While Batman has what is considered the greatest rogues gallery in comics, even he has some foes who don’t get the limelight they deserve. Many villains have fought Batman and been forgotten over the years, Penny Plunderer, the second Mad Hatter, and Doctor Freak are among them, but one that could use a return is the eternally creepy Bedbug.
Everyone is familiar with the Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, and the rest of Gotham’s A-list, which is why bringing back older villains can make for excellent fresh conflict for the Dark Knight to take on. While new villains always have a chance at striking gold, there’s something special about finding fresh adventures for foes who have a history with the Dark Knight. As was shown with the recent, brilliant reinvention of the Ten-Eyed Man in Arkham City: Order of the World (by Dan Watters and Dani), there’s nothing better than a Gotham horror getting another shot.
Bedbug was a villain who appeared in Gotham during the events of Batman: The Streets of Gotham‘s ‘The House of Hush’ by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen. His powers allow him to infect others via bedbug bites, seizing control of their minds while they’re unconscious. He used his powers to have people, like Harley Quinn, steal things for him before attempting to kill Batman with some mind-controlled cops. After this, he decided to flee the city and return later, but Gotham is still waiting for that return. Since no writer has used him since, Bedbug’s revenge has gone unfulfilled, which is a huge missed opportunity considering Bedbug states that he has one trick left up his sleeve which is a threat that could destroy Gotham.
When Bedbug does finally encounter Batman face to face in issue #19 of Batman: The Streets of Gotham, he reveals to Batman that “I’ve infected the entire city, most will wait in ignorance for years until they are called.” This reveals quite a large problem for Batman, considering Bedbug has already shown he is able to control villains like Harley Quinn and Penguin, there’s no reason he wouldn’t be able to control anyone else, like Bane or even Batman himself. If a writer were ever to bring Bedbug back, they’d have a built-in reason to make him a major threat right from the start of the story. Bedbug also witnessed Catwoman and Batman sharing a kiss, meaning he knows about the Dark Knight’s secretive relationship. On top of these advantages, Bedbug also has bizarre style of movement that made him a physical challenge for Batman to take down.
Bedbug is inherently scary, striking when people are asleep and at their most vulnerable, and his creepy-crawly fixation fills an empty niche in Batman’s Halloween-themed band of villains. Bringing Bedbug back would give Batman another, more horror-focused villain, and considering the late nights Batman usually keeps, a story where he deprives himself of sleep while trying to catch Bedbug wouldn’t be out of character. Add in the fact Bedbug still might have the majority of Gotham under his control, and this means one of Batman’s scariest villains is going to waste.