EDITORIAL: staypuffed's Top Five Favorite BATMAN VILLAINS
I did this countdown on my Instagram a few days ago, and I thought I would share it here as well (if you use Instagram, it'd be awesome if you checked @staypuffed14 out). Since Batman has, arguably, the best rogues gallery in comics (save for Spider-Man, perhaps), I thought it was high time to share my five favourite Dark Knight delinquents.
The Dark Knight has some of the most memorable and fascinating foes in the superhero spectrum, so, in celebration of his 75th anniversary, staypuffed's counting down the five best Batman villains. Spoilers: list does not contain Killer Moth.
Much of Batman iconography revolves around duality, and no adversary represents this more than Harvey Dent, known as Two-Face. Once a man of the law, his twisted turn to crime revealed emotional scarring as well as physical, uncovering an intricate and damaged human being. The Dark Knight has my favourite depiction of the character, demonstrating the fragility and anger in Harvey, but as one of the oldest Bat-foes, the stories and concepts involving Two-Face are abundtant and fascinating.
Recommended reading / Batman: The Long Halloween.
4. Ra’s al Ghul
To modern readers, Ra’s al Ghul may be remembered in the form of his grandson, Damian Wayne (son of Bruce and Talia al Ghul), but this is one Bat-villain that poses an incredible threat unlike any other in the rogues gallery. Head of the League of Assassins, a dangerous international operation, and firm believer in biological warfare, Ra’s has been alive for centuries, rejuvenated by the mystical Lazarus Pit. Though he may have more respect for the Caped Crusader than most, he still has no trouble implementing his masterful criminal plans.
Recommended reading / Batman: Birth of the Demon.
Though she’s mostly considered an anti-hero or even ally nowadays (and that’s the way I prefer her), Selina Kyle has spent much of her career as an illusive villainess. One of the Dark Knight's very first adversaries, she's an expert thief, skilled in acrobatics and hand-to-hand combat, and has quite an affinity for her the animals that gave her her feline eponym. Sometimes a no-nonsense villain or a playful femme fatale, using her charm to her advantage, Catwoman is a wonderfully intriguing character.
Recommended reading / Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street.
Though he isn't a physically intimidating foe, the Riddler's feeling of intellectual superiority and obsession with simple (or insanely difficult) riddles makes him a fascinating character, villain or not. Like several others on this list, the variety of possibilities of Edward Nygma are what making him endearing and fresh, from campy to crazy, calculated to conceited, his continual brain battle is less of a supervillain antic than a gripping compulsion.
Recommended reading / Batman: Zero Year.
1. The Joker
There isn’t much to say about him that hasn’t already been said, but there’s a reason the Clown Prince of Crime is Batman’s greatest foe and one of the best villains in comics: he is so layered, and so intricate that he can be played in a variety of different ways. Kooky clown, psychotic mass-murderer, evil trickster, practical joker; stories involving the Joker are some of the most complex, captivating compelling Batman tales ever told. He’s the yin to the Dark Knight’s yang, the chaos to his order. An iconic and utterly terrifying villain in the most unpredictable of ways.
Recommended reading / Batman: The Killing Joke.
And that’s the list! A few runners-up that didn't quite make it: Poison Ivy, Bane, Red Hood, Scarecrow and Harley Quinn. As always, agree or disagree, leave your thoughts below.
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