When it comes to comic books, Batman has the best assortment of villains, hands down. Still, every one of his foes can't be winners. For each Joker, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman and Poison Ivy, there is a terrible Condiment King lurking trying to spread crime and mayhem throughout Gotham city. This article focuses on those terrible villains. Every good hero needs a bad guy that's a joke every now and then and the bat has them in spades.
#1 Ten-Eyed Man
Ten-Eyed Man was possibly the only supervillain in history who could have been defeated by a high-five. After losing his sight in an accident, Vietnam veteran and warehouse security guard Phillip Reardon underwent an experimental procedure that grafted his optic nerves to his fingertips.
This, of course, qualified him to fight Batman, at least according to the mobster who convinced him that Batman was to blame for his accident. After several defeats at Batman's hands, Ten-Eyed Man decided to lure Batman to Vietnam, where Batman guaranteed that any part of him that didn't already have PTSD before their encounter certainly did afterward. Ten-Eyed Man was killed in his final battle – "Ten-Eyed Man vs. the falling building" – in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
#2 Killer Moth
Meet Killer Moth, or, as he's known in some circles, "the Batman of crime." At least, if Batman were a member of the Lollipop Guild. After a string of embarrassing attempts at criminality, Drury Walker, also known as Cameron van Cleer, realized that enough was enough, and decided to become to crime what Batman is to justice: a figurehead and supernatural force that left no jewelry store un-robbed.
Following in Batman's footsteps, Walker decided to become the night, and since superheroes are a superstitious and cowardly lot, he chose the one image that he knew would strike fear into their hearts: a Lisa Frank Butterfly costume. Unfortunately, girls love Lisa Frank, and Killer Moth got his pastel butt kicked by Batgirl on his first night out. Over the years, Killer Moth has tried to reinvent himself, again and again, even once making a deal with devil-like character Neron, to become an actual giant moth named Charaxes. Somehow, not even that could make him cool.
#3 Polka-Dot Man
Despite the ridiculous name, Polka-Dot Man has a not-entirely useless gimmick — the polka dots on his uniforms can transform into weapons, traps, flying saucers for him to get away on, etc. Theoretically, this tech could pose a threat if Polka-Dot Man himself weren't so lame. He's not in shape, he's not smart, and he can't fight. One time Detective Harvey Bullock beat up Polka-Dot Man so much he was put in traction. How hard a time do you think Batman had with this idiot?
The Mirror Master is one of the Flash's most powerful foes, thanks to his ability to enter reflective surfaces and travel between them. Mirror-Man, on the other hand, is just a dude who likes mirrors and is obsessed with finding out who Batman really is. Shockingly, Mirror-Man succeeds at this thanks to some crazy mirror set-up and tries to tell the world that Batman is Bruce Wayne. This is immediately rectified when Bruce Wayne has a press conference and Batman (impersonated by Alfred) shows up. If Batman can defeat you with a press conference, just give up.
#5 Penny Plunderer
This guy steals pennies. Seriously, that's it. I don't even know why Batman even bothered, except on slow nights. You know that giant penny in the Bat-cave? That's actually from one of Plunderer's schemes. But here's how shitty Penny Plunderer is: It was so embarrassing for Batman to have ever fought someone who sucked as much as Penny Plunderer that now DC says the giant penny was from one of Two-Face's schemes. Yeesh.
#6 Kite Man
So many jokes have been made about Kite Man that, at this point, it's almost funnier to just tell his straightforward story. Charles "Chuck" Brown was a man who loved kites almost as much as he loved crime. Equipping himself with an arsenal of "trick kites," such as a jet-powered kite (probably no longer technically a "kite"), a flash-bulb kite, and a net-trap kite, he dubbed himself the Kite Man and went on a crime spree that only ended when Batman also employed several trick kites of his own design to take to the skies and capture the criminal mastermind. Other than the fact that he shares a name with noted kite-deficient Peanuts protagonist Charlie Brown, the thing that really makes Kite Man the lamest Batman villain ever is that his lameness was so contagious that he actually convinced Batman to resort to also using kites as weapons, and isn't that the real crime?
#7 Baby Doll
Although she looked like a child, Baby Doll was an adult actress with systemic hypoplasia, that disease where your body stops growing. She was on a shitty but famous sitcom called "Love that Baby" as the rambunctious title character, left the show when the producers added another baby, couldn't get other work, and then kidnapped her show's cast and crew and tried to somehow force it back on the air. Somehow, Batman was able to summon up the strength to defeat what was an effectively a small toddler. Lindsay Lohan is a more credible Bat-villain than Baby Doll was.
#8 Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum
Though Batman has a history with Alice in Wonderland-themed villains, most famously Mad Hatter, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum still manage to make the concept seem like a hallucinatory practical joke.
These two were originally known as Dumfree and Deever Tweed, two rotund cousins who happen to look exactly alike and thus decided to commit crimes or something. Incidentally, Dumfree actually had a twin brother who was not originally part of the gang, whose name was the equally astounding "Dumpson." That last bit was actually a retcon meant to explain how there were still two of them when Dumfree had been killed. The biggest surprise is that these characters have actually been used enough to require a retcon.
#9 The Eraser
If you're a criminal in Gotham City, it never hurts to specialize, and particularly it never hurts to provide services to the scores of criminals inhabiting the city. The Eraser covers up the tracks of other criminals, thus making it harder for them to be caught, and for which the Eraser earns a cut of the take. This would actually be pretty cool if the Eraser didn't dress like a giant pencil, and he didn't use the "special" eraser on his head to remove evidence, which makes him look ridiculous, even in a line of work where a man wears a lime green tuxedo with purple question marks on it. Suffice it to say, Batman broke this particular pencil.
Probably the most famous villain on this list, Victor Zsasz is a serial killer who derives an almost religious satisfaction from murder and carves notches on himself for every victim that he kills…and that’s it. The best Batman villains have gimmicks that are both incorporated into their personal psychosis and help them fight Batman. Penguin’s fixation with trick umbrellas is another reminder of the high society that spurned him but also lets him shoot bullets and fire at Batman. Joker’s clown and party-gag theme is the perfect expression of his terrifying amoral nihilism and gives him an arsenal of wacky gadgets like acid-spewing trick flowers and booby-trapped jack-in-the-boxes. Zsazs’ gimmick, which boils down to “I’m a crazy murderer,” is not only comparatively boring but makes him one of the least capable Batman villains in a fight.
There’s never a question of whether or not Zsasz can subdue Batman unless Batman’s been severely injured, which isn’t a good trait for a villain to have. Batman has fought powerhouses like Darkseid, Vandal Savage, and even Superman — some guy with a knife just isn’t a credible threat to him anymore.
Underworld organizer turned prison lawyer turned henchman, the fittingly named Birdy Colosimo took quite a winding path through life before finally settling into a comfortable position as the bird-themed lieutenant to Bane during the acclaimed Knightfall storyline. At first glance, Bird seems like a character ripe with potential, but rather than committing fully to the bird theme with a crazy flying suit or serving as a behind-bars antagonist that uses his knowledge of the law and the underworld to orchestrate prison breakouts, he’s content to dress as a matador and sneak around with his pet falcon Talon.
Unlike most of the other villains on this list, Bird would actually be a much better character if he was more of a joke. Instead, he strains all credulity by giving Batman a difficult fight and even manages to defeat a Robin — Tim Drake, no less — with nothing but some awkward punching and a bird. It’s fine for a villain to show up a hero (Bird’s boss, Bane, is an excellent example of how to do that right) but if the villain isn’t credible, it undermines the story. And “credible” is one of the least appropriate adjectives for Mr. Colossimo.
Despite being played by the incomparable Vincent Price on the 1966 Batman TV series, the facts remain that Egghead is simply a criminal who happens to like eggs a lot. Case closed.
#13 Sterling Silversmith
Polka-Dot Man and Kite Man might be silly, but they took their gimmicks and ran with them. The same cannot be said for Sterling Silversmith, a silver smuggler whose gimmick — he loves silver — is not only stupid but executed poorly and unimaginatively.
Instead of some silver-based gadgets or a silver robot, Silversmith’s claim to fame is an ordinary white suit with a silver alloy woven in that bafflingly renders him bulletproof. The only upside to ridiculous Batman villains is that they’re at least visually interesting, even in a morbid sense. Sterling Silversmith fails to entertain even on this basic level. It seems safe to say we won’t be seeing this guy in Ben Affleck’s upcoming solo movie.
Shocking “costume” aside, Bruno’s debut in the excellent Dark Knight Returns (Batman v Superman‘s biggest source of inspiration) didn’t raise too many eyebrows — in the context of the story, where a gang called the Mutants had split off into dozens of outlandish, frequently political offshoots, Bruno’s attire (as well as the more traditional Brownshirts of her henchmen) made a certain amount of sense. After all, when you’re competing with gangs like The Nixons and the Sons of Batman, you need to do something to stand out.
But Bruno’s re-emergence in All-Star Batman and Robin was catastrophic, as it revealed that the Nazi imagery, rather than an attention-grabbing gimmick, had been part of the character from the beginning. This raises multiple questions: has Bruno always dressed in Nazi iconography to rob liquor stores? Does she get along with villains other than the Joker who might take issue with symbols of national socialism? What exactly are the swastikas on her chest and butt — are they tattoos? Red body tape? Paint? Perhaps most importantly, especially given how most female characters in All-Star Batman and Robin are treated, are readers meant to feel a sense of attraction to this character? These questions, like so many others raised during the abysmal run of All-Star Batman and Robin, thankfully remain unanswered, and we’re just fine with that.
Arthur Brown was a failed game show host who, in desperation, turned to a life of crime to support his family. He had a great idea too he would commit crimes, and, unlike the smart bank robbers who almost never get their spines separated by Batman, he would wear a really great orange costume, and leave behind clues to his next target, matching wits with the Dark Knight Detective at every turn. What a great gimmick, right? Clearly, there was no one else in Gotham doing anything like that. Thankfully, after years of having to explain to his victims that, no, he's not The Riddler, Cluemaster was killed on a mission with the Suicide Squad.
#16 Crazy Quilt
It’s a bad sign when the best thing about a villain is that he isn’t simply named “Quilt Man.” Crazy Quilt certainly lives up to his name; former painter and master thief Paul Dekker was blinded by a gunshot during a robbery gone wrong but managed to regain his vision through an experimental procedure with the side-effect of only being able to see in bright, disorienting colors, which drove him mad. Between Crazy Quilt and Ten-Eyed Man, it seems safe to say that Gotham City is the worst place in comic books to go blind. Unfortunately for any comic book fans looking forward to crimes based around multi layered textiles, Crazy Quilt’s best capers involved the use of a helmet that hypnotized people with bright flashes of color. Otherwise, the brightly-colored criminal preferred to commit petty vandalism, like his threats to rob Gotham City of color by dyeing several flags and paintings white. Even here, Crazy-Quilt proved incompetent, using an easily removable water-soluble dye. The stains on Gotham’s paintings might be gone, but the shame of forcing Batman to waste his time with Crazy Quilt will last forever.
#17 Humpty Dumpty
Another nursery rhyme-themed villain, this one a latter-day creation, Humpty Dumpty is, perhaps more than anything, a victim of circumstance. Born under the name "Humphrey Dumpler," this mentally handicapped man developed an obsession with assembling and fixing things that culminated in a string of murders wherein he attempted to take people apart and -- you guessed it -- put them back together again. Unfortunately, when someone is dead, not even all the king's horses... you get the idea. How many coincidences does this poor man have to endure as part of his backstory? Next up, a guy named Howland Wolfe who comes down with a case of lycanthropy.
#18 Doctor Double X
Dr. Simon Ecks was a scientist who discovered that human "auras" can be separated from the physical form to act on their own. After undergoing the process himself, Dr.Ecks's own energy doppelganger, whom he named "Dr. Double X" (get it?), embarked on a life of crime, clashing with Batman over and over. Oddly, the energy duplicate was so powerful that Batman often had to call in super-powered help to defeat it. Despite his considerable powers, Dr. Double X is still the ghost of an overweight weirdo with a fin on his head and a pun for a name, so there's still justice in the world.
#19 Now that you have seen all those terrible villains check out the video for more information about the ones that really stand out.