15 Modern Batman Comics Villains Who Are Just As Good As His Classic Rogues

List Rules
Vote up the modern Batman villains who deserve a spot in his rogues' gallery.

Every superhero has their own coterie of supervillains, but no one has a rogues’ gallery quite like the Dark Knight. With the Joker, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, the Penguin, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Bane, Ra's al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, and all the other all-time classics, one might assume there’s just no room for any new Batman comic villains over at DC. But they’d be wrong.

Through the weekly publishing cycle of DC Comics, the World’s Greatest Detective faces new cases on a more-than-monthly basis, and that has required a steady influx of baddies of all shapes and sizes. Each and every year, some new memorable villains seem to show up in Gotham City and start wrecking the place, and it’s always up to the Batman to stop them - though, if they’re particularly memorable, he probably won’t stop them for good. That way, they can continue to show up again and again. 


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    1,318 VOTES

    The Batman Who Laughs

    The Batman Who Laughs
    Photo: DC Comics

    It’s been said by many, including Alfred Pennyworth, that Bruce Wayne is his own greatest enemy, but the truth of that didn’t become fully apparent until the events of Dark Nights: Metal, which saw a whole host of evil, alternate Bruce Waynes arise from the “Dark Multiverse.” Each of these Batmen represented an immediate and genuine threat to the DC Prime-Earth, but none more so than the Bruce of Earth-22, better known as the Batman Who Laughs.

    First appearing in 2017, the Batman Who Laughs hailed from a reality in which the Joker had imbued himself with a curse, one that would drive anyone who slayed him insane, ensuring that they’d become the next Joker in time. When Bruce-22 was forced to take the Joker’s life, he succumbed to the curse, and it wasn’t long before he was wearing spikes on his head, toting around a bunch of flesh-eating Robins on leashes, and trying to infiltrate and destroy happier realities. For someone like Batman, who often fears the extent of his own mental illness, the Batman Who Laughs represents quite a disturbing look in the mirror. 

    Ultimately, the Batman Who Laughs' first foray into Prime-Earth was halted by - fittingly enough - a team-up of the real Batman and Joker. But the nature of the Multiverse has ensured that the Batman Who Laughs is never truly gone for good, and he’s continued to try to literally drag the DC Universe down into the dark ever since, and he’s come frighteningly close to succeeding. 

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    1,174 VOTES

    The Court Of Owls

    The Court Of Owls
    Photo: DC Comics

    No villainous group has ever altered the nature of Gotham City quite like the Court of Owls, who made their on-page debut in 2011, but who have been around for a lot longer than that - and a lot longer than the Batman himself.

    A secret society made up of Gotham’s wealthiest families, including a few members of the extended Wayne clan, the Court had been manipulating the city’s politics and society from behind the scenes for decades, all without the World’s Greatest Detective ever catching wind of them. In fact, the only reason Batman ever found out about them was that they attempted to assassinate Bruce Wayne for his attempts to philanthropically revitalize Gotham, without realizing he was also the Dark Knight. 

    Even then, Batman struggled mightily against the Court of Owls and their legions of nigh-immortal Talons, their greatest assassins preserved over the decades. Even when he seemingly defeated the Court’s scheme to install one of their own in the mayoral office - an individual who may or may not have been Bruce’s own brother - it was only a temporary victory. The anonymity brought by the Court’s wealth and their iconic owl masks ensures they continue to live on in one form or another, squirreled away inside the walls of Gotham, waiting for their next opportunity to strike. 

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    938 VOTES

    Punchline

    Punchline
    Photo: DC Comics

    To describe Alexis Kaye, the villain now known as Punchline, as a “Joker fangirl” is to miss the mark. True, the young college student became obsessed with the Clown Prince of Crime and his unique method of terrorizing Gotham City, but she’s also a genuine psychopath in her own right. She drew the Joker’s attention by poisoning a bunch of random, innocent people circa 2020, and he noticed. The Joker taught Alexis to create genuine Joker Venom, which she then used to experiment on the unhoused until she was ready to do away with her college dean and officially adopt the persona of Punchline. At that point, she became the Joker’s official right-hand woman, replacing Harley Quinn, who had recently crossed over to the Bat-Family. 

    Punchline got to work during what came to be known as the Joker War and quickly proved herself more capable than her humble origin story might suggest. She went toe-to-toe with Batman, stabbed Catwoman, and slit Harley Quinn’s throat, nearly ending the person she saw as her rival for the Joker’s affection. In the end, she was defeated by Batman and sent to prison, but her total lack of remorse there has proven chilling - and makes it quite obvious that she’ll be back by the Joker’s side before terribly long. 

  • Flashpoint Thomas Wayne
    Photo: DC Comics

    The story of how an alternate-reality version of Bruce Wayne’s father came to be one of his greatest enemies is complicated, even by comic book standards. This Thomas Wayne first appeared in 2011 in the midst of the Flashpoint, a timeline created by Barry Allen’s attempts to rewrite his own history. In the Flashpoint, it was Bruce - not his parents - who was gunned down in Crime Alley, resulting in Thomas becoming that reality’s Batman - and Martha Wayne becoming the Joker.

    In time, Thomas would help Barry set things right again, sending the Flash back in time to the now-reset New 52 reality, as the Flashpoint disappeared around him. But through a series of consequences brought on by Doctor Manhattan’s arrival in the DC Universe, the Flashpoint was briefly restored, and Thomas ended up on Prime-Earth. 

    Once there, Thomas reasoned that he could now be this world’s Batman, allowing his son to retire to a happier life. When Bruce refused, Thomas went as far as to team up with Bane, hoping to force Bruce into retirement. This quickly got out of hand, resulting in Thomas kidnapping his own grandson, Bane taking over Gotham City, and the subsequent grisly demise of Alfred Pennyworth.

    Thomas saw the error of his ways and begged for forgiveness, but Bruce would not give it. He defeated both Thomas and Bane with some help from the Bat-Family and saw that both of them were incarcerated in Arkham Asylum - where Bane repaid Thomas’s betrayal by breaking his back.

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    541 VOTES

    Arkham Knight

    Arkham Knight
    Photo: DC Comics

    Spending time in Arkham Asylum is difficult for anyone, but growing up there is a real nightmare. That was the case for Astrid Arkham, descendant of the founder of the institution and daughter of two psychiatrists working there. When her mother was slain by an inmate wielding a Batarang during a breakout attempt, it led to Astrid developing a strong hatred of the Dark Knight - and an affinity for all the Arkham inmates with similar inclinations.

    Over the years, Astrid became downright friendly with some of Arkham’s worst inmates, reading bedtime stories to the Joker and listening to their tales of misery at the hands of the Batman. By 2019, she was ready to do something about it. Astrid trained herself into a capable fighter, used her father’s resources to construct a high-tech suit of battle armor, and started a cult dedicated to ridding Gotham of the Dark Knight, known as the “Knights of the Sun.” Donning her armor, she dubbed herself the Arkham Knight and set about trying to slay her greatest enemy.

    Despite systematically targeting the Bat-Family, the Arkham Knight fell short in her attempts to defeat Batman one-on-one, and wound up an inmate of Arkham Asylum herself, where she later perished in an explosion. But the Knights of the Sun live on, and through them, Astrid remains just as powerful and influential in death as she was in life. 

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    605 VOTES

    The Designer

    The Designer
    Photo: DC Comics

    In a way, the tale of the Designer, first revealed in 2020, represents one of the Dark Knight’s greatest fears, because it only came to light long after he had the opportunity to do something about it. For the World’s Greatest Detective, stuff happening outside of his knowledge is always an uncomfortable prospect.

    The Designer was a criminal mastermind who specialized in planning out complex schemes and plots for other villains, and then selling them at a high price. His desire for a challenge eventually brought him to Gotham City, where he gathered together those he saw as the Batman’s greatest enemies - the Riddler, the Penguin, Catwoman, and the Joker. He offered them each a means to their own greatest desire and a method through which to destroy the Batman. But Joker, infamously bad at playing with others, didn’t buy what the Designer was selling, and so he shot him in the head. 

    More than a decade later in 2020, Selina Kyle had become romantically involved with Bruce Wayne but had never told him about her encounter with the Designer - which proved to be a big problem when the Designer showed up again. Even worse, it seemed as though the Designer had passed on his proposed plan for Catwoman to someone else, and that scheme involved draining the Wayne accounts of all their money. Now, Bruce had to deal with both his lover’s betrayal and the loss of his wealth, along with the apparent return of the man behind it all.

    Eventually, however, it was revealed that the Designer was not back from the grave, but that it was just the Joker in masquerade, digging up the Designer’s old designs in an attempt to break up the Bat and the Cat. By finally coming clean, Selina was able to salvage her relationship with Bruce, but that didn’t do anything to restore the billions that had been stolen from his bank accounts - and thus began a new era for the Dark Knight, absent of wealth for the first time in his life. 

    Even in death, the Designer’s plans played out perfectly.