5 Oddly Positive Acts Done By Batman Villains
We recently did a piece on the most heartbreaking video game deaths, and looking back over that list we noticed something odd. Of the five deaths featured, two were out and out villains, one was at best neutral in a global good-vs.-evil struggle, one was a hero but part of the heartbreak was that she managed to use a villain's love for her to kill them both, and the last was more of an antihero whose actions included fratricide.
What the point? It's basically that the modern world of fiction demands more of its antagonists than one-dimensional malice. We demand a human face to identify with, even as we're rooting for that face to get punched. Mulling this over, we began to explore the world of Batman and his incredible rogue's gallery. Despite his having arguably the most psychotic group of adversaries in history, even that group of wackaloons managed to pull through and do the occasional good deed.
Deadshot isn't one of Batman's bigger threats, and in a world with assassins like Deathstroke he is often outclassed. However, he's managed to hold his own over the years due to his incredible disregard for human life, including his own. When your stated goal is to die in a grand firefight, but you're such an expert killer that no one has managed to do it yet, then that is indicative of a rare genetic condition in which a man is born entirely without fucks to give. Apparently Deadshot never bothered to sign up for the transplant list.
Example: Instructions to Deadshot are, quote, stop this guy from killing a senator. Deadshot's response? Kill the senator himself. He's like an evil genie that answers all your wishes with bullets. Including the wishes of his daughter.
Deadshot finds out that not only does he have a child, but she lives in a horribly crime-ridden part of Star City, which is Green Arrow's turf. Feeling that he should do some good for the girl, but being well aware that all his contributions to society involve exit wounds, he proceeds to start massacring criminals where she lives. With the streets safer, he fakes his own death, knowing that shooting people in the head may not be the best qualification for being a good father, and then asks Green Arrow to get off his ass and patrol the area she lives more.
It's hard to really get behind Jervis Tetch's Mad Hatter as a threat, though without a doubt his mind-control technology, pedophilic overtones and just in general creepiness keep him in regular rotation as a good villain in various comic series.
In the animated series, where he is played by honest to God Roddy McDowell, Tetch is a somewhat sadder figure obsessed with Lewis Carroll and his pretty secretary, who he is too shy to approach. Batman thwarts his plan, and the Hatter plots his revenge. His revenge is a plan of diabolic genius and morbid evil in which he...gives Batman the perfect life.
He manages to slip one of his mind-control discs onto Bats, and instead of using it to make him shoot himself in the head, or reveal himself to the public, or even something grandiose like making him commit crimes, he traps him in a dreamworld where his parents are alive, Gotham is free of criminals and he is dating Selena Kyle. For some reason, Batman fights out of this world and back to the real world, where he manages to confront Tetch. Breaking down completely, the Hatter simply says, "You ruined my life. I was willing to give you any life you wanted to stay out of mine." Honestly, it's probably the nicest thing anyone's done for Batman in years.