At last year’s NYCC, I spoke to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo about their fantastic run on the New 52 relaunch of Batman. We talked about things like the Joker and his surprising reappearance in “Endgame,” the current story arc that pits the Dark Knight against his archnemesis, who has seemingly become immortal. Towards the end of the interview, I asked them about B-list villains.
At that point, “Zero Year,” their Batman origin story, had just ended with a bang. The arc had reintroduced both Red Hood and Doctor Death with new looks and new mission statements. I was in love with the reinvention of Doctor Death, from evil scientist to crazed skeleton monster. I wanted to know more about any other lesser-known Batman villains Snyder and Capullo were planning to bring back:
SS: There are a couple coming up in Endgame too that are like that. I think surprising villains. There’s one that was almost a challenge because I feel like people like to shout his name at cons. When you’re like, “Who are you gonna do?” It’s not Condiment King, but they’ll name people like that. They’re like, “I want to see that!” There was one [villain] that people kept mentioning in particular. So alright, we’ll go there then. You are going to see some fun characters in Endgame.
Okay, so we’ll get on with the guide. If I’ve missed any, feel free to let me know in the comments! Here we go…
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #168
Straight from the pen of legendary Bat-writer Bill Finger comes the origin story of the Joker from 1951’s “The Man Behind the Red Hood!” Batman and Robin are invited to be guest instructors at the state university, and decide to teach a crime class. They give the class a test case that was never solved by the Dynamic Duo: the identity of the master criminal the Red Hood and his whereabouts. The Red Hood disappeared from Gotham after jumping into a vat of chemicals at the Ace Playing Card Company. Sound familiar? By the end of the issue, the Joker tells the story of how he escaped from the vat of chemicals but was seriously disfigured. He decided after that night that he could terrorize Gotham a lot more as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Rap Sheet: Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman Vol. 1 “Under the Hood” / “Battle for the Cowl,” Batman and Robin Vol. 1 #4-6
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland adapted Bill Finger’s Joker origin story into The Killing Joke, a one-off graphic novel that introduced a more tragic backstory for the Joker. The man that would become the Joker was a down-on-his-luck comedian who got in deep with a group of criminals in order to provide for his pregnant wife. The Joker relates this story through out the novel, as he terrorizes Batman, Jim Gordon, and cripples Barbara Gordon. It’s possible that you end up feeling a bit sorry for the Clown by the end of the issue. Batman doesn’t, though, who (it has been long-rumored by guys like Grant Morrison) ends up killing the Joker at the end of the tale for the pain he’s caused his victims through the years. This is Moore and Bolland’s definitive Batman/Joker story.
Judd Winick and Doug Mahnke reintroduced the Red Hood in 2005, 17 years after Moore and Bolland’s story, in the story arc “Under the Hood” within the pages of Batman Vol. 1. This story would prove to actually be a sequel to an earlier story by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo called “Death in the Family,” in which the Joker kills Jason Tood, the second Robin. Jason Todd, under the guide of the Red Hood, returns to Gotham City to fight crime, kill the Joker, and reunite with his mentor. Unfortunately for him, Jason has stepped way past his former mentor’s moral line and ends up at odds with the Dark Knight.
For the next few years, guys like Tony S. Daniel and Grant Morrison wrote stories about Jason Todd’s battle to become Gotham’s new vigilante. He’s always pushing the limit, though, often killing or maiming criminals. In my favorite story, Morrison’s “The Revenge of the Red Hood” from his run on Batman and Robin, he recruits an insane sidekick named Scarlet and takes down a criminal organization known as El Penitente. It’s an insane story, for sure.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #0
Red Hood is one of my favorite villains reintroduced in the new run of Batman, and you’ll find that not much has changed in the status quo. But Snyder and Capullo use the character so well in “Zero Year” that he has easily become one of the most memorable characters in the entire New 52.
The villain was first reintroduced during Zero Month, which turned the clocks back to the earliest days of the New 52 continuity. During this special first anniversary issue, you get a good look at Red Hood’s very special brand of violence — the senseless burning of Gotham which would later categorize a particular clown-themed villain. Coming up empty on his name…
Red Hood’s big moment came during the chaos of Bruce’s first days as a vigilante. Batman’s first challenge is to stop Red Hood and his organization of red-hooded minions from robbing Ace Chemicals. Do you see where this is headed? Okay, I’ll stop teasing: Joker’s pre-Flashpoint origin story stands true in this new run. The Red Hood (known as Red Hood One in “Zero Year”) falls into a vat of chemicals during his fateful battle with the Batman. Thus, the Joker is born.
Five years later, there’s a new Red Hood in town — Jason Todd dons the hood in his fight against Batman and eventually against crime. You can follow the “good” Red Hood in his own series or watch him fight alongside the Batfamily in the pages of Batman Eternal.
The Big Intro: Batman and Robin Vol. 1 #1
Big Top is a fairly new villain. First introduced in Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s Batman and Robin, Big Top is a member of the Circus of Strange, which is led by the ridiculous butcher and botox enthusiast Professor Pyg. In fact, you’ll find that a few of the B-listers in this guide were created by Morrison’s long 7-year run on the Batman books. Bear with me if some of these sound like a broken record.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Big Top is a REALLY big guy. The first arc in Batman and Robin was called “Batman Reborn” and featured many circus-themed villains. Big Top was obviously styled after a bearded lady. His original look is a bit more ambigious in terms of gender. That doesn’t stop Damian Wayne, then the new Robin, from maiming the guy, though.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Snyder and Capullo reintroduced the character in the opening panels of Batman Vol. 2 #1. The beginning of the story sees Batman infiltrate Arkham Asylum and battle it out with some of Gotham’s most dastardly villains during a breakout. A few other villains on this list are only a part of that opening battle, as is Big Top, who hasn’t appeared again in the New 52. We get a nice panel featuring Big Top trying to crush Batman, though. I’d love to see Capullo draw Big Top again.
The Big Intro: Batman Vol. 1 #666
Professor Pyg was first created by Morrison and Andy Kubert for the special issue #666, which tells the story of an alternate future in which Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son with Talia al Ghul, takes over as the Batman after the death of his father. Damian makes a deal with the Devil to keep Gotham safe in exchange for his soul. Even though Gotham is technically “protected,” it is also plunged into a hot hellscape where crime runs rampant.
Damian is not like his father in that he kills many of his enemies, snapping necks and slashing innards. That should help slim the ranks of villains. Pyg makes an appearance as a corpse left behind by Damian. The villain is found hanging upside on a crucifix without his mask. It’s pretty gruesome.
Rap Sheet: Batman and Robin Vol 1. #1, Beware the Batman
Pyg really comes to life in Morrison and Quietly’s Batman and Robin, as the leader of the Circus of Strange. Introduced as a mad scientist, Pyg’s plan is to make all of Gotham sick, while turning many of its citizens into lobotomized henchmen. Oh, and he gives Robin a lap dance while preparing to operate on him…So there’s that. In a very toned-down role, Pyg appeared in the Beware the Batman animated series, along with this partner Mr. Toad, to punish those who would hurt animals. No lap dances or mutilation involved.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Pyg gets his ass handed to him by Batman and Nightwing in Arkham Asylum at the start of the book, and doesn’t appear again in the main Batbook. Instead, Pyg would appear again in Batman Eternal to cause some of his signature chaos, this time, working for Carmine Falcone, Gotham most dangerous mobster.
The Big Intro: Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1
Victor Zsasz, a serial killer who carves a tally of his victims onto his flesh, was first created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle in the pages of Batman: Shadow of the Bat. This serial killer would become one of the classic boogeymen in contemporary Batman stories, a much darker villain who lives to inflict pain on others for the sheer pleasure of it.
In Grant and Breyfogle’s “The Last Arkham” story, Zsasz bribes a contractor to build a secret passageway out of his cell in Arkham Asylum. Zsasz sneaks out to commit his heinous killings at night. Batman and Gordon investigate, and at first entertain the notion that perhaps there’s a copycat killer on the loose obsessed with Zsasz’s MO. But Batman is on to something else when he allows himself to be institutionalized in the Asylum after seemingly killing a police officer. Eventually, Zsasz discovers that Batman has faked his insanity, and the two face off (along with Nightwing) before Zsasz can escape Arkham for another murder. Zsasz is put back into Arkham where he belongs.
Rap Sheet: Batman Chronicles #3, Detective Comics Vol. 1 “Victims,” Batman: Arkham video game series
In Batman Chronicles #3 by Doug Moench and Brian Stelfreeze, we get Zsasz’s origin story. Victor Zsasz had his own company and a fortune. When his parents died in a boating accident, he fell into a deep depression and started hanging out in all the wrong places. One night, he loses everything he has to the Penguin at the Iceberg Lounge, Cobblepot’s Casino (it just sunk in Batman Eternal). Although he first attempts to commit suicide, Zsasz sees the “brighter side” of things. By that, I mean that he decides life is meaningless and proceeds to carve up people with a knife in order to “save them” from this cruel world. Psycho.
Throughout DC history, Zsasz has several run-ins with Batman, often joining the ranks of gangs such as Black Mask’s or Emperor Penguin’s. He holds an all-girls boarding school hostage during “Knightfall,” too. In one story by Shane McCarthy and Cliff Chiang called “Victims,” Zsasz preys on poor Alfred and nearly gets him.
More recently, you might’ve have seen in Rocksteady Studios’ Batman: Arkham games or on the Gotham TV series. Fun fact: Mr. Zsasz is the first villain Batman faces off against in the game. He easily dispatches the serial killer and sends him back to his cell. Zsasz stalks the Dark Knight for the rest of the series, often making him rush to the scene of grisly crimes.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Although Mr. Victor Zsasz had only a minor part in their run — during the battle in Arkham in the first issue of the relaunch — he’s appeared in larger roles across the Batbooks. Most recently, he’s played a part in the changes to Arkham Asylum in the wake of Batman Eternal and Arkham Manor. In the latter, for example, Batman saves Zsasz from bleeding out after an even more dangerous predator hunts him down. Who could be a more bloodthirsty predator than Zsasz? That is yet to be revealed…
The Big Intro: Batman Vol. 1 #666
Phosphorous Rex is probably the most demonic-looking character in Morrison and Kubert’s #666. He’s one of the bad guys that Damian/Batman dispatches during the issue.
Rap Sheet: Batman and Robin Vol. 1 “Batman Reborn”
Phosphorous Rex is another member of the Circus of Strange in “Batman Reborn.” He’s pretty hilarious actually, since his MO is to run at police officers and pretend he’s a person whose body has caught on fire. He yells HELP! at the top of his lungs so that Gotham’s Finest will let their guards down long enough for the rest of Rex’s crew to lay the smackdown on the good guys.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Rex is part of the first big fight in Batman #1. Batman wins. Enough said. Interestingly enough, Capullo draws his flaming head to be a bit more normal-looking than the strange deep-red flames Quietly seems to prefer.
Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker)
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #583
Several characters have used the name “Ventriloquist” throughout Batman history. While Peyton Riley and her puppet Sugar graced the pages of later Detective Comics by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen (what a team they were!), Arnold Wesker is the most recognizable character in the role.
Ventriloquist was created by Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle in the pages of Detective Comics. Born into a Mafia family, Wesker watches his mother gunned down by mobsters. This causes him to develop dissociative identity disorder, and he uses his puppet Scarface to do his dirty work. Funny enough, Scarface really controls Wesker. The puppet constantly shouts orders at his “master.”
Oh, and Wesker can’t enunciate the letter “B” during his performances, so he often calls the Dark Knight “Gatman.”
Rap Sheet: Batman: The Animated Series and comic books based on the show
Ventriloquist has hit the height of his popularity during the Batman: TAS era. And really, where else could a guy with a murderous puppet crime lord reign supreme but in a neo-noir cartoon adaptation of the Batman mythos? Some of his many appearances include “Read My Lips” as well was The Batman Adventures #14. He also faces off against his own puppet in Batman: Gotham Adventures #46.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Ventriloquist fights Batman in that opening scene in Arkham Asylum. He doesn’t have Scarface with him. Instead, he has this really gross sock puppet-looking thing. Ventriloquist is only in a brief panel, and we never hear of him again. Will we see Ventriloquist and his gangster puppet any time soon? I bet Snyder and Capullo have a story to tell here…
A new Ventriloquist, Shauna Belzer, was introduced in the pages of Batgirl. She has a puppet named Ferdie that she stole from a party. So there’s that.
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #40
Basil Karlo aka Clayface is one of the oldest B-listers in Batman history. First created by Kane and Finger in the pages of Detective Comics, the Clayface we know today is a combination of two characters from the Golden and Silver Ages of Batman.
In his first appearance, Karlo isn’t actually the colossal, mud-based villain that we would come to know. Instead, he’s a washed-up actor of B-list movies who goes mad, donning a monster mask in order to kill fellow actors.
His monster form actually first belonged to a treasure hunter named Matt Hagen, who came into contact with a radioactive protoplasm that turns him into a gross shapeshifter, in Detective Comics Vol. 1 #298 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.
Rap Sheet: Batman: The Animated Series
Although there have been many other Clayfaces, both men and women, in DC history, it was Batman: The Animated Series that combined the first two versions of the villain into a tragic character for the very memorable episode “Feat of Clay.” Matt Hagen is a washed-up actor who has suffered severe facial scarring in a car accident. After a criminal named Roland Daggett provides Hagen with a special face cream that will supposedly restore his good looks, Hagen realizes that he has involuntarily become part of a criminal plot that will transform him into the grisly Clayface. This is one of the great episodes of TAS.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Clayface appears in the opening panels of the book, and would later star in a two-part story staring in #19, in which he takes the form of Bruce Wayne while on a crime spree. The villain actually outs Bruce Wayne as Batman after coming into contact with his DNA, but no one believes him. It’s kind of funny, until he tauns Bruce by taking the form of his recently-deceased son, Damian. In short, things don’t go well for this B-lister. You can currently find him escaping from Arkham in Batman Eternal.
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #357
Created by Gene Colan and Gerry Conway in 1983, Killer Croc’s actual name is Waylon Jones, a man with a terrible condition that gave him scaly skin and sharp teeth. All in all, the appearance of a monstrous reptile. Over the years, he was bullied due to his appearance, and slowly, he mutated into something even more monstrous. By the time he was an adult, he’d been pushed into becoming a sociopathic killer. For most of his criminal career, he’s sought to take over Gotham and kill the Bat.
Rap Sheet: Batman: The Animated Series
Although Croc has appeared in assorted comic books as a member of the criminal underworld, starting feuds with guys like Black Mask, Hush, and Bane, the character really shined in TAS. Once a pro wrestler, Killer Croc turned to a life of crime. His best episode is “Sideshow” in which Croc escapes a train bound for prison (he is legally sane, so he doesn’t belong in Arkham) and decides to live in a community of circus carnies. This episode continues the show’s great streak of pointing sympathetic lights towards some of the grislier villains.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Killer Croc fights the Dark Knight in Arkham in that very first scene of the run. Croc hasn’t been one of the star villains of the relaunched books, but he has appeared in a larger role in Batman Eternal, where he teams up with Batman in the Gotham sewers to stop a common enemy from destroying Gotham. Currently, Croc works for Catwoman, who is now the head of her own crime family.
The Big Intro: Batman Vol. 1 #666
Flamingo was first introduced by Morrison and Kubert (their “Batman and Son” story arc on Batman is the best) in the special issue #666. Flamingo is one of the poor saps who gets a beating from Damian in this issue. This seems to hint that Flamingo lives for quite a long time, and has yet a part to play in Damian’s possible future…
Rap Sheet: Batman and Robin Vol. 1 “Revenge of the Red Hood”
But Flamingo’s truly ridiculous introduction is in the pages of Morrison and Quietly’s Batman and Robin. After Jason Todd/Red Hood and his sidekick Scarlet murder all of the El Penitente criminal organization’s members, their leader sends his best assassin, a flamboyant psychopath named Flamingo, who likes to eat the faces of his victims.
Throughout “Revenge of the Red Hood,” readers are warned that something really bad is coming to Gotham. Sure, Professor Pyg has just finished almost poisoning the entire city, but Flamingo is in another league entirely. Flying in a big pink plane (his whole theme is pink), he arrives with bloodsoaked hands. Inside the plane are the remains of his entourage, who has murdered and feasted on (only their faces, of course).
Red Hood, who thinks he is finally the number one vigilante in Gotham, doesn’t realize he’s in too deep when Flamingo comes rushing into his lair in a big pink bike. (Morrison has said that they based Flamingo’s design on Prince.) It takes Batman and Robin to save Red Hood and Scarlet from Flamingo, who is run over by a bulldozer at the end of the fight. Still, no body is recovered by police.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #1
Flamingo is one of Arkham’s inmates who attack Batman during the breakout in issue #1. Batman and Dick Grayson (in a Joker costume) punch Flamingo’s face in and send him back to his cell where he belongs. The pink assassin hasn’t appeared since, but I hope Snyder and Capullo make room for him in an upcoming story. This guy is to insane to push out of history.
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #147
Tiger Shark was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang for the story “Tiger Shark!” The villain looked more like a scuba diver with skis and a gun than anything else. I’m sure it was pretty menacing for the time. The original Tiger Shark was the alter ego of one Dr. Gaige, a famed oceanographer who was bored with life, so he turned to a life of crime. You can’t make this stuff up. Oh wait, yes you can.
Rap Sheet: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #878
Snyder, interestingly enough, introduced a new version of Tiger Shark with frequent collaborator Jock during his “Black Mirror” story. Snyder and Jock’s Tiger Shark likes to murder people and stuff their corpses in dead killer whales. Later, in Tiger Shark’s underwater lair, Batman is held over a tank full of killer whales. I expect you to die, Mr. Wayne.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #12
Tiger Shark is only in a few panels in a one-off story in the aftermath of “The Court of Owls,” but that takes place during that arc. The issue is more about introducing Harper Row, who would later become Bluebird in Batman Vol. 2 #28, but we get a nice little fight between Bats and Tiger Shark on a boat below the surface of Gotham. It’s good fun.
Dollmaker (Barton Mathis)
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 2 #1
Although other men have used the name “Dollmaker” in the DCU (Marcel Mannequin in Plastic Man #10 and Anton Schott in Supergirl Vol. 5 #58), Barton Mathis made his debut right at the beginning of the New 52 as a grisly surgeon who loves turning his victims into monstrosities.
Dollmaker plays a very big role in the first arc of the current run of Detective Comics and in the Joker’s New 52 backstory. When the Joker gets himself caught by Batman and sent back to Arkham Asylum, Dollmaker appears in his cell and slices off the Joker’s face in a sort of ritual “rebirth.”
The best part of these issues is the introduction of Dollmaker’s henchmen, who remind me of Leatherface’s family in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. This is Tony S. Daniel at his most grotesque. It’s also the only Detective Comics story I’ve really enjoyed since the relaunch so far…
Rap Sheet: Arrow 2×03
Dollmaker appears early on in the second season of Arrow for some gruesome fun. In the show, Barton loves pouring “a flexible polymer” into young women’s throats and dressing them like dolls. Again, Dollmaker pushes this story into very dark territory. A proper serial killer in a show full of corporate corruption and mobsters. Dollmaker kidnaps Det. Lance and his daughter Laurel and plans to turn them into dolls. Luckily for them, Arrow and Canary come to their aid and stop Dollmaker from performing any more craziness on Starling City. Canary kills Dollmaker at the end of the episode, so I guess that’s the last we’ll see of him…We gave the episode a fairly good review.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 “Death of the Family”
Dollmaker doesn’t actually appear in the pages of Batman, but he’s pivotal to Joker’s appearances in the book. Not only did he trigger the Joker’s weird rebirth by cutting off the Clown’s face, he also helped create a tapestry of sewn-together human bodies to commemorate the Joker’s long history with Batman in “Death of the Family.” This is the stuff of nightmares, folks. I’m hoping Snyder and Capullo bring him into the fold in “Endgame” or in the aftermath!
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #575
In 1975, writer Mike W. Barr and artist Alan Davis thought that it would be an interesting idea to introduce the vigilante who was working in Gotham before Batman came along. That man was The Reaper, a dude dressed like his namesake who didn’t mind murdering the bad guys. He killed lots of them, which got Batman’s attention. Thus began the “Year Two” storyline.
After being defeated by the Reaper early in the story, Batman decides to carry a gun and team up with…wait for it…Joe Chill (aka the dude who killed his parents) in order to defeat the vigilante. Are alarms going off in your head? “Year Two” was quickly pushed out of continuity in the aftermath.
Note that Denny O’Neill introduced a separate Reaper named Dr. Benjamin Gruener in Batman Vol. 1 #237 (1971), but he’s not the guy we’re really talking about here. Tony S. Daniel did bring Gruener back many years later in #692.
Rap Sheet: Batman: Full Circle, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
But that didn’t stop Barr and Davis from doing a sequel…Joe Chill’s son, Jr., dons the Reaper costume and terrorizes Gotham once again. This sends Batman back to the dark places. Should he kill Chill’s son?
The Reaper is most famously known as the comic book character that inspired The Phantasm in the animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm by the same guys who worked on TAS. If you grew up in the 90s, you probably remember the nightmarish vigilante that stalked the night with a much more lethal touch. It’s one of the best Batman animated tales ever made.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #19
Reaper only appears in a recording during the in-betweener adventure before “Zero Year.” The vigilante planned to unleash a toxin-dosed flowers at a Falcone family funeral. With a little help from Robin, Batman is able to stop him. Just check out how Capullo draws this guy. He’s right at home, after years drawing Spawn. I need more Reaper, baby!
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #29
Technically, Doctor Death is the first supervillain introduced in the Batman mythos. After two issues of small-time crooks, Kane and/or writer Gardner Fox (no one is sure who actually created the character) decided to pit the Bat-Man against a mad scientist, who plans to extort money from Gotham’s wealthiest citizens by poisoning the city. In the earliest stories, the Doctor always has a big henchman to do his bidding. But Jabah, Mikhail, and Togo can’t protect him from the Dark Knight.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #25
Doctor Death is my absolute favorite B-lister in the current run. Drawn as this huge boogeyman with abnormal bone structures by Capullo and written as this total psychopath by Snyder, Doctor Death is easily one of the most memorable villains in Batman since the New 52 started in 2011. “Zero Year,” although it’s the story of Batman’s origin, will undoubtedly be remembered by its villains. Both the Red Hood and Doctor Death stole the show from The Riddler, in my humble opinion.
Dr. Karl Hellfern is working for Wayne Industires during “Zero Year” and has developed this serum that causes uncontrolled bone growth in its victims. Hellfern tests the serum on himself and becomes the monstrous, skeletal Doctor Death. Technically, Snyder and Capullo have reintroduced him as one of the first supervillains in the new Batman mythos. Long live Doctor Death!
The Big Intro: Detective Comics Vol. 1 #33
Bill Finger and Bob Kane first introduced Batman’s origin story in “The Batman and How He Came to Be,” for the first time showing the mugger who murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne in cold blood. But it wasn’t until Batman Vol. 1 #44 that Finger and Kane gave the mugger a name: Joe Chill.
Since then, the Dark Knight has had several run-ins with the Chill, who is sometimes portrayed as a mugger, a hitman, or a mobsters. Depends on who you ask. But Batman becomes obsessed with him every time the two cross paths. What is the true nature of Joe Chill?
Rap Sheet: Detective Comics Vol. 1 “Year Two,” Batman Vol. 1 #673
Joe Chill becomes the Batman’s partner in the oft-disregarded “Year Two” arc in Detective Comics by Barr, Davis, Paul Neary, Alfredo Alcala, Mark Farmer, and Todd McFarlane. Say what you will about this ridiculous story in which Batman does battle against the Reaper and dons a gun, it sure aims for the fences. It’s grandiose from the first panel to the very last. And Chill only adds to how crazy that whole arc is, often playing Batman’s new and deadly partner in a fight. When Batman has the chance to finally punish his parents’ murderer, does he do what’s necessary?
Speaking of punishing chill, Morrison wrote a really great story during his Batman run, in which Batman stalks Chill, who has been reimagined as a mid-level crime boss. Batman haunts Chill over and over until the guy has no other answer but to off himself — with the gun he used to kill Bruce’s parents. Yeah, Bruce saved the pistol after all these years just so he could get Chill to kill himself with it. Revenge is a dish best served…chilled. Okay, I’ll let myself out.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #37
Joe Chill has only JUST appeared in the pages of Batman. Remember that B-lister Snyder teased back in the interview above? Well, he’s the first one to make an appearance in “Endgame.” This appears to be a nightmare version of Chill, brought on by the Joker’s new toxin that has infected the entire city. Batman has to face his demons in order to defeat the Joker for the final time…
The Big Intro: Boy Commandos #15
Crazy Quilt, an artist who lives a double life as a criminal mastermind and who can only see bright colors after an accident blinds him, was created by Jack Kirby. He is every bit as ridiculous as you’ve ever imagined, a supervillain who was right at home during the 50s and 60s. In his very first appearance, Crazy Quilt battles the Boy Commandos, an elite squadron of orphans who fought in World War II. Their first appearance, in turn, was in Detective Comics Vol. 1 #64.
Rap Sheet: Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Quilt’s one of those guys who’s been foiled time and time again by the Dynamic Duo. Perhaps he’s not even worth considering a B-lister. More like a Z-lister? Still, Crazy Quilt has his moments. Batman: The Brave and the Bold introduces the villain to modern audiences. In “The Color of Revenge,” he tries to get revenge of Dick Grayson for blinding him all those years back. He tries to blow up Grayson and Bludhaven with a giant laser cannon. But Batman stops him just in time. Poor guy.
The Return: Batman Vol. 2 #38
Nope, it was Crazy Quilt who Snyder was talking about all along. In the latest issue of “Endgame,” Dr. Paul Decker is introduced as of the three scientists working for Philip Kane back in the Zero Year. You might remember Dr. Hellfern (Doctor Death) and Hugo Strange, as well.
Decker has had a much less successful outing as a villain than the other two. Still he was able to help Joker develop the deadliest strain of toxin ever unleashed on Gotham, all while wearing his signature quilt. Capullo even styled him to look like Vincent Price. Crazy Quilt is a really nice touch for the book.
John Saavedra is the shadow of the Bat. Follow him on Twitter!