Batman: The Animated Series is the definitive Batman lore for many. It brought to life many classic interpretations of classic characters like Mr. Freeze and of course Mark Hamill’s Joker. Less remembered, but should not be forgotten, are the more obscure villains — some so obscure that they only got to have one featured episode.
But that doesn’t mean their episodes weren’t great or that their concepts weren’t solid. Let’s celebrate these one-hit wonders.
The Mad Bomber
Real Name: Ted Dymer
Powers: Explosive-laden RC cars
Featured Episode: “Beware the Gray Ghost”
In an extra nerdy and fan service-heavy episode, show co-creator Bruce Timm lends his voice and looks to the toy-obsessed villain Ted Dymer. As The Mad Bomber, inspired by an old Gray Ghost villain of the same name, he intends to use explosive toy cars to hold the city for ransom… so that he can buy even more toys.
Say what you will about motivations, but I think it’s the absurd ones that scare me the most. It’s also an interesting parallel between himself and Batman, as they were both inspired by (and are maybe both obsessed with) the same fictitious work, The Gray Ghost serials. It’s also interesting how much scarier this villain would be today with the invention of drones and amiibos.
Real Name: Grant Walker
Powers: Basically a less (and more) German Mr. Freeze
Featured Episode: “Deep Freeze”
His lone appearance is a 32% Mr. Freeze episode, but how could I pass up including a villainous Walt Disney on my first Laser Time listicle? Grant Walker needs to extend his life so that he may complete and rule over his new theme park, built to house his choice of “visioneers” away from the rest of the world. He persuades Mr. Freeze into intentionally doing to him what happened to Freeze by accident: making Walker an immortal ice man. Freeze doesn’t get it, but Walker’s isolationism has already driven him insane and colder in the heart than even he. Eventually, it’s Freeze who gets fed up and sends Walker’s frozen immortal head to the bottom of the ocean, which also happens to be exactly what Ub Iwerks did to Disney!
The Sewer King
Real Name: Mr. Sewer Lee King?
Powers: Endless alligators?
Featured Episode: “The Underdwellers”
Bucking a common trend of this list where many one-time villains are more of the common-man type, The Sewer King is quite a piece of work. For starters, he seems to be a crossbreed of a Charles Dickens antagonist and The Fragile-era Trent Reznor. And as his name implies, he lives in a sewer kingdom that is up-kept with a slave children and alligator workforce. I’m not sure why that seems eccentric in a world shared by a woman who has melded with plants and an actual crocodile man who also lives in a sewer, but it’s just a lot to take in for one-timer.
Still, I admire the show for sort addressing child slavery in a children’s cartoon. I mean, The Sewer King brutalizes them pretty well for unspeakable sins such as speaking. Even Batman had to restrain himself from killing this one in just one meeting. Unfortunately, Batman’s no-kill rules didn’t apply to one of the King’s royal alligators, as Batman went full King Kong jawbreaker on him.
Real Name: Lloyd Ventrix
Powers: Invisibility cloak
Featured Episode: “See No Evil”
Lloyd Ventrix brings us back to a more-down-to-earth villain. OK, he’s an invisible man… but what puts him on this list is what you can’t (can?) see. Ventrix uses his powers to sneak into his estranged daughter’s room, under the guise of her imaginary friend “Mojo,” in an effort to lure her from his ex-Wife. And here I thought my plan of hiding in the women’s showers at the Gotham Y would have made me a creep!
In a confrontation with his ex, we find out how dangerous he is, even by normal standards. He is an ex-robber who publicly shows signs of being physically abusive and overly controlling. It’s real stuff, and it gives me the willies — not really the Dark Knight’s territory until he decides to test the Batman’s ability to fight blind. Then something Batman’s done successfully a million times seems to be a struggle this one time for some reason. Probably just didn’t want to touch the jerk.
Real Name: Lyle Bolton
Powers: Sub-Bane stature, inventive lock-based weaponry
Featured Episode: “Lock-Up”
How is it that the only citizen in Gotham that ever tries to do anything about its super villain problem is a billionaire who dresses up as a bat and has a moral code that prevents him from really taking care of things? Wouldn’t people be constantly trying to kill these fiends at their most vulnerable, locked away in Arkham Asylum?
Lyle Bolton had the right idea by becoming a guard and abusing his powers to torture all the inmates to within an inch of their lives. Unfortunately, an ineffectual law force, egg-headed psychologist, and the permissive liberal media don’t see eye to eye with Bolton, forcing him to become Lock-Up. His plan involves locking up these enablers while Batman takes care of the super villains. Batman, an enabler in his own heart, instead locks up Lock-Up. But did he really win by sending Bolton to the place he never wanted to leave to begin with?
Sid the Squid
Real Name: Sidney Debris
Powers: Fool’s luck
Featured Episode: “The Man Who Killed Batman”
All Sidney Debris ever wanted was to be a big-shot criminal. But in an overly crowded market such as Gotham, how do you pull that off? In the immortal words of Heath Ledger, “It’s simple… kill the Batman.” Sid the Squid not only manages to seemingly pull this off, but he then makes a fool out of top-class villains The Joker and Rupert Thorne.
How does he do it? On accident, while profusely apologizing. Sid’s a sniveling, pathetic little bum, and his one episode is hilarious. From a design point, you don’t get any more common man than this, and I bet just by looking at him you know exactly how he speaks. Like Lock-Up, Sid gets his happy ending by being locked away in Gotham Penitentiary with newfound respect as Gotham’s reputedly most dangerous man.
Real Name: Page Monroe
Powers: Seasonal-based weaponry
Featured Episode: “Mean Seasons”
Right off the bat, we’re off to a good start, because this is Calendar Girl and not Calendar Man, who sucks. Driven insane by her inability to live up to society’s high standards of not having to look over the age of 29, career-ruined model and literal calendar girl Page Monroe seeks revenge on all those responsible for her downfall. How? As fashionably as possible! Calendar Girl plans her attacks around holidays, wearing a china doll mask and a two-piece suit that comes in many appropriate colors. Not one to do all the work herself, she also has a goon squad of cocktail bar male strippers. Eat your heart out, Riddler!
Pushing Calendar Girl to the top is that her lone episode combines all these delightful absurdities and more — oh yeah, there’s a robot dinosaur in the middle act — and deals with the real issues of body image, ageism, shallow media, and the skeevy side of the modeling industry. The only real problem with Calendar Girl is that she’s fit too perfectly to be a one-timer, as her gimmickry can take an entire in episode year to fully appreciate, and the twist behind her mask only works once.
Article by contributor Doctor Drewm.