If you came across an article listing Batman’s villains, who would you expect to be number one? Of course, chances are that the Joker would be right at the top. To most people, the Joker seems to be Batman’s main enemy, largely because the comic books and movies have made us believe that.
Publishers such as Wizard Magazine, Empire’s List, IGN, Wired, Complex, CollegeHumor, and many others out there who decides to rank all the villains, especially the DC ones, usually have Joker as number one or in worst case scenarios in the top 10. The Joker’s popularity among comic book and movie fans is arguably equal to Batman’s, and his character has everything to do with the love he receives.
The fact that the Joker seems to be Batman’s biggest headache is quite fascinating, since unlike most other criminals, he is neither a genius nor the strongest villain in DC, and he does not have any outstanding fighting abilities. Perhaps the fact that the Joker can be rib cracking funny or purely unpredictable is what makes us love him so much, but whatever the case, there is no denying that the Joker is worth all his fame.
This list is about other villains that usually or have at one time crossed Batman’s path, and happen to be more evil than the Joker. Most of the villains on this list are assassins and serial killers. Some of these kill for fun, others because they have mental problems, and others are paid to do so. Most of these would easily beat the Joker, but what has landed them here is their willingness to kill people for the wildest reasons.
Which of these villains do you think is the worst?
15. Red Hood (Jason Todd)
The Red Hood is an expert shooter, an extremely good hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, and he knows how to use high-tech weapons. One of the reasons the Red Hood is so skilled is because he is actually Jason Todd, trained by Batman for many years and served as Robin for a while. Batman was shocked seeing Jason Todd because the Joker had killed him, but Talia al Ghul later resurrected him in the Lazarus Pit. Instead of coming back to Batman to fight crime as they were before, Jason Todd became the Red Hood and decided to fight crime on his own terms. One of the first things the Red Hood did is assume control over a few gangs and tried to bring down Black Mask’s empire. He is on this list because he violently kills gangsters and drug traders. The Red Hood is more evil than the Joker is, because he is such a skilled fighter and ruthless killer.
14. Talia al Ghul
Talia al Ghul is Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, and she is one of those characters that you are never sure whether she is truly fighting for the good or for the bad side, because she changes sides quite often. Talia is one of Batman’s love interests, a relationship that makes her even more dangerous than all other villains on this list. Apart from being one of the most beautiful villains in DC, Talia’s training in armed and unarmed combat surpasses many here, and her access to the Lazarus pits make her almost immortal. Although Talia has saved Batman’s life numerous times, her loyalty to her father leads us to believe that her morality is ambiguous and she is not really a good person. The crimes she has committed as the leader of the League of Assassins and the Secret Society of Super Villains make her more evil than the Joker.
Bane is undoubtedly one of the strongest villains that Batman has ever faced, being the only one to have broken Batman’s back in a fight. Unlike most villains who are either too strong but have no brains, or who have brains and no strength at all, Bane is so dangerous because he has both. Bane can lift 15 tons – so much strength for one individual to have – and, during his time in prison, he learned ten languages and different scientific disciplines that have made him equal to the experts. From the Bane of the Demon storyline, Ra’s al Ghul claimed that Bane’s intellect was equal to Batman’s, with the only difference being that Bane’s was like an animal’s, but Batman’s is cultured. In addition, in the same storyline, Bane was able to discover Batman’s secret identity within a short period, something some criminals have spent decades trying to find out with no success. Anyone so strong and intelligent to prove to be a worthy adversary to Batman sure deserves to be on this list.
12. White Knight
It is hard to imagine that a character called Dark Knight is a good guy but White Knight is bad; it goes against what we have learned the colors of good and bad are, regardless of how controversial and discriminative it is. If you do not know much about the White Knight, his real name is Lewis Bayard and he has a grudge with everyone associated with the inmates at Arkham Asylum. When he was young, his father, who was a guard at Arkham Asylum, went to work with him one day and he witnessed a riot that led to the death of his father. His father’s murderer, Doctor Phosphorus, left two hand-prints on him that resembled an angel’s wings. The White Knight is on this list because he murders the families of Arkham Asylum inmates by forcing them into wearing angel-like dresses and leaping off buildings. These murders make him so dangerous and evil.
11. Tally Man
It is important to understand the Tally Man’s past as we reflect on the reasons we consider him more evil than the Joker is. When he was a child, his father borrowed a substantial amount of money from some criminals, but died before he could pay back the money. The criminals would come to his home, where he lived together with his mother and sisters, and they would extort her of everything she had, leading to the family living in fear, hunger, and in rags. One night, the criminals beat up his mother because she could not pay anything, prompting the young boy to murder them with a fireplace poker. After serving time in jail, he came home to discover that his sister and mother had died of starvation and suicide respectively, deaths that caused him to snap and turn into a tax collector. Underworld gangs hired him to collect debts, but the only pay he accepts is in the form of human lives. The tally Man might be crazy, but he is sure evil and dark.
If you thought that Onomatopoeia was Green Arrow’s villain, you are right, but he is also Batman’s villain. This criminal is on this list because, among other things, he is a serial killer with an appetite for killing superheroes who do not have superpowers. One of the unique things about him is that he imitates the noises of things around him, thus his name, Onomatopoeia. In one of Green Arrow’s storylines, he shot Connor Hawke, who was saved by Oliver Queen, but later goes to the hospital to finish the job. At the hospital, he kills many doctors but is still not able to kill Connor Hawke. In Batman: Cacophony, he went to Arkham Asylum, freed the Joker, and funded him to start a gang war. When confronted by Batman, Onomatopoeia wounded the Joker mortally and fled. His inhumane actions against innocent civilians such as the doctors and even against the Joker himself are acts that prove that this villain is far more evil than the Joker is.
At least nine people have played the role of Clayface, and all of them are serial killers who deserve to be on this list. Basil Karlo, who was the original Clayface, killed all the characters in a movie that he expected to reprise his role in, but the role was given to someone else. It wasn’t until Batman stopped him and sent him to prison that the killings stopped. Another Clayface, Preston Payne, killed people by simply touching them, and he would develop a painful headache if he did not kill people in this way. Todd Russell, who was another Clayface, used to be an army soldier, whose injuries led to the D.E.O using him as a guinea pig for some experiments. Todd lost his memories in the process and escaped, choosing to kill all the prostitutes he came across that looked at his face. The weird superpowers of shape shifting, duplication, and superhuman strength, and the random killings that all the Clayface characters have done so far make them worthy of this list.
8. Killer Croc
Anyone whose name begins with “Killer” needs no explanation as to their appearance on such a list, because their actions are obvious. Before becoming Killer Croc, Waylon Jones was a boy growing up with a very rare skin condition, a form of atavism that made him inherit reptilian traits from the pre-human ancestors. Raised by a cruel aunt who abused him and called him names such as “reptilian freak” and “lizard boy”, he grew up hating her and she became one of the first people she killed. What is even more frightening about the Killer Croc is that he has an appetite for human flesh, meaning that he not only kills his victims, but he also eats them. Although Batman and Robin have defeated him several times, Killer Croc has killed countless people, the main reason he is part of this list. His superhuman strength, senses, durability, claws, teeth and regenerative healing make him so dangerous.
Many people might not know much about Copperhead, because we have not seen him as many times as some of the other villains on this list. Copperhead is a master contortionist, who wears a snake costume and can fit in the smallest of spaces. John Doe was the first Copperhead, and despite starting as a thief in Gotham City, he soon adopted the life of a hired assassin. In order to become even more effective in his trade, he sold his soul to Neron, a demon, in exchange for a transformation into an evil and lethal snake/man hybrid. Copperhead used to wear a suit made of elastic fiber and metal, making it impenetrable to bullets and all types of sharp-edged weapons. His tail is so strong that it can snap a bone or shatter stone, the two seven-inch-long fangs can pierce human skin and has toxins that can paralyze an individual instantly and kill him or her in 30 minutes. This and so much more is what makes copperhead so dangerous.
6. Black Spider
For people who do not understand the story behind Black Spider, they might wonder why he is appearing on a list of evil villains yet his target is usually the people involved in the drug trade. When Eric Needham was young, he was addicted to drugs, and he became a criminal in order to fund his habit. However, one day when he went to rob a liquor store with a firearm, he accidentally shot at a man, killing him on the spot; the problem here was that the man he killed was his father. The pain and remorse he felt forced him to kick the drug habit and he decided to kill everyone involved in the drug trade. Needham’s obsession attracted a force that trained him, gave him sophisticated weapons, and gave him the Black Spider costume. The issue with Black Spider is that he is a ruthless killer who is willing to kill everyone including innocent people in his quest for revenge. This ruthless killing is what makes him so evil.
5. Victor Zsasz
Victor Zsasz is one of the worst villains in DC, not because he is a superior fighter or a hard criminal to catch, but because of the crimes he commits and his lack of remorse. Victor is such a sick serial killer that he carves out a tally of his killings on his body, something that he seems to be very proud of. Victor is cunning, his agility and strength are those of a professional athlete, and he is unpredictable, giving him an edge over most crime fighters and of course, his victims. Before turning into a serial killer, Victor used to be a wealthy entrepreneur, who lost everything he had gambling and in competitions around the world after his parents died. When he had lost everything and wanted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, a homeless person tried assaulting him with a knife, the point at which he grabbed the knife and killed the homeless man. Victor decided to liberate as many people as he could from their pointless existence, the insanity that causes him to keep killing people.
Cheshire is one of those villains in the comics who are more evil than they are given credit for since she has probably killed more innocent people than everyone else on this list. Although her encounters with Batman are few, she has committed crimes that even the Joker would think long and hard before committing. Cheshire’s unhappy childhood began when she was sold into slavery. After killing her master, she was adopted by Weng Chan, a Chinese freedom fighter who taught her guerrilla fighting and later acquired information concerning poisons from an African assassin whom she later married before his death. She is on this list primarily because, with the help of Deathstroke, she stole one of Russia’s nuclear weapons and obliterated a whole country called Qurac. Her martial arts training and her poisonous fingernails make her very dangerous, and her association with criminal organizations such as the Injustice League, the Secret Six, the Underground Society, and Tartarus.
Deathstroke is one of the most dangerous mercenaries and assassins in the DC universe, owing to his physical and mental capabilities. Can you imagine fighting someone who uses a serum to gain enhanced speed, strength, durability, and agility? Deathstroke has the strength of ten men, he has super fast reflexes, and he apparently gets to use up to 90% of his brain at any point, which translates into having the mental capacity of a generous. His military training is so good that very few heroes prevail against him since he can turn an opponent’s abilities against him or her. Deathstroke, unlike Batman, can recover from injury faster than a normal human being can. Although this healing power has limitations, it helps him to recover from fatal injuries when he faces worthy crime fighting adversaries. Slade Wilson, who is Deathstroke, is on this list because he is a brutal metahuman mercenary who is attracted to jobs that seem impossible.
You must have watched the 2016 movie Suicide Squad. If you did not, please go watch it. In this movie, we get to watch Will Smith play the character Deadshot, who together with Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) stole the show – for very different reasons of course. As the name suggests, Deadshot has never missed a target, making him very dangerous. Although these days his role is gradually changing from supervillain to antihero, we cannot forget that he is still an assassin for hire, and he makes millions of dollars from wealthy criminals who want people dead. Before becoming Deadshot, Floyd Lawton grew up in a house where, although they were extremely wealthy, his father abused his mother. His parents loved his brother more than him, because he was a troubled child who always got into conflicts. The first person he wanted to shoot was his father, because he was abusing his mother, but he missed and killed his brother instead – the only shot he has ever missed.
1. Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul is without a doubt more evil than anyone on this list is, including the Joker, because even his name translates to “The Demon’s Head” in Arabic and anyone who is evil enough to be the leader of the “League of Assassins” deserves to be on this list. Besides that, IGN ranks him as number 7 in their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time list. This villain has the intellect of a genius, is an expert martial artist, and is a highly skilled alchemist, swordsman and demonologist. He is Batman’s longest serving foe, because he never dies, owing to the longevity he gets from the Lazarus Pits. Ra’s al Ghul is evil because his intentions are to create balance in the world, and this can only be achieved through eliminating most of the people on the planet. He has a complicated relationship with Batman since he respects him and believes that he is his only worthy successor. In addition to the fact that he knows Batman’s true identity, his daughter is in love with the Dark Knight, and Batman appreciates al Ghul’s genius.