Cover of Green Arrow vol. 3, #35 featuring the Riddler.
|First appearance||Detective Comics #140 (October 1948)|
|Created by||Bill Finger
|Alter ego||Edward Nigma (Nygma), Sean Shivell|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains
Legion Of Doom
|Notable aliases||E. Nigma (Nygma), Edward (Eddie) Nashton, Eddie Nash, Patrick Parker|
The Riddler is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. He usually appears as an enemy of Batman. Created by writer Bill Finger and artist Dick Sprang, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (1948). In 2009, the Riddler was ranked as IGN's 59th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
- 1 Character overview
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Skills and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Riddler is obsessed with riddles, puzzles and word games. He delights in forewarning both Batman and the police of his capers by sending them complex clues. With this self-conscious use of a gimmick, the Riddler's crimes are flamboyant and ostentatious. The character is depicted as wearing a domino mask either with a green suit and bowler hat, or a green unitard with question mark prints. A black, green, or purple question mark serves as his visual motif.
The Riddler is typically portrayed as a smooth-talking yet quirky character, deemed insane by the courts of intense obsessive compulsion and neurosis. This was first introduced in the 1966 issue of Batman (titled, "The Riddle-less Robberies of the Riddler") in which he tries to refrain from leaving a riddle, but fails. This compulsion has been a recurring theme, as shown in a 1999 issue of Gotham Adventures, in which he tried to commit a crime without leaving a riddle, but fails: "You don't understand... I really didn't want to leave you any clues. I really planned never to go back to Arkham Asylum. But I left you a clue anyway. So I... I have to go back there. Because I might need help. I... I might actually be crazy." It is a theme further explored in the 2003 Batman Adventures story "Free Man", where Riddler, officially ruled a free man, sells communication technology he developed to an electronics firm only to be pursued by shadow assassins; he turns to Batman for help, only to break down when their trap succeeds and Riddler is seized by an overpowering sense of survivor guilt.
The Riddler was popularized by Frank Gorshin’s Emmy-nominated portrayal in the 1960s Batman television series. Jim Carrey played the Riddler in the 1995 film Batman Forever with Gorshin as his inspiration. The character was also featured in Batman: The Animated Series (voiced by John Glover) and The Batman (voiced by Robert Englund). In both series, he was portrayed as a smooth-talking intellectual who presented genuinely challenging riddles. While the former utilized his traditional wardrobe and appearance, the latter reimagined him with a Marilyn Manson-esque sense of style. Since the first animated series and Batman Forever, Riddler often carries a trick "question mark" cane.
Unlike most of the other prominent members of Batman's rogues gallery, the Riddler is not a psychopathic murderer; rather, he is a malignant narcissist with an enormous ego. He commits his crimes in order to flaunt his intellectual superiority and a large portion of his crimes are non-violent in nature. While the Riddler's behavior may often appear insane to some, it is in fact the result of a deep-seated neurosis. As such Batman's direct conflicts with the Riddler are typically more cerebral than physical and usually involve defeating him non-violently.
Fictional character biography
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2011)|
The Riddler's criminal modus operandi is so deeply ingrained into his personality that he is virtually powerless to stop himself from acting it out (as shown in his fourth comic book appearance). He cannot simply kill his opponents when he has the upper hand; he has to put them in a deathtrap to see if he can devise a life and death intellectual challenge that the hero cannot solve and escape. However, unlike many of Batman's themed enemies, Riddler's compulsion is quite flexible, allowing him to commit any crime as long as he can describe it in a riddle or puzzle.
After a teacher announces that a contest will be held over who can solve a puzzle the fastest, a young Edward Nigma (or Nashton, according to some writers) sets his sights on winning this, craving the glory and satisfaction that will come with the victory. He sneaks into the school one night, takes the puzzle out of the teacher's desk, and practices it until he is able to solve it in under a minute. As predicted, he wins the contest and is given a book about riddles as a prize. His cheating rewarded, Edward embraced the mastery of puzzles of all kinds, eventually becoming a carnival employee who excelled at cheating his customers out of their money with his bizarre puzzles and mind games. He soon finds himself longing for greater challenges and thrills, and dons the guise of the Riddler to challenge Batman, who he believes could possibly be a worthy adversary for him.
In Batman: The Long Halloween, the Riddler appears as an informant. He first appears when Carmine "The Roman" Falcone hires him to figure out who the Holiday Killer is. Falcone eventually loses his patience with the Riddler, however, and orders his daughter, Sophia, to force him to leave. Upon exiting Falcone's office, Holiday attacks the Riddler, but for some reason leaves him alive. The attack was planned to coincide with the holiday of April Fool's, and several items pertaining to it were left at the scene. This may be why the Riddler was left alive, as matters are traditionally reversed on the holiday. He appeared again in the same chapter of the story in which Harvey Dent is disfigured, when Batman comes to him for information about the attack. He plays a slightly larger role in the story's sequel, Batman: Dark Victory, in which Batman turns to him to figure out the significance of the lost games of hangman that are left at the scenes of the Hangman killer's crimes. He later showed up as a member of Two-Face's jury during the Hangman's trial.
In Catwoman: When in Rome, he joins Selina Kyle on a trip to Italy in search of his fellow rogue's origins. It is there that he manipulates her into believing that some of Batman's most dangerous foes are after her. He has his henchmen employ several gimmicks and weapons used by the Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze and the Joker to achieve this. He hopes to extract Batman's real identity from her, but to his dismay, she actually doesn't know or care.
The Riddler appears in The Question series, being convinced to become a "big-time villain" by a prostitute he meets on a bus. He hijacks the bus and begins asking riddles, killing and robbing anyone that gets them wrong. The Question quickly subdues him by asking him philosophical riddles in return. He is outwitted and has a mental breakdown before being set free as a reward for getting one last riddle right.
In the one-shot "Riddler and the Riddle Factory", the Riddler becomes the host of an underground game show that focuses on digging up dirt on celebrities. Many of the famous people that he humiliates end up committing suicide shortly afterwards, suggesting that perhaps the Riddler did more than just inspire their deaths. In the end, his actions turn out to be a front for his attempts to find the hidden treasures of "Scarface" Scarelli, a Gotham City gangster who lived long before Batman's reign of crimefighting.
In the three-part Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight storyline "The Primal Riddle", written by Steve Englehart, the Riddler engineers one of his greatest deathtraps: Batman is thrown into a narrow pit that is slowly filling up with water. The walls are electrically wired, and a set of bumpers are the only thing that prevents the water from touching the walls and causing Batman to die by electrocution. The only options Batman appears to have are death by electrocution and death by drowning, but as always, Batman manages to tamper with the trap's design and develop a route of escape.
The Riddler has a working relationship with the Cluemaster, although he initially resents the villain for seemingly copying his modus operandi. In their first encounter, he sets his fellow rogue up with a bomb and sends Batman off chasing riddles that would lead to its defusing, as well as away from his real plan: to steal a vast amount of priceless baseball merchandise. The two team up on a few occasions afterwards, and work together on a big scheme shortly before Cluemaster's apparent death in the pages of The Suicide Squad.
After Harley Quinn briefly breaks free of her devotion to the Joker, she attempts to hold up a large party at Wayne Manor, only to find that the Riddler is targeting the building also. The two gangs engage in a firefight, but Harley gains the upper hand when Big Barda (who was secretly allied with her at the time) interrupts the conflict and captures the Riddler and his men. During the storyline, the Riddler makes constant allusions to a "mystery" that is hidden within the mansion, and after his apprehension, damage done to the building causes the entrance to the Batcave to open. The Riddler sees this, and then declares that he has "solved the riddle of Wayne Manor".
During a crisis caused when Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth was broken, resulting in the laws of truth breaking down and causing reality to be shaped by the perceptions of individuals, one of the symptoms was when Batman found himself unable to solve any of the Riddler's riddles, but was nevertheless still able to defeat the Riddler as the Riddler himself couldn't solve the riddles either – most likely reflecting the public idea of the Riddler's puzzles being insoluble – claiming that he managed to "improvise" to defeat the Riddler. His low reputation among heroes and villains was reflected when the Flash noted that Batman having trouble with the Riddler was a clear sign that the world was ending.
In the 12-part storyline "Hush", it is revealed that Riddler suffers from cancer, which also afflicted Dr. Thomas Elliot's mother. Riddler uses one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits to rid himself of the disease, and offers Elliot the chance to cure his mother as well, provided he pays a large sum of money. However, Elliott is in fact eager for his mother to die in order to inherit her fortune. Elliott, who goes on to secretly become the masked criminal Hush, explains he wants to get revenge on his childhood friend Bruce Wayne. The two of them agree to work together and the Riddler sets Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Joker, Clayface and Scarecrow out to destroy Batman, with Ra's and Talia al Ghul and Lady Shiva being temporarily drawn into the scheme as well.
During the psychotic break that follows exposure to the Lazarus Pit, the Riddler deduces Batman's secret identity and that the late Jason Todd was once Robin. He then tells Clayface to shapeshift into a replica of Jason in order to torment Batman, who is haunted by the former Robin's death. Batman first thinks that Riddler had stolen Jason's corpse and hid it outside of Gotham Cemetery, but it turns out that Jason is alive the whole time and collaborates with him and Hush. However, when the Riddler threatens to expose Batman's secret identity, the Caped Crusader mockingly labels it an empty threat, pointing out that if Riddler revealed the answer to the riddle "who is Batman?", it would become worthless, something Riddler wouldn't be able to stand. In addition, Batman warns him that if he reveals the secret, it would give Ra's al Ghul a vital clue that he used a Lazarus Pit without his permission, and the League of Assassins would subsequently retaliate against him.
The fallout from Riddler's failed scheme is played out in Batman: Gotham Knights #50-53. In the story "Pushback", Hush reappears and beats Riddler senseless across a rooftop. Seeking refuge, Riddler goes to the Joker and the Penguin. He offers to tell the Joker who had killed his pregnant wife, Jeannie, if the Clown Prince of Crime would protect him from Hush. The Joker immediately agrees, but eventually Hush, with the help of the impostor Prometheus, defeats him, forcing the Riddler to flee for his life.
In Detective Comics #797-799, the Riddler seeks shelter from Poison Ivy only to be humiliated. Riddler and Ivy then face off in a physical duel, which Ivy wins easily.
As revealed in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #185-189, the Riddler is stripped of his deductive powers and left to rot as a member of Gotham City's vast and invisible homeless population. A chance encounter with an ex-NSA codebreaker gives him a positive environment in which to recover his mind. During that stay, he experiences an induced flashback that leads him to realize that his father had abused him many years ago. Envious of his son's academic achievements in school, and unable to understand his brilliance, his father believed he had cheated in his accomplishments, and beat him out of jealousy. Once Riddler discovers this, he also realizes that his compulsion is born out of a strong desire to tell the truth to prove his innocence of deception.
Having made this connection, the Riddler spends some of his vast fortune, acquired over many years of crime, to get minor plastic surgery and extensive tattooing, covering most of his torso with his trademark question insignia. He returns and kills the codebreaker – who had pieced together his identity but couldn't act on it – then promptly steals a priceless scroll out from under Batman's nose. Since then, the Riddler has spent most of his time either legally amassing a huge fortune or attacking various heroes in order to prove his new-found power.
After orchestrating a brutal series of assaults on Green Arrow, as revenge against his defeat at his hands during the "No Man's Land" era, Riddler gravely injures and almost kills both Green Arrow and Arsenal. He once again escapes before the Outsiders arrive to save them. Sometime between this incident and the events of Hush, the Riddler was hired to steal artifacts imbued with mystical powers from one of Star City's museums, and then distract the authorities so that the related rituals could be commenced. He sends Team Arrow on a wild goose chase around the City, and then reveals that he has an atomic bomb housed in the stadium where the Star City Rockets play. However, as a side effect of the ritual performed with the artifacts, the city is plunged into complete darkness, and Green Arrow uses this to his advantage, moving in and apprehending the Riddler.
Riddler later shows up in Infinite Crisis #1, with a group of villains, which includes the Fisherman and Murmur, attacking the Gotham City Police Department. He is next seen escaping Arkham Asylum during the worldwide supervillain breakout engineered by the Secret Society of Super Villains in Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1, which takes place only days after the prior supernatural disaster. Riddler reappears as part of the Society's "Phase Three" attack on Metropolis. He is defeated by the Shining Knight and is struck in the head by the Knight's mace.
In Detective Comics #822, the first of a series of issues written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, the Riddler returns, having spent much of the previous year in a coma due to brain damage after being struck in the head by Shining Knight. When he awakes, he is cured of his insanity and of his obsession with riddles, while retaining both his genius intellect and his mammoth ego. He has seemingly reformed, and becomes a private consultant and taking on the murder case of a wealthy socialite. Hired by the socialite's father, he proves that a photo of Bruce Wayne apparently implicating him in the crime depicts an impostor and briefly works with Batman to investigate the crime. He has suffered severe memory loss from the coma, and he barely remembers his own name. He does not appear to remember that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same, although he does harbor some suspicions of once knowing something amazing about Bruce Wayne.
In Detective Comics #828, Riddler is a guest along with Bruce Wayne on board a ship during a party. During the party, an old friend of Bruce's falls overboard and is mauled to death by sharks. The Riddler appears to solve the case with the suicide of the apparent murderer, and quickly takes the credit. However, Batman finds evidence that the suicide was a setup to divert attention away from the real killer. Bruce suspects foul play, and eventually tracks down the killer, whom Riddler is also close to catching before Nigma is bludgeoned over the head by a shark-tooth club. The killer pushes Batman out the window, and is about to drop him to his death, when Nigma wraps his tie around an arrow, lights it on fire, and shoots it into the killer's back. As the assailant rolls around screaming, Nigma taunts him, refusing to douse the flames. Batman extinguishes the flame and responds to Nigma's assertion that they are now allies with hostile dismissal.
In Detective Comics #837, Riddler is hired by Bruce Wayne to track down an experimental drug developed by Wayne Enterprises, currently being tested for muscle stamina and cellular regeneration, which has been stolen by a lab assistant named Lisa Newman. He discovers that Newman is staying at the same Athenian Women's Help Shelter as Harley Quinn. With Harley's help, he defeats Newman and returns the drug to Wayne Enterprises, earning Batman's trust for the time being.
In Countdown #42, Riddler claims to Mary Marvel that he has gone straight and is now a detective. The two join forces to defeat Clayface, and after witnessing Mary's new malicious approach to crime fighting, suggests that she consider finding a mentor to help her control her powers or at the very least get some anger management counseling.
After a serial killer surfaces on the streets of Gotham City, the Riddler homes in on closing the case, only to find that the killer is actually one of his former victims out for revenge. The young man, whose girlfriend was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between Nigma's gang and security guards, captures the Riddler and attempts to kill him, but Batman intervenes just in time and saves his former foe's life.
In the 2008 miniseries Gotham Underground, Riddler investigates the Penguin's involvement with the events of Salvation Run. He saves Dick Grayson, who is working undercover during the Gotham Gang War between Penguin and Tobias Whale and deduces that Grayson is Nightwing.
He appears in Battle for the Cowl: The Underground, where he is hired by The Penguin to find Black Mask. To that end, he tracks down Selina Kyle, meeting up with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in the process.
In Gotham City Sirens storylines, Poison Ivy is controlling the Riddler, keeping him in a nearly vegetative state so she can move into his house. When a villain named Boneblaster decides to make a name for himself by killing Catwoman, the fight ends up there. The house is severely damaged, but the Riddler is freed from Ivy's control in the process. Seeing his house in shambles, he takes his question mark cane off the wall and begins to savagely beat the already downed Boneblaster.
In the third issue, Riddler attempts to solve a pair of unlikely suicides, the first being the second best female tennis player in the world, the second an ace race car driver. During his re-enactment of one of the deaths, he is visited by both Catwoman and Poison Ivy, seeking his help for locating Harley after her abduction. Due to the events of the first issue, and Harley's mental state, he quickly declines, and brushes off Poison Ivy's threats.
In his efforts, he discovers that these deaths are in fact homicides orchestrated by a serial killer who leaves subtle clues to the next victim within the body and time of death of the current victim. While attempting to alert the media, he provokes Dick Grayson, who is now acting as Batman. Almost instantly, Riddler deduces that the Batman before him is a new one. Additionally, Riddler reveals that the next victim will be the sister of the second victim, a young romance writer, something that Dick needed Alfred Pennyworth and the Batcave computer to figure out.
In the end, Dick goes off to confront the killer, while Riddler agrees to look after the intended victim. After a brief, but expected misunderstanding about Riddler's intentions with the young woman, Dick phones in to announce that he has apprehended and questioned not one, but three killers about their intentions, but got no answers. Riddler almost leaves the woman to her life, when the lights go out unexpectedly. Riddler immediately concludes that Dick has not captured all of the killers, and pulls the woman out of harm's way when a bomb goes off in front of her bookstore.
While Riddler and the writer hide as the smoke clears, three costumed assailants enter the wreckage, looking for their victim to mark with their next riddle. The two men are led by a woman going by the moniker Conundrum, and their costumes sport black and green color schemes along with disturbingly familiar question marks emblazoned on their outfits. As Riddler stealthily disposes of the two grunts with his cane, Conundrum takes the writer hostage at gunpoint. Riddler deduces that Conundrum and her men are all college students who specialize in police sciences. Due to his famous rehabilitation, Conundrum's group decided to fill the void with their debut murders. Conundrum admits that Riddler was her idol, and that it would be a shame to kill him.
At this point, Riddler announces that Batman is en route to their very location, something both Conundrum and the writer have difficulty believing. Riddler claims that since his reform, he and Batman have become close, and that his cane now has its own GPS that alerts Batman to his location whenever the question mark is twisted. Noting her disbelief, Riddler calmly asks Conundrum with a smirk, "Why is this man smiling?"
Just as the Riddler finishes his question, Dick shows up and knocks Conundrum out. Riddler then admits that he is completely baffled that Batman is indeed there, since he was only stalling for time until he thought of something, leading him to wonder if there truly is a Batsignal in his cane (a panel during Riddler's "bluff" shows that there is indeed a Batsignal in his cane, as a green question mark alongside a map shows up inside the Batmobile's window).
After the ordeal is over, the young writer hugs Riddler, thanking him for saving her life. Afterwards, she and Riddler go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, under Dick's covert surveillance. Dick admits that Riddler is indeed on a path of recovery, but must still be watched. After washing up in the men's room, Riddler sees a gossip show on a closed circuit television, showcasing a plainclothes Harley getting into a car with Hush disguised as Bruce Wayne. He then calls Selina and tells her to turn on her television.
Some time later, Riddler arrives at his office to find his secretary bound and gagged at her desk, with Harley, Ivy, and Selina waiting in his office. The women tell him that they are being framed for the murder of a young woman whose body was dropped into their pool, and they need his help to prove that they had no part in it. After examining the woman's body, he finds that the women were telling the truth, only to be attacked by Dr. Aesop.
Return to villainy
In Tony Daniel's "Life After Death", Riddler appears early in the story at a gala party attended by Arkham, Dick, Huntress, and Oracle, hired by Penguin to find the Black Mask. As he chases Catgirl away from her robbery of the venue, the Riddler is rocked by a bomb detonation, the trauma re-awakening his psychosis. Cackling, rambling, and insane, he terminates his contract with Cobblepot and disappears.
In "Riddle Me This", the Riddler still "acts" as private eye and teams with Batman to solve the murders of a mysterious sorcerer named Sebastian Rothschild (aka Sebastian Blackspell). Blackspell is apprehended, but only after Batman suspects Riddler went to great lengths to orchestrate the ordeal, including poisoning himself with a nearly lethal dose of Joker gas to skirt suspicion and act on a grudge between he and Blackspell.
Riddler's return to villainy is cemented in "Eye of the Beholder". Investigating the Sensei's attack on the Jade Society, Batman (Dick Grayson) is ambushed by Riddler and a young woman introduced as Enigma, Riddler's daughter. Riddler and Enigma escape, delivering the Jade Society member list to Gilda Dent. Riddler is paid, but is more interested in another reward, which Gilda promises after one more job. This occurs in "Pieces", where Gilda reveals herself to Two-Face, hiring Riddler and Enigma to help Harvey best Mario Falcone and reclaim his coin. The plan works, defeating Batman and reuniting the Dents. The Riddler is rewarded with multiple DA dossiers of himself ... but Enigma is unimpressed, voicing concerns that Riddler is washed up. Riddler retorts with a new riddle: "What's green and purple and bleeds profusely?" Enigma's response is cut short by her scream, implying the Riddler has done away with his "daughter" in issue #712.
The New 52
In DC's 2011 relaunch of all of its monthly titles, The New 52, Riddler appears as an inmate at Arkham Asylum in Batman #1. Redesigned in the style of the new titles, he sports a green mohawk in the shape of a question mark.
Riddler appears in more traditional form in the short that concludes Batman #15 "And Here's the Kicker", the third part of "Death of the Family". After it is revealed that Joker has secretly hijacked Arkham Asylum, Riddler is depicted as a current inmate, calmly biding his time and taunting guards. But when Joker appears and reveals his great respect for Riddler (as the villain whose dangerous intellect has kept Batman "sharp"), he uses Joker-gas to force Riddler to prove he could have escaped his cell anytime he wanted. To his chagrin, Riddler does, and becomes quite alarmed when Joker shares a write-up of his plan to ambush Batman. Joker admits Riddler will have little part in his designs, but should stick around for the "show" anyway.
Interviews and Twitter correspondence from 2012 indicated that after the "Death of the Family" story arc is complete, writer Scott Snyder will begin work on a Riddler origin story and artist Greg Capullo revealed new Riddler artwork in 2012. The Riddler made an appearance in Batman, vol. 2, #21, the opening book of the "Zero Year" arc, where his surname is changed from Edward Nigma or Nashton to Nygma. He is hired by Philip Kane (uncle of Bruce) to be his strategist and help push Wayne Enterprises to new levels, despite a controversial past. One of Edward's suggestions to help the company get publicity was kill his nephew. While Edward's dialogue in the subsequent issue indicates Philip rejected this idea, Edward took it upon himself to hire the Red Hood and commit the crime.
Skills and abilities
The Riddler possesses extreme originality in decoding and formulating puzzles of all kinds. His deductive ability perfused his role of private detective when he was reformed, during which he was shown to have investigative skills that rival those of the Dark Knight.
Like most of Batman's enemies (and Batman himself) The Riddler has no superhuman abilities, but is a highly cunning criminal strategist. He is not especially talented in fisticuffs (although his endurance has grown from having to engage in them over the years), but sometimes employs weaponry that exploits his gimmick, such as exploding jigsaw pieces, his infamous question mark cane, known to house a wide variety of technological devices and weapons, and question mark shaped pistols. He is shown to be skilled with engineering and technology, confronting Batman and Robin with unique and elaborate deathtraps. He is also well known for being Batman's most intelligent adversary.
As one of Batman's most famed and popular adversaries, the Riddler has been featured in several comics which are not part of the official DC continuity.
A radically different interpretation was featured in Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker. In this version, he wears a solid green jacket with question marks on the very back of it and a spiral of question mark tattoos around his abdomen. His cane serves the purpose of helping to prop him up, due to a disabled leg. In the story, he sells an unknown substance to the Joker. He is identified by the Joker as "Edward".
In the Elseworlds miniseries Thrillkiller, Nygma is a psychiatrist who counsels Barbara Gordon. Doctor Edward Nygma, author of Riddle Me This — What Do We Really Mean?, keeps Barbara dosed with increasing amounts of valium and encourages her to mix with people she actually loathes. Edward wears a green suit and the cushions of his couch bear the pattern of the Riddler's outfit. Alfred, Barbara's butler, takes the drugs away from her at the request of her father Commissioner Gordon who regards Edward as a quack.
In the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover The Ultimate Riddle, the Riddler uses a reality-manipulating wand-like device he acquired during the Zero Hour crisis to pull Batman, Dredd, and six alien warriors together, intending to pit Batman against the other warriors and get him killed. However, Batman and Dredd are able to work together to overcome their opponents, culminating in Dredd shooting Riddler in the shoulder and Batman claiming the device, subsequently using it to return the survivors home.
The Riddler's appearance in Alex Ross' 12 issue series Justice suggests a new motivation, that, as a child, he had been beaten by his father whenever he told a lie, to the extent that he was now psychologically incapable of telling a lie. His riddles are his method of subverting his condition, so that he is still technically telling the truth, but always in as cryptic a manner as possible.
The Riddler has a heroic counterpart in the antimatter universe called the Quizmaster, who is a member of Lex Luthor's Justice Underground (that Earth's version of the Injustice Gang) which opposes the evil Crime Syndicate of Amerika. He first appeared in JLA Secret Files 2004 #1. He later has the right half of his face burned by Ultraman, leading him to don a half-face and temporarily take on the name "Enigma". He last appeared in the Trinity series. As the New Earth Riddler slowly became a lighter, less criminal figure, Enigma became a darker figure in this series. Similarly, on Earth-3, the Riddler's heroic counterpart (simply Riddler) is married to Three-Face (Evelyn Dent) and is the stepfather to the Jokester's daughter, Duela Dent.
In the "Emperor Joker" storyline, the all-powerful Joker creates an alternate Riddler, known as Enigma, to be a member of the Joker's League of Anarchy along with alternate versions of Poison Ivy and Bizarro. After learning of the Joker's plans to destroy the universe, he leads the League in an uprising against him. The Joker's vast and amazing powers cause the plan to fail, and the entire League is destroyed as a result.
The Riddler appears alongside Selina Kyle in the miniseries Kingdom Come, having been invited to a meeting of the Mankind Liberation Front by Lex Luthor. In this alternate future the Riddler has become an old, bald man wearing glasses with question mark-shaped rims. He still indulges in his habitual riddling, asking "Who is the Riddler?" when Luthor referred to him by his real name. He appears to have been invited to the meeting only upon the insistence of Selina Kyle, as Luthor does not appear enthused by his presence.
In several promotional ads for the IB program, the Riddler was shown as a graduate, talking about the many possible career choices for a new graduate. This is debatably canon as DC knew about the ads.
In the third issue of the Batman vampire series Crimson Mist, the Riddler appears in a morgue where he shoots the mortician who was about to start an autopsy on a corpse where the Riddler had stored a large quantity of drugs. The Riddler in that appearance has a big question mark-shaped scar on his face and another one on his chest with his navel being the dot. While shooting he cites what would be his final riddle: "When Genius becomes dope plus 'E' how does she redeem herself? Answer: By turning 'Heroine' which minus the E is 'Heroin', lots of it and redeemable for lots of cash," at which vampire Batman appears and scolds the Riddler for graduating from robbery and extortion to drug trafficking and murder. In a panic the Riddler begins to fire at Batman only to find that his bullets have no effect on him. Stunned, the Riddler asks Batman what he is, to which Batman replies: "The answer to life's every riddle: death and hungry darkness." With that, Batman proceeds to drain the Riddler of his blood.
The character was featured in several issues of The Batman and Robin Adventures. In his first appearance, he holds an entire Christmas party hostage, convinced that Batman and Robin are among the crowd. This issue is also the debut of his two assistants, Query and Echo, in the DCAU continuity. In a later issue, he kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and threatens Gotham City with a deadly nerve gas. Since Batman and Robin fail to show up, Batgirl is forced to take on the Riddler alone and save her father.
In The Batman Adventures series, the Riddler makes yet another attempt to go straight in issue #2. Issue #11 shows that while reformed, the Riddler struggles to avoid the temptation of crime as well as planting riddles. To remedy that, Batman recruits the Riddler to answer a great riddle: How did the Penguin succeed in becoming mayor of Gotham City? In the process, he is heavily injured in #12 by the Clock King. At the end of the issue, he ends up in a coma. The series was canceled before the Riddler's fate could be resolved. The story planned for the Riddler would have him emerging from his coma stricken with amnesia, allowing him to solve the greatest riddle, "Who Am I?"
In other media
- The Riddler appears in the 1960s Batman television series and one of the villains in the spin-off movie. Frank Gorshin portrayed The Riddler in the first and third season of the series and the film and John Astin portrayed The Riddler in the second season of the series. The popular television series was inspired by the first Silver Age appearance of the Riddler, with the premiere episode being an adaptation of Batman #171.
- Gorshin also portrayed the Riddler in Legends of the Superheroes in 1979. The Riddler was the first villain to appear on the show, where it is implied he has already met the Batman, planning to sue him for false arrest.
- The Riddler made his first appearance in animated form in the Filmation Batman installments first seen on CBS Saturday Morning in 1968 as part of The Batman/Superman Hour with Ted Knight providing his voice. The Riddler did not appear in the 1977 The New Adventures of Batman episodes, however he did appear in the show's opening wearing a red version of his outfit.
- The Riddler appeared in Hanna-Barbera's Challenge of the Super Friends voiced by Michael Bell. He appears as a member of the Legion of Doom. In "Monolith of Evil," he uses a riddle to trick the Super Friends into getting a Monolith of enormous power guarded by a Lava Monster for the Legion after they fooled the Super Friends into abducting the United Nations and disguising the Monolith as the United Nation.
- He made his only solo appearance in a Super Friends short episode, "Around the World in 80 Riddles", again voiced by Michael Bell. Here, he uses his new Stupid Spray (which slowly causes the intelligence of those sprayed upon to be reduced to the intelligence of babies) on Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin, where different riddles will provide clues where the antidote can be found. The first one quotes "As your I.Q. drops to below 42, you'll need mya help to tya your shoes". The answer to the riddle led Super Friends to the Mayan ruins, where they ended up in one of Riddler's deathtraps. After barely escaping the deathtrap, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin find what appeared to be the antidote only to be a container for another riddle. The riddle reads "You're probably too stupid now, so here's an easy clue. Climb the tallest mountain until you turn blue". Due to the group's dwindling intelligence, Batman had to use the Batcomputer on his Batplane to decipher the riddle, with the answer being Mount Everest. Upon arriving at Mount Everest, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin encounter Riddler's blimp, where the Stupid Spray is at its final part on them. The Super Friends managed to claim the Stupid Spray Antidote and defeat Riddler. In "Revenge of Doom", Riddler was with the Legion of Doom when they got back together.
- The Riddler appears in Batman: The Animated Series voiced by John Glover. He made his debut in "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?", and has also appeared in "What Is Reality?" and "Riddler's Reform". For this version, the producers decided to play against the popular Gorshin image of a cackling trickster to avoid confusion with The Joker and have the character as a smooth intellectual who presented genuinely challenging puzzles. The series' creators admit they didn't use him often because his character often made story plots too long, too complex or too bizarre, and the creators also found it very hard to devise the villain's riddles.
- John Glover returns as the Riddler for cameo appearances in The New Batman Adventures episodes "Over the Edge" and "Judgment Day". His design is completely different from his early appearance, losing not only his hair, but also his green suit and mask. Instead, he is now dressed in a unitard with a large question mark. In "Over the Edge", Riddler appeared in Batgirl's nightmare (which was induced by Scarecrow's fear gas), where he was seen on a talk show with the other Batman villains. In "Judgement Day", Riddler was among the victims of a vigilante called the Judge at the time he was crashing a banquet.
- John Glover reprised his role as the Riddler in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Knight Time". He is in league with Bane and the Mad Hatter, planning to take advantage on Batman's recent disappearance (which was caused by Brainiac) in Gotham City. He is quickly captured by Superman (dressed as Batman) and Robin.
- A Riddler drone fights Batman in the opening of the Batman Beyond episode "Terry's Friend Dates a Robot". The Riddler's appearance is that of his The New Batman Adventures appearance.
- In 2005, a new interpretation of the Riddler debuted in The Batman episode "Riddled", voiced by Robert Englund. This version exhibits a Gothic appearance, and is served by henchmen called Riddlemen. The episode "Riddler's Revenge" reveals that Nygma and his partner Julie worked at a university on a device to enhance the human brain. Nygma was approached by a man named Gorman who offered to buy the rights to the invention, but Nygma refused. After the device malfunctioned at a demonstration, Nygma accused Gorman of sabotage. Batman foils Nygma's attempted murder of Gorman. By the episode "Riddled", Nygma has adopted his Riddler persona.
- The Riddler is featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by John Michael Higgins. He is mentioned but not seen during Batman's call to the Commissioner in "Deep Cover For Batman!". Riddler makes a cameo in the episode "The Knights of Tomorrow" where he is briefly defeated by Batman in a flashback.
- Riddler appears in the Young Justice episode "Terrors" voiced by Dave Franco as an inmate of Belle Reve. In "Misplaced", a spell cast by Klarion the Witch Boy, Wotan, Blackbriar Thorn, Felix Faust and Wizard split the Earth into two dimensions as a diversion to enable Riddler and Sportsmaster to steal an organism from S.T.A.R. Labs. In "Usual Suspect", Riddler joins Cheshire, Mammoth and Shimmer in ambushing the Team at a crashed airplane.
- Frank Gorshin reprised his role as the Riddler in the 1966 film Batman, alongside three other villains from the television series. As in the series, Gorshin's Riddler is calm and calculating at one moment, then wild and unstable the next. He compulsively sends Batman and Robin clues, which in the film leads to some minor tension with his fellow criminals.
- Jim Carrey portrayed the Riddler in Batman Forever. This version of Riddler returns to the more mad trickster-oriented version portrayed in the original comics and in Frank Gorshin's version in the 1960s series. Edward Nygma is an employee of Wayne Enterprises who invents a device called "The Box", that transmits images directly into the user's mind. Nygma sees it as the next generation of television, but Bruce Wayne rejects the idea, as mental manipulation raises "too many ethical questions". Nygma ultimately discovers that his device can increase his own intelligence and, after killing his supervisor, he allies himself with Two-Face and discovers that Wayne is Batman, taking on the mantle of the Riddler. However, before they can kill Batman, his Box is damaged, causing the intelligence he gained to be siphoned back out. Following Two-Face's death, the Riddler is locked up in Arkham, and he yells for hours that he knows who Batman is, saying that he is Batman.
- In the fourth film, Batman & Robin, The Riddler's uniform can be seen in Arkham Asylum.
- The Riddler makes a brief cameo in a flashback in the DC Animated Original Movie Batman: Under the Red Hood. He attempts to rob a museum, but he is defeated by Jason Todd after he and Batman take down his henchmen. Although Bruce Timm receives screen credit for voicing him, he has no lines but simply grunts.
The Riddler has appeared in several video games based on Batman.
- He is a boss in Batman: The Animated Series for the Game Boy, The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the SNES, The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Sega CD and various video game adaptations of Batman Forever. The SNES game had Riddler reusing the Riddle of the Minotaur Maze from "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" and the chess board from "What Is Reality?". In the Sega CD game, which had fully animated cutscenes, John Glover reprised his role as the Riddler. In the PC game Toxic Chill, Riddler teams up with Mr. Freeze.
- The Riddler is a character in Lego Batman: The Videogame with his vocal effects provided by Tom Kenny. He is one of the three masterminds of the Arkham breakout in the game; and leads Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Clayface, with the goal of stealing the contents of the Gotham Gold Reserve. In this game, his trademarked question-mark cane grants him the ability to exert mind control over marked targets, or to confuse other characters if they are close enough.
- Riddler is in the 2009 game Batman: Arkham Asylum voiced by Wally Wingert. The Riddler is never actually seen in the game but hacks into Batman's communication system. He challenges Batman to solve various riddles located throughout the Asylum, though only one is required to complete the game. He grows increasingly unstable as Batman finds more of his riddles. If Batman finds all of them, he transmits the Riddler's location to the police leading to his arrest. In his interview tapes with Dr. Young, it is revealed he was fully aware of Joker's plans. The interviews also reveal he believes Batman is actually a criminal who steals from the criminals he defeats and that Commissioner Gordon is covering it up (his reasoning that this is how Batman is able to afford all his high-tech gadgets) because in his mind no person can truly be selfless. The tapes also reveal the origin of Riddler's psychosis: When he was young, his father would repeatedly beat him for being a "moron", so a young Edward attempted to disprove his father by entering a riddle-solving contest in school, which he wound up winning. Upon doing so, his father accused him of cheating (which Riddler reveals at the end of the interview it was true) and proceeded to beat him. The traumatic event caused Nygma to become obsessed with riddles as a form to prove his intellectual superiority over others, as well as developing a need to punish those whom he deems to be "morons" for not being able to solve his riddles.
- Riddler appears in DC Universe Online voiced by Shannon McCormick. A chain of quests leads the players on the hero campaign to solve one of his riddles in order to talk to him. In the game, Riddler is a detective in recluse hiding from the Joker. When Joker sends Deathstroke to kill Riddler, the players help Query and Echo protect Riddler from Deathstroke. When Deathstroke is defeated, Riddler mentions to Deathstroke that Joker never made the payment transfer and Deathstroke leaves. Before departing to another location where Joker will never find him, Riddler then has the players tell Batman that Joker is working with T. O. Morrow on a new Joker Venom.
- Wally Wingert reprises his role of Riddler in Batman: Arkham City. He kidnaps Aaron Cash's Medical Protection Team and the medical personnel they were guarding, sets up death traps, and threatens to murder them all if Batman does not solve his riddles and save them. He also places down Riddler Trophies across Arkham City to be collected as part of the challenge. To access the location of Riddler's various trophies and riddles, Batman must interrogate his henchmen who are scattered throughout Arkham City and blending in with the gangs of Joker, Penguin and Two-Face. At certain intervals, when Batman finds enough "challenges", the location of a room containing a hostage is revealed. Batman must then outwit the deadly conditions within the chamber and rescue the hostage, much to the increasing confusion and chagrin of the Riddler, who continuously accuses the Dark Knight of "cheating." Afterwards, the freed hostage gives Batman a sequence of numbers from Riddler, which are a radio frequency. Once tuned into the frequency, Riddler will either give Batman a new riddle to solve or tell him to find more trophies before doing so. He does this four times, and comes to a dead end when the fifth hostage is rescued. Believing that this final room would end Batman once and for all, the Riddler neglected to create any more leads to his remaining captives. Batman must then continue to find secrets in order to discern where the Riddler is hiding himself and the medical staff. When 400 Riddler challenges are completed, Oracle (Barbara Gordon) discovers a connection between all of the death trap rooms through a shared property broker. She then contacts Batman and tells him where she believes his hideout may be. Once inside the Riddler's base of operations, Batman observes that the remaining hostages are trapped in a prolonged torture: they must continuously walk along a path or the explosives strapped to their heads will detonate. Batman must then avoid walking in front of each hostage until he reaches a weak point below the Riddler's office and proceeds to pull the Riddler through the floor and incapacitate him. Aaron Cash and the remaining hostages are freed from their traps, and the Riddler is in turn hooked into one of the devices himself. The explosives are diffused...but they don't tell the Riddler that. Fearing for his life, the Riddler must walk as he forced his captives to do. The defeated and humiliated Riddler proceeds to once again swear vengeance upon the Dark Knight. His unlockable interview tapes reveal that he was fully aware of Hugo Strange and his manipulation of Mayor Quincy Sharp with the aid of Mad Hatter. He was also aware of Strange's all-consuming desire to become greater than Batman, comparing it to his own obsession with outwitting and humiliating Batman. The Riddler was, however, completely unaware that Strange had already discovered Batman's secret identity and was enraged when Strange revealed this discrepancy between their knowledge of the Dark Knight. He then demanded (then pleaded) with Strange to share Batman's true identity with him. Hugo, finally having an advantage in the conversation (which had largely consisted of the Riddler bragging about his superior intellect and belittling Strange) refuses to tell him and relishes the Riddler's anguish. The Riddler also plays a major role in the game's challenge mode which is called Riddler's Revenge. Various challenge maps show him having numerous henchmen working for him including TYGER Guards, Ra's al Ghul's ninja assassins, Mr. Hammer and his twin Mr. Sickle, a Titan-empowered henchman, and even Black Mask. It can also be noted that in the Catwoman dlc, she can find Riddler trophies that are pink. These trophies give off an electric shock whenever Batman tries to pick one up, with Riddler telling him that they "aren't for [him]." However, Catwoman is able to pick up Batman's green trophies without a shock. Catwoman's trophies also count towards the 400 required to find Riddler's hideout (Batman had 400, Catwoman has 40). If the player tries to enter a hostage room with Catwoman, she simply states that she is not interested in Riddler's games.
- Riddler is referenced in the game Gotham City Impostors. Players are able to unlock a Riddler-inspired pattern for their weapons, depicting the iconic green background with purple questions dotted around it.
- Riddler appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes voiced by Rob Paulsen impersonating Jim Carrey's interpretation of the character. He appears as a boss in the level "theatrical pursuits" and is later an optional boss fight and unlockable character, found on top of Wayne Tower.
- Riddler makes a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us. In the Arkham Asylum level, if one of the characters is thrown through the cell door on the right side of the second tier, they will be attacked by Two-Face, Killer Croc, Penguin, and Riddler before being punched by Croc into the next tier of the Arkham arena. It should be noted that their appearances are based on their Batman: Arkham City looks, hinting that the game takes place in the same universe. He also appears as a support card in the IOS App.
- Riddler will appear as a boss in the upcoming video game Young Justice: Legacy, voiced by Jason Spisak.
- Wally Wingert reprises his role of Riddler for a third time in Batman: Arkham Origins. In Origins, Edward Nashton is described as a police consultant and apparent head of the GCPD's Cybercrime unit. Initially referred to as "Enigma", he has set up a series of signal jammers throughout Gotham City to disrupt the Batwing as well as the Dark Knight's own hacking transmitter. He plots to release a flood of blackmail information to the public, incriminating several of Gotham's most prominent citizens, in the hopes of creating chaos. His encounter with Batman prompts him to go into hiding and develop his identity as The Riddler.
Spoofs and parodies
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Inside Plucky Duck", a cartoon called "Bat's All Folks" parodied Riddler as Question Mark (voiced by Charlie Adler).
- Frank Gorshin and Adam West parodied the 1994 film Interview With the Vampire as their (uncostumed) 1960s Batman characters in a short film for The MTV Movie Awards with West portraying Brad Pitt's vampire (or "bat-man") and Gorshin as Christian Slater's interviewer.
- In Family Guy there's an episode in which Peter says that he fought the Riddler, shown in a similar style to the 1960s Batman television series.
- An episode of "BadMan," a CollegeHumor parody of "Batman," features Batman finding a kidnapped Rachel Dawes held hostage by the Riddler.
Riddler has made several appearances as an action figure as part of Kenner's Batman: The Animated Series, Legends of Batman, and Batman: Knight Force Ninjas lines; Mattel's The Batman line; and Art Asylum's minimates line. He has also been produced as a HeroClix. Five different Riddler figures were produced for the 1995 Batman Forever line, including a Target exclusive and one that says phrases from the film.
The Riddler is one of the rarest of Pacipa's Super Amigos line, the Argentinian version of Kenner's Super Powers Collection. He is a repainted Green Lantern figure that was only released in South America. He was also part of the line of action figures called the DC Comics SuperHeroes from Toy Biz.
Three versions of the Riddler have appeared in the DC Direct line, two based on his first appearance and one based on his look in the "Hush" storyline. The Japanese toy company Yamato has also produced a figure of him.
In 1974, the Mego company released two Riddler figures; one was 8" tall with a cloth outfit for the World's Greatest Superheroes line of toys (this figure was in production until 1979), the other was a smaller figure which was molded rubber over wire for the Bend 'n Flex line. In 1975 and 1976, Mego also released the 8" tall Fist Fighting Riddler which was basically the same as the 1974 figure except it had a mechanism which allowed a child move a lever on the figure's back to make the arms swing.
During his time on the 1960s television series, Frank Gorshin recorded an album with a song titled "The Riddler", in which he sings of his obsession with puzzles. He performed a musical parody of the character on Dean Martin's variety show in 1966.
Riddler's Revenge, the world's tallest and fastest stand-up roller coaster, is themed after the Riddler. It is located in Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Mind Bender is a roller-coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia outside Atlanta. The coaster was originally silver then later painted brown. In 1997, the park built Batman: The Ride next to MindBender, at which point MindBender was given a green paint scheme and its trains were painted black and covered with question marks. There is a ride at Six Flags America called "Riddle Me This". However, it is a Round-Up painted in Riddler's colors, purple and green, not a roller coaster.
- Riddler is number 59, IGN.
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- Riddler on DC Database, an external wiki, a DC Comics wiki
- Edward Nygma's Puzzle Web Site : puzzles, games and stories featuring the animated series Riddler.
- Riddler on DCComics.com