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My Top 5 Under-Rated Batman Villains
Although Batman has plenty of villains, all who are unique and great in there own way, certain ones like Joker and Two-Face are are generally the first thing people think of when they hear “Batman Villain”. There are so many others though, not saying who are better than these well-known characters, but who are great in their own way and who people seem to sometimes forget about. Here are my Top 5 Villains who I'd like to see and hear more of. Though, there are plenty of other Batman villains who could get some more time in the spotlight as well.
#5 – Man-Bat:
Man-Bat first appeared in DC comic's Batman Detective Comics #400. The first time I saw Man-Bat though was in the Batman: The Animated Series, episode 1. He is also the first Batman Villain I remember seeing growing up. Originally he is Dr. Kirk Langstrom, husband of Francine Langstrom, and a scientist who specializes in the study of bats. Depending on the series or comic, his actual job may differ, however, he is always doing something involving bats and he always goes by the same name. His reasons for becoming Man-Bat change as well, but the result is always the same: he loses control and the beast part of Man-Bat takes over and he becomes a villain. I think Man-Bat is a really cool villain because he's like a mirror to Batman. While Batman is not genetically part bat, he does have a dark side that he is in control, Man-Bat is the result of that other side taking over the humanity. Dr. Langstrom's wife, Francine, also ends up taking the serum and becomes She-Bat during this time they both terrorize Gotham until Batman can once again cure them. Other villains like Talia al Ghul find out about the serum, she forces Dr. Langstrom to hand it over to her at the threat of killing his wife, which he complies and Talia turns members in her League of Assassins into Man-Bats. At present, Dr. Langstrom was once again forced to take the Man-Bat serum but this time the transformation is permanent.
#4 – Maxie Zeus
Maxie Zeus first appeared in Detective Comics #483. Maximilian “Maxie” Zeus runs a cult-like gang and believes he is the Greek god Zeus. His henchmen are also his followers and some of them become his New Olympians due to their abilities which are similar to characters from Greek mythology. In the comics it is never revealed exactly what happens, but Maxie loses his wife and following suit, his mind. In the Animated Series he suffers a series of financial crises and goes insane. Either way, he develops a god-complex and becomes a crime-lord. He is very intelligent and charismatic which makes it easy for him to gain followers and supporters. In the Animated Series he carries a giant metal rod in the shape of a lightning bolt which he uses to electrocute his victims. He also believes that Batman is his brother Hades and when he is taken to Arkham Asylum he does not see the inmates, but the Greek gods they are similar too. In the story Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth and in the video game, Arkham City, Maxie Zeus is seen in the Intensive Treatmen room, receiving electric shocks which seem to be making his insanity worse. Like Two-Face, Maxie is briefly restored to sanity, however the Joker intervenes and blows up his nephews school with his nephew and other children still inside right in front of him, thus returning him back to Zeus.
#3 – Calendar Man
Calendar Man made his first appearance in Batman in Detective Comics #259. Julian Gregory Day is fascinated by calendars and dates, even his name is a play off of calendars. He plans his crimes to have themes depending on the day or week and on occasion wears a different costume to signify that specific holiday or event. He is similar to the Riddler in that he gives clues to Batman and has a Hannibal Lecter feel to him because he is very cryptic. In Batman: The Long Halloween, Calendar Man knows who the holiday killer is and continuously gives Batman clues on how to find him, though he won't directly reveal his name. Calendar Man gets a little ridiculous sometimes with his elaborate crimes, but he seems to do it all for attention and he doesn’t like when the spotlight isn't on him. Calendar Man is a very dark character and he seems to know a lot about most villains and heroes alike in Gotham that he shouldn't know. His cell is Arkham is usually covered with calendar pages and he even has tattoos depicting calendar days all over his body.
#2 – The Ventriloquist
The Ventriloquist made his debut in Batman Detective Comics #827. Arnold Wesker is usually depicted as an older man who is very shy and quiet. He always has his puppet Scarface, who looks like a gangster, wears a pinstripe suit, and has a cigar and tommy gun. Arnold Wesker suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder and his crimes are carried out through his dummy. Wesker was born in a Mafia family and after watching his mother get murdered he began ventriloquism as a way to cope. This is only the start however and it isn't until he kills someone and ends up in a penitentiary where he meets “Woody”, the dummy who becomes Scarface. Scarafce begins talking to him and convinces him to escape as well as kill his cell-mate. Wesker does have a problem with his ventriloquism and he is unable to enunciate the letter “B” often replacing it with a “G”. Scarface becomes the more dominate personality and does all of the dirty work. He also constantly abuses Arnold mentally and physically. Scarface also may be part of something supernatural as the wood he is made from was wood from the gallows where “Scarface” Scarelli, a gangster before Batman's time was put to death. Also, even when he is separated from Wesker, others who use him still maintain the speech impediment. Arnold does try to rehabilitate himself, getting rid of Scarface and picking new puppets as friends (whom still clearly are part of his D.I.D.). Wesker always ends up back with Scarface though.
#1 – Victor Zsasz
Victor Zsasz first appeared in Shadow of the Bat #1. Batman Chronicles #3 and Arkham City both reveal the background of Zsasz and his insanity he feels is largely due to The Penguin. Victor Zsasz has a wealthy family as well as the wealth he obtained from heading his own international company. However, when he was 25 his parents both died in a boating accident and Victor turned to gambling to deal with his depression. Zsasz began gambling and losing money all over the world until he ended up in Gotham. Zsasz bet everything he had left and lost it all to Penguin. His life now empty and pointless he was driven to suicide. During his attempt at suicide, a homeless man tried to take money from him using a knife, Zsasz got the knife from him and saw too, that this man's life was pointless. So he stabbed him to death, “freeing” him from the world and “saving” his life. From then on Zsasz began to free more people from their pointless existence. His trade-mark is to slit the victims throat and leave them in ironically, life-like positions, he then carves a tally into his skin to represent the number of people he has liberated. Once he has marked his skin, Zsasz has to make sure someone is killed, as seen when he tries to kill Alfred and fails, he cannot allow the tally to go unaccounted for. Zsasz also manages to drive Jeremiah Arkham to insanity during his own rehabilitation.