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Weaver’s legs and inker’s arms. I’m more than a week’s time yet a full day’s pay. What am I?
YES THAT’S RIGHT, Riddler is featured in the newest sub-issue of Batman. I’ve often said Riddler has been underused in comics and now he’s got a whole issue to himself. Riddle me this, dear readers: how do you think it went?
With the Justice League “dead” the world’s villains are running a little wild. Gotham — a city where 1 person out of 100 is criminally insane — is unshockingly about to burn to the ground.
Riddler is not taking the opertuniry sitting down either. He’s chosen Wayne Tower, “the most secure building in the city”, as a personal challenge. He’s going to outsmart the whole system and make his way to the top. Why? To prove that he can. What’s green and four hundred feet tall? This guy’s ego.
So the other sub-issue of Batman concerned Two-Face and His Crazy Coin Catastrophe (not the actual title). While the art on the first few pages of that issue had some fantastic art, the art of this issue much stronger on the whole. The art is kinetic and tells the story without the crutch of dialogue. Whole swaths of this issue are without a single spoken or narrated word.
The new character model is also one of the best in recent memory. Eschewing the leotard for the suit and tie, he’s as dapper and put together as a mentally unstable narcissist would be. One perfect little touch, is that he’s not 100% DC Wide Shoulder Square Jaw handsome. He’s a little weak chinned, a little frail, a little goofy. It gives him the look of an intellectual. A violent nerd, not a riddle-obsessed Man of Action.
The Riddler has long been one the most famous members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, but has been criminally underplayed in the world of comics. Hell, he only appeared less than a handful of times in Batman: the Animation Series. There’s so much potential in the character, however, that I find it strange we haven’t seen a Killing Joke or Long Halloween – esque graphic novel built around him (Hush doesn’t count, you know what I mean).
Ray Fawkes and Scott Snyder nail the essence of the character in this issue, and it’s fun to see. The Riddler has a unique trait that sets him apart from his peers. He’s not a killer because he has what scientists call “a death boner”, he’s not in it to get rich, he’s not a terrorist, or looking to take over the world. He’s not even unfathomably insane, his madness is very understandable. He’s motivated by arrogance and pride. He’s a mental conquerer, erecting great works for ye mighty to look upon with dispair. And here’s the best part: he’s pre-geared to fail. While he is undoubtedly a genius, Batman has proven — and will prove again — that he’s able to outsmart him over and over. Not only that, but The Riddler is driven by compulsion to leave riddles detailing his work. He can’t just steal a half a billion dollars, he has to make sure people know that he did it. There’s so much to play with that flaw alone.
The writing in this issue is as snappy as the rest of the series. It’s not a complex multi-plotline saga, it’s simply Riddler going head to head with the tightest security in Gotham, but it works. Sometimes you don’t need The Sting, sometimes you just want The Italian Job.
Normally, I suggest staying away from sub-issues like this as they tend to be nothing more than cheap money grabs. However, this is a solid issue. You don’t even really need to be caught up with the events of the Trinity War to get this, it’s pretty self contained. It’s a solid reccomend. It’s a good Riddler story that, in true Riddler fashion, tells you how it’s going to go from the very beginning in the form of riddles.
Which remind me, did you solve my riddle up at the top there? The answers right in front of you: