Batman has the greatest Rogues’ gallery in comic books. People who have never read a Batman comic or seen a Batman movie or television show can name three or four of his top villains. They might even be able to name some of his not-so-top villains, because these guys are in a league of their own.
With over eighty years on the job, Batman has fought a lot of different bad guys. Some of them have shadowed him through decade after decade. Others haunt him. Some just make him laugh. So here they are – the ten most pathetic villains in Batman’s Rogues gallery, ranked.
Onomatopoeia has kind of a cool look. It just doesn’t really disguise the fact that he’s just as silly as some of the other villains on this list. Debuting in the early 2000s, Onomatopoeia’s main gimmick is that he speaks only in the sound effects you see in comics – BLAM! SNIKT! Well, maybe not that one. Since these particular effects are so strongly associated with Batman from the 60s show, and not necessarily the dark side of the character that Onomatopoeia wants to line up with, the overall effect is mixed.
9 Maxie Zeus
Even worse than Onomatopoeia is this guy, who thinks he’s an actual Greek god and still somehow decides to lock horns with Batman. Onomatopoeia sets up the Joker with Maxie Zeus after freeing the aforementioned villain from Arkham Asylum, thinking somehow this is a good business decision. Maybe. He went from a teacher of Greek history at a high school to a criminal mastermind in Gotham. You’d think he was ideal for the quacky ’60s Batman series but was actually created in 1979.
8 Killer Moth
Killer Moth might win a contest for the craziest costume of all time. Or the worst. His early attire was a green mantis-like mask, a purple tunic, and Day-Glo striped pants. And moth wings. Big, giant moth wings. Less is more, but not for this guy. Debuting in 1951, Cameron von Cleer reads an article about Batman in the newspaper and just up and decides to become the ‘anti-Batman.’ He even goes so far as to make his own Mothmobile. A bit hard to take seriously, really.
Anarky very desperately wants to be an Alan Moore, V For Vendetta or Watchmen-style villain and very much falls short. Lonnie Manchin shows up in 1989 with an extreme ideological agenda that involves overthrowing governments around the world.
Later in the ’90s, he was the star of a couple of controversial limited series, in which his character pretty much debated philosophy for issue after issue. At the end of the run, it’s suggested the Joker is Anarky’s father, which no one really liked and no one really bought.
6 Doctor Hurt
There are always new Batman movies on the horizon, which means some villain (or two!) will get their shot. Some shouldn’t. Count Doctor Hurt among them. Doctor Hurt debuted during Grant Morrison’s amazing run, sort of. He’s actually based on an unnamed character who appears in Batman comics way back in 1963. Morrison revived him to get a bit trippy on the Dark Knight. Hurt is implied at times to be the devil, a demon, Darkseid. Basically, he’s bad, but he never really justified all the setup.
5 Condiment King
The Condiment King exists and the world is better for it. The character was created for Batman: The Animated Series as a joke, but like a lot of other elements of the iconic show, he transported over to the comics. He remains a joke, and maybe he was one idea best left where he was. Mitchell Mayo basically holds up banks and businesses with ketchup and mustard bottles. Crime in Gotham is a high stakes game and unfortunately, Mayo lost – he was beaten to death with his own condiment dispensers.
4 Crazy Quilt
Crazy Quilt had dreams, just like anybody else. In different versions of continuity, going all the way back to the character’s debut in 1946, he wanted to do big things. Almost eight years and several reboots later, he’s yet to do so. In a nutshell, Crazy Quilt hypnotizes people with a helmet that emits different colored light pulses. The helmet also allows him to see, since his eyes don’t work. Too bad for Crazy Quilt that it’s plain to see he’s one of the most pathetic villains Batman has ever faced.
3 Polka-Dot Man
There must have been something with the concept of colors that Batman creators were into back in the day. Also really into different colored spots was the Polka-Dot Man who wore a costume covered – wait for it – polka dots. The gimmick here was he could turn them into different kinds of gadgets.
How these polka dots worked exactly never quite got explained. They were just super-advanced technology that Abner Krill had access to and rather than create a faster, better car he decides to go a couple of rounds with Batman and Robin. Too bad those dots couldn’t turn him into someone cool.
2 Signal Man
In the comic books, Signal Man was often drawn in a way that made him look exactly like Batman, with the exception of his gaudy costume. This makes sense somewhat, since Signal Man is obsessed with, well, signals. And Batman has the best one of all. Kind of like Killer Moth, who decided to go for it because he read an article in the paper, Signal Man embarked on his life of crime because he just happened to notice that life is more or less dictated by signs. He didn’t heed that big red stop sign telling him to not put on that costume and call himself Signal Man though.
1 The Eraser
Sometimes it’s hard to tell vintage Batman villains from, say, Tick villains. Case in point: the Eraser. Basically, it’s a gag taken way too far: the Eraser is a fixer, who will erase all evidence of any crime someone else commits, in exchange for 20% of the cut. He also had a special connection with Batman, because the Eraser felt that Bruce Wayne was the reason that he never went out with a young woman he was in love with in college. No amount of white-out will erase how badly this guy sucks.
Batman's rogues' gallery isn't always up to snuff. Today, we're checking out the most pathetic villains inhabiting it.