Wednesday, September 11, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman #23.2

Four years ago, during probably one of the Riddler's earliest trips to Arkham, an unseen guard is quite the dick to him, roughly manhandling him after they discover playing cards in Riddler's cell. Fast forward a couple of years, and Riddler has started a flash mob of protestors outside of Wayne Enterprises, angry about some scandal involving SEC filings. Riddler, without his mask, cane or hat, uses the chaos to make his way into the building, with help of a forged access card that gives him access to many of the computer systems within the Wayne Enterprises building.

As Riddler ascends (now dawning his full costume) the building, he is spotted by the team monitoring the cameras in the security room, who then alert the rest of the security in the building. But this hardly manages to get in the Riddler's way, as he distracts the dumber guards with riddles and eventually uses whatever gadgets he has to get past them.

Riddler eventually uses the Junior VP of Finance to access a more locked off area of the building, and doesn't take kindly to her fighting back (Riddler doesn't like to be touched) and once that ordeal is over, he makes it back to what seems to be his old office from Zero Year. It's here where the chief of security finds him, and it turns out that he was the guard who we saw rough Riddler up in the flashback. The two start to fight, but Riddler eventually asks "I'm sorry that I woke today, because i've lost my right. I'll sit here in the corner now, and mumble at my plight. What am I?" Answer: The guard himself. "Lost my right?" Well, that's his right arm, the arm he used to touch Riddler, and it gets blown off by one of Riddler's numerous gadgets.

With his main goal of the night accomplished, Riddler finally ascends to the roof, looking over a Batmanless Gotham, and picks back up the game of solitare that had been taken from him four years ago.


The Good:

Riddler is quite the underused character, because theory is he's too smart of a character to be written, essentially. But Ray Fawkes and Scott Snyder manage write him like the smart, arrogant asshole, with more problems than he knows, pretty well. They also manage to write a few clever riddles, all of which we get at the opening of the issue, but when the answers are revealed later, make you go "ooooh."

This issue also marks the return of Jeremy Haun to DC, who was exclusive at Top Cow for a bit, but now is obviously back, and will be taking over Batwoman in November. I don't know what it is about Haun's style that draws me in, but I really like it, and think he draws a pretty damn good Riddler.

The Bad:

I know Riddler has got all these issues, but I thought his goal this issue came off a little petty. Yeah he's self centered, practically in love with himself, and all that, but this whole elaborate plan to get back at a guard in Arkham just seemed... I don't know, like a wasted pay off? I was just expecting a little more I guess.

Two minor things, I think people should really recognize him with no hat or mask, he's a well known criminal, so him getting into Wayne Enterprises to begin with was a bit silly, and finally, I was expecting more than a reference to Zero Year, which manifested as "Oh yeah, I used to work here," essentially.

The Bottom Line:

Riddler is a pretty great character that doesn't really get the respect and use in books he deserves. This issue (which I believe was the first present day story of the New 52 featuring him) along with Zero Year are certainly steps in the right direction to change the lack of use Riddler's seen in recent years, but in the end, I couldn't help but want a little more pay off. There was potential for a really cool ending, but Riddler's ego sort of hampered that by making this all about settling a personal score for being roughed up that one time. All things considered though, it was still a clever and fun Riddler story with some pretty good art. We don't get a lot of Riddler stories, but this was definitely fun for what it was.



  1. I think the conclusion to Riddler's scheme is not only getting revenge on the guard but also trying to get Batman's attention, relive the old days. He indeed waits for Him on the tower's rooftop. And that's the core of Nigma. he needs his sparing partner, to be challenged. The title of the story is solitaire for a reason. But I admit it was pretty light on the Zero Year connection.

    1. I don't think I see this being as a way to get Batman's attention. I mean, he mentions that Batman is perceived to be dead but he doesn't believe that's the case. But he seems to know that at the moment, Batman is gone.

  2. There's definitely room for interpretation in Riddler saying "I'm just killing time." On the one hand, it seems that he's literally just waiting for Batman, but the fact that he plays cards on the roof of a building he ravages suggests that he's anticipating being caught - hopefully, probably, by Batman.

    I also think that the issue did a good job explaining that Riddler was behind the protests and had timed them in such a way as to be especially suspicious to anyone smart enough to realize the timing didn't make sense. Again, he wanted to be caught.

  3. I like to look at it that Riddler was using this guard as a substitute for Batman. I didn't see Riddler not being noticed as so much of a problem, considering that he's been gone for four years, especially considering there have been more oblivious and sillier lapses in judgement from security guards in other stories.

    1. I agree. It was partly because of his petty grudge against the guard, but also trying to find something to do while Batman's missing.

  4. Loved it. It feels like its been ages since a good riddler story. I feel like the ending was the right size for a one shot (tie in my bum). I guess they may not have wanted the book to be too big in case it over shadowed riddles upcoming zero year shenanigans.