Batman proves why the Mad Hatter is one of Gotham’s most dangerous villains

The comedic sequel to Batman: The Animated Series reveals why the Mad Hatter is secretly Gotham’s most dangerous villain before proving exactly why he isn’t.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: The Adventures Continue Season 2 # 7, on sale now from DC Comics.

The Mad Hatter is sometimes an underrated villain. The likes of Joker and Bane cause chaos in the streets and bring misery to Batman and the Bat-Family. Compared to them, Jervis Tetch doesn’t seem to care. His obsession with Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland and her love for hypnotic headgear often comes across as quaint and, at times, harmless. However, the sequel to the comic book Batman: The Animated Series just proved how powerful this villain really is – before showing exactly why he’s lagging behind.

The dreaded mayoral election is coming to an end in Batman: The Adventures Continue Season 2 # 7 (by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Rick Burchett, Monica Kubina and Josh Reed). The previous issue revealed that the Mad Hatter had helped dubious former mayor Emerson Mayfield win the current election by any means necessary. Batman and his allies all felt the need to support Mayfield and couldn’t figure out why, until Barbara Gordon came across the truth.

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A device in Mayfield’s cane, designed by Hatter himself, made sure that no matter what the disgraced politician did, people think he’s a great guy. This won him many more votes than he could ever have obtained on his own. Even though not everyone has seen the crimes he committed when he was mayor years ago, there is no way they can support him as much as they do now. Not without some mental manipulation. In this issue, the votes are essentially neck and neck until the final count.

These insidious devices created by Tetch didn’t just sway voters, they also spread deep into the halls of Arkham Asylum. In the previous issue, Batman and Robin faced Clayface, who should still have been in his cell at the infamous establishment. None of the guards saw him escape and even claimed that he has been still in her cell when it was very clearly empty. As it turned out, Hatter had reached every member of Arkham’s staff. His devices, stuck in their hats, made them see everything he wanted them to do. He even hypnotized his doctor to release him with good health, despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Batman managed to free everyone from Hatter’s influence before going after him and Mayfield. However, even with these efforts, it doesn’t take long before Hatter once again has full control of Arkham. Mayfield tries to recruit all the bad guys in Gotham to help him rig the election in his favor. With an army of Batman thugs at his disposal, it’s unlikely that the combined might of the Bat-Family can stop him. Yet in the end, none of this matters.

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Even with the powerful mind control tech Tetch gave him, Mayfield still loses. It’s close but not that close. In the end, the villain only gets 42% of the vote, his opponent securing the rest. It’s amazing that even with Hatter’s extremely effective mind control technology, that still isn’t enough to guarantee a victory. He even put Barbara Gordon on TV as part of a last minute smear campaign against his opponent and it didn’t even work.

Even Batman, with his rigorous mental toughness, felt the effects of Hatter’s technology. It shows how dangerous the villain really is. Everything he’s managed to do in this story, especially take control of Arkham, is even beyond what some of the Dark Knight’s most dangerous thieves are capable of. However, the fact that even with all that power he couldn’t do something as simple as winning an election shows exactly why he’ll never be as dangerous as the Joker.

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