Today is Batman Day where DC comics celebrates its most famous hero: The Dark Knight. Since his debut in 1939 Batman has amassed a sizable gallery of villains that can only be surpassed by possibly Superman (also DC comics) and Spider-Man (of Marvel). Today I will be going through my personal five favorite Batman villains. To be on the list they have to regularly appear as an adversary of Batman but no anti-heroes can be on the list (such as Catwoman). However villains forced to do good are eligible to appear on the list. Now let's look at the villains who have plagued the Caped Crusader over the years.
5- Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn is the only character on the list not to make their debut appearance in the comics. Instead she debuted on the animated TV show Batman: The Animated Series as a sidekick to the Joker. She made her first (official) comic appearance in Batman: Harley Quinn in 1999. Harley Quinn was originally a psychiatrist studying the Joker at Arkham Asylum but the Joker's personality and insanity drove her insane as well. She turned from a caring doctor to a homicidal girlfriend for the Joker helping him with his schemes. What gives Harley Quinn a spot on this list is her unique relationship with the Joker. Despite his constant mental and physical abuse to her she perversely loves him and has become devoted to him. Also she is one of the few sidekicks to leave the shadow of the main hero/villain with her becoming an integral part of the Suicide Squad being one of the de facto leaders alongside Deadshot. The fact that Harley Quinn is being advertised as one of the main characters in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie and that she was a main villain in Batman: Arkham Knight shows how much of an enduring character she is,
4- Two Face
Two Face (Harvey Dent) can be considered to be much like Bruce Wayne. Both were committed to the law and a tragic event shaped their lives; Bruce Wayne pushed forward and became the Batman while Harvey Dent lost his mind. First appearing in 1942 in Detective Comics #66 he is also one of Batman's oldest villains. Harvey Dent was a district attorney until crime boss Sal Maroni threw acid into his face. Half his face became scarred and Dent's mind broke. Now as Two Face he attempts to rule Gotham's underworld making decisions (normally if he should kill someone) with a flip of a coin. His fall from grace in Batman: The Long Halloween is a riveting story and his dependence on the coin is an enduring character trait making him one of Batman's iconic villains.
Bane has the distinction of not only physically breaking Batman but also mentally breaking him. Bane made his appearance in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 where he was born in a prison. Fear and darkness ruled his life until he was tested on with the experimental steroid Venom. It briefly gave him increased strength and with his sharp mind he broke out from prison. He saw how Batman ruled Gotham with fear and recognized how similar it was to how fear ran his prison so he decided to take down Batman. He fathomed out Batman's identity and in the Knightfall story arc started to wear down Batman physically and mentally by freeing his entire rogue's gallery out of Arkham Asylum. As Batman is slowly worn down Bane faces him in the Batcave where he breaks Batman's back over his knee.
Not only is Bane made of brute force but he is also cunning, intelligent and a schemer which makes him a villain that could easily 'break the bat'.
2- The Joker
Without a doubt the Joker is one of Batman's most famous villain. Making his debut in Batman #1 in 1940 he has been with the Dark Knight from the start. The Joker's history is too long to repeat here (for more info look here :http://historyandgeekstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/comics-explained-joker.html) but his exploits have included killing the second Robin, paralyzing Batgirl, sending Dr Harleen Quinzel insane so she could become Harley Quinn and recently having his face surgically removed. The Joker also represents the darker side to Batman. Where trauma had forced Bruce Wayne to become a vigilante to help the people of Gotham the trauma that the Joker went through turned him into a homicidal maniac wanting to bring only death to Gotham. Of course he does all of this with a laugh and a smile making anyone scared of clowns scared of this signature Batman foe.
Scarecrow is my personal favorite Batman villain for one reason: he can exploit the one weakness that we all have. Fear. Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane) made his debut in 1941 in World's Finest Comics #3. Crane was obsessed with fear which led him to perform experiments on the patients at Arkham Asylum where he worked as a psychiatrist. There he developed a gas which could make anyone who inhaled it see their worst nightmares. Although often passed over by more notable villains such as the Joker and the Penguin the Scarecrow is easily one of the major Batman villains. Like Batman he uses fear to stalk his enemies and make them go mad. Imagine being sprayed with his gas or injected with his serum and seeing your worst nightmares come to life before your very eyes. That is why Scarecrow is number one on my list.
Do you agree with my list? Are there any villains that you think should be on there? Please leave your ideas in the comments!