Continuing with our series of character profiles, I give you Rupert Thorne, one of Batman's most underrated big threats. Even though he is often overlooked or replaced with disposable characters like Carl Grissom or Carmine Falcone, he is a formidable opponent and a great go-to catalyst in Batman stories.
Out of all the enemies of Batman, he is among the few with a seasoned attitude that reflects confidence and experience. His wealth gives him higher ground, which makes him even more dangerous.
There are only two versions that were properly explored, the one from the comic books and the one from Batman: The Animated Series, and his attitude and profile is basically the same in both. He rarely focuses on tasks or MacGuffins; in every iteration, his plots revolve around using people to destroy his enemies and increasing his power. This usually backfires and he becomes the perpetual prey of his former victims: Dr. Phosphorus, Hugo Strange, and Two-face. In the animated series, his behavior was put in contrast with that of Arnold Stromwell and his own brother, Mathew Thorne a. k. a. the Crime Doctor. Both of them criminals with a empathy underneath their tough exterior.
The biggest difference between both continuities is that in comics he keeps a double life as a politician while he runs a large underworld cartel; whereas in the animated series, his role as the main crime boss of Gotham City is well known, even though he does have legitimate enterprises.
In the animated series, his gang is notorious for having similar personalities, specially the recurring members like his moll, Candice, and Frankie. It’s notorious how Candice can gain people’s trust, gather information and then betray them without remorse.
Physical description: In every version he is a fat, white man with white hair and blue eyes; somewhat modeled after actor Carroll O'Connor. He wears three piece suits and a distinctive ring. He is often seen smoking cigars.
Possible uses: The role of Ruppert Thone is flexible to the point that he almost seems like a recurring character of The Simpsons. Like one of them, he adds a unique dimension to his city, as the representation of corruption. He is basically House of Cards' Frank Underwood in Batman's world. He fits whenever a catalyst is needed to make another villain have a breakdown and his constant plots to use people and climb up are always interesting.
For more character profiles, check out the following articles: