[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/riddler.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:300:''"Riddle me this..."'']]

The Riddler (real name Edward Nygma or Edward Nashton, DependingOnTheWriter) is a {{supervillain}} that appears in comic books published by Creator/DCComics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Franchise/{{Batman}}. Created by writer Creator/BillFinger and artist Dick Sprang, the character first appeared in ''Detective Comics'' #140 (October 1948).

Thanks to the unforgettable [[Series/{{Batman}} sixties show]] (where he essentially replaced the Joker as Batman's lead villain), the Riddler is one of the "big four" classic Bat-Rogues (alongside the Joker, Catwoman and the Penguin). Like most of the Bat-Rogues, the Riddler is victim to a mental disorder - in his case, an obsessive-compulsive disorder that subconsciously forces him to leave clues in the form of riddles at the scenes of his crimes. Flashes into his past have shown an abusive father that would beat him every time he lied and an obsession with riddles, puzzles, and word games, all of which probably didn't help his descent into a criminal life.

The Riddler is best known for his many (often silly) riddles that confound all but the Dynamic Duo, as well as his over-the-top deathtraps. He is, however, incredibly intelligent, yet considers his battles of wits with Batman to be a game - one in which he heavily respects his opponent.

As mentioned above, the character appeared in the 1960s ''Batman'' television series, portrayed by Frank Gorshin and John Astin; Creator/JimCarrey portrayed him in the 1995 film ''Film/BatmanForever'', and Cory Michael Smith portrays Edward Nygma in the television show ''Series/{{Gotham}}''. In addition, the character appears in many animated media and video games, including the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries''. In 2014, the Riddler was ranked as IGN's 59th [[TopOneHundredComicBookVillains Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time]].
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!!The Riddler provides examples of:
* AbusiveParents: He was brutally beaten as a child because his father believed that he was a cheater and a liar (depending on the canon, it's possible [[JerkassHasAPoint he was right]]). It's probably fair to assume it wasn't just an isolated incident.
* {{Adorkable}}: His ''Gotham'' version fits this. He's given a romantic subplot, for crissakes!
* AscendedExtra: A rather minor villain until his first appearance on the sixties show. A combination of the series' popularity and Frank Gorshin's memorable performance saw Riddler become far more prominent in the comics.
* AttentionWhore: His justification for becoming the Riddler, as shown in ''Detective Comics Annual'' #8:
--> '''Riddler:''' It wasn't the money I wanted. It wasn't the action I sought. I just liked the attention.
* BadassBoast: In the 1960s episode "A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away", as seen at the beginning of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpl7Gny7bbw this]] tribute.
--> '''Riddler:''' Royalty? You've never met royalty?...
* TheBadGuyWins:
** His [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Diniverse]] version actually ''won'' in his debut episode. While Batman and Robin thwarted his attempt to kill the CorruptCorporateExecutive who screwed him out of the profits of the best-selling video game he designed, the Riddler still got a very nice ConsolationPrize in that the executive's life was ruined because he now lived in paranoid fear of the Riddler's return.
** As of the Comicbook/{{New 52}} reboot, Batman's first year of vigilantism has once more been modified, and Eddie plays a big role in it. In Zero Year [[spoiler:he tricks the GCPD into giving him total control of the city. And Batman isn't able to stop him.]]
* BadassInANiceSuit: Thanks to Gorshin designing a new outfit, and later ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', he often dresses in snappy suits as opposed to his original green question-mark-print tights. And yeah, he ''can'' be a badass when the situation calls for it.
* BewareTheSillyOnes: Seems harmless and goofy, doesn't he? WRONG.
* BigBad: He's one of the main antagonists in the [[Series/{{Batman}} sixties show]] and the sole antagonist of ''ComicBook/BatmanZeroYear''.
* BrainsAndBondage: Occasionally referenced--his minions Query and Echo used to work at a fetish club.
* ButtMonkey: Jeph Loeb's ''ComicBook/TheLongHalloween'' and ''Dark Victory'' both portray him as this. [[spoiler:''Catwoman: When in Rome'' and ''Hush'' (both written by Loeb as well) avert this, however]]. Although, [[spoiler:the aftermath of ''Hush'' shown him getting beaten up by everyone he used before, and he wound up worse than empty-handed in ''When in Rome''.]]
* CallingCard: His riddles.
* CaneFu: To the point where his cane in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' acts more like a blunt weapon than a walking aid.
* CatchPhrase: Sometimes has a tendency to introduce his riddles with "Riddle me this."
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler: During the ''Hush'' arc. One of the cover arts even shows him playing chess with pieces looking like the characters, though Batman had dismissed him earlier since he hadn't updated his tactics like the others had.]]
* ChronicVillainy: He's probably the villain who has it the easiest to theoretically reform at any time, but he's too driven by his hatred for Batman. In ''ComicBook/BatmanGothamAdventures'', it's brought up that his [[SuperOCD compulsive nature]] prevents him from reforming even if he genuinely ''wants'' to.
* CivvieSpandex: His trademark outfit. Now almost exclusively associated with the goofy, harmless trickster version of him; he's preferred the question-mark smoking jacket more recently.
* CoolHat: His Riddle bowler cap.
* CovertPervert: Once "accidentally" walked in on Selina Kyle naked.
* CriminalMindGames: His M.O.
* CutLexLuthorACheck: He actually decided to cut himself one: After ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'', he briefly reformed and went into business as a PrivateInvestigator, reasoning that he'd still get paid to match wits with Batman (the thing he really enjoyed) and Batman wouldn't be allowed to hit him anymore.
* CuttingTheKnot: Batman often defeats Ridder using either this or by [[TakeAThirdOption taking a third option]].
* DastardlyDapperDerby: His Riddle bowler cap.
* DeadpanSnarker: Always has a sarcastic quip in him.
* DeathTrap: He loves these. In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', he uses them on innocents in a challenge for Batman. Some fans have pointed out that he's taken a few lessons from [[Franchise/{{Saw}} Jigsaw]], while others would like to point out that [[OlderThanTheyThink Jigsaw took a few lessons from him]].
* DemonicPossession: During the "Dark Knight, Dark City" storyline. The result? An AxCrazy version of the character that only the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries'''s version can compete with.
* DependingOnTheWriter: Bumbling CloudCuckooLander? Scheming near-equal to Batman? A BunnyEarsLawyer version of both? Or a psychopath who could go head to head with the Joker in terms of insanity? And thanks to ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'', he might be a nerdy [[Franchise/{{Saw}} Jigsaw]].
* DiminishingVillainThreat:
** Inverted, began as a relatively harmless, some-what ridiculous villain and escalated into a genuine threat.
** Also kind of applied in universe; throughout his criminal career the Riddler has felt the need to pull bigger, more dangerous and more complicated stunts mostly out of a compulsive need to "play" with Batman.
* DominoMask: A green one is more or less the only thing consistent about his costume throughout his various incarnations. Well, when it's not purple...or black...or painted on... During his tenure as a private detective, he swapped this out for a pair of CoolShades.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: He doesn't have the homicidal ''need'' to kill like many of his fellow villains do. He does, however, possess the capacity to murder people and will do so [[PragmaticVillainy if it keeps him out of jail or furthers his goals]].
* EvilGenius: He's a genius among geniuses, one of the smartest men in the world, though he's consistently hampered by his compulsions. He's one of the few people to deduce Batman's true identity as Bruce Wayne, but never reveals it because if everyone knew the answer to the question of "Who is the Batman?" then it wouldn't be a riddle anymore.
* FallenHero: His ''Arkham'' video games and ''Gotham'' series counterparts both worked as police scientists before turning evil.
* FauxAffablyEvil: He may seem AffablyEvil when he's in a good mood, but his disposition can quickly take a hard swerve into dismissive SmugSmiler on a good day, and AxCrazy murderer if he's particularly tee'd off. His ''Arkhamverse'' counterpart leans more towards this, but it's present to some extent in all his incarnations.
--> '''Riddler:''' Well, well. So the shaved monkey has failed. How utterly, utterly expected.
* GigglingVillain: In the sixties series, even more so [[UpToEleven than the Joker.]]
* GreenEyedMonster: Towards Batman. His whole goal is to prove that he's better at deduction than him.
* HarmlessVillain: Frequently. Even in UsefulNotes/{{the Dark Age|of Comic Books}}, he tried to avoid needless violence, though it all [[DependingOnTheWriter depends on the writer]].
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: Sometimes retires from crime and uses his skills for puzzle solving to do detective work. Though inevitably never for long.
* HumiliationConga:
** He had a big one post-''Hush'' that shows him getting beaten up by everyone he manipulated before.
** Then there's what happened after that Halloween night in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight''. [[spoiler: He had kidnapped Catwoman to get the Dark Knight to participate in his "game". He failed and ended up in jail. While he was in prison, Catwoman snuck into his robot factory, stole all his money, and blew it up to boot as revenge. To top it off, he was listening to it the whole time, since he was attempting to access his computer to stage a breakout. Since he wasn't able to keep up the facade of just talking to his lawyer, Officer Cash got suspicious and tasered him.]] [[{{Understatement}} Not... one of his better days.]]
* {{Idiosyncrazy}}: He has super-OCD according to some comic book creators.
* InsufferableGenius: He's the self-declared smartest man in Gotham and he doesn't mind lording it over that big dumb Bat at every opportunity.
* KarmaHoudini: His ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' [[spoiler: and ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'']] counterparts.
* KickTheDog: He laughs at people who can't solve his riddles. Oh yeah, and [[DeathTrap if they fail those riddles they die.]]
* KickTheSonOfABitch: He murdered [[LoveInterest Miss Kringle's]] [[AssholeVictim abusive boyfriend]] in ''Gotham''.
* LargeHam: The Gorshin version especially had a tendency towards giggling, manic monologues. And Jim Carrey's one had the [[FashionVictimVillain outrageous clothes]] to help.
* LinkedListClueMethodology: Pretty much his M.O.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy[=/=]LoveMakesYouEvil: His ''Gotham'' counterpart is driven entirely by this.
* MasterOfIllusion: His ''Superfriends'' incarnation specializes in this.
* NiceHat: It started with Frank Gorshin, but even in the comics, he's now often found wearing a snazzy green bowler hat.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'', his desire to bring about the fall of Gotham City during the night of the Blackgate Riots indirectly causes peace when he exposes the corruption under the police department and brings down the city's corrupt mayor.
* NotSoHarmlessVillain:
** "Dark Knight, Dark City" shows that if Riddler ever stepped up his game, he would actually ''beat'' Batman.
** The reaction many had toward his appearance in the ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries'' can be summarized as "they actually managed to make the Riddler scary". [[spoiler: Not to mention he actually has a boss battle in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight'', piloting a giant robot suit he personally made for destorying the Dark Knight.]]
* ObfuscatingInsanity: His doctors question whether he's insane or just [[PsychopathicManchild childish]].
* ObfuscatingStupidity: [[spoiler:During ''Catwoman: When in Rome''.]]
* OffingTheOffspring: Implied to have killed his daughter, Enigma.
* PsychopathicManchild: He ''hates'' losing.
--> '''Riddler:''' Impossible! You cheated, you must have.
* PsychoticSmirk: A trademark of his.
* PunnyName: Edward Nygma. Really, what are the odds? The writers tried to give him the more normal "Edward Nashton" for a while. It didn't stick, so it was changed into Nashton being his birth name, from his [[AbusiveParents father]], which would explain why he changed it.
* ReluctantPsycho: He's crushed at how his insanity renders him incapable of not leaving Batman riddles that lead to his defeat.
* RetCanon: Frank Gorshin in the [[Series/{{Batman}} live action Batman]] created the green suit and bowler hat look as an alternative for the spandex and the slightly more sedate version in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' sealed the deal to make this the Riddler's preferred costume in the comics.
* RiddleMeThis: He's not the {{Trope Namer|s}} for nothing.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere:
** His reaction to the earthquake that created the ''[[ComicBook/BatmanNoMansLand No Man's Land]]'' arc. He's the ''only'' Arkhamite to even consider making a break for it. Which he does.
** In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'', he does the same. He wasn't very concerned with escaping from [[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity Arkham City]], though.
* ShadowArchetype: He's a reflection of Batman's nature as an intellectual.
* SmallNameBigEgo: He's perpetually seeking to prove himself as the smartest person in the room.
* SmartPeopleWearGlasses: When he's not wearing the DominoMask, which has been a lot lately.
* SmugSmiler: Always has one of these grins in his appearances.
* SmugSnake: One of his trademarks. In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'':
-->'''Riddler:''' And as you lie blubbering on the floor like an ignorant child, you'll know... ''[that the Riddler is better than you!''
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Is it "Nigma" with an "I" or "Nygma" with a "Y"?
* SpiritedCompetitor: DependingOnTheWriter he can be this with Batman.
* StalkerWithACrush: Once towards Bruce Wayne in ''Film/BatmanForever'' and another towards Miss Kringle in ''Series/{{Gotham}}''.
* SymbolMotifClothing: His outfits are adorned with question marks, the amount of which depends on the outfit.
* TakeAThirdOption: Batman often gets past his riddles by doing this, beating them in ways Riddler didn't anticipate.
* TongueTied:
** He knows Batman's identity, but he can't reveal it due to his demented psyche; as Batman says, "A riddle that everybody knows the answer to is useless."
** Also, Batman hints to Riddler that Ra's al Ghul might find out he used a Lazarus Pit if he bragged about it.
* TragicVillain:
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' he became a villain after [[BitchInSheepsClothing his girlfriend]] sabotages his experiment and discredits him as a scientist. This causes him to adopt the Riddler persona when he goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
** In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' he is less sympathetic, but still only resorted to villainy after getting screwed over by his boss.
** On a larger level, the idea that he's been warped so greatly just by AbusiveParents is pretty sad. Especially given that he can't seem to stop himself, and in some canons seems to be just a genuinely mentally ill person who lacks self-control - it makes it sort of depressing to watch him attempt any kind of reform, since it's always a case of FailureIsTheOnlyOption.
--->'''Riddler:''' 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... [[HeelRealization I might actually be crazy]].
** In ''Gotham'', his abusive father relationship is AdaptedOut (presumably), in favor of being teased and bullied by his peers and others, with himself completely oblivious to it...until he [[GollumMadeMeDoIt develops a psychotic, murderous split personality]] mirroring his mild-mannered, meek one that takes him over after he [[spoiler: inadvertently murders the woman he had a major crush on and learned how to be a murderous psycho thanks to Penguin.]] Despite this, it's not hard to feel sorry for Nigma in the end.
* TheTrickster: His riddles can prove very difficult.
* UnderestimatingBadassery: The reason he always loses to Batman is that he's so full of himself.
* VillainousBreakdown: He's had a lot of these over the years.
* VillainHasAPoint: Sometimes he's actually right in his arguments against Batman.
* WillNotTellALie: He'll just coat the truth in an enigma, wrap it in a riddle, and stuff the whole thing into a Chinese puzzle box.
* WorthyOpponent: Considers Batman this, due to him being the only one smart enough to solve his riddles.
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