TOP 5 Villains That Could Replace Deathstroke In The Batman, If Manganiello Is Out

Welcome to The Top 5, where every week, we list five things for a given topic. These topics can range from “Top 5 Speedsters We Would Like To See On The Flash” to “Top 5 Groot Lines From Guardians Of The Galaxy

Of course, because everyone has an opinion, there is sure to be some disagreements, which is why, despite the title “The Top 5,” very rarely are these actual “best of” articles. Instead, they’re meant to provide entertaining insight, and to stir a discussion, and give everyone a chance to speak their mind. 

If you have a suggestion for a Top 5 piece, send them my way via #TheTop5LRM on Twitter. If I choose your topic, I’ll be sure to give you a shoutout!

Now, on with today’s topic!


With all the uncertainty of The Batman right now, from Ben Affleck abandoning the director position, to two days ago Joe Manganiello seeming uncertain the Deathstroke will even be in the movie anymore, I figured, “Why not do a speculative piece on some villains that could replace Deathstroke, just in case the new man in charge Matt Reeves writes him out.” I spoke with one of our new writers yesterday, and due to his comic knowledge, I invited him along for the ride. David Kozlowski will be joining me today, and we agreed on a few stipulations.

First, no Batman villains that have ever appeared in film can be included. Do we really want to see yet another Joker movie (especially with Jared Leto), or Catwoman, Penguin, or Poison Ivy? Second, no villain is off the table from any books, however I think both Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Superman should not be involved. They are too powerful, and if Batman is going up against someone like Mongul, I want him defeated with Batman’s brain and toys, not a super punch. Third, no timeline or alternate dimension characters are off the table either. We have already seen Flash appear from the future, and we also are unsure in the Knightmare seen in BvS is the creatures from Apocalypse even come from this universe. Apocalypse, in the comics, has been in various dimensions before. Therefore, the multiverse character can be included.


by David Kozlowski

Batman is the world’s greatest detective, and any good detective story needs a mystery worthy of the Bat. So far, we really haven’t seen this shade of the Dark Knight. At least, not yet. One of DC comic’s most enduring elements of the Batman mythos is his cold-blooded pragmatism. Batman is well-established as one of comic’s greatest thinkers, he recognizes the potential threat from his allies just as much (or more) than the danger posed by their collective enemies. Batman has assembled dossiers on his fellow Justice Leaguers, including the means to take each down when and where necessary — files that could be globally devastating if Wikileaked into the wrong hands. 

For example, a scientist who’s invented a bio-engineered android that can emulate the powers of any member of the Justice League. Professor Ivo, a classic evil mastermind who seeks to systematically take the various members of the Justice League out of play. One-by-one Flash, Cyborg, and the other JL Heroes come off the board… requiring Batman to discover and track down clues back to their source, and then employ his knowledge of their weaknesses to beat down Amazo and rescue his teammates. Traditionally, this has sowed distrust and conflict between Batman and his allies. Additionally, this storyline would force the Bat to work outside of Gotham, while also enabling some epic Justice League cameos too.


by David Kozlowski

We all know that Batman is driven by the loss of his parents to criminal violence, a scene we’ve been subjected to more times than the Zapruder film. However, it could be argued that the true core of the Batman legend is the value of a father figure (or the lack thereof). Bruce Wayne, in all of his comic, television, and film incarnations has been raised as a moral figure by his trusted man-servant, Alfred; yet, Wayne’s Batman alter-ego essentially grew-up without such a steady influence. Over the years, Batman has been depicted as a pretty awful dad. In the comics he’s been surrogate to several iterations of Robin, Batgirl, Azrael, and The Outsiders, resulting in some pretty shocking fails. Most notably, the death of former Robin, Jason Todd, who was killed by the Joker and later resurrected as a madman (depending on your continuity), and then trained in the League of Assassins with an unabiding hatred of Batman. 

The Red Hood returns to Gotham as an embittered, violent vigilante. He blames Batman for both his death and for failing to avenge him. Todd intends to psychologically torture his former mentor. The Red Hood is uber-violent, favors firearms, and is essentially an uber-cranky version of the Dark Knight. Batman, again demonstrating his detective skills, tracks down and confronts the Hood… but the discovery of the Hood’s identity is a brutal, devastating shock that says more about Batman’s failures as father and teacher than anything about the murder and terrorism of the Hood. Batman must bring Jason back to the light, and in the process redeem himself. 


by Drew Carlton

Make no mistake, Shiva is one of the most cold blooded killers in Batman’s world. In a way, Batman fears her, and more specifically her daughter Cassandra Cain. In giving her back story, since it is quite long, I will try to focus on the New 52 and Rebirth comic lines here. In Nightwing #0 in the New 52, she defeats both Batman and Nightwing, and encourages Nightwing to travel his own path. Later it was revealed that she was a member of the League of Assassins, and she actually taught Red Hood how to fight. Her only weakness seems to be her arrogance, as Jason Todd got in her head and was able to defeat her with a simple chop to the neck.

However, many years prior in a different continuity that has continued on, Cassandra Cain, daughter to Lady Shiva and David Cain, fled when she saw a horror that her father committed before his death. Batman eventually took her in, and Gail Simone did a bangup job with her in Birds of Prey. For awhile she was Batgirl, but has always clearly had emotional issues, as now she can barely talk. She currently goes by Orphan, and is on Team Batman. In the most recent issue of Batman, he was asked what would happen if Orphan turned and he would have to fight her, Batman responded, “I’d lose.”

I could see in the film, Bruce Wayne taking her in, and Shiva coming for her. Eventually, Shiva would take down Batman, only for Cassandra to save the day, and now we would have a new, much cooler Batgirl.


by Drew Carlton

Remember, we have no idea what was going on in the Knightmare dream sequence or Flash’s visit in Batman Vs. Superman. Owlman is Thomas Wayne Jr., and along with Alfred they killed his parents and a young Bruce Wayne on Earth-3. He is as clever as Bruce is, as adapt a fighter, but is very selfish and will bail and leave teammates behind if he feels he is in trouble. If you watch The Flash, Earth-2 is more like the comic’s Earth-3, or so we think. (I won’t get into my new theory that Savitar is Johnny Quick, the Earth-3 Garrick.) So every badguy on Earth-3 is good, and vice-versa.

I could see him coming through a wormhole, only to find that Bruce Wayne is still alive in this dimension, and he sets out to finish the job he started, or to eliminate the guilt he had over killing young Bruce. Owlman would be a mirror image to Batman, a formidable foe, and one that a victory may simply come down to who gets the last shot in. But, if you think this is a crazy idea, just wait until my final foe.


by Drew Carlton

The best thing about WB DC, is that they do not have to worry much about having to deal with Fox, Sony, or other studios like Marvel Studios does. They can use any character they want from any of their purchases. If you are reading the Rebirth comics, you may already know that this showdown could be coming.

In The Watchmen comics, Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt) is the smartest man on the planet, and is smart enough to end war and give the entire planet peace. Unfortunately, it cost millions of lives in the process. He doesn’t need a wormhole or anything, he could simply be already living there, and depending on what happens in Justice League he may decide to make a move; starting with Batman, who he figures will be the easiest to take down. However, in all honesty, I am not sure that Batman could defeat Ozymandias on his own, and would definetly need help from The Flash and Cyborg, and I may even have to break my rule and bring in the entire Justice League if he decides to bring Dr. Manhattan with him.

Well, there you have it guys! I’d love to hear your thoughts on who could replace Deathstroke if he is not going to be in The Batman, or even who would be a good villain for Batman to go up against!

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Joseph Jammer Medina

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and contributor at LRM Online. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.

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