Most of the Dark Knight's arch-nemeses seem to be cuckoo in the head or highly dangerous sociopaths and psychopaths. But you'd be surprised to know that many of them are very highly educated!
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Ready? Here are the top seven smartest villains in the Batman universe!
1. Harley Quinn
Despite her behaviour which seems to infer that she's a pea-brain who follows The Joker blindly no matter how badly he mistreats her, Harley is actually a trained psychiatrist! Before becoming taking up the mantle of Harley Quinn, she was known as Dr Harleen Quinzel. In some storylines, she was the doctor who treated The Joker, or "Mr J" as she calls him endearingly, at Arkham Asylum, but ended up being manipulated by the Clown Prince of Crime. In the Arkham-verse, she's even portrayed as an excellent fighter with excellent gymnastic skills.
2. Mr Freeze
Mr Freeze, born Victor Fries (yes, pronounced as "freeze), has a PhD in cryogenics. Makes you kind of wonder why he doesn't go by "Dr Freeze" instead. A former employer of GothCorp, he was caught in a industrial accident while trying to place his terminally-ill wife Nora in a cryo-stasis, causing his body's core temperature to drop to sub-zero temperatures, forcing him to wear his cryo-suit. His meta-human abilities also allow him to freeze his enemies and encase them in ice.
It wasn't until recent times that Scarecrow became an A-list Batman villain, with much credit going to the Dark Knight film trilogy and the Arkham video game series. Scarecrow, real name Jonathan Crane, has not just one, not two but three PhDs! He is educated in psychiatry, psychology, and biochemistry, and was former faculty member of the Gotham State University. Scarecrow is notorious for his fear toxin which induces hallucinogens of its victims greatest fears.
In most mainstream storylines, it is not known what his face really looks like. But in the Arkham-verse, Dr Crane was attacked by Killer Croc and dragged underwater, and in one of the three post-credits endings in Arkham Asylum, Scarecrow's hand is seen emerging from the water and grabbing onto a box of floating Titan chemicals, implying that he survived and was disfigured by Killer Croc.
4. The Mad Hatter
Honestly, Mad Hatter, aka Jervis Tetch, is pretty much a B-lister. However, under the facade of a dwarf-like sociopath who is obsessed with Batman as his Alice in Wonderland is actually a trained neuroscientist who invented mind-controlling devices to manipulate his victims.
5. Poison Ivy
Guess what? Ivy ain't even her real name. Born Pamela Isley, she has two Sc.Ds (supposedly even "higher" up than PhDs) in botany and toxicology. This eco-terrorist became the meta-human known as Poison Ivy after an experiment went wrong. She is immune to all forms of toxins, bacteria and viruses, thus making her the ideal foil against Scarecrow's fear toxin in Arkham Knight.
Once again, this meta-human is the result of an experiment gone wrong. Real name Dr Kirk Langstrom, he has a PhD in zoology. To transform into Man-Bat, Dr Langstrom injects himself with a serum composed of the DNA of vampire bats. In some storylines, the reason for inventing the serum was to help deaf people.
Hush, aka Dr Thomas Elliot, is a world-class surgeon who also specialises in plastic surgery. A childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, Tommy tampered with the brakes on his parents' car causing them to crash. He did so as he wanted to inherit his parents' fortune. However, the surgeon Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father, managed to save his mother's life and foiling his plan. This resulted in him developing a deep hatred for the Waynes.
When Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered and Bruce inherited the Wayne fortune, Elliot was further enraged and decided to make Bruce his enemy. He performed surgery on himself to make himself look like Bruce Wayne from head to toe in an attempt to inherit the Wayne fortune.
Know of any other of Batman's enemies who are actually geniuses? Leave a comment below!