Not that long ago, I decided I wanted to do a list of my favorite Batman villains that no one seems to give any love to, and people seemed to agree with me. But I love weird DC villains a heck of a lot, so I thought I'd delve in deeper to pull out some REAL weirdos – my favorite criminally underrated Gotham City criminals. The ones that make The Joker look like a joke, the BEST UNDERRATED BATMAN VILLAINS. Citizens of Gotham, pray you never run into one of these crazies.
I legitimately don't get why Calendar Man is seen as a joke.
Like, crime-ing based on holidays is really not that much weirder than doing so based on riddles or the number two. They're honestly about on par. But Julian Day really likes dates. Not the kind you go on with someone you care about, the kind on the calendar. Julian, uh, doesn't see too much of the first type.
He instead prefers to put together high-tech costumes and contraptions to strike on holidays. Which is legit impressive. Like, have you ever tried to hit a hard deadline, because Calendar Man excels at that. I mean, if the dude is one day late, his entire plan is for nothing. No one wants to see a giant evil robot Santa on December 26th. You miss that date, and three months of planning is down the drain.
Say what you will, but the dude has his stuff together.
Hooray-face for Clayface!
Everyone knows and loves Clayface, but there's been one incarnation that no one gives any love to, which is sad, because he's pretty great. Preston Payne suffers from a rare disease and spends most of his time working at S.T.A.R. Labs trying to find a cure. One of his attempts is to use (the second Clayface) Matt Hagan’s blood to cure himself.
At first, he gains the shapeshifting abilities he so desired, but then, something goes horribly wrong. He begins to melt. Like, horrifically. Also, when he touches others, they melt like they're looking into the Ark of the Covenant. He builds himself a suit to hold himself together, but he soon learns that if he doesn't consistently melt people, he experiences horrible pain.
Payne is on this list entirely because of his role in Alan Moore's best Batman story, in which Preston falls deeply in love with a Mannequin. It's sad and weird and creepy as all hell, and you NEED to read it.
How can anyone NOT love weird third tier Batman Villains? They're so great! Sooooooooo Great! Maxie Zeus is one of those.
He was a history teacher before his wife left him. He then had a break down, went insane and became a crime boss who also thought he literally was the human incarnation of the god Zeus. Weird, same thing happened to my AP U.S. Government teacher.
Maxie is pretty much always thought of as a lesser villain, which leaves him dangerously underestimated by most of Gotham's criminal justice system. The dude once made contact with the REAL Ares, for godsakes, and it took Batman and Wonder Woman to put the duo back in their place. And yet, the son of a gun still keeps winding up in Blackgate. PUT HIM IN ARKHAM. He is insane and competent at crime. It’s where he belongs.
He's also in a pretty great Batman: The Animated Series episode. So he's got that going for him.
Yay, burning skeleton man! Batman doesn't fight enough burning skeleton men. But that would change if people would finally start taking my advice and using Doctor Phosphorus more.
Dr. Alex Sartorious was too close to a reactor core breach, which sent five million slivers of radioactive sand shooting straight into his body. The radioactivity caused every atom of sand in his body to be boosted up one proton, turning them into phosphorus. Please read that sentence to literally any scientist. And then watch them laugh at you. Because they will. Hard.
Phosphorus blamed Batman for his predicament, because plot, and decided to get his revenge by burn-murdering him. He is also now a flaming skeleton man; did I mention that?
If he looks familiar, its probably because Batman: Beyond took visual inspiration from him for their big bad villain Blight. So if you like him, you have Dr. Phosphorus to thank for coming first.
Professor Pyg is weird. And creepy. But then, Grant Morrison created him, so what do you expect?
He was one of the big new villains that Dick Grayson faced during his time as Batman after Bruce Wayne's apparent death. Pyg likes to kidnap people and torture them, brainwash them, and surgically augment them to make them "perfect" in his eyes. He refers to them as his Dollotrons. They creep me right the hell out. Gaah. I don't like thinking about these things.
Pyg's name and concept is loosely tied to the play Pygmalion, more specifically the idea of manufacturing the perfect human. Lazlo Valentin, Pyg's real name, also doesn't seem to be an ACTUAL professor, so I feel led on. God, Dr. Phosphorus was a real doctor, get your game up, you fakey jerk. He has a son too, so somebody slept with this"¦thing. His son also tried to be a supervillain. Nowhere near as good as his dad, which is saying something.
Oh, and Pyg has a weird relationship with his mother, which just comes as the hugest of surprises.
Here's one you've most definitely heard of. Dude's pretty popular. Although he's now successfully the SECOND most popular Doctor Strange.
Strange was a psychiatrist working with the Gotham City Police Department to catch the Batman. Unfortunately, he became unhealthily obsessed with the Dark Knight very quickly. Like, "dressing up like him in private" obsessed. That's some Single White Female stuff, right there.
Strange also came to the correct conclusion about the true identity of Bruce Wayne, but was forced to doubt it when Batman successfully kicked his butt. He likes to use his psychiatric excellence and high education to"¦build giant monsters. I know, a little out of the box, but good on him for stretching his limitations. His giant monsters do a lotta damage.
Geez, people give Hush crap for having a confusing gimmick, but Hugo Strange is the Batman Obsessed Psychiatrist Who Dresses as Batman and Makes Giant Monsters dude. That is a cluster of nuts.
How in the sweet heck was this dude not on my original list? I mean, this is a giant failure on my part, and I apologize for it.
William Tockman was a man obsessed with time. So obsessed with time that he learns how to time everything down to the second, making him a perfect criminal. A mastermind of theft. He served in the Justice League Antarctica and the Suicide Squad, in which he was shot in the back a bunch and seemingly died.
But the best version of the Clock King is very obviously the one from his self-titled Batman: The Animated Series episode. That Clock King is friggin' rad as all hell. That Clock King's origin was simple: He was Temple Fugit, the head of a time and motion study firm who had to stand trial. On the day of his trial, Hamilton Hill, who would eventually become mayor of Gotham City, told Fugit to take some time off to de-stress. He did, and the decision wound up making him late to his court date, which consequently ruined his life. So he made the obvious decision to find and murder Hill.
Alternate earths rock. They rock so hard. And I will literally always have a spot in my heart for weird alternate versions of my favorite comic book characters. The Earth 3 villains are some of my favorites.
Earth 3 is an earth where everything we know is backwards: Actor Abraham Lincoln shot President John Wilkes Booth, World War II was won by the Axis Powers, and presumably the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election WASN'T a total screaming garbage fire. But the greatest villains of Earth 3 are the Crime Syndicate of America.
The CSA includes the evil, cunning, and malevolent Owlman. Owlman is a traitor who will do anything to come out ahead, even plot against his fellow CSA'er, Ultraman. Although he has a certain fondness for his teammate, Superwoman. Owlman has always been my favorite Crime Syndicate member, especially on his own. He's the kind of dude who works on his own as a fun Batman villain. And I love "evil Batman" as a character idea.
EVIL BATMAN REDUX!!!!!!!
Prometheus was the son of two criminals, both of whom were gunned down in front of him by the police. But, like, for actual resisting arrest and trying to murder people reasons not for police brutality reasons. The experience turned the boy's hair white, and left him with the desire to destroy law and order. His helmet allows him to download the move sets of various fighters and superheroes into his own brain, essentially making him Batman if he hacked his own brain. You know, like a cheater.
He murdered a young hero who'd won the opportunity to be a JLA member for a day and snuck onto the JLA satellite in his place. He beats down the entire Justice League and only loses because Catwoman blindsides him. On a second attempt, Batman sabotages his helmet, so he only has the physical ability of one person: Stephen Hawking.
You know, like a cheater.
BURN IT ALL DOWN!
I mean, uh, I'm not a pyromaniac.
But Garfield Lynns is. He was a pyrotechnician for major motion pictures, but he couldn't resist the sweet dance of the flame. And so he started burning things down. And robbing places. While wearing a flaming wingsuit. Because Gotham. He worked under the wing of Killer Moth, which is like trying to learn to be a successful U.S. President from William Henry Harrison. Killer Moth got scared off by Firefly's whole "I'mma burn things" attitude, and the duo went their separate ways.
Lynns then sorta bounced around the DCU for a while, trying to make things into flaming rubble. He did have it blow up in his face, though, when a chemical factory, um, blew up in his face and scarred him horribly. Firefly typically likes to work as a double act, using Mr. Freeze as a partner when Killer Moth is busy. Which is a real step up from Killer friggin' Moth.
And there you have it, my personal fave list of weird, underrated Batman foes. Here's hoping one of them gets a movie deal one of these days. #ClockKingForTheDCEU
Let's start with a villain I love – a lot.
Anarky is great, because he appears in some wonderful comic books. Seriously, if you consider yourself a Batman fan, but you haven't read any Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle Batman comics, go do that now. They're worth it.
Anarky was introduced in that run as a cloaked, V for Vendetta-lookin' dude preaching…well, anarchy. He stirred up trouble and yelled about anti-authoritarianism and the death of the establishment. And in the end of his introductory arc, he was revealed to be about 13 years old. You know, like most wannabe anarchists.
Lonnie Machin eventually reformed partially into an anti-hero, once Batman told him to grow up and knock off his criminal behavior. The actual behind the scenes reason for this was that Alan Grant intended for Anarky to become the third Robin, but DC editorial nixed that idea, preferring instead to go with Tim Drake for the role.
And although I mock Lonnie's anarchist leanings, his two creators both actually know their stuff, making him a legitimately sympathetic character.
Catman is hot, ok? Like, I'm a straight dude (even though some commenters would disagree, for some reason) but Catman's hotness is an objective fact. Also an objective fact: Catman rules.
Originally introduced as a d-list villain who was just "Batman, but evil", Catman eventually became a lame joke character. And then Gail Simone got hold of him. Along with Dale Eaglesham and Nicola Scott, Simone turned Catman into a badass who could hold his own in a fight with the Dark Knight.
HE LIVED WITH LIONS. SO COOL.
Plus, Secret Six, the series in which he prominently features is super freakin' great. Catman works as de facto team leader on the occasions when Scandal Savage isn't taking charge. But again, we are missing the point: Catman is super hot. And an incredibly compelling character. Go read Secret Six. The Catman/Deadshot relationship alone is worth it.
Catman deserves to appear in way more Batman media. Because he's super rad. Objective fact.
My rules forbid me from putting The Riddler (my favorite Batman villain of all time; no contest) on this list, so I'll put his knockoff on here. But that's not all that Cluemaster is. He's actually a pretty cool villain in his own right.
Arthur Brown (still didn't need to look up his real name, because I only know unimportant things) was a failed game show host who decided to become a master criminal (like you do). And he would leave game show-esque clues at the scenes of his crimes for Batman to figure out.
I LOVE THIS.
I am one hundred percent convinced that the world would be an infinitely better place if Alex Trebek was out there running around stealing priceless artifacts.
Cluemaster was actually even a Justice Leaguer at one point. Yes, it was the Justice League Antarctica, BUT IT STILL COUNTS!! Unfortunately for Artie, his legacy was more important than he was, as his daughter Stephanie Brown would go on to become Spoiler, then Batgirl, then Spoiler again, because DC reboot stupidity. But yeah, she overshadows the heck out of her dear old dad.
Ventriloquist and Scarface
Man, is Batman: the Animated Series great. And it's mostly thanks to "Read My Lips", which is one of the best episodes of the series, that this duo is on this list.
Arnold Wesker is a meek, timid man while his puppet, Scarface, is a tough talking, vicious gangster. This makes it real easy to feel bad for Arnold, even though Scarface isn't alive, and the Scarface persona is still a part of Wesker's broken mind. It's an incredible feat to make a character both lovable and irredeemable.
This is the most complex Batman villain on this list and, by any rights, should be way more utilized as a character. Also, the later Ventriloquists after Wesker were all great.
My runner up favorite was the one featured in the New 52 reboot of Secret Six (can you tell I love Secret Six a whole lot?). She's pretty great in her own right, even if she's a lot more cuckoo for cocoa puffs than Wesker ever was.
COME ON, WHY DO I NEED TO WRITE ANYTHING HERE? LOOK AT THAT NAME!!!!!!!!! IT IS PERFECTION!!!!!!!
KGBeast is easily my favorite villain name of all time in any medium. There are none more perfect.
KGBeast was (as anyone with a basic understanding of history should have guessed by now) a Soviet Union murderer for the government who had serious cybernetic enhancements. He was also famous for being that dude Batman left to die until another writer came along and was like "oh no, Batman didn't leave him to die, he called the cops, everyone knows that Batman doesn't kill people."
He did pop up in Batman v. Superman which WOULD disqualify him BUT I'm still giving him a spot because A: his role is pretty much just a cameo; and B: BVS is honestly barely a movie. But, yeah, KGBeast has the best name and some wonderful visual design.
So simple as a concept, yet so underutilized. Debuting in "The Player on the Other Side" otherwise known as that Batman story with the amazing title, Wrath was basically reverse Batman.
The son of two criminals who were killed by a young police officer, Wrath grew up into a master assassin designed to mirror the Dark Knight in most ways.
Although the role of evil reverse Batman has been taken up as of late by Prometheus, Wrath is one of the best.
Plus, the second Wrath wears an all purple suit, which is goshdarn awesome. And using the iconography of the "W" to mimic bat ears? Freakin' brilliant. That is one heck of a great character design. Wrath got an adaptation in the cartoon series The Batman, of all places, but he's still a vastly underused character.
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late to post this article, so I'd better hurry up and finish.
Jervis Tetch, alias The Mad Hatter, is a psycho who can be likably off or intensely disturbing, depending on the writer. The guy is a little dude who enjoys mind control, hats, and hats that control minds.
In his defense, who doesn't like a good hat?
The Hatter is especially great in the Gotham Central story he features in. I'm not gonna name which arc, since his appearance in it is a surprise. I don't want to give too much away, but it’s my favorite Gotham Central story of all time.
Also, I find it funny that his motivation in the animated series was that he was basically a "nice guy", who’s mad that his female friend won't date him. That's hilarious. If we could get a modern reinterpretation of the Hatter who just hangs out on the Internet whining about being "friendzoned" that would be fantastic.
YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crazy Quilt forever!!
Crazy Quilt is unique to this list in that he did not start off as a Batman villain. He actually debuted against the Boy Commandos, but found his footing as a foe for the Dark Knight. Quilt was a blind man given his sight back, kinda. It turns out the procedure left him only able to see bright lights, which drove him totally insane.
He got himself a laser-hypnosis helmet that also allowed him to see and went to work supervillaining. Which is good, because otherwise we'd have a lot of Batman stories about him punching a legally blind guy. Not a good look for the Bat.
Quilt doesn't get used often because a lot of people find him "too ridiculous", but come one, this is comic books. Superhero comic books, no less. NOTHING is too ridiculous for superhero comic books.
Killer Moth started out as yet another anti-Batman. There were a lot of those, it seems. Moth, an unnamed goon whose name would be retconned to be Drury Walker, got himself a Mothcave, a Mothmobile, and started hiring himself out to help criminals escape Batman. He gave them all Moth-signals, which is a pretty good PR move.
He then set up a fake identity as Cameron van Cleer, which"¦ wow. I have a friend who uses "Richard Ingognitus" as his go to fake name and even THAT is more convincing than "Cameron van Cleer".
So Cameron somehow worked his way into high social circles and became buddies with Bruce Wayne. Eventually he and Batman came to blows, climaxing when he beat up Batman and learned his secret identity. Moth was then shot, which somehow gave him amnesia.
I"¦I don't know.
Killer Moth screwed around for a while before selling his soul to the devil and turning into a moth monster. Then he died.
Honestly, most of my love for Killer Moth comes from A: His costume, which is amazing; B: His appearance in the excellent Batgirl: Year One; and C: His repeated – and fantastic – attempts to touch a lamp in the first Lego Batman game, and that's fantastic.
Since I have already written about all of these underrated Batman villains, how about revealing who is my most favorite less-known (if I may say so) one?
It cannot be said that the Batman rogue gallery lacks villains having an obsession with the Dark Knight. After all, the Joker seems to be all about that. Zeiss is just like that. However, Zeiss is nowhere near that kind of perfection - as a matter of fact, the character constantly improves himself in order to take down Gotham's vigilante.
And this is always interesting to me - what can I do in order to achieve my goal? Because, you know, my secret goal is to defeat the Batman"¦
Even if he appeared just in 36 issues since 2000, the year when he made his debut, Zeiss is the kind of villain that has the potential to defeat his opponent. And his obsession is the one that can help him - even if it is also the one that prevents him from doing that. This list would be incomplete without such a flawed villain, who always seeks to better himself.
He is so keen to taking down the Batman in hand to hand combat that he has learned all the moves the hero can make. Only with PIS (or, as some might say, because Batman is such a great strategist) he is defeated. For example, Zeiss fought the Dark Knight to a standstill, until Batgirl arrived to the rescue.
Zeiss possesses superhuman abilities, after undergoing a surgical procedure that accelerated his reflexes. For him, Batman actually moves in slow-motion - case in point, the pic above. How cool can that be, making a super-trained ninja look like an old man?