While some are perennial losers, other villains are almost always underrated, often by Batman himself.
EGGHEAD ACTUALLY WASN'T SO SMART (TOTALLY RIDICULOUS)
Played by the incredible Vincent Price on the 1960s live-action Batman show, Egghead was yet another Batman villain who was just REALLY into his thing. Egghead's thing, obviously, was eggs. Whether he was punning it up with his word pronunciation ("Egg-cellent,"), walking around with a bizarrely egg-shaped noggin, or tossing eggs full of knockout gas at Batman and Robin, he just couldn't get over his love of all things egg-related, which couldn't have helped his chances. Egghead did manage to deduce Batman's secret identity, but seriously, since Bruce Wayne was the only mega-millionaire in Gotham who was anywhere near Batman's age it's not THAT impressive. In the end, of course, it never helped, and Egghead was consistently crushed like, well, an eggshell.


CALENDAR MAN: ACTUALLY PRETTY DECENT
Now for the underrated villains. You would think that guys like Calendar Man, whose thing is uh, being really insistent on committing crimes on holidays, would be totally lame. However, Julian Day, or Calendar Man's crimes cast a pall over every major holiday in Gotham City, as it's almost ensured that one of his crimes will occur even if he's in jail. Much more than Clock King, Calendar Man made full use of his gimmicks, which included an above-ground version of the Batcave with calendar-related weapons, ancient timepieces, giant Rolodex watches, and basically any sort of "Evil villain" lasers and weaponry you could imagine. While having no superpowers, Calendar Man could match wits with Batman and always presented him with a challenge, his pallid appearances as a prisoner in Arkham Asylum bringing to mind some gruesome combination of The Riddler and Hannibal Lector.
ZSASZ MAKES THE JOKER LOOK SANE
On paper, Victor Zsasz doesn't look like much. A murderous psycho who runs around with a bunch of knives, causing mayhem? Big deal, Batman beats up like 17 of those a night. Somehow though, Zsasz has become more than a small problem for Bats in his tenure as the resident Ed Gein of Gotham City. A rich kid, Victor Zsasz snaps upon losing the last of his cash gambling and decides life is meaningless. Even more than that, he believes that everyone walking around is a zombie, and by offing them he's setting them free. In other words, Zsasz is totally cracked. While he has no superpowers, he's incredibly physically strong and has fought Batman to a standstill more than once, and his appearance is enough to throw anyone off, as Zsasz carves a new mark on himself for every person he kills, and he's COVERED with them.



WHISPER A'DAIRE IS MORE BITE THAN BARK
A member of the weird and mysterious Intergang, an extra-dimensional mob who use alien weapons to gain power in the criminal underworld, Whisper A'Daire appears to be your typical gangland femme fatale in an evening dress, but there's a lot more to her than that. Aside from having an increased lifespan, she's one of the only villains on this list with actual powers, as she has the ability to become a snake-like being with fangs and deadly venom who can also hypnotize her opponents. While she's most often a superhuman assassin, Whisper also sometimes mind-controls her own henchmen to do her bidding, and although she's rarely seen, poses a threat that Batman can't deal with using just his brute strength.
IN MOTHER RUSSIA, KGBEAST EATS YOU
The KGBeast is basically an enormous Communist terminator. Trained as a Soviet assassin by "The Hammer," a secret sect of the KGB, he had physical strength even greater than Batman's, an array of weapons and tools, and a seemingly limitless threshold for pain. When he was sent to Gotham to kill a bunch of important politicians, he succeeded in killing almost all of his targets, despite Batman's attempts at intervening, even killing a dinner party of over 100 people just to make sure he got the right guy. When restrained by Batman's uh, Bat-Rope, the KGBeast chooses to cut his own hand off to get away, later replacing it with a pretty bada*s-looking gun. Later on, when the KGBeast invites Batman to a fight to the death, Batman "Nopes" out instead of dealing with him, simply locking the Beast behind a steel door, effectively leaving him for dead (he got out). Scary guy.


THE PENGUIN ... YEAH, SERIOUSLY
Wait, what? I'm listing a chubby little oddball like The Penguin as Batman's most underrated villain? Well yeah, funny you should say that. The Penguin often uses his, shall we say, not intimidating physique to get the drop on his foes, as it turns out the guy's a Judo master with enough trick umbrellas to level a city block, and then fly off at a moment's notice. Although Danny DeVito's portrayal in 1992's Batman Returns got the physique right, The Penguin is actually a criminal mastermind who regularly employs the other villains of Gotham City to do his dirty work, whether it's Hush or even superhumans like Solomon Grundy. Choosing to go straight (but not really) rather than keep getting sent to Arkham Asylum, The Penguin operates a giant casino, The Iceberg, as an above-ground profit machine. Makes you wonder why no other villains thought of this approach. Oh, and he's completely sane, a rare trait with Batman villains, he just realized that crime pays better than donning spandex and risking life and limb on the mean streets of Gotham.

Column Left