It’s likely that Batman is the most popular superhero ever produced by DC Comics, with his fanbase only rivaled by Superman’s. Batman is also perhaps the hero with the greatest list of villains and sidekicks, with many characters known to mainstream audiences across various depictions.
Fans on Ranker have cast thousands of votes over the members of the Batman universe, which includes his supporting allies and the supervillains he’s fought. Since it takes into consideration everything from the comics to movies, TV shows, and video games, there’s no doubt that the ones ranked are fans’ preferred characters in the Dark Knight’s long history.
The popularity of the villain has skyrocketed ever since Tom Hardy played Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Even before that though, Bane was notable for being the first antagonist to break Batman’s spirit and body, having snapped the Caped Crusader’s back through his sheer strength.
Bane’s popularity can also be attributed to the fact that he’s as cerebral a threat as he is a physical one, as he’s a tactical mastermind who makes his plans well beforehand much as Batman does. Bane might just be the coolest villain in terms of appearance, with the mask really contributing to his image.
9 The Riddler
Batman is considered to be the world’s greatest detective, and The Riddler is a villain who’s constantly tested The Dark Knight’s famed reputation. Edward Nygma’s various versions have ranged from extremely eccentric to downright bloodthirsty, allowing The Riddler to always surprise audiences.
The Riddler carries a level of intrigue each time because of the creativity involved in his appearances, as he looks to bamboozle Batman through his many riddles. He also happens to be among the villains who work very well whether he’s facing Batman on his own or as part of larger supervillain teams.
8 Robin (Jason Todd)
Jason Todd’s role as Robin remains very well received even though it’s been a long time since that identity’s been his primary persona. Jason’s appeal came from his arc of turning over a new leaf after having been a delinquent with a troubled past that Batman looked to reform.
Moreover, it was the way he started to see Bruce as a father figure that fans always remember, as that’s what makes Jason’s later turn for the worst so heartbreaking. As Robin, the issue of him wanting to do what he wanted but also seeking to abide by Batman’s rules is what kept Jason interesting.
As a master assassin, marksman, and martial artist, Deathstroke has presented Batman with a significant challenge because the Caped Crusader has had to hide in the shadows. Over time, Deathstroke has become the archenemy of both the Teen Titans and Dick Grayson.
Deathstroke is one of the most visually striking characters that fans have loved to try and copy over the years. Watching him win and be defeated has equal value since Deathstroke’s threats have always required the protagonists to think out of the box. Deathstroke’s many skills have enabled him to be very diverse in the way he fights the heroes, preventing him from ever becoming predictable.
Many fans continue to want Nightwing in the DCEU since the cinematic universe takes a darker look at DC Comics material. Dick Grayson has mainly been shown to be Nightwing, with the majority of stories showing his transition into a full-on superhero after a major rift with Batman.
Nightwing has carried the same hard-hitting mentality and traits that he learned from Batman, only without having the restrictions that his mentor once placed on him. Nightwing’s popularity can also be attributed to fans’ liking for Dick Grayson, as he represents what happens after someone essentially graduates from being Batman’s protege.
5 James Gordon
Batman has always been a symbol that seeks to positively influence in others, but there are characters who were incorruptible to begin with. James Gordon is Batman’s frequent ally and closest confidante in the police, who has assisted the hero countless times in his missions.
Gordon’s role as Barbara’s father has led to stories where the latter has learned the meaning of a heroic spirit to incorporate in her activities as Batgirl. Fans like how a normal man like Gordon can stand up to Batman’s villains, which has made him the audience surrogate on many occasions.
4 Alfred Pennyworth
Many argue that Alfred is the most important member of the Bat-family because he fulfills the paternal role that Bruce desperately needs. Alfred is the one constant in Bruce’s life, having raised him since the death of the latter’s parents, and he has stood by him during Bruce’s time as Batman.
Alfred has no fear in his body despite the lack of powers and his older age, which is partly due to his background in the military. He’s also a source of sassy comedy, capable of stumping Bruce and shrugging off Bruce’s brooding attitude. Mainly, Alfred’s been a safe place for fans and Bruce that is a quality that can’t be replicated.
3 Robin (Dick Grayson)
The original Robin remains near and dear to fans’ hearts and they continue to prefer Dick Grayson as Robin over Nightwing. It also helps that this is the incarnation that’s generally the leader of the Teen Titans, where Robin gets to take on a role akin to Batman’s.
Dick Grayson’s Robin went through an origin story that feels the most genuine since it was the first time that Batman had to experience the role of a mentor. Dick is similar to Bruce in the way he carries a tough demeanor, yet he’s also the one who had the Boy Wonder charm that allowed fans to see a more hopeful take on Batman’s adventures.
2 The Joker
The Batman stories and movies featuring The Joker are widely considered to be the very best, with the villain also credited as the best antagonist in all of comic book history. The Joker’s appeal comes from him being the antithesis for everything Batman stands for, craving chaos and anarchy in contrast to Batman’s incorruptibility.
Mark Hamill’s portrayal of the character over the last 30 years has made The Joker a household name across various forms of media, while Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix broke mainstream audience barriers with their Oscar-winning performances. The Joker’s mysterious past and total lack of empathy render him as Batman’s greatest foe who can never have another substitute.
Of course, the Dark Knight lands as the favorite character for fans since he’s been at the helm the whole time. Bruce Wayne’s backstory brings in a tragic lens to view him with that justifies his turn into the Caped Crusader. As Batman, his inner darkness mingled with his quest for justice are a perfect combination for a flawed but admirable hero.
Batman’s fear factor sets him apart from other protagonists, as the character can be the stuff of nightmares when the material is at its darkest potential. His intimidation skills, detective abilities, and a plethora of gadgets are unparalleled. Not to mention the suave and cool attitude that he brings as part of his Bruce Wayne persona.
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About The Author
Saim Cheeda (1273 Articles Published)
Saim Cheeda is an entertainment writer covering all of Film, TV, Gaming and Books. He’s been a writer for Valnet since 2017, contributing 500+ articles for The Gamer, The Things, Game Rant, Comic Book Resources and Screen Rant. Apart from freelance writing, Saim is a lifestyle blogger, co-owning the blog 3 States Apart. http://3statesapart.com