But of course, the Bat-Villains are what mainly interest me, so shall we continue?
Still in his awful original costume but now armed (so to speak) with a gun/bayonet that belongs on a Kenner action figure, Anatoli is now accompanied by our next "Wait, who?" I recently read the NKVDemon story, but it just didn't have the same thrills nor ridiculousness of the KGBeast story, feeling like just another watered down action movie sequel from the 80's. I see that the profile mentions the fact that Ten Nights of the Beast ending with Batman literally leaving the KGBeast to suffocate and/or starve to death. I understand that it was retconned out by a later writer, probably Chuck Dixon, but damn. That's so wonderfully out-of-character that I can't hate it.
Least threatening Killer Croc ever? I'm tempted to vote yes. That said, he looks almost exactly like the Lizard apparently looks in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man movie (SPOILERY PHOTO HERE), except more toothy and speedotacular. I was already thinking that Lizard was going to be too Croc-like, but now I definitely won't be able to unsee.
I haven't read a single King Snake story, but just going by this, he seems like another boring villain from an 80's action movie. Am I incorrect in this assessment? Has he been interesting for anything other than being later revealed as Bane's father?
While she's not really an out-and-out villain, don't let the "Hero" banner fool you. She's a cold-blooded mercenary, and also an incredible badass one, as we recently discussed. I know that I rag on Denny O'Neil a lot here (and I certainly hope it comes off as affectionate ragging, since I'm very fond the guy's work), but his Lady Shiva is just awesome. I know he created the character, but that is never any guarantee for quality. Sometimes, the creators are the WORST people to write their original characters, treating them more as avatars than letting them breathe. However, I don't think any other writer understands Shiva as much as O'Neil. She's a rare Ultimate Badass character who truly seems like she's earned the title, who rarely says a word or makes a move unless it's absolutely necessary and intentional.
Sadly, the fact that she's been beaten so many times recently has bumped her down to "very good martial artist who can still be defeated by whoever's book she's guest-starring in" rather than Lady Motherfuckin' SHIVA, as she was in The Question.
Mark Badger's art is not for all tastes, and even I find myself going between loving and hating his work in stuff like Batman: Run, Riddler, Run (a comic I must review, as it has some of the best-written Riddler ever), but man, he's such a perfect choice to handle both Mad Hatters. There's something so angular and deranged about his work that fits Jervis and Not-Jervis alike. That said, hello there, half a page of blank space! You'd think that making entries like this should clue DC writers to the fact that these characters seriously need more history, both in backstory and to be used in new ones. As it is, while I love the Hatters, there's little here to justify why they get their own entry aside from an excuse for Mark Badger art.
While I've gone on record as being not impressed by Man-Bat as a character, I don't think that ol' Kirk has ever looked better than he did here, in this dizzying portrait by Michael Golden. And here, again, it a whole ton of blank space, but unlike Hatter, Mat-Bat actually HAS lots more history than what's being written here! Did Waid just not care to fill in the stuff about Francine's days as a vampire Woman-Bat in Vegas, or Kirk's short-lived stints as a hero battling the likes of the Ten-Eyed-Man? Hmmmm... well, perhaps that explains itself.
Maybe they'd already decided that Man-Bat in Post-Crisis DCU never became a hero who retained his Kirk Langstrom mentality or something, and just kept his story as essentially being about a flying werewolf. Perhaps they wanted to make the character seem more imposing, but I'm sorry, it's frickin' Man-Bat: no amount of grimness will make me take him seriously with those silly giant ears.
Oh, and yeah: SKREE!
So apparently Maxie Zeus, in addition to being able to zap his own logic, is also "charis-matic," which I take to mean that he's a machine that generates charm. While you foolish mortals might suspect that "charis-matic" is merely a typo, that is only because you don't have the divine understanding of the gods and I am getting tired again. I wish that I had more to say about Maxie, but again, there's nothing TO say. Hell, even his bio here is mostly padded by scene-setting! Who cares? Not I! He's Maxie. He's delightful. That's it, really.
Notice that we still haven't gotten any new stories about Mr. Freeze since his 1986-era Who's Who entry. Hell, his only major appearance was in Animal Man, where he was in comic book limbo, lamenting that he's already been forgotten. It couldn't have been long after this profile that he was brought back and ingloriously killed off by the Joker in Robin II: The Joker's Wild, which was apparently so inconsequential that I can find no scans of that scene. Damn. Why were they still treating him like a thing when he wasn't yet? Not helping matters is the fact that he looks like Mr. Clean's evil twin.
In case you didn't already know the Clayfaces' stories and were curious after reading the last Who's Who entries: yup, Basil Karlo used Payne and Fuller, and that's how he got his clay-powers. Since Karlo's origin as shape-shifter Clayface is so predicated on continuity and other characters, it's unsurprising that we never see that brought up in later stories. Even if the one or two tales that have treated Clayface as a character rather than a monstrous plot device, no one ever mentions HOW he got his powers, nor does anyone remember that Karlo also now has Payne's powers to melt people. That's a pretty horrific and devastating power to just sorta forget, y'know?
Jim Aparo has drawn one of my favorite Penguin stories. It looks at the odd "friendship" that Pengers and Joker have had over the years, featuring of one of the times I've read the Joker actually REFER to Ozzie as "Pengers," and it ends with the Penguin cross-dressing as a nun. What's not to love?
Maybe it's for that alone that I love his Ozzie here, even if the piece seems a bit stiff and Ozzie himself seems taller than usual. Furthermore, I'm amused by Ozzie's hideout, which seems to feature a tree-trunk elevator and Ozymandias-style multiple televisions. While all the other Rogues are moving on with the times, Ozzie's still going old-school villain here. Sadly, this is probably what solidified his perception as a joke, as did/does his physical appearance. no matter how many times writers emphasize the fact that he's more dangerous than he looks, people STILL judge him on face value.
Well, if no one minds, I'm going to savor this portrait of Oswald Cobblepot, supervillain, before he ends up turned into at attempt (sometimes successful, mostly not) at being Gotham's own Kingpin.
I love this piece because the generally-wonderful Kevin Maguire adds a whimsical touch to Pammy here, right down to the calamine lotion. I'm not sure why she's drinking wine out of a snifter, but whatever, she is still a classy, classy lady. That said, Henchgirl has put a strain on my enjoyment of Kevin Maguire's work. She theorizes that the master of facial expressions got that way because he studied himself in the mirror, so as a result, everybody Maguire draws has Maguire's face. I didn't want to agree with her until I saw her portrait on the back, where she's giving a cocked-eyebrow look that would easily fit on the cover of a JLI collection. Damn it, Henchgirl.