Batman: The 6 Most Underrated Villains

The Dark Knight has one of the best and deepest villains’ galleries in the superhero genre. While the Joker tends to take most of the limelight when it comes to prominent place in pop culture, it’s easy to look through the list and find others who serve as big opponents for Batman.

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It’s a wide range of supervillains, with many ranging from the down-to-earth, criminal-noir world and others who venture more into science fiction and the supernatural. Similarly, some of these underrepresented villains also pose one of Batman’s biggest challenges in terms of physical and / or mental ability.

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Hugo Strange

Hugo Strange with his CHEESE guards in Arkham City

Hugo Strange is one of those supervillains who has not had much time in the spotlight given how threatening he can be. He has appeared in some episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, but without a doubt, his most notable role as the “red herring” was the main antagonist of Rocksteady’s Arkham City video games. Strange is a psychiatrist who uses his impressive brains in unethical and deadly experiments.

His defining characteristics are his obsession with Batman and how his brains work. Unlike Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow, it is not fear that drives his methods, it is rather the trauma of the Dark Knight’s psyche. Strange is fixated on Batman as a fascinating, wild specimen and obsessed with surpassing him. In the end, he wants to beat Bruce Wayne in his own game and shape his quirky idea of ​​a “perfect” Batman. He is without a doubt the best Batman comedic villain who has yet to be used prominently in live action.

Lady Shiva

Shiva with his drawn sword fights Batman in Detective Comics

Among other things, one of Batman’s best assets is his mastery of countless martial arts and the physique to support it. However, Lady Shiva is one of the few villains in his villain’s gallery who is able to defeat the Dark Knight in hand-to-hand combat – and on more than one occasion. As such, she easily established herself as one of DC Comics’ best canon martial arts artists.

In the comics, Shiva leads the terrorist organization that split from Ra’s al Ghul’s original League of Assassins. The leader of the League of Shadows is known for being even crueler and more extreme than the former, creating a cold origin story for her daughter (and Bat family member) Cassandra Cain. With this frightening reputation and fighting ability, Lady Shiva makes a strong argument for appearing more often as the main antagonist in a Batman story.

Calendar man

Shared photo of Calendar Man being interviewed by Batman on the occasion of the Holiday Killer case in The Long Halloween

Along with people like Mr. Freeze was Calendar Man one of several Batman supervillains who appeared as joke characters in early comics. Fortunately, however, he got an exciting revitalization in the 1996s The long Halloween cartoon. Julian Day went from wearing a comic calendar-themed spandex suit to being a cool serial killer.

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That cartoon wrote him exceptionally well using Hannibal Lecter-inspired character traits. Seeing Batman’s interactions with him in an attempt to deduce the holiday killer’s identity were cold, tense scenes, and his more directly villainous role in the sequel, Dark victory, was even more satisfactory. David Dastmalchian’s portrayal in the animated adaptation of the comic was also well done. He certainly has a gimmick comparable to Riddler, but the specific serial killer archetype makes Calendar Man sufficiently unique to him.

Death blow

Shared image of Batman fighting Deathstroke and two other mercenaries as Deathstroke prepares to battle Arkham Origins

Like Shiva, Slade Wilson / Deathstroke is another physically formidable enemy of Batman. He originally appeared as a villain specifically for Teen Titans, and gained more popularity later in the Cartoon Network show. But he naturally bled into Batman’s part of Gotham City specifically, resulting in some more exciting encounters.

Deathstroke is a contract mercenary where Caped Crusader himself is Slade’s most elusive hit attempt. DCEU presented him almost in a large capacity, but the theatrical franchise’s turbulent track record seems to have put these plans on hold. Except for the CNs mentioned above Teen Titans cartoon, another of Deathstroke’s most prominent roles was in the WB Games Montreal prequel game, Arkham Origins. He’s also many fans’ choice for best Batman villain from Origin to be such an amazing boss fight.

Clayface

Clayface in Detective Comics and with Gotham Knights in the same race

Basil Karlos Clayface can be argued to be one of the underrated “big” villains in Batman’s catalog of scoundrels. He is an easily recognizable character, but tends to get minimal exposure across the various media. It’s easy to simply place the character as a generic “movie monster” role, but Karlo’s background story provides something that can be more intimate while preserving the horror elements. It’s a “tragic villain” angle similar to Mr. Freeze when he was reinvented Batman: The Animated Series.

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The man who was brought up to perform and achieve Hollywood fame makes his suffering even more thematically appropriate. Another interesting angle that Clayface has had was in DC’s Rebirthera era of Detective comics by James Tynion IV. Karlo is rehabilitated and transformed into a hero and member of the Gotham Knights. His character arc throughout the story was truly touching and made his redemption feel deserved.

Bugertale & Scarface

Arnold is pressured by the Scarface gang and Batman who fights a bully

While the belly-talking and Scarface characters are separate identities, they come as a package deal in Batman stories. In this case, Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker) is a timid man suffering from dissociative identity disorder who projects a mob boss persona on the puppet Scarface. He appeared in a supporting role in one of the best episodes of The new Batman adventures, and paints him as a much-needed success story in Gotham City.

Arnold successfully rehabilitated at Arkham Asylum and was discharged, where Bruce Wayne promptly got him a good job at Wayne Enterprises and an apartment. The conflict arises when Batman discovers and stops the “Scarfaces” old gang from returning to try to force Arnold to relapse. Labeling Ventriloquist specifically as a “villain” could be a technicality, as Wesker himself in the show showed that there is a good man under the trauma.

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