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Topic: Better Rogues Gallery: Batman or Spider-Man? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 9:56am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

For years, my brain has "argued" with me over whether Batman or Spider-Man has the better rogues gallery. I can never quite seem to decide.

There's no denying both have extensive rogues galleries. And I think there is quality as well as quantity. You could have a live-action Spider-Man or Batman series on the air now - and even within one season, you wouldn't cover all of their enemies. In my opinion, as much as I like Wonder Woman or Hulk, I think once you get past 3-4 heavy hitters, they don't have the same quality/quantity as Batman and Spider-Man.

Even Superman is the same. That's how I feel. After naming eight or nine "big guns" like Brainiac and Luthor, it feels there isn't the range.

Anyway, onto the topic: put your "lawyer's hats" on and make a case for either Batman or Spider-Man. Pick one. The JBF can be the "courtroom". Put your case forward! It's up to you what criteria you use, subjective this will be.

I'm going to go with Spider-Man. Both Batman and Spider-Man have a wide variety of larger-than-life opponents, but I think Spider-Man has such a diverse rogues gallery from get-rich-quick thugs with powers to complicated science-based rogues; every conceivable power one can think of is found in the web-slinger's rogues gallery, and their unique skill-sets allow them to be part of some great tales.

I'm not saying Batman doesn't have any of those kinds of villains, but from a numbers and variety perspective, I think Spider-Man's rogues gallery is maybe a little richer and varied.
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Eric Lund
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 9:56am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Spider-Man
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 10:20am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Any reason why, Eric? It'd be good to learn more about your view.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 10:30am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Flash.

No, really I'll go with Spider-Man. Though I think Batman has more of the "mastermind" types. The Spider-Man guys are more fun for me.
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Laren Farmer
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 10:32am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I will go with Spider-Man as well. 

Batman's rogues are great...but many of them are simply non-powered criminals with gimmicks that tie into their own psychological quirks.  This is not a BAD thing though since both the gimmicks and the quirks are entertaining.  And of course there are other great villains in the group who don't fit that mold. 

Spider-Man's foes though have a much greater variety from non-powered mobsters to superhumans...and just seem to have more vairiance in their motivations and goals.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Batman himself is a non-powered character with gimmicks. Spider-Man gets super-powered badguys because he is super-powered.

Take these factors into consideration, and Batman wins in my book.

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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 10:46am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Spider-Man has without doubt one of the greatest rogue galleries out there, but I still think Batman has him beaten. I can't really think of anyone with better villains than Batman. Joker. Two-Face. Ra's. Penguin. Riddler. Catwoman. Hugo Strange. Scarecrow... the list goes on. And none of them are superpowered. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 10:49am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Batman. None of Spider-Man's rogues have the emotional range and psychological depth of the Joker or Two-Face. Initially, Norman Osborn's Green Goblin was a sort of dual personality in denial of his other self, but this went away, leaving him just another Joker-wannabe with a grinning countenance. Similarly, the Black Cat is a Catwoman pretender. Women in Batman's gallery bring with them a far more knowing and potent sexual charge to their work than anyone in Spidey's roster of baddies. Again, the psychology behind them is richer and better imagined. Spidey's Scarecrow? Is again, a Scarecrow wannabe. 

As for variety, Spidey's biggest criminal organization head is the Kingpin who runs, what? New York? Ra's As Ghul (granted, something of a Fu Manchu wannabe himself) rules a criminal empire that spans the globe and has for centuries. He routinely fends off smaller organizations that dwarf the Kingpin's operation. Batman deals with any number of small-time threats as well, same as Spidey, but his personal involvement with so many of his foes makes each encounter another thread in a tapestry rather than one more listing on a scorecard as is so often the case with Spidey and co. 

Also on the topic of variety, Spidey's rogues gallery is a zoo, literally. Almost all of them were conceived as if Stan and Steve pulled their ideas out of a box of animal crackers. I think we're lucky that Spidey doesn't have a broken hippopotamus on his list of foes. 

I do award points to the Goblin for successfully killing the hero's girlfriend, however. As we saw with
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, that is just about the most villainous thing one can do to a hero. The Joker's later slaying of Jason Todd falls short for a number of reasons. I also have respect for Doc Ock being able to carry the franchise, but to be honest, that was just one more interpretation of a character that's been wildly inconsistent over the years, from sinister to cowardly; from competent to anything but. And marrying Aunt May? Was that supposed to be some sort of masterstroke? End of the day, all you've done is annoy Peter and you're married to Aunt May! That is not a victory. Enjoy your wheatcakes tomorrow morning. And the morning after that. And the one after that. And the one after that...

Yes, Batman's rogues are inconsistently portrayed as well, but there are eras and creative ebbs and flows in Batman's rich history to account for these. Spidey and the MU like to pretend it's all part of one big giant story that ties together perfectly if you look at it under just the right light. Of course it doesn't, and the characters wind up looking all the worse for it when it fails. 

Each hero has highlights and lesser lights in their rogues gallery, but Batman's best are among the best-known and richest comic characters out there. Spidey's are not. Spidey's are more on a par with the Flash's rogues. Now there, you would have a more even challenge.

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The Joker is one of the very best villains in all of fiction, so that puts Batman in the lead right there.  Ra's Al Ghul is the second half of a one-two punch that knocks Spider-Man's (and everybody else's) rogues out of the running.  Add Catwoman, and you have a star, maybe DC's second-favorite female.  That's a lot to overcome.

In addition to those heavy hitters, I look at the rest and they're icons themselves.  I like to play a little mental game and look at things from different perspectives.  For super-villains, for instance, I wonder which ones could carry a movie franchise all on their own.  Though slasher movies are a bit low in the culture, I still look at Freddy Krueger and Jigsaw and think people like the Scarecrow, Two-Face, the Mad Hatter, Hugo Strange, and even Poison Ivy could easily outshine those villains if DC chose to go that way.  Deadshot and even Calendar Man could be tweaked into successful assassin/murder movies.  Not that movies are the end-all, be-all, but they do have a tendency of mining potential otherwise ignored.  Even the 60's BATMAN series showed how great the Joker and the Riddler could be, at a time when the comics were ignoring them.

Spider-Man's villains are way up there though, better than just about anybody else's.  Using the same "movie litmus test," the Sandman and the Lizard could make some great movies, and, therefore, could also have new great comic book stories that we haven't seen yet.  Likewise, the Chameleon and Kraven the Hunter are better creations than they've (mostly) been treated.  Mysterio could be amazing, but mostly we haven't seen it yet.

"Honorable mention" does go to the Flash's Rogues Gallery though!  When I was a kid, I loved THE FLASH and the Rogues were a big part of it--they were really his supporting cast.  The TV show has made good use of the Rogues.  (In contrast, Green Arrow has no good villains, so the TV show had to steal them from half a dozen other comics.)

Superman has the worst in quantity, but nearly the best in quality--Lex Luthor is one of the very greatest.  Brainiac is another character that could blow us all away (in a movie or a comic), but hasn't quite yet.  Mr. Mxyzptlk and comics were made for each other!  But that's about it.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 13 September 2018 at 12:07pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Adding slightly, without wishing to engage in thread drift, I quite like the Hulk's rogues gallery. I doubt I could do a Top 20 list, but those on the list (Abomination, Zzzax, Leader, Tyrannus, and U-Foes) are all fantastic villains.

I agree about the Flash.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 12:57pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I prefer Batman's enemies.

Joker, Catwoman, Two-Face, Riddler and Penguin are all top tier in terms of recognition, cultural impact and longevity. They're colourful, fascinating, inventive characters. Added to those ranks are Scarecrow, Ra's al Ghul . Mr Freeze, Harley Quinn and Bane, who have all become well known even to civilians in recent years.

And even lesser rogues like Carmine Falcone and Talia have made their impact. Some really interesting rogues have been added in the last three decades, also, such as the Ventroliquist, Anarky and Professor Pyg.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

It has seemed to me that Batman's foes are more engaging than Spider-Man's. I could read a comic about the Riddler or Ra's al-Ghul or Catwoman. I'm not sure that the Vulture or the Rhino or Mysterio are intriguing enough to hold a story. They're great for being Spider-Man foes... but Batman's rogues hold my interest a little more.
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