What villains should be sympathetic?

Discussion in 'The Batman' started by godisawesome, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. godisawesome Registered

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    Batman's rogues gallery is famous for running the gamut from completely despicable with no redeeming features to very sympathetic anti-villain territory. Who should be sympathetic and why? Who should be irredeemably evil?

    I started thinking about this topic after reading someone's analysis of two of Batman's most famous writers: Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. One is just about the only guy to write a sympathetic Joker story(the same one where he cripples Babs Gordon) and the other is famous for taking conventionally ambiguous villains like Magneto and the once ambiguous Talia and making them basically pitch-black villains.

    Both methods work, but both approaches have hatedoms. Joker is pretty much never thought of as sympathetic, while some people find Talia in Batman Inc more of a caricature than an actual character. Quite a few people were disgusted at Batman and Joker sharing a laugh in the same graphic novel that features Barabara Gordon being crippled just because, and a few people are ticked off at Talia being sociopathic towards her son Damian, particularly since she barely tears up when her main henchmen murders him.

    Personally, I prefer an unsympathetic Joker whose past life is shrouded entirely in mystery, while I prefer Talia to be more sympathetic. This is because I enjoy Joker the monster clown more than the failed comedian and actually want Talia to have character traits aside from hotness that attract Batman.

    For other villains:
    Sympathetic:
    Mr. Freeze
    Mad Hatter
    Killer Croc (like the new 52)
    Harley Quinn
    Man-Bat
    Harvey Dent(good side of the coin)

    Unsympathetic:
    Scarecrow
    Bane
    Hush
    Riddler
    Clay face
    Two-face(dark side of the coin)
    Hugo Strange
    Zsasz

    Variable from story to story:
    Ra's Al Ghul
    Poison Ivy
    Deadshot

    How about you guys?
     
  2. Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Not Mad Hatter. He's a pedo.
     
  3. the last son Registered

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    Freeze is the only one who could work well as a sympathetic villain. Anytime you break the law you lose your right for sympathy. This is not your world. When you take your problems and force them onto other people with harmful ways you lose all sympathy. I don't find Freeze or any villain sympathetic but I know people do. Plus freeze froze his wife against her will. Freeze is a monster playing god.
     
  4. GREEN =w= DAY Registered

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    Freeze, Two-Face, and Man-Bat come to mind
     
  5. the last son Registered

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    I agree that Joker should never be sympathetic that makes him more boring
     
  6. ThePhantasm 2 sexy 4 a stormtrooper

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    Only in one interpretation of the character. He doesn't have to be portrayed that way.
     
  7. Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    That's true. But don't they try to imply it now? Like they did with Arkham City?

    I think it works however. Given how they say Lewis Carroll was a suspected paedophile.
     
  8. InstaKill Registered

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    Like with many an abused wife who refuses to leave her abuser, I fail to view Harley Quinn's actions and motives as worthy of my sympathy.
     
  9. Llama_Shepherd Registered

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    I'm only doing the villains I'd care to see:

    Sympathetic:
    Riddler (tragic backstory)
    Two-Face
    Mr Freeze
    Red Hood
    Scarecrow

    Unsympathetic:
    Joker
    Dr Hurt
    Hush

    This is for the last son, breaking the law shouldn't mean you aren't sympathetic to the characters, Bruce Wayne breaks the law every time he puts on his cape and cowl. These people are all villains and that is why they break the law, however, people like Edward Nygma were emotionally crippled by their parents, Jonathan Crane by school bullies, Harvey Dent and Victor Fries by loss, and Jason Todd by abandonment. These are people who have suffered things that we can relate to and are seen as redeemable.

    However, people like Thomas Elliot murdered because he just wanted stuff, Joker does it because it is funny, and Simon Hurt dedicates his life to the corruption of virtue. They are evil so they can perform more acts of evil and are seen as irredeemable.
     
  10. the last son Registered

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    Red Hood does fall into sympathetic. I almost cried on the last line of the movie, "this is the best day of my life"
     
  11. Spider-Kurt! Registered

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    Mr Freeze
    Two Face
    Red Hood
    Man-Bat

    I think Clayface could be written that way since there's been several of them anyways.
     
  12. GREEN =w= DAY Registered

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    thing is though, i wouldn't count Red Hood as a villain. more of a Punisher type character.
     
  13. TheAQU4M4N K1NG Of ATL4NTiS!

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    Freeze definitely and maybe even Riddler and Clayface.
     
  14. Rodrigo90 Wink wink ;)

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    Riddler is sympathetic. He's such a loser lol
     
  15. Llama_Shepherd Registered

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    The same can be said for Bane. But in anything that will be supplied to the masses, they will both be villains. Jason is a villain for two reasons, he kills and he doesn't try to stop crime, he just tries to control it. He is the perversion of what Bruce stands for.
     
  16. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    The problem with Mad Hatter being sympathetic is that, fundamentally, he's a criminal who mind controls people for his own benefit. Even if all he used it for were robbery, that's still deeply skeevy, and I can't think of any versions that don't go beyond simple property crimes.
     
  17. godisawesome Registered

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    Hatter's sometimes played as pathetic as opposed to sympathetic, and sometimes Paul Dini wrote him as wanting to stay in Arkham and actually get cured of his insanity. He's probably the most outright nuts bat villain.
     
  18. RustyCage Come what may..

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    Sympathetic:
    Mr. Freeze
    Mad Hatter
    Killer Croc
    Clayface
    Harley Quinn
    Man-Bat
    Riddler
    Two-Face
    Red Hood
    Phantasm
    Catwoman
    Penguin

    Unsympathetic:
    Scarecrow
    Hush
    Hugo Strange
    Zsasz
    Black Mask
    Court of Owls

    Variable from story to story:
    Ra's al Ghul
    Poison Ivy
    Joker
    Bane

    Left out the ones I don't know enough about to make a solid call. Deadshot, for example. Will eventually rectify that.

    I hear he's in Catwoman: When in Rome, which I'm gonna pick up shortly. Didn't think much of him in Gotham Knights though...
     
  19. hellblazer103 Nasty Piece of Work

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    i think the riddler can be a very sympathetic character . even if he doesn't want to do the things he does , he's forced to by an addiction, a compulsion that was built into his mind for years and years , partly due to an abusive father who cut him down and mocked him any chance he got .

    the only writer i've seen that's written a semi-sympathetic joker and has gotten away with it would be alan moore , during the killing joke.
     
  20. The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    I don't want the Penguin to be sympathetic. He should have a sympathetic background, but he should be a vile ruthless villain.
     
  21. hellblazer103 Nasty Piece of Work

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    agreed. something like arkham city, with maybe a bit more sophistication to it, would be great.
     
  22. starwolf_oakley Registered

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    Two-Face can be sympathetic, since many "takes" on his origin involve him briefly becoming the Punisher with a coin fetish. He wants to kill criminals instead of using the law, and gives them a 50/50 chance. I sometimes think Nolan added the "kidnap Gordon's family" element to DARK KNIGHT so Harvey wouldn't be too sympathetic.

    In The Killing Joke, the Joker is only sympathetic in a "What in idiot" sense. "Unfair crap happens to you and you snap" isn't how mental illness works.

    Nyssa Raatko (Ra's Al Ghul's other daughter) is sympathetic in the "She got tortured by Josef Mengele and Ra's didn't do anything to save her" sense. They obviously were going for Talia without the 'Oh, Beloved!' element.

    The Penguine has sometimes been played as a nastier "Quark from Deep Space Nine." That could work semi-sympathetic if they play him as a not-so-humble nightclub owner that has a LOT of bouncers to fight Batman.
     
  23. shauner111 Registered

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    I would never be sympathetic to that jabroni Mad Hatter. Same with Red Hood. You can write it in but it wont make me budge. Clayface I would vote yes to, but that depends.

    Mr. Freeze is the ultimate. Second would be Two-Face.
     
  24. OutRiddled Registered

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    I'd like to see an unsympathetic Catwoman for once. Just like how she was portrayed in the 1940s - an outright villain trying to kill Batman.
     
  25. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Why?
     

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