Special “Villains Month” Title: Riddler 1
Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, Jeremy Haun
Forever Evil Crossover / Zero Year Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
This Batman tie-in, like last week’s Batman and Robin 23.1 (Two-Face), this is this week’s crown jewel in the Villains Month releases. Ray Fawkes (with a little plot assistance from series regular writer Scott Snyder) joins artist Jeremy Haun for a Riddler solo story that proves that yes, you can do a one issue story in the ever-expanding world of trade paperback only storylines. And they do so magnificently. This is, dare I say it, a perfect comic.
We witness the Riddler four years ago, in Arkham Asylum, having his playing cards taken away from a cruel security guard. Then, we flash forward to today, after the events of Forever Evil cause rioting and chaos (nudged and escalated by Edward Nygma, of course) outside of Wayne Enterprises. We then get a nifty little Ocean’s Eleven-esque casual break-in, leading to a revelation that the head of Wayne’s security detail is in fact, that very same Grumpy Gus from four years ago at Arkham. We are also treated to the fact that Riddler broke into Wayne’s headquarters not because of the events of Zero Year (how are you NOT reading that story?) or even to exact his brutal yet fitting revenge on the guard. No, he does so because he can. And, you know, because he’s bored. So the end of the issue shows Nygma setting up camp on the roof of Wayne Enterprises and just patiently playing solitaire while he awaits Batman’s inevitable return. He’s just killing time and riding out the storm.
Never before has the Riddler been more perfectly portrayed. This issue is well worth the extra dollar for the awesome cover by Guillem March. And though this is a one-shot by nature, it successfully does what every one-and-done comic book should: It references past stories (Zero Year) and leads into new events (Forever Evil) to build excitement and reward the devoted longtime readers, all while simultaneously telling a complete story that makes perfect logical sense to a new reader. Like I said. A perfect comic. Well done, guys.
My Rating: 5/5