Self Demonstrating: The Riddler
The Riddler is a comic book character, one of the most famous of Batman's Rogues Gallery, first appearing in Detective Comics #140 (October, 1948) as a nemesis to Batman. He was co-created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. Known as Edward Nigma, his motivation is that of a man who is obsessed with riddles, mysteries, and clues? Greettings! I, the Riddler, I've bypassed Arkham Asylum's pathetic security to gift your small website a glimpse of my famed and illustrious exploits! If only to ensure that the clown, or one of the many under-evolved cretins teeming amongst your readership, will not do it for me. My first appearance was, ahem, "masterminded" by the writer Bill Finger and artist Dick Sprang, in Detective Comics #140. My origin was thus: after achieving high scores on several important tests in school, my pig-hearted father, blinded with rage and unable to accept my untempered brilliance, decided to.... ...hrm. I presume even the MOST slow-witted of you can extrapolate the details yourselves. Several of the so-called "professionals" ogling my cell believe this incident sparked an unavoidable compulsion to tell the truth, and prove I am right. Although granting these people's inane ramblings any credence will only encourage them, I have myself noticed an inability to commit a crime without the aid of my carefully-constructed conundrums. It... worries me, at times. After a brief foray into the waters of crime through manning a crooked carnival contraption, I embraced it whole-heartedly, adopting my nom de plume and striking fear into the hearts of Gotham with a dazzling array of crimes, capers and deathtraps! Still, brilliance attracts nemeses, and the Batman eventually began using my riddles to thwart my crimes before FINALLY locating me, and sending me plunging off a pier to my doom. ...for those of you incapable of figuring it out, I lived. Afterwards, I continued my clue-riddled crime waves! These ranged from the whimsical, such as daubing a charade-clue for the people of Gotham on the Gotham Museum so I could escape through the resultant crowds with stolen Egyptian artifacts, to the more unseemly, such as hijacking a bus, offering riddles to the passengers and killing and robbing any pathetic wastes who failed to solve them. It was then, through a partnership with upcoming lesser villain Hush, that I solved the greatest riddle of all: the identity of the Dark Knight himself! ...unfortunately, I can't reveal it to you, or anyone else. After all, a riddle that everyone knows the answer to is worthless, as he so irritatingly pointed out.note I suppose you'll have to set your tiny, lizard brains to deducing it yourselves, won't you? After an ill-fated venture on behalf of the Society left me brutally beaten by the Shining Knight, and in a coma for the better part of a year, I elected to turn my vast and undefeatable intellect to solving crimes, rather than their proliferation. The cases were child's play, and in many cases annoyingly so, but they gave me an opportunity to prove my intellectual superiority to the Batman on a somewhat more acceptable playing field. As of recent events, however, I have discarded this folly and returned to my old ways. Apparently, up to and including imprisonment. Only for as long as I see fit, of course. It is worth noting that many of the ignorant masses were first made aware of my excellence through Frank Gorshin's portrayal, (To say nothing about his excellent fashion suggestion in costumes) as well as my stooping to engage with the so-called "menaces" in the Legion of Doom. Fortunately, John Glover later portrayed me with the proper intelligence as in a most satisfying Batman: The Animated Series story where I got my revenge on a former employer that even the Batman could not thwart. In 1995, Jim Carrey decided to ape Gorshin's performance in Batman Forever; while not completely faithful, he was close enough and theatrical enough to do me justice. Barely. In the world of video games, Wally Wingert has tried his hand at impersonating me in the Batman: Arkham Series, with my affinity for death-traps intact. Cory Michael Smith portrays a more youthful variation of myself on Gotham. And now, a riddle!
A nine-letter word, common as air,
When each letter's cut, a new word to pare,
Take a letter each round and continue to one.
Name the word and the path and then you'll be done.Can you solve it? Need a hint? Oh, what am I saying? Of course you can't! Once you've admitted I'm better than you, leave any of your tropes related to me below.
- Abusive Parents: Edward was brutally beaten as a child because his father believed that he cheated on a test, then continued to do so even as Edward told him he didn't because his father believed that he was lying. No wonder he developed psychological issues.
- Adorkable: His Gotham version fits this.
- Affably Evil: When he's in a good mood.
Riddler: Well, well. So the shaved monkey has failed. How utterly, utterly expected.
- Faux Affably Evil: His Arkhamverse counterpart leans more towards this.
- Ascended Extra: 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.
- Attention Whore: His justification for becoming The Riddler, as shown in Detective Comics Annual #8:
"It wasn't the money I wanted. It wasn't the action I sought. I just liked the attention."
- Badass Boast: In the 1960s episode "A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away", as seen at the beginning of this tribute.
Royalty? You've never met royalty?...
- The Bad Guy Wins:
- His Diniverse version actually won in his debut episode. While Batman and Robin thwarted his attempt to kill the Corrupt Corporate Executive who screwed him out of the profits of the best-selling video game he designed, the Riddler still got a very nice Consolation Prize in that the executive's life was ruined because he now lived in paranoid fear of the Riddler's return.
- As of the 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 he tricks the GCPD into giving him total control of the city. And Batman isn't able to stop him.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Thanks to Batman: The Animated Series, he often dresses in snappy suits as opposed to the old green question-mark-print tights. And yeah, he can be a badass when the situation calls for it.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Seems harmless and goofy, doesn't he? WRONGO.
- Big Bad: In the sixties show and of Batman Zero Year.
- Brains and Bondage: Occasionally referenced—his minions Query and Echo used to work at a fetish club.
- Butt Monkey: Jeph Loeb's The Long Halloween and Dark Victory both portray him as this. Catwoman: When in Rome and Hush (both written by Loeb as well) avert this, however. Although, 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.
- Calling Card: His riddles.
- Cane Fu: To the point where his cane in Batman: Arkham City looks more like a blunt weapon than a walking aid.
- Catch Phrase: Sometimes has a tendency to introduce his riddles with "Riddle me this."
- The Chessmaster / The Dog Was the Mastermind: 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.
- Chronic Villainy: He could reform anytime he wants to, but he's driven by his hatred against Batman.
- Civvie Spandex: 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.
- Covert Pervert: Once "accidentally" walked in on Selina Kyle naked.
- Criminal Mind Games: His M.O.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: After Infinite Crisis, he briefly reformed and went into business as a Private Investigator, 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.
- Cutting the Knot: Batman often defeats Ridder using either this or by taking a third option.
- Dastardly Dapper Derby/Cool Hat: His Riddle bowler cap.
- Deadpan Snarker: Always has a sarcastic quip in him.
- Death Trap: He loves these. In Batman: Arkham City, he uses them on innocents in a challenge for Batman. Some fans have pointed out that he's taken a few lessons from Jigsaw, while others would like to point out that Jigsaw took a few lessons from him.
- Demonic Possession: During the "Dark Knight, Dark City" storyline. The result? An Ax-Crazy version of the character that only the Batman: Arkham Series's version can compete with.
- Depending on the Writer: Bumbling Cloud Cuckoo Lander? Scheming near-equal to Batman? A Bunny-Ears Lawyer version of both? Or a psychopath who could go head to head with the Joker in terms of insanity?
- Diminishing Villain Threat:
- 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.
- Domino Mask: 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...
- Even Evil Has Standards: He doesn't follow the same methods the other rogues do.
- In general, it's best to say the Riddler doesn't have the homicidal need to kill the other villains in Batman's rogues gallery possess. He does, however, possess the capacity to do so and will do so if it keeps him out of jail and further his goals. In short, he's a normal murderer, which makes him harmless only by comparison.
- Evil Genius: Do you really need to ask?
- Fallen Hero: His Arkham and Gotham counterpart both worked as police scientists before turning evil.
- Giggling Villain: In the sixties series, even more so than the Joker.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Batman. His whole goal is to prove that he's better than him.
- Harmless Villain: Frequently. Even in the Dark Age, he tries to avoid needless violence, though it all depends on the writer.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Sometimes retires from crime and uses his skills for puzzle solving to do detective work. Though inevitably never for long.
- Humiliation Conga: Had a big one post-Hush.
- Idiosyncrazy: He has super-OCD according to some comic book creators.
- Insufferable Genius: He's the smartest man in Gotham (or so he thinks, anyway) and doesn't mind lording it over that big dumb Bat at every opportunity.
- Karma Houdini: His Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: Arkham Origins counterparts.
- Kick the Dog: Laughs at people who can't solve his riddles. Did we forget to mention that if they fail these riddles they die.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Murders Miss Kringle's abusive boyfriend in Gotham.
- Large Ham: The Gorshin version especially had a tendency towards giggling, manic monologues. And Jim Carrey's one had the outrageous clothes to help.
- Love Makes You Crazy/Love Makes You Evil: His Gotham counterpart is driven entirely by this.
- Master of Illusion: His Superfriends incarnation specializes in this.
- Nice Hat: It started with Frank Gorshin, but even in the comics, the Riddler's now often found wearing a snazzy green bowler hat.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: His desire to bring about the fall of Gotham City in Batman: Arkham Origins indirectly causes peace when he exposes the corruption under the police department and brings down the city's corrupt mayor.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain:
- "Dark Knight, Dark City" shows that if Riddler ever stepped up his game, he would actually beat Batman.
- The reaction many had on the Riddler's appearance in the Batman: Arkham Series can be summarized as "they actually managed to make the Riddler scary".
- Obfuscating Insanity: His doctors question whether he's insane or just childish.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: During Catwoman: When in Rome.
- Offing the Offspring: Implied to have killed his daughter, Enigma.
- Psychopathic Manchild: He hates losing.
Riddler: Impossible! You cheated, you must have.
- Psychotic Smirk: A trademark of his.
- Punny Name: 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, and Nashton became one of Edward's aliases.
- The idea was that Nashton was his birth name, from his father, which would explain why he changed it.
- Reluctant Psycho: He's crushed at how his insanity renders him incapable of not leaving Batman riddles that lead to his defeat.
- Ret Canon: Frank Gorshin in the live action Batman created the green suit and bowler hat look as an alternative for the spandex and the slightly more sedate version in Batman: The Animated Series sealed the deal to make this the Riddler's preferred costume in the comics.
- Riddle Me This: He's the Trope Namer.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His reaction to the earthquake that created the No Man's Land arc. He's the only Arkhamite to even consider making a break for it. Which he does.
- Shadow Archetype: He's a reflection of Batman's nature as a intellectual.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He needs to prove himself as the smartest person all the time.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: When he's not wearing the Domino Mask, which has been a lot lately.
- Smug Smiler: Always has one of these grins in his appearances.
- Smug Snake: One of his trademarks.
- Spell My Surname With An S: Is it "Nigma" with an "I" or "Nygma" with a "Y"?
- Spirited Competitor: Depending on the Writer he can be this with Batman.
- Stalker with a Crush: Once towards Bruce Wayne and another towards Miss Kringle in Gotham.
- Symbol Motif Clothing: His outfits are adorned with question marks, the amount of which depends on the outfit.
- Take a Third Option: Batman often gets past his riddles by doing this, beating them in ways Riddler didn't anticipate.
- He knows Batman's identity, but he can't reveal it due to his 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.
- Tragic Villain: In The Batman he became a villain after his girlfriend sabotages his experiment and discredits him as a scientist. This causes him to adopt the Riddler persona when he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- The Trickster: His riddles can prove very difficult.
- Underestimating Badassery: The reason why he always loses to Batman is because he's so full of himself.
- Villainous Breakdown: He's had a lot of these over the years.
- Villain Has a Point: Sometimes he's actually right in his arguments against Batman.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: He'll just coat the truth in an enigma, wrap it in a riddle, and stuff the whole thing into a Chinese puzzle box.
- Worthy Opponent: Considers Batman this, due to him being the only one smart enough to solve his riddles.
...what? How did you...you CHEATED! You MUST have cheated! I'LL GET YOU FOR THIS! You HEAR me?! I, EDWARD NYGMA, WILL GET YOU FOR THIS!