Everyone loves Batman, whether he's animated, on paper, or played by Christian Bale and/or Ben Affleck. While his cars, planes, and other gadgets are fun, Robin is mostly not lame (in the comics, anyway), and the overall film noir-y elements of Batman stories is essential; it's important to point out that Batman stories live or die based on his vast, colorful rogue's gallery.
From The Joker and Catwoman, long-standing villains who Bats has complicated (and even romantic) relationships with, to newer villains like Hush and Professor Pyg, Batman's writers have no shortage of top-shelf villains to choose from when constructing a new story. Although in the movies he often faces one or two at a time, in the comics it's regular for him to fight a bunch of rogues simultaneously, in order to create complicated and interwoven storylines.
Not every villain can be a winner, though. For every intimidating new guy like Pyg, there's Bat Head, a guy who, um, has a Batarang lodged in his head (after he picked one off the ground and attempted to throw it back at Batman himself). Turns out they're hard to catch. Arkham Asylum is full of such losers, and even the A-listers find themselves being sent off to con college more often than getting away with their crimes. But while some are perennial losers, other villains are almost always underrated, often by Batman himself. Here are 10 losers, and 5 he should probably be keeping his eye on.
15 The Penny Plunderer: Discount Supervillain (Totally Ridiculous)
Batman was probably pretty dumbfounded at exploits of The Penny Plunderer, whose real name is, get ready for it, Joe Coyne. From The Mad Hatter to Killer Croc, robbing banks is standard procedure for any Gotham villain, as banks don't tend to give out loans to murderous sociopaths. But stealing only pennies or penny-related items? Why, it's practically a victimless crime (although tell that to poor Santa, above), but that's exactly what the Penny Plunderer and his gang did. He didn't last long (one whole issue) and was even retroactively written out of Batman lore as a whole, the giant penny he tried to steal later being attributed to Two-Face. But hey, at least Batman got a sweet memento for the Batcave from the whole fiasco.
14 The Condiment King Just Wasn't Spicy Enough (Totally Ridiculous)
Okay, so there's no way The Condiment King was ever going to be taken seriously as a villain. First off, there's the goofy scuba-looking pickle helmet costume, complete with tighty-whiteys. Second, there's his weaponry, which is strictly condiment-related. Robin, upon meeting him, quickly beats the mayo out of Condiment King, taking him seriously as a potential threat, if only because his ketchup and mustard guns could potentially cause severe allergic reactions. Though he later gets a weapons-upgrade of sorts from General Immortus, a major villain who recruited C and D-list villains into his army, but he still gets squashed by the Bat Family like an over-ripe tomato. "Who wants some flavor" is still a pretty decent catchphrase, though.
13 Ten Times Dumber Than The Average Villain (Totally Ridiculous)
So Ten-Eyed man sounds pretty terrifying on paper. What, does he have eyes all over his face or head? Does he shoot giant eyeballs at people? Uh, no ... But he does have eyeballs on the ends of all of his fingers, that he got surgically implanted there. Also, his original eyes? Yeah, they don't work. Not sure where they came up with this one, as hypothetically, wouldn't holding a weapon render half his eyes (at least) totally useless? How does he cook or use a toilet? Wow, I think I'm actually starting to feel sorry for this supervillain, who coincidentally is the only Batman rogue to be defeated by catching a thrown shrubbery when it pricked him right in the eyes. All ten of them.
12 Kite Man's Second Greatest Enemy: Trees (Totally Ridiculous)
If you're going for the intimidation factor, choosing a supervillain name based on a toy children play with might not be the best idea. Kite Man has a pretty fun "Superpower," namely flying around with the aid of a giant kite, but really wouldn't a jetpack be cooler? Can he only rob buildings high enough to catch a wind current on? Hmm, I don't think this villain gave very much thought to his criminal career. Which figures, since he's been defeated by trees about as often as Batman's fists, which makes his other tricks seem kind of pointless. But then, tossing a bunch of kites at superheroes and using other kite-related gimmicks was only going to get him so far. He later died after being eaten by a superhuman mobster, so at least he avoided the fate of his own gadgets doing him in.
11 Cluemaster Never Got A Clue (Totally Ridiculous)
While Batman villain The Cluemaster is no dummy, executing sophisticated crimes, he falls victim to the same compulsion the more popular Riddler does: he HAS to leave a clue. Whether or not this is because he wants to be caught is unknown, but since this former talk show host is essentially a lesser version of one of Batman's regular A-list villains, he makes this list. While he's been a regular character more times than anyone else so far, this is mainly because his daughter Stephanie, took up the superhero mantle Spoiler, and is an ally of Batman's. To add insult to this injury, Spoiler originally suited up to deal with her old man's crimes exclusively, as she was probably embarrassed that her dad was a loser supervillain. Well, not everyone can be The Riddler ...
10 Clock King Isn't Even Right Twice A Day (Totally Ridiculous)
Though his depictions and costumes have widely varied, Clock King is originally basically a guy, William Tockman (get it?), who is REALLY into telling time. He times bank vaults opening, knows the perfect time to pull some other kind of villainous caper, the perfect time to shop for new pants, that sort of thing. One thing many Batman villains have in common is their obsession with a particular concept or item, and Clock King is no exception. He's sported a clock-shaped helmet, glasses with minute and second hands on it, et cetera. Various versions of Clock King exist in DC Comics-world, even one with some psychic abilities, but he's mostly just a crook with delusions of grandeur, who lacks the ability to take a punch. He mostly just chills out in Arkham Asylum between beatings.
9 Maxie Zeus' God-Like Mediocrity (Totally Ridiculous)
Quick, if you thought you were a modern-day Greek God, what would you do with your time? Sit back and eat peeled grapes on a chaise longue, while being fanned by concubines? Well, Maxie Zeus' plans usually revolve around hiring a bunch of thugs and robbing banks. It takes all kinds, I guess, even in the Batman universe. Maxie Zeus (not a god) is a delusional nut-job who sometimes messes around with electricity-themed gadgets a la his Greek namesake, but considering Batman usually has something in his utility belt to deal with this jerk, it doesn't amount to much. Zeus also shares a trait that's fairly common to Batman villains: his total lack of superpowers, which let's face it, would help a lot against an uber-rich hero who could just buy your house and kick you out if he felt like it, whether you fancied yourself a Greek God or not.
8 Crazy Quilt Rides The Crazy Train (Totally Ridiculous)
Of all the superpowers to actually have, being completely insane wouldn't be the best or first choice, unless you're the Joker. But then, Crazy Quilt didn't so much choose to be insane as have that gift thrust upon him. Quilt was a part-time artist and part-time crook who was blinded by gunfire during a robbery. Scientists did an experimental procedure on him that restored his eyesight via a technologically advanced helmet, but the side-effect is that he constantly sees blinding colors. This drove him crazy, as you'd imagine, so his logical next move was to don a quilted, colorful costume and become the villainous Crazy Quilt. Despite his relatively cool helmet, which shoots hypnotic beams and lasers, Crazy Quilt is still relegated to the role of superhero fist magnet more often than not.
7 Sewer King's Only Good At Sewer Things (Totally Ridiculous)
One criticism of Batman that's relatively hard to refute is that he tends to pick on the poor, albeit criminal segments of society. While that's not always true, it certainly is in the case of the Sewer King, who is basically a homeless guy who was discarded by society, so he headed to the sewers to see if he could make it happen there. He trains a bunch of orphans to steal for him and has a gang of alligators who he's able to bend to his will. Basically, he's somewhere between a Charles Dickins character and Captain Hook, which kind of makes me want to root for the guy. Instead, Batman predictably trounces Sewer King, and even intercepts his alligator gang when they come to get him out of prison. Along with Kite Man, Sewer King is also eaten by the leader of Intergang, who we'll get to in a minute.
6 Egghead Actually Wasn't So Smart (Totally Ridiculous)
Played by the incredible Vincent Price on the 1960s live-action Batman show, Egghead was yet another Batman villain who was just REALLY into his thing. Egghead's thing, obviously, was eggs. Whether he was punning it up with his word pronunciation ("Egg-cellent,"), walking around with a bizarrely egg-shaped noggin, or tossing eggs full of knockout gas at Batman and Robin, he just couldn't get over his love of all things egg-related, which couldn't have helped his chances. Egghead did manage to deduce Batman's secret identity, but seriously, since Bruce Wayne was the only mega-millionaire in Gotham who was anywhere near Batman's age it's not THAT impressive. In the end, of course, it never helped, and Egghead was consistently crushed like, well, an eggshell.
5 Calendar Man: Actually Pretty Decent (Underrated)
Now for the underrated villains. You would think that guys like Calendar Man, whose thing is uh, being really insistent on committing crimes on holidays, would be totally lame. However, Julian Day, or Calendar Man's crimes cast a pall over every major holiday in Gotham City, as it's almost ensured that one of his crimes will occur even if he's in jail. Much more than Clock King, Calendar Man made full use of his gimmicks, which included an above-ground version of the Batcave with calendar-related weapons, ancient timepieces, giant Rolodex watches, and basically any sort of "Evil villain" lasers and weaponry you could imagine. While having no superpowers, Calendar Man could match wits with Batman and always presented him with a challenge, his pallid appearances as a prisoner in Arkham Asylum bringing to mind some gruesome combination of The Riddler and Hannibal Lector.
4 Zsasz Makes The Joker Look Sane (Underrated)
On paper, Victor Zsasz doesn't look like much. A murderous psycho who runs around with a bunch of knives, causing mayhem? Big deal, Batman beats up like 17 of those a night. Somehow though, Zsasz has become more than a small problem for Bats in his tenure as the resident Ed Gein of Gotham City. A rich kid, Victor Zsasz snaps upon losing the last of his cash gambling and decides life is meaningless. Even more than that, he believes that everyone walking around is a zombie, and by offing them he's setting them free. In other words, Zsasz is totally cracked. While he has no superpowers, he's incredibly physically strong and has fought Batman to a standstill more than once, and his appearance is enough to throw anyone off, as Zsasz carves a new mark on himself for every person he kills, and he's COVERED with them.
3 Whisper A'Daire Is More Bite Than Bark (Underrated)
A member of the weird and mysterious Intergang, an extra-dimensional mob who use alien weapons to gain power in the criminal underworld, Whisper A'Daire appears to be your typical gangland femme fatale in an evening dress, but there's a lot more to her than that. Aside from having an increased lifespan, she's one of the only villains on this list with actual powers, as she has the ability to become a snake-like being with fangs and deadly venom who can also hypnotize her opponents. While she's most often a superhuman assassin, Whisper also sometimes mind-controls her own henchmen to do her bidding, and although she's rarely seen, poses a threat that Batman can't deal with using just his brute strength.
2 In Mother Russia, KGBeast Eats You (Underrated)
The KGBeast is basically an enormous Communist terminator. Trained as a Soviet assassin by "The Hammer," a secret sect of the KGB, he had physical strength even greater than Batman's, an array of weapons and tools, and a seemingly limitless threshold for pain. When he was sent to Gotham to kill a bunch of important politicians, he succeeded in killing almost all of his targets, despite Batman's attempts at intervening, even killing a dinner party of over 100 people just to make sure he got the right guy. When restrained by Batman's uh, Bat-Rope, the KGBeast chooses to cut his own hand off to get away, later replacing it with a pretty bada*s-looking gun. Later on, when the KGBeast invites Batman to a fight to the death, Batman "Nopes" out instead of dealing with him, simply locking the Beast behind a steel door, effectively leaving him for dead (he got out). Scary guy.
1 The Penguin ... Yeah, Seriously (Underrated)
Wait, what? I'm listing a chubby little oddball like The Penguin as Batman's most underrated villain? Well yeah, funny you should say that. The Penguin often uses his, shall we say, not intimidating physique to get the drop on his foes, as it turns out the guy's a Judo master with enough trick umbrellas to level a city block, and then fly off at a moment's notice. Although Danny DeVito's portrayal in 1992's Batman Returns got the physique right, The Penguin is actually a criminal mastermind who regularly employs the other villains of Gotham City to do his dirty work, whether it's Hush or even superhumans like Solomon Grundy. Choosing to go straight (but not really) rather than keep getting sent to Arkham Asylum, The Penguin operates a giant casino, The Iceberg, as an above-ground profit machine. Makes you wonder why no other villains thought of this approach. Oh, and he's completely sane, a rare trait with Batman villains, he just realized that crime pays better than donning spandex and risking life and limb on the mean streets of Gotham.