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My Thoughts On Batman #26 (WARNING – SPOILERS AND ANGRY RANT) #PoisonIvyLeague

…Have you ever written an article and then something happens that’s related to it and it makes you wish you’d waited a few days before writing it? I’ve officially had this moment. A few days ago, I wrote an article talking about Tom King’s Batman as part of my DC Rebirth One Year Later series. Well, the newest issue is out, and…yeesh, it’s like it went to whole new depths of stupid for me to rant about. In fact, this is so bad, you can consider this the newest entry of How To Drop The Ball In Comics, just minus a lot of the deep analysis on how this had potential and shit. So, here we go.

So, first off, Poison Ivy randomly murdering people. And already, I know I’m gonna get it for this, but I’m not a fan of this. I know that Ivy DOES kill people, but the thing is, she only kills when she feels it is absolutely necessary. Here, she kills a bunch of people because they’re trying to kill Riddler for the Joker, and Riddler mentions that Joker will “scorch the Earth”. This cannot possibly be Ivy’s only motivation for getting involved in the War of Jokes and Riddles, because she has no evidence of this outside of Riddler’s word, and she has no real reason to trust anything he says to her. Furthermore, after the two page spread of her killing these guys, we get a splash page of Batman going over the people she killed and how killing them further ruined their families in the most horrific ways, including one guy killing himself because he was originally set to marry one of the men she killed, meaning SHE JUST PUSHED A GAY MAN TO SUICIDE!

Look, here’s the thing: I get it. A lot of the problem involving fan interpretation of Poison Ivy (and other characters for that matter) all stems from the fact that various writers and editors come and go, and the ones that replace them don’t always have the same game plan as who came before them, or even with each other. Add onto that the number of different spin-off universes, Elseworlds comics, TV shows, movies, games, etc., and it CAN be hard to get a for-certain context for how a character is supposed to be, and Ivy is one of the worse cases in that regard. It’s why I don’t necessarily blame any fans for thinking she’s different from what other fans think, outside of situations where people online outright argue and send threats to each other just on the basis of having different viewpoints. THAT is just childish to me. On the other hand, though, not only is Tom King not a fan, but rather one of said writers who isn’t on the same page as those who prefer Ivy in a more heroic light or as an anti-hero, but there’s also the little matter of THIS:

Um, lie much? Blatant-ass lie, right there. Regardless of whether you think Ivy should be a straight-up villain or not, that’s a lie.

Getting beyond my issues as a Poison Ivy fan and member of the Poison Ivy League, though, there is another issue I have with this story that I never really realized until I saw the spreads of Riddler and Joker’s groups of villains. See, I was trying to find any kind of rationale, motif, explanation, etc. for why Ivy is involved in the War of Jokes and Riddles beyond Riddler’s line in this comic, and then I saw those spreads, and a thought occurred to me: What in the name of all that is sane do ANY of these other characters care in the slightest about the blood feud between Riddler and Joker? Why would Mr. Freeze be on Joker’s side? Victor Fries’ motivations all stem around either curing his wife’s illness or getting revenge for his current condition. What the fuck does ANY of what’s going on have to do with either of those things? What do any of these characters give a monkey’s nutsack about Riddler and Joker trying to kill each other? The ONLY possible explanation I could come up with is fear of reprisal from Joker for people sided with him, or wanting to see him dead for people sided with Riddler. In other words, the motivation is the further propagation that all the other rogues of Batman are inferior in some way to Joker, even though I could list at least half a dozen who could kill him easily. Lovely.

And just as an aside, why in God’s name would you ever make a story where Joker is one of the main villains, and he never ever smiles or laughs? That takes away ALL fun from a story involving Joker whatsoever. And yeah, I get that most Joker stories as of late haven’t been very fun to begin with, but holy fuck, give us SOMETHING, DC.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this issue, and my continued belief that Tom King was the wrong person to put on this book. Lemme know your own thoughts as well. Ja né!

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DC Rebirth One Year Later – Batman

Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And, with this one, I’m not looking forward to it. I COULD put it off to the end, but…no. I should do this now. And I could sugarcoat how I feel about it, but the truth is, and I have to give my honest opinion on this, Tom King’s Batman, while having its good points, is probably the most disappointing book of DC Rebirth. And now, I’m not just saying that because I was a big fanboy of Scott Snyder’s run. I’ve pointed out in the past when I thought Snyder’s run with Batman disappointed or fell short in some way, so I will not pull any punches here, either. So, let’s take a look at Tom King’s run on Batman.

First off, while there was the occasional head-scratching moment, I actually did like the opening arc, I Am Gotham. Batman interacting with and having to bring up to speed essentially Gotham City’s version of Superman and Supergirl is an interesting scenario, one that we don’t see very often. And here, Batman’s seniority over Gotham…erm, the man, not the city. He calls himself Gotham. The girl is named Gotham Girl. For simplicity, though, I’m just gonna call them Henry and Claire. Anyway, Batman’s seniority over the two makes perfect sense: They’re new. They haven’t been heroes for very long, and while they’ve lived in Gotham for a while, they don’t know it as intimately as Bruce does. So him taking lead and mentoring them makes sense. It’s also interesting to see how their backstory could have been like Bruce’s, but Batman was there to save them from that fate, leading them to a different scenario. And because they come off as genuinely good people, it’s all the more tragic what ultimately happens to them, with Henry turning bad and Claire being forced to ultimately bring him down, all while going more than a little bonkers herself.

The arc also had some awesome moments…even if a couple were complete horseshit. Let’s be honest, people, Batman surfing a plane out of harm’s way and flipping Solomon Grundy one-handed were both completely improbable. But then, that’s symptomatic of a problem I’ll get into later. Other moments, however, like the confrontation with Henry after he’s been driven mad, complete with Alfred in a Batsuit (which was both cool and hilarious), and Batman actually doing the one thing no one would’ve expected and CALLING THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, were pretty damned badass.

After that…Oy. I don’t know what to say, folks. King had me, and then he lost me. I think what did it most for me was the I Am Suicide arc. First off, lemme make this clear: The suggestion that Catwoman would kill over 200 people is absolutely stupid. The thing you need to understand is that Catwoman likewise has a no kill rule. Granted, when I found out the people she supposedly killed were terrorists who took out the orphanage she once stayed in, I felt such actions would’ve at least been understandable, but I still didn’t really buy it. I knew it was one of two things: Character derailment, or a deliberate twist in the making. Turns out, surprise surprise, it was the latter…and kind of the former. See, it wasn’t Selina who killed those people, she was just covering for the person who actually killed them: Holly Robinson. So, in other words, instead of Selina’s character being turned into a Goddamn murderer, it was Holly’s. Um, yay? Am I supposed to feel happy about that?

Besides that, though, the crowning moment of stupid had to be when Bane broke Batman’s back AGAIN, but then Batman proceeded to somehow pop it back to normal and walk it off… … …I will repeat that. Bane broke Batman’s back for the second time, and then Batman managed to somehow fix it on his own, with no medical equipment whatsoever, and then went back on his mission like it was no big thing. And I remember watching a video where Tom King was very excitedly talking about this sequence of events, also fanboying over this moment that he wrote, and all I could think of was “…Tom, you DO know that Batman is human, right?”

Yeah, that’s something that’s been bothering me for a long-ass time now, and it really got highlighted in that one sequence of events. To put it bluntly, hardly anyone writes Batman nowadays to have actual human limitations. We constantly have seen him defy what should be humanly possible for going on two decades now. Granted, some of us online have guessed that Batman might be a low key metahuman, but the thing is, when you look at the founding members of the Justice League, Batman is supposed to be the ordinary man who doesn’t possess superpowers of any kind, and is equipped with human-made tech, meaning he doesn’t even have the advantages of a Green Lantern. However, the truth is that, if he tried to accomplish half the stuff he did with the actual limitations of a human being, even one at the peak of human physical conditioning and mental prowess, he’d have been dead a LONG time ago. Now, that’s not to say that his position on the Justice League is completely unjustified or anything. It’s important on a team like that to have multiple heroes of different power-sets and power-levels, so as to deal with any kind of situation that might get thrown at them. But again, if Batman isn’t going to be written as having human limitations, and is CONSTANTLY the one who has to be at the center of attention and bailing the rest of his team out, then it kinda ruins the idea. And, I’m sorry, but seeing Batman somehow fix his broken back on his own is absolutely stupid, as are him surfing a fucking jet liner away from Gotham City, flipping Solomon Grundy with one hand, surviving a beating from Professor Zoom, walking out of a fight with Darkseid with barely a scratch on him, that bullshit he pulled in Batman R.I.P. with the coffin, and probably most insane of all, surviving the mother fucking vacuum of mother fucking space for 24 mother fucking seconds! And no, I will not get over that!

…Okay, the entire sequence at Batburger was stupid as shit, but I WILL admit to laughing my ass off the whole way through. 😛

And then there’s a moment I absolutely detest as it pertains to what it does to the character of Batman: When Bane returns to get his revenge on Bruce, the latter decides that the only way to ensure victory over Bane is to force Bane to run the gauntlet of the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery. How does he do this? HE LETS THEM ALL OUT OF THEIR CELLS AT ARKHAM AND PUTS THEM BETWEEN HIMSELF AND BANE! Now, on the one hand, this is a clever subversion of how Bane first defeated Batman, by arranging to have the Arkham inmates escape, let Batman tire himself out physically and mentally by catching them all, and then attack him when he was at his weakest. It’s the thing a lot of people forget about Bane: That while he DID beat Batman in a one-on-one fight, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight. He essentially beat him in a chess match that Batman didn’t even know they were playing until his king was in check and all of his other pieces had been taken off the board. So yeah, clever subversion. On the other hand, though, HE LET HIS WORST ENEMIES GO FREE FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING THEM MEAT SHIELDS! AND HE ARMED THEM!!! This is downright villainous behaviour! Yes, he’s doing this not only to save himself but also Alfred and Claire, but my God, Batman, did you even take two seconds to think about all the ways this could’ve gone horribly wrong?! What if your other rogues had killed Bane?! You would’ve been an accomplice to murder, and then you would’ve had the much harder task of rounding them all up!

Oh, but as it turns out, small chance of that, because not only does Bane curbstomp his way through ALL of Batman’s worst nightmares (sans Joker for reasons I’ll get to in a later article), he then proceeds to beat the living hell out of Batman, and Batman just BARELY manages to win in the end! So we’re supposed to believe that Batman has the means with which to take on Superman and Wonder Woman in one-on-one fights, people with Godlike strength, and possibly even beat them in said fights, but he can’t handle one roided-out jock who just fought a bunch of other guys! What a fucking load of bullshit!

Anyway, having mentioned the thing with Zoom earlier, let’s talk about The Button, which is actually where things started to pick up a bit for me. I’mma leave the bulk of what happens in that book out for when I talk about The Flash, but for now, let’s just discuss the biggest thing to happen in that book that directly affects Batman: Meeting his father from the Flashpoint timeline. Having somehow managed to arrive there, despite there being no real reason they should have been able to that they could figure out, Flash and Batman meet up with Thomas Wayne, AKA Flashpoint’s Batman. The meeting between the two is sadly short-lived as Flashpoint is slowly erased from existence, but Bruce relays to Thomas that he has a son, making Thomas a grandfather, and while Thomas has a chance to escape death, he stays behind. As he does, though, he has the following advice for Bruce:

…Yeah, I won’t be doing the fail thing here, because holy shit, is this some powerful stuff. And while I have my doubts that Bruce will ever truly quit being Batman, as well as something else I’ll get into in a bit, this DOES have significant follow-up, as Bruce, deciding to find happiness, finally mans up and does something he should’ve done YEARS ago…

Now, I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I have been waiting for this moment for-fucking-ever! Outside of Earth 2 or otherwise Elseworlds stories, this moment has never happened. DC has teased it for decades, but they never pulled the trigger. Well, it seems like the trigger is now officially pulled. And, speaking of Earth 2, one thing of note in Bruce and Selina’s interactions in this book is that they remember two different versions of their first meeting: The Golden Age version, and the one from Frank Miller’s Batman Year One story. Hell, the diamond in the ring Bruce uses to propose is actually the same diamond she stole during their meeting in the Golden Age version, suggesting that this is the actual way they met in this timeline. This COULD be interpreted to mean that, when the ten years of history taken from the DCU are restored, Batman’s Golden Age roots will be brought back, and possibly even his marriage to Catwoman and her giving birth to Helena Wayne, AKA Huntress. These things could finally be made canon to the mainstream DC Universe. There is a great opportunity here to do this. Of course, that would also mean that, when Batman was starting out, he killed people, but I could buy the idea that the no kill rule was actually something he developed over time as a means of keeping himself more grounded. It wouldn’t be the worst thing they did with the character.

On the other hand, though, for reasons I hope I’ve made clear in this article, I don’t know that I trust Tom King with this. Characterization of these two has been passable at best and downright insultingly bad at worst in this book. Oh, and I don’t care if you think them calling each other Bat and Cat is cute or not, it got annoying REAL quick. But just beyond that, I don’t know that I trust DC to actually DO this. I’ll talk more about this later on, but in Nightwing’s book, Dick recently found out he was gonna be a father, and it was a huge deal to me and a lot of readers. Granted, some people hated it because the mother was neither Barbara Gordon nor Kory, instead being a reformed crook he’d met as Robin named Shawn, but it was still a huge deal: Dick Grayson was gonna be a father. This was major character development for him. However, sadly, it was a fake-out. Turned out Shawn got a false positive. And, if current events and future solicits for his book and Batgirl’s are to be believed, it looks like this relationship is doomed to failure. What makes that worse is that even those of us who loved the idea of Dick becoming a father and wanted it to be true…kind of knew they weren’t really gonna do this, because DC pulls this crap ALL THE TIME. I’m STILL amazed that they not only got Lois and Clark back together, but gave them a son to boot. So yeah, there’s a great opportunity here for Batman, his stories, and his legacy in the future, but I don’t trust DC to actually do it. If they do, GREAT. I honestly hope this happens and it’s done right. But I’m not necessarily holding my breath, either.

And that leads me to where the book is going. Well, right now, it’s The War of Jokes and Riddles, a flashback story narrated by Batman to Selina after he proposed to her that takes place during some sort of war between Joker and Riddler. Apparently, Batman did something terrible during this event, and is telling all of this to Selina because he wants her to know before committing herself to marrying him. Of course, there are a couple of problems with this. One, this story has Joker and Riddler being in a state of mind that makes them very morose, AKA wildly out of character and uninteresting. And two…well, if the final pages of the opening issue are to be believed, Bruce is telling Selina all of this after they had sex. Man, and I thought Zayn from One Direction made pillow talk sound unappealing.

But, then there’s one other thing I gather Tom King will get to at some point. Basically, at the end of the I Am Gotham arc, we got some narration from Claire that took place in the future, wherein she is not only married to Duke Thomas, but also apparently killed Batman… … …Okay, I’m just gonna get this out of the way right now: Can we please get a writer on the main Batman book who DOESN’T try to boost sales by teasing killing Batman off? And both Morrison and Snyder were quick to reveal that said deaths of Batman were fake-outs. Why should I have any reason to believe that isn’t the case here? Goddammit, DC, get Tom King off this book pronto and get someone who understands the character and won’t resort to trying to kill him off to write it. Sorry, King, but you’re just not the man for this book. But I do legitimately hope Mister Miracle works out great for you.

Anyway, that’s it for Tom King’s Batman. Leave your comments below on how you felt about the book, and be sure to check back in next time. And, rest assured, if there’s trouble, you’ll know who to call. Ja né!

J.A. Phillips Presents Batman And Robin: Dark Knight/Boy Wonder Chapter 3 Preview

Dark night.

Happy family.

Lone criminal.

Parents murdered.

Orphaned child.

Dark Knight.


In an abandoned printing press in Old Gotham, where they used to print crossword puzzles and the like, Edward Nygma, AKA The Riddler, sat back in his chair and looked upon his computer screen with satisfaction, spinning his trademark question mark cane between his palm and the floor. He’d just managed to obtain quite the acquisition: Several of Commissioner Loeb’s most prized and well-kept secrets from the past couple of years. Now, they were his to do with as he pleased. It was days like these that made him most glad to be alive.

It was really no wonder, then, that he barely noticed any sort of presence in his room until said presence yanked on the collar of his green coat, pulling him out of his chair. “What the-?!”

“Hello, Nygma,” the intruder, none other than Batman, said coldly.

The Riddler put on a small grin, albeit a nervous one, as he adjusted his tie. “Well, well, well. If it isn’t Gotham City’s own bruised-knuckled, bat-fixated bully of bandits, black-marketeers, and all-around bad men.”

“I thought we should have ourselves a little talk,” the Dark Knight commented, kicking the balcony window open and dangling Edward over the ledge. “You have information I want.”


 

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11800272/3/J-A-Phillips-Presents-Batman-And-Robin-Dark-Knight-Boy-Wonder

Taking Requests For DC Team-Up Fics + Last Chance To Vote on Fanfic Universe Name (FEEDBACK REQUESTED)

So, remember a while back when I talked about What I’d Do Instead of Superman/Wonder Woman? Y’know, the random crossover book? Well, having FINALLY written Will & Hope, I’ve decided that I’m going to start taking requests from people to do crossover team-up fics of various DC superheroes. Basically, you post a request on here or in the comments for my fanfics, listing 2-3 heroes and 2-3 of their villains, and provided I like the idea of the team-up and it works within the canon of my fics, I will give it an honest shot.

Just as examples, you could ask for something like Wonder Woman and Batman taking on Cheetah and Bane, Robin and Raven battling Harley Quinn and one of the Sons of Trigon, Superman and John Stewart fighting Atomic Skull and Atrocitus, whatever. You don’t HAVE to post a plot idea if you don’t want to, but I suppose it could help. One thing I do ask, or rather recommend if you want better odds of me agreeing to do it, is that you list characters that have appeared in my fics thus far, the heroes at least. I’ll probably post a list of characters that have appeared thus far in my Fanfiction.net profile, (which is J.A.Phillips, btw), but for now, here’s a list of heroes and villains that have appeared or been referenced to thus far, more or less in order of appearance.

Heroes: Batman (Bruce Wayne), Robin, Martian Manhunter, Batman (Thomas Wayne), Superman, Supergirl/Power Girl, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), Raven, Huntress, Batwoman, Batgirl/Oracle, Green Arrow, Black Canary (Dinah Drake-Lance), The Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (John Stewart), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Villains: Tony Zucco, Copperhead (female version from Arkham Origins), Rupert Thorne, Lew Moxon, Carmine Falcone, Gillian Loeb, Victor Zsasz, Manchester Black, Lex Luthor, Plasmus, Atomic Skull, Magpie, Baud, Dyna-mind, Parasite, Solomon Grundy, Toyman, The Joker, Firebug, The Riddler, The Jokerz, John Corben/Metallo, Nasthalthia Luthor, Bizarro, Jared, Trigon, Omerta the Silencer, Aquarius, Bleez, Atrocitus, Sinestro, Weather Wizard, Volcana, Dex-Starr

All of that aside, I’ve decided that, starting with my upcoming Justice League fanfic, I will be listing all of my fanfiction under a name for my fan-made universe. So, with that said, this is the last opportunity to vote on the name: Either Earth 52, so named for being the reality that doesn’t exist in the comics, or Infinite DC, named after Ultimate Marvel and for being influenced by the events of an infinite number of other comics, TV shows, movies, and so on.

Anyway, if you have a request for a team-up, post it below, and I shall see what I can do for you in the future. Ja né!

My 12 Favourite Bat Villains

So at the beginning of the month, I listed my 10 Favourite DC Villains. However, since I knew it would otherwise be a Batman/Batgirl bonanza of baddies, I limited them to two. And since I wanna cover 10 villains who I haven’t already covered in my previous list, and two of my favourites are characters I’ve yet to shut up about, let’s just say that they’re #1 and #2…

#1 – Poison Ivy, and #2 – The Joker

…and let’s look at #3 – #12 of my 12 Favourite Bat Villains!…Also, just FYI, be prepared for more than one of these choices to be as a result of Batman: The Animated Series. Just FYI.

#3 – Harleen Quinzel, AKA Harley Quinn

What’s funny about this one is that she’s worked VERY closely with both my #1 and #2 picks, being the on-again/off-again sidekick/one-way lover of The Joker, and the on-again/off-again partner/BFF of Poison Ivy. Originally, she was just The Joker’s henchman from Batman: The Animated Series. Once a psychiatrist, she was drawn in by Joker and became part of his criminal lifestyle. Since then, while she still regularly finds herself suckered back into working for The Joker, she’s also branched out on her own on occasion, teaming with Poison Ivy and Catwoman to become the Gotham City Sirens, being made to join the Suicide Squad, and even leading Joker’s army of crooks in an alternate universe in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Like The Joker, she tends to enter combat against Batman and other superheroes with an array of more comedic looking weapons, though they are generally quite lethal. Also, due to injections from Poison Ivy, she’s immune to most known forms of poisons and toxins.

#4 – Clayface

There’s been a few villains who have answered to the name Clayface, though arguably the most well-known is Basil Karlo. An insane Hollywood actor, he was originally just a villain in a mask, but later injected himself with samples of the others to become Clayface, gaining their shape-shifting abilities. Not only has he battled Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, but he’s also gone up against Wonder Woman and Donna Troy, and has had less than stellar relations with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Recently, his shape-shifting powers have evolved to the point where he can assume the DNA of anyone he comes in contact with. However, this has come with a heavy price, as his own DNA has all but rotted away.

#5 – Victor Fries, AKA Mr. Freeze

Originally just a minor villain by the name of Mr. Zero, Paul Dini reinvented Mr. Freeze as quite possibly one of the most sympathetic villains in DC history. Voiced by the late great Michael Ansara, we learn that Victor Fries was a scientist whose wife, Nora, had to be cryogenically frozen to keep her alive after she’d been plagued with disease. At some point, Doctor Fries was involved in an incident with cryogenic substances that left him mutated. Now, he requires a cryo-suit that keeps his body at sub-zero temperatures to keep himself alive. Turning to a life of crime, his goal is to eventually obtain the resources required to find a cure for his wife, even if he has to kill to get it. He’s typically armed with a freeze ray of varying design and overall power, while his cryo-suit increases his physical strength to levels where he might actually be able to duke it out with the next guy on my list…

#6 – Bane

The man who broke the Bat, Bane is a criminal whose genius and physical prowess make him one of Batman’s most dangerous foes. However, I feel like something writers tend to forget, even when they know he has a genius level IQ, is that it was because of THAT that he beat Batman initially, NOT his brute strength. Bane knew that Batman could take him in a straight out fight. So, rather than attempt that, he opted to release the inmates at Arkham Asylum and let Batman go about bringing them all back in, all the while Bane deduced Batman’s alter ego and prepared to face the highly exhausted Bruce Wayne in his own home, when and where he was least expecting attack. This is what makes him so dangerous: It’s not his impressive strength that might actually be enough to inflict small amounts of damage to Superman, but rather, it’s his mind that makes him a near-unstoppable monster.

#7 – Roxanne Sutton, AKA Roxy Rocket

…I just like this one, okay? Although I find it interesting that she chose to be a villain. Given her back-story, she could’ve just as easily decided to become a crime fighter. Roxanne Sutton was a stunt double for big action movies, but was blacklisted when she began making the stunts too dangerous, clearly getting off on the thrill. Frankly, if she wants a thrill, she shoulda helped the Justice League against Darkseid. Now THERE’S a life-or-death scenario for ya. Then again, she’s also tussled with Batman, Batgirl, and even Superman on occasion, so make of that what you will. She’s never seen in action without her trademark rocket, which she has spares of hidden away for emergencies, and she generally likes to be armed with flare guns and other explosives. She’s not really cruel to the people she robs, though. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her intentionally try to outright kill anyone, save for the end of her début, when she almost crashed herself and Batman into a cliff, and we got to see just how far her obsession with thrills (and pushing the limits of the censors) went…

…Yeah, don’t pretend you weren’t thinking it. lol

#8 – Edward Nygma, AKA The Riddler

Riddle me this, riddle me that…he really SHOULD be afraid of the big bad Bat. Nevertheless, Edward Nygma has proven again and again that he has no fear of Batman. While he’s by no means a match for Batman on a physical level, he lives to test him on a mental level. In fact, his obsession with proving to be Batman’s intellectual superior is usually what leads him to leave riddles for his enemy, to see if he can actually keep up. However, Batman more often than not is more than capable, which has led to more than one humiliating defeat for The Riddler. Still, he should never be underestimated, as he has at times gone to Joker levels of manipulation and cruelty.

#9 – The Court of Owls

Kinda cheating, I know, but it’s hard to pin down a specific individual within the group that makes a better antagonist for Batman than the others, other than Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr., whereas the group as a whole has proven to be a MASSIVE threat to Batman more than once in the past couple of years. They’re deeply entrenched in Gotham’s past, their soldiers are undead and near-unstoppable, and they have near-infinite amounts of time and resources with which to make their plans. Eliminating them for good may yet prove to be impossible, but their plans can be stopped, even if only long enough to force them back into hiding.

#10 – Shauna Belzer, AKA The Ventriloquist

If you thought the original Ventriloquist was creepy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This woman is a freaking horror movie monster! Like the others, she’s a psychotic killer with impeccable voice-throwing and impersonation skills. Where she differs is her general attitude, her sickly appearance, and the fact that she may or may not be a metahuman of some sort, able to control dead or otherwise inanimate objects. For example, her doll, ‘Ferdie’, and even her dead parents. This hasn’t been confirmed, however, as it could simply be some sort of trick, but there’s no way to know so far…which is just how I like it, to be honest. Of course, as her appearance might suggest, she’s not exactly very adept at defending herself otherwise, and is taken down rather easily. Still, that requires one to get past Ferdie and the rest of her unwilling accomplices.

#11 – Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face

You know how I said Mr. Freeze is one of the most sympathetic villains ever? Well, if there was ever another DC villain to dispute that title, it’s these next two, starting with Two-Face. Once Harvey Dent, a district attorney who, together with Batman and Commissioner Gordon, sought to put the worst of Gotham behind bars, he faced horrid tragedy when the left side of his face was horribly burned. With that act, a lifetime spent keeping a lid on his anger, bipolar disorder, and paranoia were undone, creating the split personality of Two-Face. His obsession over the number two has led him to enact crimes centered around it, and he’s obsessive-compulsive toward his coin, which he uses to settle most of his decisions. And if that doesn’t seem terrifying to you, just imagine a man holding a gun to your head, flipping a coin, and then trying not to piss yourself in fear over the results.

#12 – Mary Dahl, AKA Baby Doll

Yeah, it was a tough call deciding on the last pick. Granted, guys like Penguin, Hush, Professor Pyg, Ra’s al Ghul, and Scarecrow are great villains, but for me, this is a villain who, despite appearances, should NEVER be taken lightly in terms of overall threat level, and is really hard to hate, given her circumstances. Mary Dahl, an actress born with a condition that kept her from growing past the physical stature of a little girl, she became the sitcom character Baby Doll, until the show was cancelled and she eventually was set on a life of crime due to general reactions to her appearance. She came very close to murdering her castmates in an explosion, but was stopped by Batman. And I’m not gonna lie here, people: This episode of Batman: The Animated Series might possibly have the saddest ending to a DCAU production EVER. Don’t believe me? Well…you’ve been warned, people.

…I warned ya. And frankly, I’m not really sure why she was never used in the comics. Despite her obvious flaws, she’s inventive, creative, manipulative, and has a mean streak longer than…Yeah, I’m not using the short jokes. That’s a good way to get smacked. I’d kinda like to see her tussle with Babs one of these days in the comics. But, if not, I can always look back on this episode with fond, albeit sad, memories.

Anyway, those were my Top 12 Bat Villains. Got a favourite who’s not on here? Leave a comment below, and I will see you guys next time. Ja né!