Batman has arguably the best rogues gallery in comics. The Joker, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Catwoman, the list of villains who call Gotham City home is epic. Even the more obscure Batman villains are formidable in their own right and don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve.
Due to the sheer volume of supervillains Batman has faced over his 75 year history, some of his most dangerous and interesting foes have been lost in the shuffle. It’s time to give some of these lost bad guys their dues. Because anybody with the nerve to take on Batman has earned our respect, even the Condiment King. No, you know what, especially the Condiment King.
Name: Professor Hugo Strange
Abilities: Genius-level intellect. Master of psychology, chemistry, and biology.
Menace Rating: 8 out of 10 Mad Scientist Clichés
Okay, you know the one villain that’s an evil psychiatrist who manipulates people to do his bidding? Or the evil chemist who creates a potent fear-inducing powder? Or the mad scientist who uses injections to turn men into hulking monsters? Alright, so merge all three of those and you get Hugo Strange. Three Batman villains in one and to top it off he knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne! It’s astounding that Strange hasn’t been featured in the DC Cinematic Universe yet.
Name: Professor Pyg
Abilities: Chemistry expert, preternaturally skilled surgeon.
Menace Rating: 6 out of 10 “DEAR GOD, WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY FACE?!?”
Professor Pyg just wants to make you perfect, that’s all. Totally harmless, admirable even. Oh, except by “perfect” he means “lobotomized to follow his will through brain surgery, genital mutilation, mind-altering drugs, and a creepy doll mask permanently attached to your face.”
With his army of “perfected” Dollotrons and the rest of his “Circus of Strange,” Pyg is a psychotic menace to the people of Gotham. Despite being a relatively new villain to Batman’s rogues gallery, Pyg has cemented himself as one of the most disturbing villains in the Dark Knight’s lore. Now that’s really saying something. It’s like being the most stoned person at a Phish concert.
Abilities: You know what Batman can do? All of that but, like, EVIL.
Menace Rating: 10 out of 10 Doppelgängers
Owlman is the criminal genius version of Batman from Earth 3. He has the intellect, wealth, and martial arts abilities of Batman, but he is willing to kill and betray anyone or anything that stands in his way. If there is anything more dangerous than Batman, it’s Batman without a moral compass. Or maybe Batman if he was also a shark, somehow. Get on it, DC writers.
Name: Lady Shiva
Abilities: Martial arts grandmaster, able to read body language and anticipate an opponent’s next action.
Menace Rating: 7 out of 10 One-Punch Deathblows
Lady Shiva is widely regarded as one of the most deadly assassins in the DC Universe. And that’s just with her bare hands. While she and Batman are enemies, Batman respects her expert hand-to-hand combat proficiency and her ruthless cunning. In fact, when Batman’s spine was broken by Bane he sought training from Lady Shiva in order rebuild his spirit and fighting skills. This frenemy proves to be one of Batman’s most difficult foes and an occasional valued ally. Mainly, she’s kind of like the Hydrox to Catwoman’s Oreo. Still basically just as good.
Name: Cornelius Stirk
Abilities: Can make other people see him as someone else. Also eats human hearts, since you weren’t having enough nightmares.
Menace Rating: 6 out of 10 Uneaten Hearts
Cornelius Stirk is a sick man. His delusions make him believe that he needs the nutrients of a human heart in order to stay alive. To add to this terrifying conviction, he believes that the heart is the most nutritious when it is full of norepinephrine, a natural hormone that secretes when a person is terrified. His ability to mentally make people perceive him as someone else allows him to get close to his victims for a quick kill and a hearty (heh) dinner. Luckily, Batman usually finds Stirk and returns him to Arkham Asylum, but Cornelius is still a sickeningly effective serial killer.
Abilities: Cybernetic enhancements, KGB training, weapons expert, hand-to-hand combat master, has a freakin’ gun for a hand.
Menace Rating: 9 out of 10 Soviet Prosthetic Gun Hands
While his name dates him to the Cold War period, KGBeast is one of the most dangerous foes Batman has ever faced. With his combat training, killer instinct, and tactical expertise, he’s on equal footing with the Dark Knight. They’re so evenly matched, in fact, that Batman thought he straight-up couldn’t beat KGBeast mano-a-Batmano.
He locked the Beast in a room instead of fighting him and waited for him to suffocate to death in Batman #420. It was revealed in Batman: Year Three that Batman called the police to pick up KGBeast’s unconscious body, but for a while there KGBeast was one of the few foes Batman killed intentionally.
Name: The Clock King
Abilities: Time manipulation, swordsmanship, genius-level tactician.
Menace Rating: 5 out of 10 Menacing Minutes
The Clock King really ticks off Batman. Boom, best joke ever. Anyway, his gadgets allow him to pause and manipulate time, but when that fails he can always rely on his stellar intellect. The Clock King’s insanely good timing and ability to anticipate the future forces Batman and other DC heroes to regard him as a genuinely terrifying threat. Too bad they can’t just ask for a timeout. Sorry, these are just too easy.
Name: Arnold Wesker/Scarface
Abilities: Criminal genius, good with a Tommy gun.
Menace Rating: 5 out of 10 Mobster Marionettes
Meek, soft-spoken Arnold Wesker is the reluctant host to one of the most effective crime bosses in Gotham. His ventriloquist dummy/alternative personality/abusive partner Mr. Scarface is respected throughout Gotham’s underworld, despite basically being a caricature of a 1920’s gangster. While Batman could easily pummel Wesker (and, by extension, his puppet), Scarface still causes plenty of trouble in Gotham and inspires enough loyalty in his gang to make the Dark Knight look like the real dummy.
Name: Carmine “The Roman” Falcone
Abilities: Head of Gotham’s most feared crime family, good with a gun, decent left hook.
Menace Rating: 5 out of 10 Offers You Can’t Refuse
“The Roman” and his Falcone crime family were the true power behind Gotham City’s underworld for decades. Drugs, racketeering (whatever that is), and other related “businesses” had to go through him and get his approval first. Carmine Falcone was a great villain for a then-rookie Batman to topple before a stranger, more spandexy form of criminal emerged.
Lord Death Man
Name: Lord Death Man
Abilities: Criminal mastermind, escape artist, can return from the dead, coolest name ever.
Menace Rating: 8 out of 10 Resurrections
The Japanese crime boss known as Lord Death Man has battled Batman both in American comics and in Japanese manga. As his name suggests, Lord Death Man can overcome death itself, able to rise from the grave even after being riddled with bullets or exposed to the vacuum of space. His abilities are so potent, his blood can be used to create the infamous Lazarus Pits that Ras al Ghul uses to stay young and immortal. It’s sobering to realize that Lord Death Man will eventually outlive Bruce Wayne. No matter what Batman does, he’ll never really be able to beat LDM.
Abilities: Firearms expert, chain whip specialist, face-eater, looks fierce as hell on a pink motorcycle.
Menace Rating: 6 out of 10 Delicious, Delicious Faces
The colorful Flamingo has a dark, unfeeling personality that coaxes him to eat the faces of the victims he has murdered. While he has no “actual” powers to speak of (with the possible exception of pulling off a pink motorcycle), his expert marksmanship makes him a formidable assassin and a match for Batman. The fact that he temporarily paralyzed Damian Wayne let’s you know that he can take down other trained assassins and that he has no qualms about injuring children.
Name: Deacon Joseph Blackfire
Abilities: Charisma, mind control, extended lifespan.
Menace Rating: 4 out of 10 Cups of Kool Aid
The main villain in the mini-series Batman: The Cult, Deacon Blackfire is a con artist and cult leader that created his own army to eliminate crime (yay!), but also take over the city (boo!). While not physically imposing, Blackfire’s mental manipulation is so strong and that even Batman joined his cause for a while. Now that’s a maxed out charisma modifier. Fortunately, Batman was able to break through Blackfire’s conditioning and stop him.
Name: Baby Doll
Abilities: Proficient with small firearms, weapons made from baby toys, small enough to get lost in a crowd, friends with Killer Croc, being cute as a button.
Menace Rating: 4 out of 10 Baby Rattle Bombs
This actor-turned-villain looks like an adorable toddler, but that’s due to a disease that stunted her aging and growth. Like a sinister Gary Coleman. The fully-grown woman takes advantage of her child-like appearance to commit crimes and take revenge on the co-stars from her canceled sitcom. Batman has learned not to underestimate her due to her cunning… and her on-and-off partnership with the massive Killer Croc.
Abilities: Small arms training, hand-to-hand combat skills, expert with booby traps and gadgets.
Menace Rating: 6 out of 10 Antique Vase Booby Trap Replicas
Magpie is a notorious antique and jewel thief that likes to replace the priceless items she steals with deadly booby-trapped replicas. Kind of like a reverse Indiana Jones. While her name isn’t threatening, her reputation is enough to strike fear in the hearts of her enemies. She isn’t above outright killing any henchmen who fail her. Fun fact: Magpie was the first villain captured and thwarted by the World’s Finest team of Batman and Superman.
The Condiment King
Name: The Condiment King
Abilities: Squirt guns that shoot ketchup, mustard, mayo, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, Sriracha, you get the gimmick by now.
Menace Rating: -15 out of 10 Sweet Relish Packets
He’s a criminal that shoots sauces and toppings out of a high-pressured squirt gun. While that may seem like a less-deadly version of a paintball gun, Condiment King is not to be trifled with. Seriously, he’s threatening if he… if you… if you have specific food allergies, for example. Also, he can really mess up your furniture and stain your shirts. Yeah! Take that, Batman!
Name: Johnny Karaoke
Abilities: Swordplay expert, leads an army of Geisha Grrls (yep, Grrls), Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Yale.
Menace Rating: 2 out of 10 Elvis Presley Cover Songs
Johnny Karaoke is a crooning criminal that wants you to underestimate him and call him a goof. When you to let your guard down, he’ll slash you with his microphone stand that doubles as a sword. If his singing doesn’t distract you, his lovely Geisha Grrls will.
Maybe not the most fearsome of Batman’s underrated foes, but this villain is too interesting to stay buried for long. After all, you’ve got to respect any American fearsome enough to rise through the ranks of the Yakuza.