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Comic Book / The Riddler

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"Are you ready for some more? Explore! Find my challenges! And when you fail to solve them and lie blubbering like an ignorant child on the floor, you will know that The Riddler... is better than you!"
Batman: Arkham City

The Riddler (real name Edward Nygma or Edward Nashton, Depending on the Writer) is a supervillain that appears in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. Created by writer Bill Finger and artist Dick Sprang, the character first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (October 1948).

Thanks to the unforgettable 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; Jim Carrey portrayed him in the 1995 film Batman Forever, and Cory Michael Smith portrayed Edward Nygma in the television show Gotham. Paul Dano will be portraying him in The Batman. In addition, the character appears in many animated media and video games, including the Batman: Arkham Series. In 2009, the Riddler was ranked as IGN's 59th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.


The Riddler provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: 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 he was right). It's probably fair to assume it wasn't just an isolated incident.
  • Agent Peacock: He's campy and histrionic, with a love of purple, well-tailored suits, and a high-pitched, giggling laugh...and is still incredibly dangerous when he puts his mind to it.
  • Arch-Enemy: Believe it or not, he was probably the biggest contender for this role in the Adam West series. He appeared more than any other villain, and his penchant for riddles played perfectly off of Batman's deductive... uh, "skills".
  • 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:
    Riddler: It wasn't the money I wanted. It wasn't the action I sought. I just liked the attention.
  • Awesome by Analysis: He's just as good at solving puzzles as he is at crafting them. He once was able to determine the exact value of the Iceberg Lounge brand T-shirts down to the cent, taking into account the thread quality, the cost of foreign sweatshop labor, and the Penguin's knack for turning a good deal.
  • Bad Boss: Surprisingly, Riddler is one of the few villains in Gotham who isn't one of these. Even in the Arkham games the worst thing he does to his lackeys is replace them with robots.
  • 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 eluded capture and 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 Boast: In the 1960s episode "A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away", as seen at the beginning of this tribute.
    Riddler: Royalty? You've never met royalty? Just whom do you think stands before you, my cherub? I am the Prince of Puzzlers, the Count of Conundrums, the KING OF CRIME! I hold court here! NO ONE ELSE!
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Thanks to Gorshin designing a new outfit, and later Batman: The Animated Series, 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.
  • Bat Deduction: His riddles were often the catalyst for the Trope Namer.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Seems harmless and goofy, doesn't he? WRONG.
  • Big Bad: He's one of the main antagonists in the sixties show and the sole antagonist of Batman: Zero Year.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Echo and Query, his two hench-girls from the comics.
  • 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 Batman: 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 acts more like a blunt weapon than a walking aid. His Batman: The Telltale Series incarnation carries a question mark-shaped Blade on a Stick.
  • Catchphrase: Sometimes has a tendency to introduce his riddles with "Riddle me this."
  • The Chessmaster: 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'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 Batman: Gotham Adventures, it's brought up that his compulsive nature prevents him from reforming even if he genuinely wants to.
  • 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.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Amplified in the Adam West show, where even Joker thought he was nuts.
    Joker: You're mad, Riddler!
  • Complexity Addiction: He is incapable of crimes without putting in elaborate riddles or clues. This is either due to a natural compulsion and/or a need to prove his mental superiority to others.
  • Composite Character: The Arkhamverse version has some elements of the Calculator (an Evil Counterpart to Oracle) worked into his characterization.
  • Cool Shades: Increasingly the Riddler is shown wearing a pair of round sunglasses instead of a Domino Mask, which was carried over in the Gotham version of the character.
  • Covert Pervert: Once "accidentally" walked in on Selina Kyle naked.
  • The Cracker: Most contemporary versions of the character, including the ones featured in the Arkham series and the animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham, depict him as a master hacker and programmer; in the former, he manages to crack even Batman's secure feed while cloaking his own location from Oracle, and in the latter, he's the only person besides Amanda Waller herself who knows how to disable the bombs wired into the members of the Suicide Squad. His computer genius also appeared in "What is Reality?", an episode of The Animated Series that predates both of the above and featured the then-cutting edge technology of virtual reality games; Riddler created one of his own and used it to entrap Commissioner Gordon.
  • Criminal Mind Games: His M.O.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He actually decided to cut himself one: After Infinite Crisis, he briefly reformed and went into business as a Private Detective, 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.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • "When Is A Door" had The Riddler bemoaning the fact that comics have become grittier, asking just when did the Joker start killing people?
    • The War of Jokes and Riddles had The Riddler in his darkest portrayal in his history, willing to murder someone's son just to Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
  • Dastardly Dapper Derby: 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? And thanks to Batman: Arkham City, he might be a nerdy Jigsaw.
    • Though he is generally an opponent that must be defeated mentally rather than physically, how well he can handle himself in fight tends to vary. Some modern writers have gone for a sort of middle ground, where he starts out as a noncombatant, gets beat up a few times too many, and brushes up on his fighting skills.
  • 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... During his tenure as a private detective, he swapped this out for a pair of Cool Shades.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • He is known as El Acertijo (The Riddle) in Latin America, a mostly faithful translation. Since there is no equivalent for riddler in Spanish, the translators used the word riddle instead. It worked and has a good ring to it, being one of the names that stuck in Latin America when name translations for DC and Marvel properties started to be phased out.
    • In Canada, his name in French is classier as Le Sphinx, sharing the name with the riddle posing monster in Greek Mythology that Oedipus outwitted.
  • Enemy Mine: A number of stories have him helping Batman solve a mystery. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: 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 if it keeps him out of jail or furthers his goals.
  • Evil Genius: 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.
  • Fallen Hero: His Arkham video games and Gotham series counterparts both worked as police scientists before turning evil.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He may seem Affably Evil when he's in a good mood, but his disposition can quickly take a hard swerve into dismissive Smug Smiler on a good day, and Ax-Crazy 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.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Several adaptations which have tried to move on from the Domino Mask have instead put in him a pair of glasses. The Arkham games in particular reflect this trope, as does the TV series Gotham.
  • Giggling Villain: In the sixties series, even more so than the Joker.
  • Going Postal: Not as originally written, but recent adaptations tend to make him a bitter former employee of a big company (maybe even Wayne Enterprises), or the police force, with him turning to evil because he felt his work wasn't appreciated. Of course he'd never settle for a simple shooting spree, though.
  • Great Detective: During his "reformed" period, he becomes a private consultant and taking on the murder case of a wealthy socialite. He showed investigative skills that rival those of the Dark Knight.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Batman. His whole goal is to prove that he's better at deduction than him.
  • Handicapped Badass: Appeared as one in Brian Azzrello's Joker.
  • Harmless Villain: Frequently. Even in the Dark Age, he tried to avoid needless violence, though it all depends on the writer. Best shown in The Question #26.
  • 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:
    • 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 Batman: Arkham Knight. 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. Not... one of his better days.
  • I Am Not Spock: In-Universe, he absolutely hates being compared to the Joker, explaining that the Clown Prince of Crime's schemes are pure chaos compared to his own strokes of brilliance and clever clues.
  • Idiosyncrazy: He has super-OCD according to some comic book creators.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Once pulled this out when challenged by the Penguin to guess the profit made on the Iceberg Lounge's high-priced promotional T-Shirts, just for fun. Riddler took into account the weave of the shirts' fabric, the cost of overseas sweatshop labor, and knowledge of Penguin's own unscrupulous business practices to calculate the production cost down to the cent.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: A variation: he'll occasionally use classic children's jokes and riddles for his messages while giving them a deadly twist. In one example, he sends challenges to the GCPD including "Why did the cabin go on a diet?" and "What time do you go to visit the dentist?", which Commissioner Gordon successfully deduces to be a warning to be at the Gotham Lighthouse ("because it wanted to be a light house") at 2:30 ("tooth-hurty"). Sure enough, a bomb goes off at that moment, destroying the building.
  • Insufferable Genius: He's the self-declared smartest man in Gotham and he doesn't mind lording it over that big dumb Bat at every opportunity. It gets especially annoying in Batman: Arkham Knight, where he talks about his intellect compared to the other characters about every five seconds of his interactions with Batman and/or Catwoman.
  • Karma Houdini: His Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: Arkham Origins counterparts.
  • Kick the Dog: He laughs at people who can't solve his riddles. Oh yeah, and if they fail those riddles they die.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: He murdered 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. Cory Michael Smith's incarnation is influenced by both of the above.
  • Last of His Kind: He occasionally plays this role in a philosophical sense, overlapping with Living Relic. Riddler rose to prominence during the campy 60's period of the Batman mythos and is one of the only villains to get through that age relatively unchanged (as opposed to other villains who appeared on the Adam West TV show and in the early comic books, only to fall into obscurity). He's also one of the few villains in the rogues' gallery that doesn't go out of his way to kill people, and is even morally opposed to the idea. As such, Riddler can be used to represent the Silver Age's campiness, silly plots, and wacky crimes —comic books before the 80's made things Darker and Edgier—in a way that even Joker can't. Neil Gaiman's "When Is a Door?" sums it up with a surprisingly poignant quote:
    Riddler: And there were all these guys that you never see anymore—King Tut, Bookworm, Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, Egghead...where did they all go? Batman and Robin were part of the fun—they were the straight men, but we were the stars. No one ever hurt anybody. Not really. Nobody look around these days, it's all different. It's all changed. The Joker's killing people, for God's sake! Did I miss something? Was I away when they changed the rules...?
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: Pretty much his M.O.
  • Lost in Translation: A recurring problem with Riddler are his riddles in translations. Riddler uses a lot of puns for his riddles that don't have an accurate translation or substitute in other languages, making him one of the hardest characters to translate and understand.
    • An example would be a riddle from Batman: Arkham City, "You're a dummy if you don't try and buy one". Dummy can both mean a puppet like Scarface, and an idiot. In the Spanish translation, since there is no equivalent to dummy, it had to be translated as "eres un bobo si no intentas comprar uno", with bobo just meaning "fool", making the riddle incomprehensible for Spanish-speaking players.
  • Master of Illusion: His Superfriends incarnation specializes in this.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Formerly one of the few Batman villains to be genuinely sick - even back in the 1960s.
  • Nice Hat: It started with Frank Gorshin, but even in the comics, he's now often found wearing a snazzy black/green bowler hat.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In Batman: Arkham Origins, 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.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: One of the best-known examples in comic books. His own minions have pointed out that if he could just get over the whole "leaving riddles" thing, his crimes would be incredibly profitable and make him extraordinarily rich and powerful. But wealth and success aren't enough for Riddler—he needs to show off how smart he is. If the world isn't cowering before his intellect, it's not enough to give him any pleasure.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • "Dark Knight, Dark City", "Zero Year", and "Riddler's Reform" show that if Riddler ever stepped up his game, he would actually beat Batman.
    • The reaction many had toward his appearance in the Batman: Arkham Series can be summarized as "they actually managed to make the Riddler scary". Not to mention he actually has a boss battle in Batman: Arkham Knight, piloting a giant robot suit he personally made for destroying the Dark Knight.
    • In the second season of Batman: The Telltale Series Riddler appears as a major antagonist trapping people into jigsaw-like contraptions and exhibits elements of a mad villain with using his sharp question-mark cane to slit a person's throat and tearing off a guard's face during his escape prior to the events of the season.
    • "The War of Jokes and Riddles" during Batman (Rebirth) showed just how evil the Riddler could get when pressed by someone like The Joker.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: His doctors question whether he's insane or just childish.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: During Catwoman: When in Rome.
  • Odd Friendship/Villainous Friendship: During his stint as an Anti-Hero, he and Penguin ended up becoming pretty good friends. Penguin even admitting that Edward was one of the few supervillains of Gotham he could hold sane conversations with without the insanity of the other villains.
  • Offing the Offspring: Implied to have killed his daughter, Enigma.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Riddler often has surprising amounts of money and resources at his disposal, shown to be from successful offscreen crimes.
  • Order Versus Chaos: He is kind of the Order to The Jokers Chaos, as riddles are somewhat like a more serious version of jokes (indeed, the two often overlap).
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He hates losing.
    Riddler: Impossible! You cheated, you must have.
  • Psychotic Smirk: A trademark of his.
  • Pungeon Master: Particularly in the Silver Age, Riddler loved to make the answers to his riddles be in the form of a pun. It's still present to this day, although not nearly to its earlier extent. Some of the more infamous moments of Bat Deduction are essentially Batman successfully anticipating which pun Riddler is using this time.
  • 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, so it was changed into Nashton being his birth name, from his father, which would explain why he changed it.
  • Reconstruction: That's what happened to the Riddler when Batman: The Animated Series dealt with him. Instead of copying Frank Gorshin's now overused take of a giggling trickster, the writers reimagined him as a usually smooth and calm intellectual Badass in a Nice Suit who can genuinely challenge Batman in their contest of wits. That in turn intrigued the writers in the comics to restore the Riddler to a regular and credible enemy of Batman.
  • Reluctant Psycho: He's crushed at how his insanity renders him incapable of not leaving Batman riddles that lead to his defeat. He's also disappointed that his compulsive nature keeps sending him back to crime, rather than permanently reforming.
  • Ret-Canon: Frank Gorshin in the live action Batman created the green suit and bowler hat look as an alternative for the spandex. 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 not the Trope Namer for nothing.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant:
    • Temporarily during No Man's Land where he wisely left Gotham while the getting was still good and tangled with other heroes, leading to a particularly embarrassing defeat at the hands of Green Arrow. Nygma never got over this particular defeat, and after his post-Hush Humiliation Conga, he returned to Star City for a rematch against the Emerald Archer. He nearly killed Ollie and still managed to escape capture.
    • During the New 52 era, he relocated to Central City and nearly got Barry Allen arrested just for the sake of proving himself better than the Flash.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: He tends towards green outfits with purple highlights.
  • 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.
    • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, he does the same. He wasn't very concerned with escaping from Arkham City, though.
  • Shadow Archetype: He's a reflection of Batman's nature as an intellectual.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He's perpetually seeking to prove himself as the smartest person in the room.
  • 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. In Batman: Arkham City:
    Riddler: And as you lie blubbering on the floor like an ignorant child, you'll know... that the Riddler is better than you!
  • Spell My Name 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 later, Dr. Chase Meridian in Batman Forever and another towards Miss Kringle in Gotham.
  • Super OCD: A rather interesting example that developed over the years. In his initial appearances, and especially the Adam West TV show, his constant riddling seemed more like a choice than anything else; he only added puzzles to his crimes to taunt the police, and even, on one occasion, deliberately gave riddles with false answers to throw the Dynamic Duo off his trail. As the decades progressed, though, his leaving clues became a genuine compulsion that he has to act on; he also gained a Freudian Excuse in the form of a father who would beat him for (supposedly) lying about his intelligence, leaving Edward with a fanatical need to tell the truth in every situation, albeit cloaked in cryptic references and puzzles. All told, it's a surprisingly well-researched look at obsessive-compulsive disorder and malignant narcissism.
    • As noted in the quote under Tragic Villain below, he once decided to find a work-around in his disorder by leaving clues to other villains' plots. That way, he can satisfy his need to give puzzles and get away with crimes of his own. It seems like the perfect arrangement—until Batman hunts him down anyway and reveals that the clues he wrote actually contained a secondary hidden riddle that led the Caped Crusader right to him. And Edward didn't even realize he was writing that riddle; his need to give himself away is so deeply ingrained that his subconscious mind will act on it if necessary.
    • Riddler's OCD is taken Up to Eleven in Batman: Hush. After successfully working out Batman's identity and pulling off the biggest crime spree in Gotham's history, he's sitting pretty and thinks he has Bruce Wayne totally in his power...until the Caped Crusader poses a question—"What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?"—that everyone knows the answer to ("Time to get a new fence"). Batman then weaponizes Riddler's disorder by pointing out that, if he goes public with his new information, the question "Who is Batman?"—a true Riddle for the Ages In-Universe—will become a worthless puzzle...and Edward's mind is so fundamentally damaged that he's physically unable to let that happen.
  • 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.
  • Tongue-Tied:
    • 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.
  • Too Clever by Half: His Fatal Flaw.
  • Tragic Villain:
    • In The Batman he became a villain after his lab partner sabotages his invention to discredit him as a scientist and get rid of him after he tells her about his father, all without him suspecting this for years. His lost chance at the lab causes him to adopt the Riddler persona when he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against who he thought ruined him. He takes the truth even worse.
    • In Batman: The Animated Series 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 Abusive Parents 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 Failure Is the Only Option.
      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... I might actually be crazy.
    • In Gotham, his abusive father relationship is Adapted Out (presumably), in favor of being teased and bullied by his peers and others, with himself completely oblivious to it...until he develops a psychotic, murderous split personality mirroring his mild-mannered, meek one that takes him over after he 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 Nygma in the end.
  • The Trickster: His riddles can prove very difficult.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The reason he always loses to Batman is that he's so full of himself.
  • Villain Decay:
    • 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.
  • Villain Has a Point: Sometimes he's actually right in his arguments against Batman.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He's had a lot of these over the years.
  • Villainous Friendship: Most of the other rogues can't stand him, but he's genuinely close to The Penguin and even calls him "Ozzie" more than his actual name. When Penguin believed he was going to die in battle, he granted Eddie the key to the Iceberg Lounge, and Eddie clumsily if sincerely thanks Penguin for being the only person he can really talk to in their business. In Gotham, their relationship is... a bit more complicated, but still mostly friendly, especially by the end of the series where they're all but stated to be the other's Only Friend and True Companion.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: On occasion, his hired goons will ask why he doesn't just stuff Batman in a death trap or steal a fortune in cash and be done with it. His answer? Riddles are the whole point of committing crimes!
  • 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.


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