DCAU #296: The Oldest One in the Book

IN THIS ONE... The Riddler leaves clues to OTHER people's crimes.

CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty.

REVIEW: Riddler stories are hard to write, or at least hard to make good, so I'm happy to report this one actually works. The Riddler, now "cured" and out of Arkham, hopes never to cross paths with Batman. BUT since only Batman is up to the challenge of solving his riddles, the game must go on. Edward Nigma thus decides to hole up in a hotel and basically rat out other underworld types by sending clues to the police and to the Bat. Fun! What is even better is that he SUBCONSCIOUSLY also sends clues as to his location, and when Batman figures it out, even though he might not have done anything wrong (as far as Batman knows anyway, are we going to count torturing informants and blackmailing hotel owners?), he voluntarily returns to Arkham. He's NOT cured. And so Batman loses a strange ally in his fight on crime.

Along the way, the Batman Family solves riddles and fights a variety of small time crooks, quickly but entertainingly. I especially like the guy whose sword-cane gets tangled up in Batman's cape. Most of the clues are opaque to people who don't live in Gotham City (therefore, cheats), but the over-arcing clue actually IS something the readers can figure out (great!).

And in addition to the story's innate irony, there's real humor. Nightwing actually pulls a "holy ____, Batman!" moment, fist in hand, right out of Batman '66, and Gordon has trouble with computers. It's all a lot of fun.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: The Riddler really DID at some point start working on the side of the angels as a private eye and sometimes ally of the Batman. The jacket and derby ensemble he wears in one sequence is actually from that iteration of the character.

REREADABILITY: High - An excellent Riddler story, with nice twists, comedy and action.


American Hawkman said...

The Riddler arcs from the end of the series are among the best.


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