Warning: SPOILERS for The Riddler: Year of The Villain #1
In the world of Batman's rogues, a good gimmick can mean the difference between a mediocre gangster and a comic book an icon. But no DC villain has been more hampered by their shtick than the brilliant Edward Nygma... which is why he's finally giving up the identity of The Riddler to become the arch-nemesis he was always meant to be.
The Riddler may be best known as a borderline deranged genius, obsessed with riddles to the point of ridiculousness (often shown being 'bested' by a riddle delivered by Batman, as if part of some mental trigger). But the modern Batman comics have changed all that, emphasizing Edward Nygma's brilliance, his mind for strategy, and most importantly, his ego. It's the latter which has held him back as a riddle-delivering, second-tier villain. And now that Lex Luthor has paid him a visit in his own Year of The Villain one-shot, Edward has seen the light. And it's time for a change.
The Riddler has proved a key figure since the relaunch of DC's New 52, emerging as not only Bruce Wayne's intellectual equal in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Zero Year, but as Joker's rival in Tom King's War of Jokes & Riddles. Even the animated version of Batman: Hush chose to give Nygma more credit, making The Riddler the true identity of Hush, instead of a puppet master behind the scenes. But when Riddler meets Lex Luthor, and wonders why the cosmically upgraded billionaire hasn't made him an ally, Lex claims Nygma has "misunderstood" his intentions. That "for many years, I too was entombed inside the prison of my own ego. Of tawdry ambitions long since outgrown." Which means it's time for Riddler to evolve.
Long time fans of the Batman series won't need any further explanation as to what Lex Luthor is driving at, or what Edward Nygma realizes as a result. He has always been more brilliant, scheming, calculating, and motivated than his riddle-filled shtick would suggest. And after meeting with Lex and being asked the hard questions--and having one more painfully predictable interaction with Batman--Nygma removes his signature costume and hat, and takes his first steps on a path towards a new identity:
I can't do it anymore. I can no longer tell myself the lie that was The Riddler. I understand now... why Lex gave me nothing. growing in the wrong direction makes us smaller. I need to start over. I have to leave the failures of the past behind. And say goodbye to myself if I'm ever going to become... what I was always meant to be. So thank you, Lex. Thank you for the gift of nothing.
Fans don't yet know where this new mission will lead, but but it's one that many have been waiting years to see, as Edward Nygma finally begins to realize his true potential. With reports that The Riddler could join Robert Pattinson's Batman movie, any new insights into what makes him a worthy adversary are destined for the spotlight, so the timing couldn't be better. If this turns out to be as formative a story in the life of this classic Batman villain, fans won't wan't to miss out on securing their own copy. Sooner, rather than later.
- THE RIDDLER: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1 (2019)
- Written by: Mark Russell
- Art by: Scott Godlewski
- Colors by: Marissa Louise
- Cover Art by: Mikel Janín
- Lex Luthor has presented dark gifts to super-villains across the DC Universe, setting off what can only be called the Year of the Villain. Unfortunately, resources are limited, so not everyone got something. The Riddler is one such person, and he is most displeased about it. Was this merely an oversight or a deliberate slight? The Riddler is determined to find out which-and so should you!
The Riddler: Year of The Villain #1 is available now from your local comic book shop, or direct from DC Comics.