I think it goes without saying that Batman easily has one of, if not the, best collection of villains of any fictional character. Sure, Spider-Man* and the Flash can give him a run for his money, and I’m currently very interested in Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery for the potential they have.** But for me, and I imagine, a whole bunch of comic nerds everywhere, it all comes back to the villains of Gotham. From the Clown Princes himself, to the lesser known deviants like the Cavalier and Killer Moth, there is a wide variety of colorful gimmicks, personae and psychoses for fans to sink their teeth into.
But it needs to be pointed out that just because they are almost universally praised, it doesn’t mean that the Rogues can’t be featured in some crappy stories. After 70 years of Batman stories with countless writers, the law of averages dictate that there is going to be some inconsistency and all around crappy depictions mixed in with the good-to-great stories.
Hell, the revamped versions of the rogues in the New 52 have largely been met with this reaction from me:
But, as that gif no doubt tells you, I will always love the villains as they appeared in Batman: the Animated Series. In this series of posts, I will be examining each of them, starting with the Joker himself, and diving into just what made their characterization work so well, and where I think the current writers could take lessons from.
Keep an eye out for my first post, which should be appearing in a few days.
*I’m definitely thinking on doing a companion piece for this focusing on the Spider-Man villains as they appeared in the Spectacular Spider-Man. That cartoon was to Spidey what B:TAS was for Batman, and it was cut tragically short. Fortunately, we got some great stuff during its too short lifespan.
**And also a series looking at the Wonder Woman rogues and what could be done to update them. I could write a whole series of essays on just Cheetah, but Ares, Circe, Dr. Psycho and the rest warrant posts of their own.