Batman has always been a part of our culture. Since his inception, Bruce Wayne has made his way into practically every type of media imaginable. He started in comics before moving on to a campy live-action TV series, an animated TV series, books, a bunch of hit-or-miss films, and, of course, video games. The Dark Knight has been a part of popular culture for over 70 years. Over the years, we've been introduced to one bad guy after another; some have seemingly supernatural powers while others have abilities that are more deeply rooted in reality. Looking back, it's almost impossible to choose just five villains from Batman's expansive repertoire of foes. We did it anyway, and here are our top five.
Forget the awful Batman & Robin flick. Bane is a true villain and one of the few to have seriously injured Batman, almost putting him out of commission for good. In the Knightfall comics story arc, Bane managed to break Batman's back.
Bane accomplished far more than simply turning Bruce into a paraplegic. When he broke his back, he also broke Batman's will to continue as the masked vigilante. Many villains have come close to physically killing Batman, but Bane is one of the few to almost force Bruce to hang up his costume forever.
Besides being one of the greatest things about Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Scarecrow is unique in his methods for disposing of his enemies. He was a psychiatrist back when he was known as Jonathan Crane, and he'd developed a deep well of knowledge of phobias and ways to enhance them in people. He was bullied extensively in school, so once he became the Scarecrow, his sole mission was to instill the same fear he endured as a child into the minds of his enemies, namely the Batman. If anything, the Scarecrow is the only villain that's been able to actually terrify the Dark Knight on more than one occasion, though he's been assisted by special drugs to accomplish such a feat.
His role in Arkham Asylum was particularly interesting in that he added an element of horror to what was otherwise an action/adventure beat 'em up. The Scarecrow's presence also gives us a look at the psyche of the Caped Crusader, showing us his deepest and darkest fears.
His real name is Roman Sionis, and he's a genuine sociopath. He doesn't have any super-human abilities, but he's adept at criminal strategies, has a sick amount of money, and knows his way around a gun. That's more than enough to make him a threat to the Dark Knight. His tactics for taking out people that are unfortunate enough to get in his way are just as twisted as his face. Instead of relying on brute strength or gadgets, Roman focuses on his enemies' weaknesses, often attacking their friends and family members.
It should also be mentioned that the Black mask tortured and killed Stephanie Brown, the fourth Robin, which grants him membership to the same club as the Joker. His freaky appearance only makes him more intimidating. To hide his face, he wears a mask made from the wood of his father's ebony coffin, and that alone is enough to solidify his position as one of the best—and creepiest—adversaries Batman has come across so far.
The saddest thing about District Attorney Harvey Dent's story is that he used to be a good guy. Before his tragic transformation to the infamous Two-Face, he had the same goals as Batman. But when half his face was burned by acid, a much darker Harvey came out. The most interesting aspect of his character is his split personality. A piece of the old Harvey is still there, but it's overwhelmed by his disfigured self.
Two-Face is all about duality and chance, since he has a two-part personality and an obsessive need to leave things up to chance. All his decisions—and in many cases the fates of his victims—are left to the flip of a two-headed coin. This makes Two-Face a very unpredictable enemy, and that's what's so terrifying about him.
Even if you know nothing about the Caped Crusader's crime-fighting adventures, you probably know who the Joker is. He's almost as well known as Batman himself. The Clown Prince of Crime has been a constant thorn in the Dark Knight's side since he entered the picture in Batman #1, and he's done some rather naughty deeds in the meantime. The Joker is the exact opposite of Batman; his sole purpose is to cause chaos and anarchy, while Batman wants order.
The Joker is five flavors of crazy, and the extent of his insanity is showcased in both his acts and his arsenal of comical weapons. Things like poison pies and bladed playing cards mirror his personality, and are even a little funny in a dark sort of way. Then there are those few times where the Joker's more malignant side reveals itself. The first was when he shot Barbara Gordon, better known as Batgirl, crippling her for life. She later returned as the Oracle, but she mostly operates from a control room where her paralysis doesn't put her directly in harm's way.
That was pretty bad, but without a doubt the Joker's darkest deed was when he tortured Jason Todd, the second Robin, with a crowbar before blowing him to bits. This event affected Batman almost as deeply as the loss of his parents, and because of that, the Joker is easily one of the most memorable villains.
By Adam Dodd
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*