Shadow Archetype: Another one of Batman; Hush being what would happen if Thomas and Martha Wayne's parenting of Bruce went horribly wrong and Batman became a villain.
- The Sociopath: Very much actually. Seems to have more actual sociopathic traits than The Joker.
- Villain Team-Up: Hush likes recruiting other villains in his plans. Batman: Hush has most of Batman's rogue's gallery involved in his Gambit Roulette, In Hush Returns he recruits Prometheus.
- In fact, he did this years before becoming Hush; as a young man, his girlfriend was Peyton Reilly, the second Ventriloquist (see below), and she helped him in the murder of his mother for her money.
The Mad Hatter
AKA: Jervis Tetch
Jervis Tetch, a man of short stature and large head, went through his life friendless, becoming a scientist and experimenting with technology, specifically that of mind control. His psychosis is a mix of paranoid schizophrenia and manic depression, all of this centering on his fascination with both hats and Alice in Wonderland. Using his technology, Tetch turned to a life of crime as the Mad Hatter, inserting his devices into headgear in order to turn unwitting victims into his slaves. His technology has advanced to a point that where not only can he put his mind-control devices into almost anything (free meal tickets, Walkmans, etc.), but he is now able to miniaturize his technology to a point of simulating telepathic hypnosis/mind control.
The Mad Hatter is possibly one of the strangest Bat-Rogues ever (which is saying something). Throughout his tenure, Tetch has been subject to several redesigns in both appearance and personality; he has gone from average height to quite short to an actual dwarf and has been a goofy thief, a scheming mastermind and a creepy pedophile-esque kidnapper. He's gotten a lot more serious in the comics and has proven to be a formidable and unpredictable opponent.
This character was indeed used in the sixties show, but the version was based on an imposter who posed as Tetch during a period in the comics. He appeared in only four episodes, all of them making use of his hypnotic machinery and showcasing his desire to add Batman's cowl to his collection of hats. The animated series turned Tetch into a criminal through his obsession for a co-worker (ironically named Alice), swearing vengeance on Batman when he foiled his plans to be with her (read as "hypnotize her boyfriend and stalk her"). This motivation went away though as the Hatter soon became another common thief. Still, he had a good run and several good episodes.
Incidentally, few people remember that his debut comic, Batman #49, also featured the debut of Vicki Vale- Arkham City might feature a Shout-Out to this in the scene he first appears in that game , but this might be a coincidence.
- Alice in Wonderland: Tetch quotes this constantly, with Jeph Loeb's incarnation speaking in nothing but quotes from the book.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance
- Berserk Button: Do not touch his hat.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Not dead so much as missing, but his redheaded Silver Age counterpart apparently stole his identity and M.O. for a time. The real Tetch later turns up alive; the latter does not.
- Depraved Dwarf, although this varies.
- Evil Is Stylish
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Gonk: Most current artists depict him as, like the Tenniel illustrations, having a very large and crooked overbite, with a nose to match.
- Hypno Trinket
- Let's Get Dangerous: You'd think that he's completely ineffective in combat. Hoo boy, would you be wrong.
- The Mad Hatter: Oddly enough, subverted. He's often depicted as struggling with his mental illness, and dislikes having it mentioned.
- Master of Illusion
- Mad Scientist
- Man Child
- More Than Mind Control: Some of Tetch's schemes have become very elaborate through this trope.
- Nice Hat: The Hatter lives by this trope.
- Off with His Head: He actually utters this line in his very first appearance, appropriately holding an axe twice as tall as he is.
- Rhymes on a Dime: In Gotham Central, he uses this as a coping mechanism when he feels threatened.
- Spot of Tea: Expect the Hatter's tea to always be laced with something.
AKA: Sandra Wu-San / Sandra Woosan
One of the premier martial artists in the DCU, Shiva is a mercenary with her own sense of honor and duty, but who really lives for the thrill of life and death combat. She has trained Batman as well as several of his allies, but that doesn't stop her from fighting them if she feels the urge to. She sometimes acts in a quasi-heroic capacity, occasionally working with the Birds of Prey, but it's a nervous time those allies.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Girl: She's constantly training and retraining herself to eternally improve her martial arts abilities. She also challenges any combatants whom she deems worthy, testing herself against them, testing them against her, and learning from them/removing them as threats for the future. The later part usually doesn't occur right away.
- Asian Baby Mama: to David Cain. She rather hates him for it.
- Badass Normal
- Blood Knight
- Charles Atlas Superpower
- Dark Action Girl
- Death Seeker: Implied in Birds of Prey.
- Dragon Lady
- Deliver Us From Evil: Type 2. In Batgirl, its shown to be her Start of Darkness.
- Duel to the Death: She LOVES these, but that doesn't stop her from being forced into an Involuntary Battle to the Death every now and then. Usually, people use her to get others into them. She'd rather choose her own targets.
- Forbidden Technique: The Leopard Blow.
- Finishing Move: The Leopard Blow. What it is varies from time to time, but one of the most gruesome versions involves ramming two fingers into a weapon point int he forehead, killing the target in one hit. Another version is smashing the nose and forcing the small bones of the nose into the brain. When later writers realized that was a physical impossibility, it was changed to the former version.
- Hot Mom
- Honor Among Thieves: She rarely tolerates anyone breaking it.
- It's Personal: Do not harm her sensei or her students. The later is her job.
- Lady of War
- Morality Pet: Black Canary deliberately tries to be one for her in Birds of Prey. Shiva allows it because she wants to break Dinah of that habit.
- Mugging the Monster: Done to her by Bikers. Ended about as well as one could expect.
- My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: It's so good, other characters go to her to enact this trope.
- Noble Demon: Many times she shares foes with the heroes of any story she appears in. Why? Because she'd probably kill the hero too quickly in a straight contest.
- Odd Friendship: Black Canary and Lady Shiva. "Friends" may be pushing it a little far, but they are amicable acquaintances with a shared history and civil interactions. They have, on occasion, gone for drinks together, trained together and worked together. However, they also remain potentially mortal enemies from diametrically opposite sides of the good/evil divide. ]
- One Woman Army: To the point where people started worshiping her as an avatar of Shiva the destroyer. She couldn't care less.
- Pregnant Badass: Pregnancy barely slowed her down, beating up another world class assassin, David Cain. Ironically, it was his kid she was pregnant with. Probably what helped make her daughter so badass.
- Professional Killer
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming
- Rogues Gallery Transplant: She started as an enemy/ally of Richard Dragon, before moving to the Question, Batman and eventually her own daughter, Cassandra Cain. As one of the DCU's best martial artists, she often appears in other titles in a similar capacity.
- The Obi-Wan: To Bruce durring his recovery in Knightfall.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: When working with heroes, they insist she not kill anyone. This often annoys her, but she complies.
- Training From Hell: She puts herself through this and others come to her to get it. Its implied that the name Lady Shiva is a title and that others are going through the same training to become the next one.
- Worf Effect: it does happen on occasion, but she often regains herself shortly afterwards. The only person who she did not overcome in the end so far was Prometheus.
Tweedledum & Tweedledee
AKA: Deever, Dumfree and Dumson Tweed
Despite being cousins, Deever and Dumfree were so alike in both appearance and mannerisms that they could easily be mistaken for identical twins. Drawing inspiration from their shared love of Alice in Wonderland, the duo went on to commit multiple crimes in Gotham, dressed as the similarly-named twin brothers from Through The Looking Glass. After the apparent death of Dumfree, his twin brother Dumson has since stepped in to take his place. Although they run their own separate criminal organization, they can often be seen in the employ of the Mad Hatter (see above).
- Acrofatic: Depicted in the Golden Age as capable of rolling and bouncing at high speeds.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance
- Creepy Twins: Played with. They actually aren't, but they enjoy giving this impression, and Dumfree and Dumson certainly qualify.
- Squishy Wizard: Despite their impressive size and strength, they're not very adept at actual combat, so they tend to take a more hands-off approach to their robberies.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute
- Wicked Cultured: Despite their unorthodox demeanor, they're seen in one issue drinking wine and smoking cigars in plush armchairs. Wearing smoking jackets fezzes, no less.
The Ventriloquist I
AKA: Arnold Wesker
Arnold was born into a powerful mafia family. However, as a kid, he witnessed his mother killed by the hands of an assassin sent by a rival gang. This sparked a Dissonant Personality Disorder within his mind. The only outlet he found to vent this trauma was through ventriloquisim. Eventually, he turned to a life of crime, following in his family footsteps. Or rather his cohort did and he pulled the strings.
Scarface is his main venting outlet for his disorder, a wooden puppet named and slightly modeled after Al Capone. He communicates his plans through this puppet, and even uses it during his various heists to the point of obsession.
- Demonic Dummy
- Extreme Doormat: Wesker to Scarface.
- Gollum Made Me Do It: Some interpretations of him portray him as a perfectly innocent man being bossed around by a loud mouthed blockhead.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Depending on the Writer, Scarface is either simply a symptom of Wesker's disorder, or something more sinister and potentially supernatural.
- And on some occasions its implied to be neither and Wesker is just a Manipulative Bastard who wants everyone to think he's crazy or that the doll is possessed, and thus akin to some versions of The Joker. Given that this would mean he is willing to machine gun his own hands as part of his "act", this would probably make him even crazier.
- Multiple Choice Past: Some stories use the mafia family origin above; other stories have Wesker losing control of his anger in a bar and being sent to Blackgate prison, where he acquires the "Scarface" dummy after it had been carved from a piece of gallows wood by his cell-mate.
- Real After All: After Arnold's death, the dummy moves by itself for a few panels before burning up.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Wesker and Scarface are almost always accompanied by the same two thugs, Rhino and Mugsy.
- Took a Level In Badass: In the New 52, Arnold never died and becomes a mutated monster who shoves his hands into his victim's backs and makes them "talk" like a doll.
- Verbal Tic: Due to Wesker being unable to pronounce the letter "b" when doing his ventriloquist act, words with "b's" in them always come out with a "g" sound when Scarface says them; for instance, "Gatman" instead of "Batman."
The Ventriloquist II
AKA: Peyton Riley
After Wesker's death at the hands of Tally Man, Scarface is taken up by Peyton Riley, the daughter of an Irish gangster, who had worked with Scarface before and grown to like both him and Wesker. Like Wesker, she believes Scarface to be talking to her, although unlike Wesker, she acknowledges this could be a hallucination. She also isn't as meek as Wesker; she has plans of her own, and is working "with" Scarface, rather than for him.
- Arranged Marriage: Her father married her to an Italian gangster in order to unite the two families. This didn't work out.
- Demonic Dummy, but not so much Gollum Made Me Do It.
- Woman Scorned: Her driving force is to get revenge on her ex-husband, who wiped out the Riley family.
Black Mask I
AKA: Roman Sionis
Roman Sionis was about the same age as Bruce Wayne, and likewise had wealthy parents. However, Roman's parents were extremely neglectful and uncaring towards their son; he grew to resent them and the "Masks" they wore (of good, friendly people), when in private they were miserable. Sionis eventually killed his parents, but ran their business into the ground; at which point it was bought out by Bruce Wayne. Sionis snapped, breaking into his parents' crypt and carving a mask out of his mother's coffin. An attempt to get revenge on Wayne by lashing out at his employees failed due to the intervention of Batman, and ended up causing Sionis's Black Mask to be burned onto his face, making it unremovable.
Sionis was a capable gangster (often leading a mask-themed gang called the False-Facers), managing to regain his hold over organized crime after long stays in jail. Sionis grew even more insane and obsessed with torture as time went on. In a notable Catwoman arc, Sionis discovered Selina Kyle's secret identity, and in vengeance for Catwoman attacking his drug rings, tortured Kyle's brother-in-law to death, and forced her sister to eat pieces of his corpse, driving her insane. Sionis was thought dead when after an extended fight, he fell out of his penthouse.
Later, in the War Games story arc, Black Mask managed to successfully play the opposing forces of a Gotham Gang war against each other. He managed to kill Orpheus, one of Batman's inside men, and assume his identity, and tortured Stephanie Brown, alias the Spoiler, leading to her apparent demise. Sionis became the de facto leader of all of Gotham's organized crime following this. He was later killed when he once again sought to ruin Catwoman's life mistakenly believing she would abide by the No-Kill rule, she responded by shooting him. After Batman's "death", a new Black Mask has surfaced, who turns out to be an Ax Crazy Dr Jerimiah Arkham, but he was revealed to be Brainwashed and Crazy after his defeat, and following the reboot is probably no longer in action.
- Arch Enemy: Arguably for Catwoman.
- Ascended Extra: He was active since the 1980's, but though always a competent and dangerous threat Black Mask remained a fairly obscure villain until he was re-imagined as an Ax Crazy Complete Monster and Snark Knight with a Skull for a Head who succesfully and violently took over the Gotham criminal underworld and generally Took a Level In Badass. Since then he was appeared in several adaptations and has had a major impact on Gotham in general and the Bat-family in particular.
- Ax Crazy
- Card-Carrying Villain
- The Chessmaster: In War Games, especially.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: In one arc he cut up a woman's fiance and fed bits of him to her. It was given all the weight it deserved.
- Criminal Doppelganger: In War Crimes, following his takeover of the Gotham City underworld, he attempts to get rid of Batman by disguising himself as the Caped Crusader and going out killing people in order to frame him for murder. It's foiled by The Joker, who is annoyed that Mask (seemingly) killed Stephanie Brown, because she used to be a Robin and Joker thought that meant he should have been the one to kill her.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: With his incredible skills at planning and organization, he probably could have been a great businessman, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Black Mask subverted this trope when he started out as a legitimate businessman, failed spectacularly, and turned to crime instead. He showed considerably more elan as a crime lord than he ever did as a business executive.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially during his tenure as crime lord after War Games, where most of his commentary crossed the line twice.
Mask: I'm not pleased, you know. Not pleased at all. And despite appearances, this isn't a damned smile on my face.
- Diabolical Mastermind
- Disproportionate Retribution: The stuff he did to Catwoman's sister just to get to Catwoman doesn't bare repeating.
- Does Not Like Women: He's noticeably and considerably nastier to his female victims than his male ones, not that he treats them particularly well. It might not be that he dislikes women per say, just he enjoys hurting female victims more.
- Evil Overlord: One of the few crime lords who managed to near-totally dominate the Gotham underworld, at least for a brief time, and he more or less became a small-scale version of this. So successful was he that he became a Legacy Character when Black Mask II used his reputation to nearly do the same.
- Genre Savvy: Occasionally bordering on Dangerously Genre Savvy. When Red Hood hijacks one of Black Mask's secret shipments of Kryptonite, Mask's lieutenant blurts that Hood must be crazy. Mask replies, "No. The crazy ones would make a suit out of the rock and march into Metropolis and play 'king of the mountain'. This one knows what he's doing."
- In War Games, he manages to do most of the work setting up his empire before anybody realized he was still alive.
- It's Personal: Going after Catwoman's sister was not his smartest move, though by this point It's Personal for the two of them.
- Laughably Evil: During his reign as Kingpin of Gotham, Mask got some great lines.
Black Mask: Li, will you please shut the hell up!? I swear to God it's like running a criminal organization with my mother.
- Legacy Character: A new Black Mask has been introduced.
- Let's Get Dangerous: He's most well known for being a master manipulator, but he was a skilled enough combatant to hold his own against an enraged Catwoman, which is no mean feat.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mask Power: Sionis believed in this, even if it didn't help him.
- Mutilation Interrogation
- No Indoor Voice: Sionis often throws unnecessary tantrums with little provocation, particularly when written by Judd Winick.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain
- Religion of Evil: In No Man's Land he turned the False Facer's into a cult where everybody (himself included) horribly scarred their faces and shaved their heads so that they all looked alike, and turned them loose to basically go on a murderous rampage throughout the already devasted city. Black Mask II reffered to his organization as a "Ministry of Science", combining this with his Mad Scientist routine.
- Revenge by Proxy
- Self-Made Orphan
- Shadow Archetype: Similar to Hush (and preceding him), Black Mask is a Bruce Wayne who suffered from poor parenting and ran his own company into the ground. He's a millionare who became an extremely violent masked crime lord rather than a moderately violent masked vigilante, and he relys more on his natural hidden talents as a criminal than on years of hard work and study.
- Skull for a Head: Since he Took a Level In Badass, his mask has become skull-like, whereas before it looked slightly more human if all-black.
- The Sociopath
- Took a Level In Badass: Mask has been around since the 80's, but it's only been in the aftermath of his recent appearances, where he's become a psycho to rival The Joker, that he's been elevated to a top-tier Bat villain, shown up in the cartoons, and is a fan favourite to appear in the movies, though the latter seems unlikely.
- Torture Technician
Mask: Before we begin, I'd like to address the topic of screaming...by saying this: go right ahead.
- Would Hurt a Child: Thinks nothing of sadistically torturing a teenage girl.
The Great White Shark
AKA: Warren White
Sentenced to prison for creative accounting practices, financier Warren White tried to slip through the cracks by pleading insanity, in the hopes of being committed to a modern psychiatric care facility. Instead, he wound up in Arkham Asylum, where the inmates ritually tortured and abused him for being the "new fish"; Killer Croc went so far as to carve gills in the sides of his neck.
After being locked in a freezer for several hours during a riot, Warren emerged a changed man: his hair had fallen out, his lips and nose had shrivelled away in the cold, and his skin was now chalky white. His mind now decidedly twisted, White has since traded off his appearance and business acumen to become one of the premier mob bosses in Gotham City.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Exactly how much so depends on the artist.
- Asshole Victim: Don't think he didn't work hard to earn that Humiliation Conga.
- Bald of Evil
- The Chessmaster: After Black Mask's death, he briefly managed to oust the Penguin from Gotham and control the city's rackets from inside his cell at Arkham.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Gained his nickname for his ruthless and cold-blooded business practices.
- Hawaiian Shirted Jerkass: In Streets of Gotham.
- Karma Houdini: He's worked out a deal with the Torture Lords of Hell that will enable him to escape any punishment for his life's misdeeds. Etrigan is actually impressed.
- Loan Shark: Quite.
- Phrase Catcher: Warren White is the worst person you have ever met.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Warren gets a job flipping Two-Face's coin, for no other reason than that he's desperate to be under anybody's protection at first.
- Shark Man: Not actually a Fish Person, but close enough.
An oft-seen but relatively minor bat-villain, Zsasz was once a wealthy businessman who lost fortune and family alike. The loss of his business was too much for him, and he was attempting suicide when a homeless man tried to assault him with a knife. At that point, he embraced a profoundly nihilistic worldview: all of life is meaningless, and the greatest gift he can offer is to "liberate" them - by slaying them and leaving them in lifelike poses. He celebrates his killings by self-scarification, cutting a tally into his flesh for every life he takes.
- Ascended Extra: Despite being a lesser-used villain overall, he was used in a substantial way in both Arkham games, which has raised mainstream awareness of the character substantially.
- Ax Crazy: Or rather, knife crazy.
- Berserk Button: He made a tally mark for Batman, only to learn that the Dark Knight wasn't dead; this caused him to wig out for a while.
- Depending on the Artist: Sometimes he's lean and muscular and has a buzz cut hair style, and other times he's scrawny and looks like a balding, emaciated, meth addict.
- Depending on the Writer: Zsasz is variably depicted as either a truly dangerous and cunning foe, or just one step up from your average rank-and-file goon. It's also sometimes unclear as to whether he is a true Nietzsche Wannabe, or if he simply kills For the Evulz.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Soooooo many evil scars - one for every victim.
- Knife Nut: His signature weapon is a carving knife.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: His whole raison d'etre for his murderous rampage? He believes that, by killing people, he is liberating them from the worthlessness of life.
- Streets of Gotham implied that he sees everyone around him as already dead and he's just "freeing them" from that state. When Damian starts fighting on Zsasz's level, suddenly Zsasz doesn't see his opponent as just a corpse any more and freaks out because he hallucinates seeing his own dead body reflected in Damian's eyes.
- Serial Killer: One of the premier non-powered examples in Gotham.
- Would Hurt a Child: Not only has he killed numerous children, he even constructed an arena for the purposes of doing so when told to "fulfill his dreams", and invited crime bosses to bet on the outcome.
AKA: Basil Karlo
Basil Karlo was an actor who, when he heard his classic horror film "The Terror" was being remade, went mad. He donned the mask of the film's villain, "Clayface," and went on a killing spree, murdering the members of the cast and crew. However, he was stopped by Batman, reappearing a few times before remaining unused. However, during his absence, several other criminals with the name Clayface appeared. They were all made of clay, could change shape, and one even had a poisonous touch.
One of these new Clayfaces visited Karlo in prison out of curiosity, and they formed a plan where all living Clayfaces would team up against Batman. The group, called "The Mud Pack," was beaten, but Karlo obtained the powers of all the other Clayfaces, becoming a much bigger threat.
- Elemental Shapeshifter: Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He decides to murder people because they're remaking his film without him in the starring role, even though he was brought on as a consultant.
- Flanderization: Karlo was previously characterized as an ego-maniacal actor, but then writers and artists began depicting him more like the Clayface from the animated series, who was more-or-less an amalgamation of the first four Clayfaces, but more predominately Matt Hagen, the second. The difficulty in this is that, the comic version of Hagen died during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and has remained dead. Unless it's outright stated in the story featuring him, readers have a hard time telling if Clayface is Karlo or Hagen.
- Large Ham: Comes with the acting background. After receiving the abilities of Preston Payne and Shondra Fuller, Karlo regarded himself as "THE ULTIMATE CLAYFACE!"
- Legacy Character: There have so far been eight Clayfaces.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Obvious stand-in for Boris Karloff.
- Poisonous Person: Inherits this power from Preston Payne, a poisonous touch that would melt people's skin.
- Shapeshifter Weapon: Can morph his hands into maces, hammers, or other weapons.
- Tragic Villain: Some adaptations and the other versions of Clayface are shown to be this, most notably The Batman.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: After becoming a true Clayface.
AKA: Waylon Jones
Born with a rare skin disease that left him with scaly, crocodile-like skin, Waylon Jones was unaccepted by the outside world. His parents couldn't stand him, and they abandoned him in the wilderness, forcing him to become a career criminal to survive. At one point, he used his razor sharp teeth to become a cannibal and eat people. He has clashed with Batman several times over the years, each time becoming more bestial and reptilian due to a mutation of his already strange disease. He possesses superhuman strength and is much larger than the average man.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Often finds himself in one of these.
- The Brute: In most appearances following the story in which he was introduced. In his first appearance, though, Croc was actually a Genius Bruiser who manipulated Batman's entire Rogues Gallery--sort of Bane 0.5.
- Depending on the Artist: Sometimes, Croc has a crocodile-like snout and a tail, sometimes not.
- Depending on the Writer: On top of the above, he seems to be one of those villains writers can never really pin down. It's hard to believe that he was an accomplished marksman and the precursor of Bane, of all things.
- Dumb Muscle: After Flanderization set in. Especially prominent in Batman the Animated Series.
- Justified in that his condition is fully atavistic - everything, including his mind, just keeps regressing further and further as time goes on, which explains how he went from a Genius Bruiser who was basically Bane-lite to a feral, animalistic savage.
- Hell, even in the Animated Series, he was treated as a fairly competent schemer at times: his first appearance was Vendetta, where he came up with a decent Evil Plan to frame Harvey Bullock, and very nearly succeeded, even fooling Batman for a while. His dumbest showing was in Almost Got `Em" and that was pretty justified seeing as it was really Batman in disguise. It's just his dumb luck that that episode was one of the most popular and memorable in the entire show.
- Fangs Are Evil
- Hand Wave: Originally he was a man with a very, very bad skin condition. His appearance has gotten more monstrous over time, which has been explained as his condition worsening.
- Handwraps of Awesome: He sometimes wears these (e.g., in Batman Hush and the concept art for Batman: Arkham Asylum).
- Hook Hand: Bit off the hand of Arkham guard Aaron Cash, causing him to need a hook-hand.
- I'm a Humanitarian
- I Just Want to Be Normal
- Lightning Bruiser: Superhumanly fast to the point of surprising Batman more than once.
- Lizard Folk
- Parental Abandonment
- Scary Black Man: Is technically black, and yeah, he's not someone you want to run into. Ever.
- Super Strength
- Tragic Villain: He does seem to want to be normal very, very badly. Well, Depending on the Writer, but this is a pretty frequently recurring quirk of his.
Doctor Simon Hurt
AKA: Thomas Wayne I
A psychiatrist that observed Batman during an isolation experiment, Simon Hurt is the leader of a mysterious organization called The Black Glove. He wants to completely and utterly break Batman, physically and mentally.
- Ascended Extra: Grant Morrison ascended him out of an unnamed psychiatrist in the Silver Age story "Robin Dies at Dawn"
- Big Bad: Of The Black Glove Story Arc in Grant Morrison's Batman run.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He speaks very proudly about how he wants to break the hero that is Batman.
- Crazy Prepared: He planted the trigger Zurr-En-Arrh in order to Mind Rape Batman.
- Identical Grandson: Bears a notable resemblance to Bruce Wayne's father Dr. Thomas Wayne. See below for why.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: At one point attempted to convince Bruce that he was actually his father Dr. Thomas Wayne, who had faked his own death and murdered his wife. He's actually a distant paternal ancestor of Bruce, also named Thomas Wayne, corrupted and turned immortal by Darkseid's Hyper Adapter.
- Mind Rape: What he does to the replacement Batmen and Bruce himself.
- Smug Snake: Fully believed the law could never stop him due to all the Black Glove's money. He didn't count on The Joker putting a stop to him.
James Gordon, Jr.
The long absent son of Commissioner James Gordon and his first wife, Barbara Gordon, James, Jr. finally made a reappearance in the 2011 arc, "Skeleton Cases". Having shown symptoms of psychopathy in his youth, James seemed to be ready to be a functioning member of society. However, it was instead revealed that he was a serial killer, having murdered several people who bullied him in his youth, and viewed empathy as a weakness. His brutality and sadism are only matched by his cunning, and proves himself to be a dangerous foe to the reluctant new Batman, Dick Grayson.
- Antagonistic Offspring: James Gordon Jr. is the last child that you would want to have.
- Arch Enemy: Not to the original Batman, but to Dick Grayson. He couldn't care less about Bruce Wayne.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: As the Joker would tell us, Evil Has A Bad Sense Of Humor. His is simply terrible.
- The Corrupter: Out of all the people that he could try to corrupt, he decides to do it to Gotham's children by turning them into sociopaths.
- The Dog Bites Back: He attempts to justify his crimes this way, since each of his victims had slighted him in some way. However, Barbara Gordon says that he is not bringing people to justice. Instead, he's looking for every excuse to kill people that he can think of. And he makes no attempt to correct his sister at all.
- Evil Redhead: Good luck finding a redhead more evil.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He certainly has no soul, alright. If you steal his glasses, it will be the last mistake that you ever make.
- Lack of Empathy: States that he views empathy as a weakness.
- Psychotic Smirk: His default expression.
- Serial Killer: One of the nastiest in Gotham, which is saying a lot.
- Soft Spoken Sadist
- The Sociopath: He tried taking a pill that would give him empathy, but since he didn't enjoy feeling empathy he decided to make it so that the drug would work in reverse.
Alter Ego-Garfield Lynns
A pyromaniac orphan, Garfield Lynns became the Firefly to satisfy his love of the flame.
Charles "Chuck" Brown uses a kite to commit petty crimes. He faded briefly into obscurity only to resurface in modern times.
- Catch Phrase: "Kite Man. Hell yeah."
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
- Tragic Villain: He turned to villainy after the Riddler killed his so during The War of Jokes and Riddles.
- Laughably Evil
- ↑ Catwoman and The Joker appeared several months later
- ↑ A popular theory is that he is the one who gave Batman's identitity to Cadmus
- ↑ He was the villain for the pilot, he appeared more than any other villain in the first season, and he was arguably the most homicidal of the rogues. The Joker, for the record, didn't really become Batman's Arch Enemy until the 1970's.
- ↑ Vale finds herself trapped in Arkham City and after Batman rescues her, Tetch is seen watching the whole thing