DCAU #148: Why Is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?

IN THIS ONE... Batgirl tries to solve the Riddler's clues to save her father.

CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Joe Staton and Rick Burchett.

REVIEW: Wow, a GOOD Riddler story that's actually about solving riddles? These are rare, precious things. And it's totally great that Batgirl is its star, because 1) Barbara is dead smart and her storie should focus on this as much as they can; and 2) with the Riddler spending all his time ranting about Batman as his one true adversary, the realization that there are other people who can outwit him out there make for an excellent punch line.

At first, I found the riddle du jour and its solve a little hard to grasp, but reading back and thinking about it, it all makes perfect sense. The insistence of the Gordons that the Riddler's word choice is always exact pays off too, not only defusing the Riddler's threat, but in retrospect, explaining what he was going on about. The Riddler claims not to want to be caught and punished, but still needs to "earn" his freedom from Arkham, to undo, in a sense, his defeat(s) at Batman's hands. The riddles keep Batgirl busy, but also keep us in her head as she slowly solve the plot. And hey, it's the Riddler as he should be used, in a low tech battle of wits. All this electronics nonsense the animated series spawned was perhaps more visual, but never worked for me.

Unfortunately, I can't give the art as much praise. I like Joe Staton on non-superhero stuff, but am not a fan otherwise, and while here he's doing his version of the DCAU house style (you can't tell it's Staton) and is heavily inked by Burchett, there are still problems. Barbara's face is frequently off-model, either looking like a 12-year-old or a 50-year-old who's had her lips done. And some of the acrobatic action is incredibly wonky. But this comes and goes. I think it's generally acceptable to good.
REREADABILITY: Medium-High - I like this old-school Riddler story a lot, and it's a great vehicle for Batgirl. Shame about the art.


Toby'c said...

I remember reading this one at my library years ago, possibly one of the first two or three Batman comics I ever read.


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