Who? Who amongst you will stand up for Kite Man?!1 of 12A hero is only as good as his villains, right?
But what if the opposite were true? What if a hero is as lame as his worst villain?
Batman would be in trouble, because even though his rogues gallery is full of villains like the Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and the Penguin, he’s also had to contend with duds like Zebra Man.
With Neil Adams returning to Batman to pit him against Ra's al Ghul later this year, we're looking back at 10 villains who don't exactly have the same fearsome reputation as the lord of the League of Shadows.
(We're looking at you, Kite Man. And so his Batman writer Tom King.)
KILLER MOTH2 of 12
Meet Killer Moth, or, as he's known in some circles, "the Batman of crime." At least, if Batman were a member of the Lollipop Guild.
After a string of embarrassing attempts at criminality, Drury Walker, also known as Cameron van Cleer, realized that enough was enough, and decided to become to crime what Batman is to justice: a figurehead and supernatural force that left no jewelry store un-robbed.
Following in Batman's footsteps, Walker decided to become the night, and since superheroes are a superstitious and cowardly lot, he chose the one image that he knew would strike fear into their hearts: a Lisa Frank Butterfly costume. Unfortunately, girls love Lisa Frank, and Killer Moth got his pastel butt kicked by Batgirl on his first night out. Over the years, Killer Moth has tried to reinvent himself again and again, even once making a deal with devil-like character Neron, to become an actual giant moth named Charaxes. Somehow, not even that could make him cool.
CLUEMASTER3 of 12
Arthur Brown was a failed game show host who, in desperation, turned to a life of crime to support his family. He had a great idea too - he would commit crimes, and, unlike the smart bank robbers who almost never get their spines separated by Batman, he would wear a really great orange costume, and leave behind clues to his next target, matching wits with the Dark Knight Detective at every turn.
What a great gimmick, right? Clearly, there was no one else in Gotham doing anything like that.
Thankfully, after years of having to explain to his victims that, no, he's not The Riddler, Cluemaster was killed on a mission with the Suicide Squad.
ANARKY4 of 12
The living embodiment of an Avril Lavigne t-shirt, Anarky was a teen-aged whiz-kid who was so into radical philosophy that he spent all his time studying, graduated early, and went straight into politics, running for mayor of wait, no, never mind. He put on a red sheet and a witch hat and decided to fight crime the anarchist way, which, really, should be no way at all.
In any case, since he was 12, he wore a "neck extender" to make himself look older, and a gold mask to make himself look ridiculous. Eventually, Anarky actually got his own book, proving that bad decisions are timeless. After it was inevitably cancelled, he spent some time in obscurity before returning to fight Robin as 'the Moneyspider.'
TWEEDLE-DEE AND TWEEDLE-DUM5 of 12
Though Batman has a history with Alice in Wonderland-themed villains, most famously Mad Hatter, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum still manage to make the concept seem like a hallucinatory practical joke.
These two were originally known as Dumfree and Deever Tweed, two rotund cousins who happen to look exactly alike, and thus decided to commit crimes or something. Incidentally, Dumfree actually had a twin brother who was not originally part of the gang, whose name was the equally astounding "Dumpson." That list bit was actually a retcon meant to explain how there were still two of them when Dumfree had been killed. The biggest surprise is that these characters have actually been used enough to require a retcon.
HUMPTY DUMPTY6 of 12
Another nursery rhyme-themed villain, this one a latter-day creation, Humpty Dumpty is, perhaps more than anything, a victim of circumstance.
Born under the name "Humphrey Dumpler," this mentally handicapped man developed an obsession with assembling and fixing things that culminated in a string of murders wherein he attempted to take people apart and - you guessed it - put them back together again. Unfortunately, when someone is dead, not even all the king's horses... you get the idea.
How many coincidences does this poor man have to endure as part of his backstory? Next up, a guy named Howland Wolfe who comes down with a case of lycanthropy.
THE OUTSIDER7 of 12
Though his name and appearance were revived during 2011's Flashpoint, the real Outsider is almost like a half-remembered fever dream. The kind of thing that you might of heard happened in a comic book, but you've never seen any actual evidence.
The Outsider was actually the reanimated corpse of Alfred Pennyworth, who had died while pushing Batman and Robin out of the way of a falling boulder. After being revived by science, he developed psychic powers which he, along with his allies the Grasshopper Gang (not a joke), and a criminally subverted Batmobile (also not a joke) attempted to use to kill the Dynamic Duo.
The "New 52" attempted to revive (and reinvigorate) the concept of the Outsider. This time, he was the Alfred of Earth-3, and was the vanguard for the Crime Syndicate onto the regular Earth. He was not, as far as we can tell, undead, but he was something of a badass.
DR. DOUBLE X8 of 12
Dr. Simon Ecks was a scientist who discovered that human "auras" can be separated from the physical form to act on their own. After undergoing the process himself, Dr. Ecks's own energy doppelganger, whom he named 'Dr. Double X' (get it?), embarked on a life of crime, clashing with Batman over and over.
Oddly, the energy duplicate was so powerful that Batman often had to call in super-powered help to defeat it. Despite his considerable powers, Dr. Double X is still the ghost of a weirdo with a fin on his head and a pun for a name, so there's still justice in the world.
CRAZY QUILT9 of 12
Crazy Quilt was a former painter who used his paintings to leave clues for his criminal henchmen in his paintings to instruct them on what target they were to steal next, which is, by far, the least efficient way to give orders of all time. "I guess the boss wants us to steal a... What is that? A purple duck?"
After meeting defeat numerous times at the hands of the Boy Commandos, Quilt decided that his only recourse was to move to Gotham City, where everyone knows there are no young crime fighters by whom to be bested. After setting up shop in Joel Schumacher's dream home - complete with a mood amplifying 'Color Dome,' and a musical 'Color Organ' which allowed him to alter people's minds – Quilt went on to basically do nothing but get beaten up by kids, like Robin and Batgirl.
TEN-EYED MAN10 of 12
Ten-Eyed Man was possibly the only supervillain in history who could have been defeated by a high-five.
After losing his sight in an accident, Vietnam veteran and warehouse security guard Phillip Reardon underwent an experimental procedure that grafted his optic nerves to his fingertips.
This of course qualified him to fight Batman, at least according to the mobster who convinced him that Batman was to blame for his accident. After several defeats at Batman's hands, Ten-Eyed Man decided to lure Batman to Vietnam, where Batman guaranteed that any part of him that didn't already have PTSD before their encounter certainly did afterwards.
Ten-Eyed Man was killed in his final battle – "Ten-Eyed Man vs. the falling building" – in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
KITE MAN11 of 12
So many jokes have been made about Kite Man that, at this point, it's almost funnier to just tell his straightforward story.
Charles "Chuck" Brown was a man who loved kites almost as much as he loved crime. Equipping himself with an arsenal of "trick kites," such as a jet-powered kite (probably no longer technically a "kite"), a flash-bulb kite, and a net-trap kite, he dubbed himself the Kite Man and went on a crime spree that only ended when Batman also employed several trick kites of his own design to take to the skies and capture the criminal mastermind.
Other than the fact that he shares a name with noted kite-deficient Peanuts protagonist Charlie Brown, the thing that really makes Kite Man the lamest Batman villain ever is that his lameness was so contagious that he actually convinced Batman to resort to also using kites as weapons, and isn't that the real crime?
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