You don’t hang around kicking criminal ass for 69 years without butting heads and making a few enemies. And let’s face it, Gotham City is a crazy place, full of whackjobs. It also exists in the same universe that has big green Martians, Aliens who fight for the American Way, and lots of talking animal people. Times have changed as well. Once upon a year, Batman strapping on a hang-glider and fighting a man who used kites as weapons made… Well I was going to say sense, but lets just say it made it into comics. Do any of these wacky characters belong in the gritty, realistic world that Christopher Nolan has crafted? Probably not. Here are some of the worst offenders in Batman’s rogues gallery – all of whom have been judged guilty of being ridiculous. The order is loosely descending, though its hard to sort dog crap into different piles based on beauty.
10. Man-Bat. This dude always struck me as kind of lame – scratch that. At first, the idea of a giant mutant half-man half-bat is kind of awesome. But over time, this has gotten lame. There still is something appealing to me, as a monster fan, of this character, who started out as scientist Dr. Kirk Langstrom who’s experiments with bats went predictably wrong, resulting in his transformation. Mainly he doesn’t belong because he’s just too damn unrealistic for Nolanverse.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #400, 1970
Powers: He’s a damn giant bat.
9. Ventriloquist and Scarface. I’d like to shake the hand of the man who invented this character with one of those electric buzzers. Part of me almost wants to see someone tackle this on the big screen. Arnold Wesker was the meek son of mobsters who goes a bit crazy after seeing his mother killed. He develops a dissociative identity which manifests it through his dummy, a gangster named Scarface. The Scarface personality takes over and soon the “duo” are tearing it up criminal style, with the puppet amazingly doing most of the dirty work. The character is just a bit ridiculous, though recently there has been an improvement – he’s been replaced by a hot chick.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #583, 1988
Powers: Pretty good at being a criminal, carries a gun, otherwise a pretty big wuss.
8. Kite Man. Bill Finger is a great man for his role in helping create Batman. Bill Finger made an odd decision when he created Charles Brown (Yes… Charlie Brown…), an expert hang-glider who straps himself to a giant kite and commits crime. There’s not much more to this guy other than, yes, he’s still around for the most part and he gets his ass handed to him all the time. Batman even knocked him out by accident once when trying to hit someone else. He’d be hilarious to see in a movie of the kind of lesser criminal, but probably he should be forgotten.
First Appearance: Batman Volume 1 #133, 1960
Powers: He flies kites. Flies them real damn good.
7. Film Freak. If resident Reject Cole Abaius were a Batvillain, he would either be The Ballerina or Film Freak. In the comics, good ol’ FF started out as Burt Weston (Burt Ward + Adam West), a movie fan who mimicked villains and crimes he saw in movies, much like what happened with Money Train. Except that Weston was pretty much a failure, right up until he crossed paths with a real villain and was killed. He even went so far as to wear earrings that looked like film cannisters. He actually did manage to kill a few people as a criminal, but really his forte was being an asshat.
First Appearance: Batman #395, 1986
Powers: Can watch the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy without a bathroom break – if he weren’t dead.
6. Crazy Quilt. This is what happens when you’re last in line at the costume store, you get stuck being Crazy Quilt. This guy (alias unknown) also has the honor of being a lame villain both before and after his accident. First, he’s a criminal who leaves clues to his henchmen through paintings. Later, after being blinded, after his eye surgery and the application of a light emitting helmet, his vision is restored in a blinding crazy colored fashion, that results in his insanity. He then, possibly while colorblind, picks out the ugliest costume in the world and goes on to commit more crimes with his helmet and a few gadgets that let him shoot light rays. He is utterly ridiculous in appearance and has a stupid ability, though he does get points for beating the hell out of Jason Todd.
First Appearance: Boy Commandos #15, 1946
Powers: Poor taste in clothing, hypnotizing helmet, light rays, incredible lameness, mustachio.
5. General. If there is one thing I hate more than stupid villains, its kids in comics. So when Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong bursts onto the scene as a child military genius villain, I’m using those issues to potty train my dog. Little Ulysses here got bored with the Military Academy, so he recruited the school bullies and marched them to Gotham, where they committed crimes while dressed as various armies throughout history (think Roman armor, etc), and then got soundly defeated by Batman and was then, hopefully, given a stern spanking by his father.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #654, 1992
Powers: Military genius, presumably good at four square and connect four.
4. Ten Eyed Man. I’ve been saving this expression: WTF? Special Forces good guy Philip Reardon catches some shrapnel in the face in The Nam and heads back to Gotham to work as a security. During a robbery he mistakenly believes Batman to be a criminal and battles him. During the warehouse explosion that follows, Reardon is permanently blinded. Sounds kind of cool so far, right? Not so fast. Soon, a crazy doctor “fixes” him by wiring his optical nerves to his fingers, allowing him to see out of his digits. Yeah. Apparently this gave him really good “eye”sight and he could see 360 degrees, but could often be easily defeated by just tossing something at him. When he caught the object, effectively using his eyes to do it, he would be in immense pain and thus defeated. And that is why this mook makes the list. Though the sexual ramifications of this are both exciting and frightening.
First Appearance: Batman #226, 1970
Powers: Great field of vision.
3. Clayface. There have been no fewer than 7 different “Clayfaces” through the years, the original of which began life as just a normal guy who adopted the face of a horror monster he played on film and later, through various incarnations and reasons, become the name called to virtually any person who was, more or less, made of clay, or capable of doing clay like transformation patterns. In the comic and in the TV Show, that’s fine, I guess, but how do you justify someone who’s closest film analog is probably Sandman? We all saw how Spider-Man 3 turned out. As for how they get their powers, one was radioactive, others were from blood from previous Clayfaces and they even all teamed up once, just so they could be close while Batman whipped their asses.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #298, 1961 (Semi-Modern Clayface, not actor)
Powers: Actually pretty cool, can take any shape, very strong, can break apart, etc.
2. Mad Hatter. What a tool bag. Jervis Tetch is insane. He thinks he lives in Lewis Carrol’s world and goes as far to quote it frequently and he has, somewhat obviously, developed a strong love of hats. Normally this guy is written to be about as dangerous as one of my farts – not without its hazards, but surely not life threatening. Rarely is he written to be intimidating, mostly he’s just a mouse-like little man who tries to either slip mind control tablets (now available in cherry!) into your coffee or get you to wear a mind control hat. Since Batman absolutely hates wearing hats, he often just one punches Mad Hatter to the ground.
First Appearance: Batman #49, 1948
Powers: Mind control through gadgetry, scaring children with his pedophillic glances.
1. Calculator. Now I just called Mad Hatter a tool bag, but this moron actually took his inspiration from a tool. Not a manly tool like a Hammer or Concrete Saw, but from a pocket calculator. This guy strapped a calculator to his chest, figured out some way to shoot “hard light” out of his helmet. His calculator supposedly made him impervious to ever being beaten by the same hero twice, but considering he picked a fight with the Justice League, there was a long line of people there to kick the hell out of him. Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on this cat, as recently Noah Kuttler, as he may be called, has been rewritten into a super-genius and master manipulator and ditched his costume. I consider that a remake, and thus unfair, and to balance out the universe, am making fun of him for his idiotic costume choices. To me, he’ll always be a fool, and I pity fools.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #463, 1976
Powers: Genius, Manipulator, Tactician, Presumably really awesome at math when he has a hand free to work his chest calculator.
Villains that Almost Made The List
Killer Croc – This guy should make the list for the same reason as Clayface and Man-Bat, but he is kind of cool and vicious so I cut him some slack. It would be tough to get him into the Nolanverse.
Bane – In the comics, Bane was pretty boss. Then Batman & Robin happened and I hate him. So out of pure piste of that film, I wanted to put him on this list.
With the proper writing, directing, and costuming, almost any of these characters could be rewritten as interesting or dangerous or modern, but that’s just the thing – they’d be rewritten, taken far away from what they are or were. In these original states, without a lot of reworking, I don’t think any of these characters has a place on the big screen. And undoubtedly, I’ve missed tons of horrid characters as well.
Batman villains – which ones do you hate, which ones do you want to see on the big screen?