My Favorite Lesser Known Arkham Villains

The Batman: Arkham series are some of my all-time favorite video games, combining amazing gameplay and controls with some of the best members of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery.

And I’ve recently been re-playing City and Asylum so that’s why this is fresh on my mind.

While the Arkham games feature Batman’s more well-known foes, they also include a lot of lesser known villains.

After going through a list of who’s who that’s featured in the series, I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite obscure villains from the Arkham games:

1. Clayface

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From the Arkham Wiki:

Initially an actor in horror films, Basil Karlo went made when he learned a classic film of his was to be remade with a different actor in the lead role. He took on the mask of the film’s new villian, “Clayface,” and killed several of the remake’s cast and crew before being stopped by Batman and Robin.

Later, Karlo stole some experimental compounds, injected himself with the compound, and became a superhuman imbued with the abilities to change shape, melt into protoplasm with a touch, and he mimicked the powers of heroes or villains that he copied.

In Arkham Asylum, Batman can spot Clayface locked in his cell and taking the form of either Commissioner Gordon, Aaron Cash or Quincy Sharp.

Detective Mode reveals that Clayface has no skeleton.

While Clayface was small potatoes in Arkham Asylum, he stole the show in Arkham City.

Basil Karlo scored the role of a lifetime when he was tapped to use his shapeshifting abilities to impersonate a healthy version of the Joker.

And boy does Clayface put up quite the fight as the game’s final boss.

2. Calendar Man

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From the Arkham Wiki:

Fixated on the calendar, Julian Gregory Day became Calendar Man, a villain who times and tied his murders thematically to certain holidays throughout the year, and often left clues by which he could be caught.

Gotham City’s hopes for a day off were often clouded by the knowledge that any holiday of note was likely to be shadowed by Calendar Man’s presence. 

In Asylum, Batman can find Calendar Man’s empty cell as he had previously escaped from the island.

In City, Batman can find him locked in a cell underneath the courthouse, muttering “Thirty Days Hath September” to himself. If Batman goes to visit him on holidays, Calendar Man will briefly relive a crime of his related to that particular holiday.

Calendar Man didn’t really have a major role in either Arkham Asylum or City but his M.O. is quite interesting.  Theming them to the specific holiday. But this guy tying his crimes to holidays would also have to be about the most stressful choice ever for people in Gotham who occasionally just want to relax.

3. Victor Zsasz

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From the Arkham Wiki:

A true sociopath, Victor Zsasz grew up in a life of ease, but nonetheless became a serial killer. Indiscriminate in his prey, body count was the only thing that mattered to Zsasz. He took pleasure in arranging the corpses of his victims in life-like poses before carving a mark for each of his victims into his own body. He was saving a special spot for Batman. Above all else, Zsasz represented what Batman hated most — pure, unadulterated and remorseless evil.

He proved more capable than regular thugs employed by the super criminals, as he had no care for his own life. Zsasz possessed so little care that he was willing to kill a hostage if he got bored of waiting for his attacker to make a move.

Zsasz is creepy. Point blank period. From his voice to the tally marks carved into his body. Also the way he says flesh is really off-putting. Although he’s not a huge part of any Arkham game, he uses his screen time to his advantage, getting all his rage and insanity right out into the open.

4. Man-Bat

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From the Arkham Wiki:

A gifted scientist who was diagnosed with a rare condition that caused chronic deafness, Dr. Kirk Langstrom went to extreme lengths to develop a cure. Splicing his DNA with that of a vampire bat transformed Kirk into a hideous monstrosity known as Man-Bat. After seemingly killing his wife, Francine Langstrom, Man-Bat embarked on a deadly rampage across Gotham before he was captured and cured of his affliction by Batman.

In Arkham Knight, Man-Bat flies around the city before Batman encounters him and, after a brief struggle, obtains a sample of Man-Bat’s blood. Batman then creates a cure for Man-Bat and they encounter each other twice more, wherein Batman injects Man-Bat with the cure and takes him to GCPD headquarters.

By that point, Man-Bat has returned to normal and Langstrom is distraught once he finds out that he seemingly had accidentally killed his wife.

Man-Bat provides one of my favorite moments in Arkham Knight when Batman is grappling up onto a building and Man-Bat suddenly appears over the edge and screams in Batman’s face. It’s so alarming, even if you know it’s coming. Plus, it’s also cool to catch his silhouette flying around Gotham before Batman captures him.

5. Professor Pyg

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From the Arkham Wiki:

Lazlo Valentin was a gifted scientist who suffered a schizophrenic break, which caused him to develop a deranged new persona named Professor Pyg. Pyg formed the Circus of Strange, began to tour the country, and left a string of mysterious missing persons cases in the wake. An obsessive perfectionist, Pyg used identity-destroying drugs and invasive surgery on his victims to create a genderless lobotomized human know as Dollotrons.

Professor Pyg is easily one of the most messed up characters in Arkham Knight. He destroys these innocent people — either by making them Dollotrons or just killing them — and refers to himself as God and plays insane opera music. That being said, I do like the concept of The Perfect Crime so he provides an interesting side mission, anyway.

But still, Pyg is so creepy.

6. Firefly

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From the Arkham Wiki:

A pyromaniac, Garfield Lynns, also known as Firefly, began as a petty criminal but he soon graduated to major crimes as a terrorist that centered around arson by torching huge parts of Gotham City in the process. But Lynn’s fires soon raged out of his control, which left him horribly scarred by one of his won blazes. Lynn’s body was almost fully covered with burns, and he wore a full-body flame-retardant suit when he was out pursuing his criminal interests between bouts of incarceration at Blackgate Prison. By the time of Batman’s second year, Firefly managed to earn 178 counts of arson, 52 of which resulted in various deaths, 4 counts of murder of the first degree and 10 counts of robbery.

In Arkham Origins, Firefly was one of the eight assassins that were hired by Black Mask to kill Batman for $50 million on Christmas Eve.

Firefly spends Arkham Knight setting fire stations on fire and running away when Batman shows up to put out the blazes. And he looks super rough in Arkham Knight, covered in skin scarred from his burns.

7. Black Mask

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From the Arkham Wiki:

Following the suspicious deaths of his multi-millionaire parents in a fire, Roman Sionis inherited their fortune and then went on to bankrupt their company. Saved by a buy out from Bruce Wayne, Sionis came to resent and hate his rescuer. Fixated on the concept of masks, Sionis carved one from his father’s black coffin and sought revenge, becoming the Black Mask. Sionis was a feared gang leader and one of the most powerful mob bosses in Gotham City, with a burning hatred of Batman.

(full disclosure: I’ve never played Origins so all this information is from the Arkham Wiki and my memories of let’s plays I’ve watched.)

In Arkham Origins, Batman finds out on Christmas Eve that Sionis has put up a $50 million bounty on his head.

But then Black Mask turns out to actually be the Joker and Joker had kidnapped the real Black Mask and everything becomes different.

Batman is able to rescue the real Black Mask, who refuses to give up any information on the Joker or his whereabouts because Black Mask wants to kill the Joker himself. Then Batman is attacked by Copperhead and Black Mask escapes.

I just wish that the big bad truly had been Black Mask.

Did I miss any characters? Thoughts on my loose ranking of them? Who’s your favorite Batman villain, lesser known or not? Let me know in the comments!

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