Review: BATMAN #23.2: RIDDLER

Written by Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder
Art by Jeremy Haun
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 11, 2013

riddler-1Riddle me this, riddle me that…can this Riddler challenge the New 52 Bat?

If this issue is any indication he absolutely can. Snyder co-plots this one with Fawkes doing the heavy lifting, and he does not falter. This version of Edward Nygma is thankfully his own beast, not just a Joker ripoff that doesn’t quite get as deep under Batman’s skin. This Nygma is brilliant and has his own insane motivations for what he does and shows throughout this issue that he will be difficult for Batman to bring down when it comes time for their showdown. Fawkes does a great job in this issue of letting the riddles unfold and slowly build a story without the riddles becoming a cheap shtick. The script moves along at a nice pace, showcasing the calculating nature of this character but not lingering too much in the past. This Riddler is obviously dangerous, highly intelligent, and prone to seeking vengeance, but also somewhat whimsical in his approach to his mission. His calm nature under fire makes him all the more dangerous and that much harder to anticipate, but Fawkes does a great job of evoking that Riddler’s mission is not one simply of chaos. There is method to this madness, and while it may not be readily apparent, in the end it is all perfectly logical. This calculating nature has me very hopeful for his continued use in the DCU going forward. The involvement of Snyder helps with the hope of consistency in tone after Villains Month ends and we soldier on in Zero Year.

Jeremy Haun’s artwork is what really sells who Nygma is. His style is perfect for Fawke’s script, evoking the sense that this criminal partakes in clean, well crafted jobs. The artwork does not have a hint of messiness, nor does The Riddler’s plan, and I appreciated Haun’s attention to small details throughout the issue. His facial work throughout the issue is very strong, and the constant semi-smirk on Nygma’s face reinforces how much he is enjoying this plan coming together. It gives the character a similar feel to Loki when he’s at his trickster best, and I really enjoyed seeing that aspect of the character maintained throughout the issue. Haun’s work in this issue should give a lot of readers hope going into his work on Batwoman as he certainly proved with The Riddler that he is a capable artist.

Batman #23.2: Riddler is one of the stronger entries that has come out of Villain’s Month so far, and a must read for anyone following Snyder & Capullo’s Batman. The Riddler has always given Bruce a run for his money, and this issue does a solid job of showing just what he is capable of, and willing to do, to exact his view of how the world should be. He is calculating, enigmatic (ha!) and brilliant, everything the Riddler should be.

Verdict: 8.5/10


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