The best villains reflect the opposite of a hero’s ideals and attributes. With Batman being one of the most iconic superheroes around, it makes sense his villains would be equally iconic. From the Joker to Mr. Freeze, every Batman villain challenges his physical strength, his intellect, and his values as a superhero. Because of such stellar writing over the past decades, Batman villains only continue to become more well-rounded and multi-dimensional. But which villains push the Dark Knight to his limits? Here are 25 Best Batman Villains Of All Time.
Carmine Falcone didn’t become Gotham’s most powerful m0b boss until Frank Miller’s titular work Batman: Year One. Since then, he’s been a staple first villain for Batman to overcome. His power resides in his ability to own every aspect of Gotham without Batman around. However, once Batman figures out how to be a successful vigilante, all bets are off and Falcone ultimately loses.
Also known as Arnold Wesker, the Ventriloquist has multiple personality disorder. While Wesker is a timid and meek human, he acts out all his evil deeds through his other personality using a dummy called Scarface. Scarface is ruthless, calculating, and a criminal mastermind. He’s weak with hand to hand combat, however, making him especially vulnerable to Batman. His only line of defense is a Tommy Gun and his wits.
Wearing a surgical suit and a pig mask, Professor Pyg is a psychotic villain that tries to make people “perfect” by surgically putting pig faces on his victims. Of all the villains, Professor Pyg is one of the weirdest and most insane villains in the comics.
As a man, his name was Cyrus Gold, but after he was murdered and put in Slaughter Swamp, Solomon Grundy emerged as a super strong undead monster. Every time he dies, he re-emerges with a new personality and powers, but his super strength and stamina stay the same.
A former crocodile wrestler, Waylon Jones transformed into a low-intelligence crocodile monster due to a medical condition called Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis. Due to his deformity and appearance as a crocodile, he goes by the name Killer Croc. His super strength and ability to breathe underwater make him an admirable adversary against Batman.
With a body made of clay that can transform into whatever he wishes, Clayface proves time and again he’s a terrifying force to reckon with. Originally named Basil Karlo, he was an actor who went on a murder spree after finding out his movie was being remade. Along with malleability, he has super strength and can become quite durable.
As a psychologist, Hugo Strange has evaluated the Batman for some time and becomes obsessed with him. One of the few villains to know his secret identity, Strange used genetics and mind control to hatch a plot to take Batman’s place. His overall intelligence makes him a difficult and worthy adversary.
Dr. Thomas Elliot and Bruce Wayne were once childhood friends and dark reflections of each other. In order to get his inheritance, Elliot tried to kill his parents but the plot failed due to Wayne’s father. Elliot blamed Wayne ever after and used his skills as a surgeon to hatch nefarious schemes against him under the villain name “Hush.”
Known as “The man who broke the bat,” Bane is a supervillain from South America. His strength derives from a drug called “Venom” that he pumps into his veins. He’s also known to be incredibly intelligent and a skilled assassin.
Talia al Ghul
With a high intelligence, skill in business, and stellar combat skills, Talia al Ghul has been both a lover and villain of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Oh, and did we mention she has an unusually long life due to her father’s Lazarus pit?
Victor Zsasz is a serial killer with a penchant for using a knife. After he kills his victims, he leaves a tally mark on his body. Due to his unpredictability and physical strength, Batman struggles to combat the villain both mentally and physically. Zsasz is technically not insane and says he kills people only because he chooses to.
Scarecrow, also known as Dr. Johnathan Crane, uses psychedelic drugs to inhibit phobias and fears into his victims. He plays a significant role in the overall Batman mythos, appearing in comics, cartoons, and films.
The Mad Hatter is a mass murderer and supervillain obsessed with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. With a wide array of hats, he uses mind control on his victims and desperately wishes to acquire Batman’s cowl above all else.
In the Batman comics, Red Hood has had several identities. It first started with The Joker before Joker allowed a man named Jack to take on the identity. In the second iteration of the Red Hood, Jason Todd, one of the Robins, was murdered by The Joker. When Jason Todd was resurrected, he was infuriated Batman didn’t avenge him and took the mantle of Red Hood to fight crime. But his idea of fighting crime involved controlling mobs and gangs, clashing with Batman. Batman eventually figured out that Red Hood was, indeed, Jason Todd.
A prominent eco-terrorist, Poison Ivy is obsessed with the environment and doing anything to protect it. She uses toxins, love potions, and her ability to control vines and plants to commit her crimes. Anytime Batman comes around, she’s known to seduce him and his allies. Once in a while, she might also team up with Harley Quinn.
Ra's al Ghul
Arabic for “Demon’s Head,” Ra’s al Ghul is an arch-enemy and supervillain of Batman with the ability of incredible long life and immortality. Besides that, he’s also an intelligent tactician and martial artist.
Originally named Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, Harley Quinn is a villain of Batman and love interest of The Joker. While she doesn’t have any super powers, she sometimes uses a giant mallet or bat to fight. Otherwise, she works as The Joker’s right hand, carrying out all his evil deeds. She is totally and utterly devoted to the Joker.
Originally, Catwoman, also named Selina Kyle, was a thief and villain to Batman. Her abilities include acrobatics and an expert knowledge of martial arts. While she was always a classic foil to Batman, over time she became an anti-hero, fighting crime as well, sometimes alongside Batman.
An expert marksman, Deadshot never misses his target and of all the assassins in Gotham City, he ranks as number two just behind Deathstroke. He uses a helmet and suit to improve his abilities and utilizes wrist mounted guns to kill his targets. He’s also one of the leading members of the Suicide Squad.
Gaining enhanced abilities on almost every level due to a military procedure, Deathstroke is the ultimate assassin in the DC comics universe. Usually, he’s a foil for Nightwing; however, he also has a rivalry with Batman. He’s got an enhanced mind, and the ability to strategize, problem solve, and remember things at a fast rate.
The Penguin is a criminal mastermind with a genius intellect obsessed with all types of birds. Besides his sharp wits, he utilizes different kinds of umbrellas as his main form of weaponry against the Batman. As criminals go, the Penguin is more of a mobster, leading his men to perform various heists or takeovers.
Dr. Victor Fries, also known as Mr. Freeze, was a gimmick until Batman: The Animated Series resurrected him and made him into a major villain. Because the backstory into the villain was so well done, it quickly became canon and was even introduced into the movie Batman and Robin. With the ability to freeze people and objects as well as his advanced intellect, Mr. Freeze is a cold, calculating menace for Batman.
The Riddler is an intelligent puzzle master and escape artist who loves to play mind games with Batman. He’s been portrayed in various forms over the years, from a silly trickster to a cold and calculating egoist. In most cases, he loves to throw Batman into labyrinths and mazes, forcing him to solve riddles and make impossible choices.
Harvey Dent, also known as Two-Face, was a former lawyer who had acid thrown into his face by Sal Maroni. Afterward, he lost his mind, becoming a schizoid criminal who flips a coin to make all his decisions. Batman tries to reform his former ally, but Two-Face becomes too obsessed with crime.
Of all the villains in the Batman universe, The Joker has probably been the most frequently explored and the most admired. While he doesn’t have any superpowers, it’s his intellect, lunacy, and vicious schemes always putting Batman on his toes. Many have considered him the perfect villain.
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