There are an awful lot of lame comicbook villains out there, especially from the Comics Code era. Once the Code was deemed unnecessary and ridiculous, plots in comics became, like any fictional medium, relatable again. This meant villains could be villains again worthy of super heroics to stop them, and not a bunch of schoolyard pranksters and petty thieves best left to rookie cops and mall security. If the criminals in your neighborhood are tougher than the villains in your fiction, there is something wrong. But still, stupid villain concepts popped up now and then.
For a long while different writers for comics, movies, and games have been trying, mostly successfully, to reboot Batman villains in ways that make them less of a joke and more like realistic horror shows. I was never ever sold on The Ventriloquist. A puppet with a machine gun never scared me.
Created in 1988 by Wagner, Grant, and Breyfogle for Detective Comics #583, the original Ventriloquist was a study in dissociative personality disorder. Arnold Wesker, a son of a mob boss, witnesses the assassination of his mother. After the trauma of watching the mob hit, instead of devoting his life to fighting crime, he develops dissociative disorder to cope, his psyche fractures, and he transfers his personality over to a puppet, a ventriloquist dummy. While Wesker retains his scared, shy, milquetoast personality, Scarface, the dummy, exhibits his aggressive, and violent criminal traits.
Somehow, a kid who looks like an accountant, with a dummy dressed as a 1920s gangster builds a criminal empire and has to fight the Batman. At no point in this story does another gangster with a gun laugh at this pair and then shoot the accountant looking motherfucker in the head? Or, the police don't arrest the crazy person and send him to therapy? Arnold Wesker doesn't need the Batman, he needs a clinician.
In order to try and make this character work, there have been writers who have tried to imbue the dummy with mystical powers, or ghostly possession, or something. But even then, actual stories of actual dolls who may be possessed (like Annabelle, or Robert) still manage to be contained by normal everyday people, no superheroes or law enforcement required.
There have been two other attempts to portray this creepy ventriloquist/real dummy idea as something actually scary. In 2007 Paul Dini and Don Kramer resurrect Scarface and pair him with Peyton Riley, daughter of an Irish Mob boss and former girlfriend of Tommy Elliot (Hush). She sure is more attractive that Arnold Wesker, but still, just a person with a puppet.
Again in 2013, the character is rebooted, this time with a third ventriloquist. Gail Simone and Fernando Pasarine created Shauna Belzer for Batgirl #20. This character is no longer just a criminal with a dissociative disorder. Belzer has telekinetic powers and her dummy resembles Jigsaw from the Saw franchise. This third character, while sharing the name, seems to share nothing with the older characters and finally appears to be an interesting, scary villain. I am skeptical that Simone's creation is in fact a rebooted Ventriloquist, and not an entirely new character, but if she is, then it is telling that the character needed an entirely new premise, direction, and origin in order to be taken seriously.