DCAU #92: Riddler's Reform

IN THIS ONE... The Riddler becomes a spokesperson for a toy company, but still can't help committing riddlesome crimes.

CREDITS: Written by Randy Rogel, Alan Burnett and Paul Dini; directed by Dan Riba.

REVIEW: Yet ANOTHER failed reform story (the next episode makes three in a row), and probably the Riddler's best. I haven't been very enthusiastic about the way he was played on the animated series, with all the elaborate death traps and giant mazes/board games, but this felt much more like a classic Riddler tale. The riddles are subtle, to the point where you might think Batman is reading too much into them, and the death trap, when it does occur, is simple and elegant, with just the right touch of wackiness. The episode actually primes you to think Batman is being unfair to the Edward Nygma, he and Robin painted as dark black figures through most of the tale, while the Riddler's world is one of colorful brightness, and his henchmen such simple doofusses, they might actually be part of a benign scheme that puts Batman through his paces, but has nothing of the criminal to it.

And it would be to Nygma's advantage not to give in to his criminal impulses - wealth, fame and love are his for the taking - but his obsessions cannot be denied. The episode intimates that he is driven by vanity - getting all those conversations in the mirror - and that he must prove himself by defeating Batman. Indeed, had Batman perished in his death trap, that might have truly spelled the end of his psychosis. We see him burn his mask and uniform, giving up the game now that his one true nemesis is dead. But he isn't, and Nygma is instead condemned to circle the drain of mental health trying to figure out how Batman escaped. Batman's a good crimefighter, but maybe not a great psychologist. Which, fact it, is what a lot of his enemies need.

I do want to mention the animation, this time around, because while Season 3 has been near flawless to date, the movement in Riddler's Reform is particularly exceptional, whether we're talking about fight choreography, or humanizing gestures. Top notch stuff.

SOUNDS LIKE: Patricia Alice Albrecht who plays Brenda (the woman who flirts with Nygma) was Pizzazz on Jem and the Holograms. William Katt, the star of The Greatest American Hero, is the voice of Zowie, the youngest of the Riddler's two henchmen. The eldest, Manny, is played by Robert Pastorelli who was the recurring house painter on Murphy Brown. As for Charles "C.B." Baxter, the toy mogul, that's Peter Mark Richman, who played, among other things, Chrissy's dad on Three's Company, and Andrew Laird on Dynasty.

- The Riddler finally gets a strong episode.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine