Basically, he's an evil chemical/medical researcher, the kind who tests stuff on animals. If he were a Flash villain he’d be dirty chemistry versus the Flash’s clean physics. If he were a Superman villain, he’d be a Junior Luthor, whose chemical concoctions would transform the citizens of Metropolis (but mostly just Jimmy Olsen) into all sorts of weird things. If he were a Green Arrow villain—well, Green Arrow would just be dead. Which might actually be a mercy considering how painful his current title is.The early form of Prof Milo first shows up in Batman #112, when he infects Batman with, well, a lotus-eater gas, for lack of a better term:
Batman was going to literally die of apathy if someone didn't give him a sudden dramatic challenge or puzzle to keep him engaged. So Robin and Commission Gordon did the (comic book version of) the logical thing...
They committed him to the insane asylum and told him he wasn't Batman, just a crazy person who thought he was the real Batman.
No, really, the story starts with Batman escaping from the nut house.
Anyway, after an artist's makeover that made him no more attractive, but at least less reminiscent of Cornholio, Prof Milo turns up again in Detective 257 (1958). As Polite Dissent teaches us, Scarecrow’s first use of anything like his “fear toxin” is in Batman #189 (FEB 1967). But Prof Milo had already invented it in Detective 257 nine years earlier. And it was severely debilitating, I might add.There he used his own fear toxin...
to make Batman afraid of--wait for it--bats. At which point, Batman just becomes "Starman" and kicks Milo's ass.
Yeah, you heard me: Starman.
James Robinson tried to suck the whole thing into his Opal City storyline with "the mysterious Starman of 1951." Sad part is, most readers didn't realize that Robinson was actually repurposing a Batman-versus-Prof. Milo story from 1958. Here's panels from each story, side by side, in case you don't believe me.
Comics can be very confusing; sneaky stuff like this is going under right under your nose all the time. You'd be amazed.
Anyway, Prof. Milo didn't show up again until 1974's "Moon of the Wolf", which we are reading this week. But four years later he crops up again...
From Batman #326 (1980):
Note the scars; if you can't already guess where he got them, we'll get back to those later in the week. In this story, Prof Milo has (somehow) become the director of Arkham Asylum. He tries to drive Batman insane with, well, a gas that drives you insane. Milo wound up inhaling it himself, which is why in 1989 you can spot him in Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum, protesting that he is sane again.
His next significant appearance is in Final Crisis Aftermath: Run, where he experiments on the Human Flame. If you don't know who the Human Flame is, just follow the link; it's worth it and I'll be here when you get back. Milo appear several times in the animated DC universes (once as animal experimenter in the "Cat Scratch Fever" episode of Batman The Animated Series; as an ill-fated STAR Labs researcher in Justice League Unlimited; and as his true villainous self in Batman: Brave and the Bold where he uses mice to commit crimes).
But Milo should be best known for the 1992 episode of the Batman The Animated Series based on this very comic book story: Moon of the Wolf. Actually, it's astonishing how faithfully the episode hews to the stupid little details of the story: particular lines spoken and even the staging of the fight scenes. But they improved the story vastly by making Anthony, the athlete cum werewolf, a much guiltier, morally questionable character. Anyway, if you wind up resorting to Prof Milo for medical assistance you are scraping the bottom of DC's ethical barrel as author Len Wein makes clear:
So, now that Prof. Milo has extorted a dangerous werewolf into his thrall, what does he want him to do?
Oh. Well, of course.