I review Batman #23.2 – The Riddler, written by Scott Snyder and Ray Fawkes, focusing on The Riddler as part of DC Comics’ Villain’s Month.
BATMAN #23.2 – THE RIDDLER
Story: Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder | Art: Jeremy Haun | Cover: Guillem March | Publisher: DC Comics | Price: $3.99 (3D) | $2.99 (2D)
With The Dark Knight out of the picture, The Riddler engages in an epic game of wits. Learn what maddening early moments led a young Edward Nygma to evolve into Gotham City’s Prince of Mischief! And see how events of ZERO YEAR continue to affect The Riddler today!
Okay. I’m going to go out and say it here. I was wrong about Aquaman #23.1 being my Pick of the Week, and my favourite Villain’s Month issue thus far. Having re-read both issues, I can safely say that Batman #23.2 – The Riddler is not only equal to Geoff Johns’ incredible take on the Black Manta, it’s far superior, which surprised me as Ray Fawkes is a writer who I’m not really a big fan of, having not liked the first two issues of Constantine. However, on the basis of the strength of this issue, I’m going to have to pick up the next issue of Constantine that hits the shelves –because Fawkes, who wrote the main story, with the plot directed by Snyder – is on excellent form. I loved the take on the Riddler, a villain who has rapidly risen up the ranks to become one of my favourite of members of Batman’s Rogue Gallery, alongside the Court of Owls and of course the Joker. The narration is as strong as the book’s execution, and the fun portrayal of the Riddler really helps reinforce this book as a must read.
Unlike other Villain’s Month issues being split between the past and the present or simply telling the story in the past, Batman #23.2 is set in the present, and explores what happens to the Riddler in a world without Batman. Whilst anyone who isn’t following the events in Zero Year may be a bit lost on The Riddler’s motivation, the book is still a fairly solid read, opening with an appropriate set of riddles that each help the titular character solve his scheme. The book comes across as a very fun read and I’m loving the direction that Snyder and Fawkes have taken the character, leaving me very excited for the rest of Zero Year and the hope that the character plays a larger role in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins video game increases again.
The art is provided by Jeremy Haun, and the cover from Guillem March – and both do a cracking job. The Riddler’s Cover may feel like one of the more obviously gimmicky Villain’s Month issues, but the interior artwork is pretty spectacular. Jeremy Haun is a solid artist, and this book has left me wondering if he’s on any ongoing titles at the moment – if he is, should I be checking them out? His work is pretty impressive and his take on the Riddler, along with the colourist John Rausch, is certainly one to remember.
This is damn near essential reading if you’re a Bat-fan. Well worth checking out.