web stats

CSBG Archive

75 Greatest Friends and Foes of Batman: Villains #40-31

1 2
« Previous

35. KGBeast

Created at the tail end of the Cold War by Jims Starlin and Aparo and inker Mike DeCarlo, the KGBeast was pretty much that – a beast. A cold, unflinching monster of a man who was seemingly unstoppable as he sets upon a mission of killing the ten names closest to the United States STAR Wars missile defense program. Check out what happens when Batman underestimates the lengths the Beast will go to to finish a job…

foe35a

foe35b

Daaaaaaang.

After the Cold War ended, the KGBeast kept coming back, now just as a traditional supervillain doing money-making schemes or often as a henchmen working for other criminals. He was still one tough son of a gun.

34. Firefly

Firefly was a one-off Batman villain from the early 1950s who used optical illusions against Batman (including making it look like things were on fire). Years later, Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan awesomely revamped him in Detective Comics by making him an ACTUAL arsonist.

foe34a

foe34b

foe34c

So along with his great new design, Firefly became a mainstay of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, one of those guys who always hangs around the periphery as a nice villain you can use if you ever need a villain. And always up for teaming up with other villains. He is to Batman like the Shocker is to Spider-Man.

33. Holiday

Holiday is a mysterious serial killer who is at the heart of the acclaimed Batman story A Long Halloween (by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale). A killer is going around Gotham killing people at holiday times and leaving a token of the holiday behind after the killing.

foe33a

foe33b

foe33c

In the end, we honestly do not know who the Holiday killer is for sure, as two people take credit for the killings (SPOILERS FOR A STORY FROM MORE THAN FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!) – Alberto Falcone, the youngest son of Carmine Falcone, who publicly confessed to the crimes, said he began killing to take revenge on his father for never taking him seriously (and cutting him out of the family business) and Gilda Dent, the wife of Harvey Dent, who privately confessed while talking to herself and burning evidence at the end of the story, explaining that she began killing to wipe out the Falcone crime family so her husband would stop obsessing over them and settle down with her. In the latter scenario, Gilda alleges that she stopped the killings after the first few and presumed that Harvey had taken over for her (the only undisputed killings are the last two, which are definitely by Harvey after he becomes Two-Face).

32. Owlman

Owlman is a member of the Crime Syndicate, who are the evil opposites of the Justice League. Owlman, naturally, is Batman’s opposite.

Owlman is Thomas Wayne, Jr. His mother and younger brother, Bruce, were killed by a police officer. His father, Thomas Wayne Sr., became the chief of police in Gotham and Thomas became a villain to oppose his father, who he blames for the death of his mother and brother. Owlman loves the fight, so he actually secretly funds rebels to the Crime Syndicate control of their planet, just so he has someone to fight.

While on the Justice League’s Earth, he figures out that the way that this world works, the Crime Syndicate inherently cannot win. He comes to this realization in a great moment where he comes across the graves of this world’s Thomas and Martha Wayne and realizes that he can never gain vengeance on his father on this world…

foe32a

foe32b

31. Anarky

Anarky (created by Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell) is an interesting case because he is really more of an anti-hero than anything, as he is a teenager who embraces the ideals of anarchy and decides to become a vigilante to have his voice heard.

That said, his methods are extreme enough that Batman can never accept Anarky as a hero, so I guess he belongs in the villains section. He DOES practically kill this dude just for being a hypocritical drug addict…

foe31a

foe31b

Anarky later had his own SERIES by Grant and Breyfogle. Sadly, once Grant was finished at DC, so, too, was Anarky for the most part (at least Grant’s nuanced approach to the character).

1 2
« Previous

59 Comments

So hard to tell whether it’s Thorne or Thorpe, but otherwise love this list with the focus on a lot of regular-type crime bosses.

And reminds me of my love for the Gotham Central story on Firefly selling his suit online. Batman always feels like a character I know so little about, but some of my favorite stories involve him or his rogues gallery. Loved that Catman appearance in Green Arrow, but I loved the way Simone revamped him for Secret Six.

Probably the worst thing that ever happened to Anarky was Fabian Nicieza’s decision to have another juvenile villain, the sociopathic “General” Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, beat Lonnie into a coma and steal his costumed identity.

Superman McGee

April 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

Firefly, Killer Moth, and especially Owlman (whom I voted for) are my favorites on here so far.

Come to think of it though, I probably would have voted for the entire CSA if I had thought of it. It’s just that I tend to think of them as Justice League of America villains as a group, whereas I think of Owlman individually as a Batman counterpart.

I like Killer Moth’s anti-Batman role, but I’m surprised he scored so high.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s version of the Crime Syndicate, but I did love Dwayne McDuffie handling Owlman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (video) as the ultimate nihilist. Plus Bruce’s comment that “we both looked into the abyss—but when it looked back, you blinked.”
KGBeast just annoys me. One of my pet peeves during the 1990s was how much comics recyled Cold War cliche villains as if the collapse of the USSR had never happened.

Willie Everstop

April 22, 2014 at 9:23 am

Why didn’t KGBeast just cut the rope?

Not familiar with any of them aside from Falcone. Not sure what that means other than I’m out of my depth on this blog. Yes, definitely swimming in the deep end without water wings.

Captain Librarian

April 22, 2014 at 9:26 am

Although I get the controversy around the ending (and would have done it differently myself, at least a little bit), and I understand if people don’t like real life politics entering into their story, I really dug “10 Nights of the Beast.” It’s interesting to compare him to Bane. To me KGBeast almost works better than Bane because he’s not grandstanding about how he figured out his secret identity by watching body language or fixated on Batman himself, he has a mission that Batman is trying, and often failing, to stop him from completing. Not saying Bane is terrible or that Nightfall wasn’t a good story, but even reading the 80s based story in the late 2000s for the first time, I liked it.

Captain Librarian

April 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

Also, @ Willie Everstop, the coloring seems to suggest rope, but Batman calls is a ‘cable’ so I’m assuming that it’s stronger than simple rope. I don’t have the book on me at the moment.

Why didn’t KGBeast just cut the rope?

No good reason (the axe was just used on the previous page cutting the cable, so it wasn’t that the axe couldn’t cut through the cable). It’s actually a huge plot hole in the story. I guess the best excuse is that he’s just a moron?

On deviantart, a guy rebooted Amalgam comics–you should see some of the villains he made for Iron Bat (Batman/Iron Man). Going off this list alone, there’s:
-Count Zeus (Maxie Zeus/Count Nefaria)–one of the heads of the Intermaggia (Intergang/The Maggia)
-Fire Moth (Killer Moth/Firebrand)
-Catman (DC’s/a foe of the android Human Torch)–a member of the Secret Syndicate (Secret Six/Sinister Syndicate)
-Crimson Beast (KGBeast/Crimson Dynamo)–a member of the People’s Super-Soldiers (The
People’s Heroes/The Soviet Super-soldiers)
-Firekiln (Firefly/Firepower)
-Dark Claw (Daken/Owlman)–a member of the Revenge Syndicate (Crime Syndicate/Dark Avengers)
-Kaos (Anarky/Ezekiel Stane)–who may or may not be the son of the Laugh Monger (Joker/Iron Monger)

Where’s Magpie?!

I, and I imagine a lot of people my age, got to know and love Thorne from his portrayal in Batman: The Animated Series.

The only one on the list so far that I actually voted for is Maxie Zeus, but I do like Owlman, depending on the writer. Anarky was fun, too. And of course Catman was great in the Secret Six era. And now I’m afraid that Holiday stole the slot rightfully belonging to the Calendar Man. Maybe that’s his raison d’etre. The only one here that I straight-up dislike is the KGBeast, but I’m sure there’ll be more to come!

Bill Williamson

April 22, 2014 at 10:36 am

@ Omar: I agree. It was Alan Grant’s lament that DC made him ‘just another asshole villain’.

However, he didn’t make my list. Largely because A) He’s a one trick pony B) His first appearance was his best.

@ Captain Librarian: While I did enjoy Ten Nights of the Beast, I’d have to disagree that KGBeast is better than Bane. Firstly KGBeast is obviously quite dated, whereas Bane is timeless. Secondly there’s not really much going on with KGbeast, other than the fact that, like Batman, he’s fiercely determined and devoted to his mission. There’s so much more going on with Bane. Particularly in Knightfall, there’s this idea of the American dream going on within Bane, that coming to Gotham and beating Batman represents to him the Scarface ideal if you will.

The only time I had any interest in Bane was in Secret Six. It was pretty disorienting at the time, like the whole world had turned upside down. I thought “Wait, I’m actually enjoying Bane?! BANE?!”

On the whole “why didn’t KGBeast just cut the rope” thing, Starlin(the writer) said it was a coloring error, and it was supposed to be colored like steel. The implication is that its a steel cable(which Batman says in the comic), and Beast is such a hardass that he’d rather chop off his own hand then be captured by Batman.

But its colored like a rope, so it really just makes him look like a dumbass.

o good reason (the axe was just used on the previous page cutting the cable, so it wasn’t that the axe couldn’t cut through the cable). It’s actually a huge plot hole in the story. I guess the best excuse is that he’s just a moron?

I could buy that if not for the rest of the plot holes that kept popping up in Starlin’s run, especially Death in the Family. I think it’s easier to just say the problem is Starlin’s Batman writing rather than KGBeast. EVERYONE was a moron in Starlin’s Batman stories.

However, he didn’t make my list. Largely because A) He’s a one trick pony

Aren’t most Batman villains?

I will never apologize for liking Killer Moth as much as I do.

Aww, man, you left out the “punchline” of the Anarky bit, where Batman investigates “Dave Stang” to find out if he attacked Johnny Vomit. Honest to God, that’s one of my favorite moments from any comic, ever.

No no no, the great Gerry Conway wrote the second Boss Thorne epic, not Doug Moench. I just re-read Conway’s epic run on both Bat books (which came right before Moench’s own epic run) and I think it might be the all-time peak of the character in terms of consistent high-quality epic-storytelling and stunning art in both books at the same time (and hugely influential on Batman: The Animated Series).

did not expect given how almost lame both killer moth and zeus are over time for either one to even make the list. plus interesting to see thorn here too given he also was used on the batman animated series. and holiday interesting pick since the story still leaves it open on if roman or gilda is really the holiday killer. plus exepected catman to be higher

Lame

Oh man! I love Maxie Zeus! There needs to be more stories with Maxie.

Also I’d, love to see a race between the batmobile, the mothmobile, and the catmobile.

I assumed that while the KGBeast could cut the cable, it was much easier and quicker to go for his hand in that position.

Through now that I look at the page again, why does Batman fall when The Beast cuts his hand off? The cable is clearly still attached to the roof.

Bill Williamson

April 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

The thing with the Beast is, even if it was a steel cable and not a rope, it still would’ve been easier for the Beast to untangle himself instead of cutting his hand off.

@Annoyed Grunt: Perhaps the sudden jolt caused by Beast removing himself from the cable caused Batman to reflexively let go of it.

I fear that this means that Two-Tone didn’t make the list.

Maybe The Spook snuck in at #30?

Gerry Conway wrote the second Boss Thorne epic, not Doug Moench.

Thanks. I actually put Moench down as a placeholder before I meant to check if it was Moench or Conway but it must have slipped my mind. It’s fixed now!

On the whole “why didn’t KGBeast just cut the rope” thing, Starlin(the writer) said it was a coloring error, and it was supposed to be colored like steel. The implication is that its a steel cable(which Batman says in the comic), and Beast is such a hardass that he’d rather chop off his own hand then be captured by Batman.

But its colored like a rope, so it really just makes him look like a dumbass.

That doesn’t work, though, since just a page earlier, KGBeast is shown using the axe on the cable and while it did not cut through the cable right away, it clearly was able to cut through it with a couple of things.

So it was just a screw-up period. If he wanted to establish that the axe wouldn’t cut through the cable, he should have made that clear by showing the axe NOT cutting through the cable earlier.

kgbeastcable

Anarky, it’s hard to find a balance with the character. A British leftist like Alan Grant writes Anarky almost too sympathetic, IMO. Later American writers, more conservative politically, write him too evil or too delusional. But I suppose that says a lot about MY political views.

Aren’t most Batman villains?

Not Crazy Quilt! He doesn’t even have the one trick!

Jim Starlin’s run on the Batman comics was pretty poor-mediocre all round, but the KGBeast really was one of his worst moments.

I was actually kind of bummed that I forgot to vote for Crazy Quilt. I blame the timeless allure of the Penny Plunderer.

Crazy Quilt seriously almost made the list. The first few cuts, though, went to a few villains I am really surprised almost made a Batman villain list, as I really don’t see them as Batman villains (the support Deathstroke got seriously shocked me – the dude has fought Batman, like, twice! And one of those times was during Deathstroke’s anti-hero phase!).

I think my favorite thing about Crazy-Quilt is that he jumped over to the Bat-books by becoming Robin’s arch-enemy wannabe. Even better, the story where he did so begins with him making a villainous rant to the people of Gotham….which they completely miss, because he’s standing in the middle of a garish display that makes him impossible to see or hear. Man, even the Ten-Eyed Man did a better job of things.

Bill Williamson

April 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm

@ T: While it is true that many Batman villains are indeed, one trick ponies, most of their tricks are more exciting than a thirteen year old boy constantly pontificating about anarchy.

Look at Firefly for example. He sets things on FIRE!

Deathstroke? That’s just crazy. The Shaper of Worlds is my favorite Batman villain.

Catman made it! Awesome. He was on my ten. Gail Simone made him one of favorite characters for quite some time.

@buttler

The Penny Plunderer is awesome!

Joe Coyne rules!

I love that panel where he finds his purpose and he’s screaming:

“Pennies! Pennies!”

@Omar Karindu

Man, even the Ten-Eyed Man did a better job of things.

Hey! Fun is fun, but don’t go too far! Show a little responsibility! ; )

Come onnnnnnnnnnn King Tut!

Everyone knows that Peter Criss is the best Catman.

Man, I really liked Catman in Secret Six. Especially his relationship with Deadshot. It’s a shame that Secret Six had to go (for whatever reason, since most of the characters went to Comic Book Limbo, I think).

Btw, I doubt I’ll get a response, but I gotta ask, what if, for instance, Jason Todd was voted highly for both villains and allies? Would he be on both lists, or just the one he ranked higher in, e.g. 45 points in villains and 50 points in allies?

@Holski Could of won a Grammy. Buried in his jammies.

Had a condo made of stone-a.

joe the poor speller

April 23, 2014 at 3:30 am

voted for thorne. I don’t understand why no writer has brought him back (except for a cameo on detective 825). hell, even paul dini didn’t use him.

Hoosier, I like Coyne too.
Matt, one of the things I liked about Conway’s Thorne story is that it’s one of the few times Dr. Thirteen gets credit for being an expert ghost-buster (outside his own stories of course) rather than just a moron skeptic.
Speaking of Coyne, I know that story is usually credited with being the origin of the giant penny, but IIRC there’s no such penny in the story–it’s from a Joker tale. Or am I wildly misremembering?

Firefly!!! I forgot about him!!! Anyway it’s good he made te cut.
As for Anarky, I sympathise with the charachter but only Grant wrote him in a fashion that I can almost accept. Although he looks like V, or is it just me?
And KGBeast…??? American propaganda against anything other than capitalism is so stupid that it’s hillarius! or just sad…

Yes, as opposed to the current “Dr. Thirteen doesn’t make sense because there are real ghosts”, Conway showed he could still be a fun character because there were still some fake hauntings that had to be exposed.

It’s the Penny Plunderer story. See here

I’m actually surprised some of the people made the list. I mean, Max Zeus made someone’s top ten?? But you only need a few votes to be 40th, I guess.

I didn’t remember that Firefly had been revamped so late, relatively speaking.

Anarky made my just cut honorable mentions list. Was trying to find a Grant bad guy to add, as he did most of the best next generation bad guys, actually having some success getting guys to stick for more than one appearance.

Didn’t think to vote for KGBeast, but that first appearance was great in that he actually seemed like a competent threat for Batman. Then he fell to a similar fate as Bane for awhile, in that he was just a stooge and a moron a lot of appearances after it. Bane got a second change. KGBeast never did.

And while I agree it was probably just a screw up, I’ll go for my no prize (wrong company) and say that if you look at the picture, he is using two hands to hold it taut, and is taking multiple whacks at it to get through. Batman wasn’t under the impression he could hold KGBeast there forever, just long enough for the police to arrive. So he doesn’t have time to take even more swings than it was taking him the first time when he needed to get out right then before help arrived.

I forgot….how “great” a line is “Imagine what I, a man, could do!”

For me Anarky never got past being a V for Vendetta knock-off. But looking at this list, and participating in the voting, made me realize how many of Batman’s rogue are criminally under-used or used stagnantly. So much fun potential with these rogues! Catman’s definitely an excellent example of that.

Hoosier, thanks.

More absurd than KGBeast cutting off his hand needlessly is his bizarre S&M costume. Seriously, was that intended to be an inside joke? It looks like it was designed by Tom of Finland.

[…] questions, it undermines his reveal. Besides, even if he’s only an appetizer, the Roman is pretty far down the list of terrifying Bat-foes. I can understand not wanting to trot out recently used villains like Talia, the Riddler or the […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives