DCAU #119: Christmas Riddle

IN THIS ONE... The Riddler takes the Peregrinator's Club hostage and points out potential Dynamic Duos among the patrons.

CREDITS: Written by Paul Dini; art by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett.

REVIEW: As previously mentioned, the Riddler is a difficult character to write for, or rather, making riddles engaging can be difficult. Paul Dini avoids all that by making the riddle secondary to the whole thing, by including fun henchpeople (that's his thing) in Quiz and Query (great names!), by playing on Nygma's mastermind abilities, and finally, by seeming to make HIM try to solve a riddle, the riddle of Batman & Robin's identities. He even kind of comes close, and one of the best beats is the Arkham crew watching events unfold on TV and wondering why they never made those deductions. But since Bruce and Dick AREN'T members of the Peregrinator's Club, he comes up short, and in a mid-point twist, we find out this public spectacle was just to distract from a heist going on in the background. The Riddler is being quite smart, in fact.

Bruce isn't a member of the Club, but his father was, and there's a very sweet moment when Batman reflects on the boy who was promised to someday join Thomas Wayne at its annual Christmas dinner. The nostalgia of the holiday season is palpable. The story also includes the Riddler dressing up as Santa, incendiary Christmas trees, and lots of snow outside, but I'm not sure it earns its title, "Christmas Riddle". That element of it, and the real crime being committed, isn't Christmasy.

And I must say, though I liked Mike Parobeck's work a lot, Ty Templeton is more dynamic, and gives you more panels for your buck without sacrificing clarity. The fights, the chases, the danger, and the rescues are properly exciting, and the quieter moments poignant. I don't mind the change at all.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Though the Peregrinator's Club first appears here, it would go on to very occasionally feature in mainstream Batman stories in the late 2000s. Detective Comics' Year One Annual (#8, 1995) introduced its own version of Quiz and Query called Query and Echo (this issue is dated Jan 1996 so comes after); they were once erroneously referred to in a story as Quiz and Echo ('Tec #798, 2004). In Batman Chronicles #3 (1996) however, the Riddler's henchwomen really ARE called Quiz and Query, or rather, Query and Quiz (got all that?).

REREADABILITY: Medium-High - The Riddler fares quite well in this story that packs a lot of action, but also some pathos.


LiamKav said...

Dunno if it's relevent enough, but in the comics the Riddler DID figure out Batman's identity, but (I think) that was because a Lazarus Pit gave him "clarity" or something.


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