Top 10 Villains Defeated by Batman
Great heroes create great villains, and Batman has some of the greatest. But which villains made the cut?
Since making his comic book debut in the 1940’s Batman has gone up against some of the greatest villains of all time in his own personal Rogue’s Gallery, but who made the cut? Who made the top 10 of his greatest villains who he’s defeated?
10) The Riddler
Riddle Me This.
Edward Nigma AKA: The Riddler is one of Batman’s oldest and is quite possibly Batman’s most intelligent villain. The Riddler made his debut in December of 1948 as one of Batman’s quirkier villains.
Since that debut the Riddler has evolved from a peculiar man leaving clues at the scene of his crimes, to a certified sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with a diagnosed need to leave those same clues.
Origin: The Riddler’s updated origin tells a sad story of a child of an abusive home beaten because of his brilliance by his jealous father. Nigma, coming home with an exceptionally good grade on a test, was accused of cheating by his father who then turned to beating his child out of envy. Given years of this abuse, Nigma developed a compulsive need to tell the truth, manifesting in riddles.
Threat: Though his threat varies depending on if the Riddler is actively engaging in a crime spree - or trying to live a life of the straight and narrow. Having bested the Bat a few times the Riddler has the potential to be one of Batman’s greatest adversaries, especially given that the Riddler has learned the identity of Batman before.
How They Are Defeated: Going up against arguably the world's greatest detective does not make for a very optimistic outlook when you have a compulsive need to constantly leave clues. In choosing Gotham as his location the Riddler has already set himself up for defeat by the Bat.
9) Harley Quinn
A personal favorite, Harley Quinn has evolved from a one-shot sidekick - to a villain so popular she’s made her way onto the big screen and has had several runs at her very own comic series.
Origin: Harleen Quinzel AKA : Harley Quinn, was once a brilliant psychiatrist and accomplished gymnast who began her career at Arkham Asylum. Quinzel quickly took a particular interest in the Asylum’s most twisted patient - The Joker.
Over the course of their sessions together, Quinzel went from an ambitious new doctor, to finding herself seduced by her patient, eventually falling madly in love with him. After being placed in a padded cell herself, the newly minted Harley Quinn escaped the Asylum to take her twisted place by the side of the Crowned Prince of Crime.
Threat: Though at first blush, it may seem as though Harley Quinn is a minimal threat, Harley is a greater adversary that even she realizes. With high intelligence, incredible athletic ability, and an immunity to most toxins (thanks to Poison Ivy) Harley has in fact defeated on her own before and could theoretically do it again.
How They Are Defeated: Harley’s greatest weakness is her die-hard devotion to The Joker. Exploiting this weakness has allowed Batman to best Harley Quinn time after time. Even taking into account the one time Harley managed to best the Bat, Batman still escape while Harley was distracted with The Joker.
Jonathan Crane AKA: Scarecrow is a villain that can literally strike fear into Batman’s heart. Crane is a scientist deranged, a man completely obsessed with the concept of fear and it’s uses. Crane has made Gotham his scientific playground on more than one occasion, using his fear gas on the innocents of the city.
Origin: Just like Jonathan, his father was a scientist as well. And just like Jonathan, his father was fascinated with fear. Using Jonathan as his subject, his father tested the effects of chemicals on Jonathan while locking his son in a dark room. As if this wasn’t traumatizing enough, after his father died of a heart attack. Later Jonathan was found still trapped in that blackened room a trauma that would haunt him through his life and push him to become a master over fear.
Threat: Jonathan Crane is a master of fear and certainly knows how to use it. With genius-level intellect paired with his Fear-Toxin at his disposal, Scarecrow could turn an entire city to madness using them as his twisted test subjects. Even without his fear-toxin at his disposal, Crane still knows how to instill fear into hearts.
How They Are Defeated: With an entire lab at Batman’s disposal in the Bat-cave. Batman can not only create masks to filter through the fear-toxin, he can synthesize cures for the hallucinogenic drug as well. Though there is much to be said for Crane’s intellect, unlike other villains he has very little physical strength. Once his fear-toxin has been disabled, Batman can take Scarecrow back to where he belongs - Arkham Asylum.
Can a Heart of Ice Still Find Happiness?
Arguably one of Batman’s most tragic villains Victor Fries AKA: Mister Freeze is a man on a mission: A mission to save his wife. Victor Fries is a villain with a cause, a cause so tragic that at times, you can’t help but hope that perhaps one time, he will succeed.
Origins: A well accomplished scientist in cryogenics Victor Fries began as a misfitted child who, after his parents sent him to boarding school for trying to preserve animals by freezing them, had become quite depressed and lonely. After a kind hearted girl named Nora befriended the lonely boy and the two eventually fell in love.
Soon after Fries and Nora married, she was diagnosed with a terrible degenerative disease. Fries, in an effort to save his wife, tried using his knowledge to save her but instead caused caused an explosion that not only froze Nora, but himself as well causing his body to require constant sub-zero temperatures.
Threat: Mister Freeze has not only incredible intelligence in both cryogenics and mechanical engineering, but his suit gives him substantial powers as well. Equipped with both super strength and incredible durability, Mister Freeze uses his suit to harness his cryogenic weapons in many different ways.
How Are They Defeated: Though Mister Freeze has many different weapons at his disposal he is often defeated by Batman’s ability to disable his suit. Even with his intellect, Fries is just a man underneath. It can prove a bit difficult at times, but with Batman’s many gadgets and his own intellect, Mister Freeze can be defeated.
Bane: The Man Who Broke the Bat.
Only one villain on the list can truly say that they “Broke the Bat”, and that’s Bane. With a backstory just as troubled as Batman’s other villains Bane has worked himself from nothing, to one of Batman’s greatest adversaries.
Origin: Serving a life-sentence for his father from the moment he was born, Bane lived his childhood years in the Peña Duro prison in Santa Prisca. As if that life wasn’t hard enough, Bane was made to watch his mother die at a very young age. Still, even though his life belonged to the prison, used his intellect to read every book he could get his hands on.
Eventually Bane uses his knowledge and strength to make himself the unofficial king of Peña Duro before he was taken for experiments. Though every other test subject before him died to the prison’s “Venom” Bane survived the injection of the drug turning him into the massive juggernaut that he is.
Threat: Bane’s superhuman strength, healing, reflexes and stamina given to him by “Venom” make him an incredible threat. That, paired with his genius level intellect and his excellent hand-to-hand combat skills allowed Bane to not only beat Batman, but break his back as well, causing Batman to become paralyzed - effectively breaking the Bat.
How Are They Defeated: There is only one truly effective way that Batman can defeat Bane - cut him off from his venom. Without Bane’s constant source of venom his body will not only shrink back to a normal size, but it being cut off from his supply leaves Bane with terrible side-effects as well.
5) Poison Ivy
One Kiss Can Change Everything.
Poison Ivy is as deadly as she is beautiful. A woman with allure, powers, and an intense love of the environment. Throughout her years as a villain, Poison Ivy has become one of the world's most dangerous eco-terrorists.
Origins: Pamela Isley began as a simple botanist with promising hopes to save the environment. Her origins vary from the daughter of an abusive father fascinated by her mother’s garden, to a woman fooled by a high school teacher into becoming his terrible subject of experimentation.
Though origin may vary Poison Ivy’s character always ends in the same place, powerful command over plants, and equipped with toxins and serums ready to both seduce and to kill.
Threat: Though Poison Ivy herself is seductive, and her immunity to toxins (including Joker venom) is certainly useful - her true threat comes from her command of plants and the deadly love potions she crafts (potions so strong that even Superman has fallen to its effects). With the ability to entangle any who stand in her way, Poison Ivy is quite hard to beat.
How Are They Defeated: As with many of his other villains, Batman uses his various labs in the Batcave to develop anti-venom. After developing the anti-venom Batman used the serum to snap others out of Poison Ivy’s thorny snare. After her venom has been disabled, Batman can use his martial abilities to take Poison Ivy, down.
Two-Face: Two Side of the Same Coin.
Two-Face had the potential to be one of Batman’s greatest allies in his fight against Gotham’s crime. Though you could argue that the triggers to create a villain had always been embedded in Two-Face, at one point he was Gotham’s greatest DA.
Origin: Like many other Batman villains Harvey Dent AKA: Two-Face lead a hard life as a child. The son of an abusive father, young Harvey developed crippling mental disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia. Though even with the abusive childhood looming over him, Dent look to rise out of his situation and earned his law degree.
It was at this point Harvey Dent became Gotham’s rising star in the criminal justice world. Though like all good things, Dent’s career would also soon come to an end, while prosecuting mob-boss Sal Maroni, acid was thrown on Dent’s face. Though Dent would survive the attack, it would leave half of his face forever scarred.
Threat: Harvey Dent is a man who knows the system and knows how to use it. He knows the weaknesses that can be exploited, and he’s good at exploiting them. Paired with expert marksmanship, a criminal mastermind, expert detective skills and skills in combat, Two-Face is a formidable threat.
How Are They Defeated: While Two-Face has many abilities working for him, his self-slavery to the flip of a coin can often be his downfall when it comes to Batman.
Not Always Batman’s Greatest Threat, Some Would Say She’s His Greatest Weakness.
Selina Kyle AKA: Catwoman has had a complicated relationship with Batman, to say the least. Even though Catwoman has not always been a villain, she has certainly clawed her way into the Batman’s heart.
Origins: Selina Kyle is a woman with a hard life behind her, losing both her parents at a young age, Selina was forced to learn the streets to survive. Though she is always portrayed as a lover of cat’s, some of the details of her origin vary. At times she was a prostitute struggling to survive, others she simply wanted a better life for herself and chose a life of crime.
Either way, Selina Kyle is incredible at honing her craft, and is arguably one of the greatest cat-burglars in the Batman universe.
Threat: Catwoman’s greatest threat to Batman is not her abilities as an athlete, her stealth or even her skills with a whip. Catwoman’s greatest threat to Batman is his affection for her. The relationship between Catwoman and Batman is strained at times, and can be limited to simple flirting, but even simple flirting is enough to throw the hardened Bat off his game at times.
How Are They Defeated: Though Selina Kyle has a few advantages on Batman, when Bruce Wayne is able to harden his heart and push away any feelings he may have for the Cat - he is able to defeat Catwoman.
2) Ra’s al Ghul
The Demon’s Head: A Match to Batman in Almost Every Way.
Often sharing the same goals (bringing order into chaos) Ra’s al Ghul and Batman should be quick allies, but their methods often separate the two. While Ra’s is content to destroy most of the world for the sake of saving it, Batman is does not share his radical views.
Origins: Though there at times Ra’s may have no origin (other than being over six hundred years old) his origin story has been told at least once in the 1992 graphic novel, Birth of the Demon. In this tale Ra’s was born in Arabia over five-hundred years before current Batman date. This young Ra’s showed a keen interest in science, eventually growing up to become a scientist and marrying a woman named Sora.Tragically Sora is killed, and this sends the young Ra’s on a quest to avenge his fallen love.
After avenging his wife, Ra’s sets out to journeying the world becoming the master of everything he set his incredible mind to. Sometime during his long life, Ra’s founded the League of Assassins, cementing himself as one of the most powerful men on the planet.
Threat: With a keen strategic mind, ridiculous fighting abilities, and just as much resources as Bruce Wayne may have. Ra’s can match Batman in almost every way imaginable. Paired with the fact that Ra’s has years of experience as well as a regenerative pit at his disposal, he is certainly one of Batman’s greatest villains.
How They Are Defeated: Though Ra’s is one of the greatest martial artist, Batman is better. The Demon’s Head has been defeated a few times by hand-to-hand.
Above the rest, The Crowned Prince of Crime remains Batman’s Greatest Defeated Villain.
Appearing in Batman #1 in 1940 it can be argued that you can not have the Batman without The Joker. The Joker is, and will always be the Bat’s greatest archenemy, the chaos to Batman’s order.
Origins: Unknown before he falls into a pit of acid. Multiple stories have been told, but none have been confirmed. Though “The Killing Joke” is the most accepted origin for The Joker, the man behind the madness still remains nameless. A fact that makes him even more unpredictable.
Threat: The Joker is the single greatest threat that Batman can face. Unpredictable in every way, Batman can never truly develop a plan for dealing with The Joker. In almost every depiction of The Joker, he is a killer on a mass scale hell-bent on destroying the world, just for the sake of a laugh.
How They Are Defeated: Sometimes, just by chance. Though Batman is superior in combat, in the end, Batman must try to predict the unpredictable to defeat The Joker. That alone makes The Joker the greatest villain ever defeated by Batman.
Did Your Favorite Make The Cut?
Beyond who made the list, we can all agree that Batman has some of the greatest villains in comic-book history. From the unpredictable Joker to the lovely Poison Ivy, the Bat’s villains are all truly formidable.
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