- "Life's full of questions, isn't it, Batman? Though, naturally, I prefer to think of them as riddles."
- ―The Riddler [src]
The Riddler, (Edward "E." Nigma, also spelled Nygma by some writers), is an enemy of Batman. Created by writer Bill Finger and artist Dick Sprang, he first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (October 1948).Known for his purple domino mask and green question mark-covered costume, either as a skintight cat suit or a business suit and bowler hat and his special question mark shaped cane, the Riddler is obsessed with riddles, puzzles, and word games. He delights in forewarning police and Batman of his capers by sending them complex clues.
Like most Batman villains, the Riddler has become a darker, more three-dimensional character in recent years. Whereas he was once portrayed as a playful but sane criminal trickster, he is now the victim of an intense obsessive compulsion. This was first introduced in the 1966 issue of Batman (titled, "The Riddle-less Robberies of the Riddler") in which he tried to refrain from leaving a riddle, but failed. This compulsion has been a recurring theme, albeit with a darker edge, as shown in a 1999 issue of Batman Gotham Adventures, in which he tried to commit a crime without leaving a riddle, but fails: "You don't understand. .. I really didn't want to leave you any clues. I really planned never to go back to Arkham Asylum. But I left you a clue anyway. So I... I have to go back there. Because I might need help. I... I might actually be crazy."
The Riddler was popularized by Frank Gorshin’s over-the-top, Emmy-nominated portrayal in the 1960s Batman television series. Jim Carrey played the Riddler in the 1995 film Batman Forever with Gorshin as his inspiration, although the concurrent Batman: The Animated Series preferred to show the character as a calmer, intellectual egotist, more obsessed with proving his own cleverness than in creating puzzles. In the animated series The Batman, The Riddler is presented in a sinister and Gothic fashion with a love of crime and a taste for computer hacking.
OverviewEdward Nigma discovered puzzles when he was a young boy, and he gradually incorporated them into his criminal career. Issue #2 of Justice by Alex Ross suggests that his father physically abused him, which left him with a compulsion to tell the truth (materializing through the telling of riddles), as well as a desire to prove his superiority by outwitting everyone around him.
The Riddler's criminal modus operandi is so deeply ingrained into his personality that he is virtually powerless to stop himself from acting it out. He cannot simply kill his opponents when he has the upper hand; he has to put them in a deathtrap to see if he can devise a life and death intellectual challenge that the hero cannot solve and escape. However, unlike many of Batman's themed enemies, Riddler's compulsion is quite flexible, allowing him to commit any crime as long as he can describe it in a riddle or puzzle. He often has two female assistants, named Query and Echo. In Batman Secret Origins Special, Riddler proclaimed that he had four henchmen named "Mark, Mark, Mark, and Mark".
The Riddler's compulsion stems from parental abuse that he endured as a child. After Edward got high scores on some important tests in school, his father, unable to grasp the fact that his son was brilliant and believing he had cheated, beat him out of envy. This, in theory, left him with a strong internal desire to tell the truth, and prove his innocence. This desire manifests itself in the form of his obsession with riddles. His madness, as well as his descent into crime in general, may also have roots in a yearning to rise above the anonymity that he possessed in his youth.As Edward Nashton grew older, he opened a crooked carnival booth involving a diabolical puzzle. The customers would compete to solve the puzzle for prize money, but if they failed to do so, they would have to pay Nashton a small fee for competing. In every case, Edward rigged the puzzle in advance to ensure that the customer would always fail.
Unsatisfied with the small pickings of the puzzle booth, Nashton closed the carnival attraction and a confident Edward announced to himself he was clever enough to use his wits for crime and baffle the upholders of the law.
Nashton concluded he would commit puzzling crimes and always fix the duel of wits between him and the law so he would always win. Donning a green costume covered with question marks, he turned to crime and set out to achieve infamy as the Riddler.
At first, the Riddler proves initially successful, launching a crime wave across Gotham City. Batman soon deduced that the new villain was leaving baffling clues for the law in advance of each crime and began acting on the clues to thwart the Riddler's puzzling crimes, although Nashton swiftly evades capture again and again.
The Riddler's last riddle clue asks, "Why is corn so hard to escape from?" Batman concludes that the answer is included in the fact corn is also known as maize, which sounds like "maze" when pronounced. At the scene of his next crime, Nashton fled into a complex maze he had designed to be the ultimate death-trap and challenged Batman, who had entered the maze in pursuit, to escape from the labyrinth before a bomb, hidden in one of the many passageways, goes off. Batman escaped, but the explosion knocked the Riddler off a pier and sent him plummeting to his supposed doom.
But by the time two months had passed, the Riddler made it clear he had indeed survived his fall and resumed his crime wave, robbing cash prizes from a nationwide puzzle contest.
The Prince of Puzzlers was finally apprehended when he gave the citizens of Gotham City a charade clue which he anticipated would draw huge crowds to the Gotham Museum, where Nashton planned to steal some Egyptian artifacts and escape in the crowd. However, he was thwarted when Batman and Robin arrived and captured him before he could make his getaway.
After being paroled from prison, the Riddler returned, and wishing for all of Batman's attention, helped the Dark Knight solve his latest case and apprehended criminals he has been preoccupied with chasing. Now with Batman's full-time and attention, the Riddler sent him a puzzling riddle, which convinced Batman that the criminal was out to rob a flawless black pearl from a Gotham millionaire. Batman and Robin seized the Riddler with the pearl, only to learn he had lawfully purchased it with his own money. Later, when he arrested the Riddler as he fled an art gallery with a priceless relic, Batman was shocked to learn the villain had lawfully inherited it from his uncle.
Shortly after, Batman and Robin figured out the Riddler had given them another puzzle-clue in the form of their two most recent encounters. The first scene of the first encounter being at the millionaire's yacht, the second at the Peale art gallery. Batman discovered there were actually two clues, one set to mislead him and the other revealed the Riddler's real crime. Batman decided that one of the clues was too easily unraveled and must've been a false lead. Thus, the other clue must predict the scene of the Riddler's next crime. Solving the latest riddle, Batman rushed to the scene of the crime and caught the Riddler red-handed in the middle of a robbery, easily apprehending him.
The Riddler later appeared in The Question, being convinced to become a "big-time villain" by a prostitute he met on a bus. He hijacked it and began asking riddles, killing and robbing anyone that got them wrong. The Question quickly subdues him by asking him philosophical riddles in return. He was outwitted and had a nervous breakdown before being set free as a reward for getting one last riddle right.
In the one-shot "Riddler and the Riddle Factory", the Riddler became the host of an underground game show that focused on digging up dirt on celebrities. Many of the famous people that he humiliates end up committing suicide shortly afterwards, suggesting that perhaps the Riddler did more than just inspire their deaths. In the end, his actions turn out to be a front for his attempts to find the hidden treasures of "Scarface" Scarelli, a Gotham City gangster who lived long before Batman's reign of crime-fighting.
Riddler had a working relationship with The Cluemaster, although he initially resented the villain for seemingly copying his modus operandi. In their first encounter, he set his fellow rogue up with a bomb and sent Batman off chasing riddles that would lead to its being diffused, as well as away from his real plan: to steal a vast amount of priceless baseball merchandise. The two teamed up on a few occasions afterwards, and were working together on a big scheme shortly before Cluemaster's apparent death in the pages of The Suicide Squad.
He seems to be more rational and cautious than his fellow rogues. During the Batman crossover storyline No Man's Land, after Gotham City is ravaged by an earthquake and Arkham Asylum freed its inmates, Riddler elected to flee Gotham rather than stay behind in the lawless chaos that ensued.
It is during this period that he made the poor choice of attacking Black Canary and Green Arrow in Star City, where he was easily defeated.
In the 12 part storyline Hush, it is revealed that Riddler had suffered from cancer, which also afflicted Dr. Thomas Elliot's mother. Riddler used one of Ra's Al Ghul's Lazarus Pits to rid himself of the disease, and offered Elliot the chance to cure his mother as well, provided he paid a large sum of money. However, Elliot was in fact eager for his mother to die in order to inherit her fortune. Elliot, who went on to secretly become the masked criminal known as Hush, explained that he would only give Riddler the money he wanted if Riddler played along with his "game" to get revenge on his childhood friend Bruce Wayne; Riddler agreed, and the two of them set Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, The Joker, Clayface (Johnny Williams), and Scarecrow out to destroy Batman, with Ra's and Talia Al Ghul, Lady Shiva (In Ra's's employ) and Superman (Temporarily under Ivy's control) being temporarily drawn into the scheme as well.During the psychotic break that followed exposure to the Lazarus Pit, Riddler deduced Batman's secret identity, and that Jason Todd was once Robin. He then told Clayface to impersonate Jason in order to torment Batman, who was haunted by the former Robin's death. Batman first thought that Riddler had stolen Jason's corpse and hid it outside of Gotham Cemetery, but it turned out that Jason was alive the whole time. When Riddler threatened to reveal Batman's identity (Commenting that "Now the world is my oyster. Right, Bruce?"), however, the Caped Crusader mocked the threat as harmless, stating it was like the old joke about "What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence"; if Riddler revealed the answer to the riddle "who is Batman?", it would become worthless, something Riddler wouldn't be able to stand. Riddler hadn't even told Clayface Batman's true identity when he was posing as Jason, the one thing that would have made the impersonation perfect, and had only told Hush because he had to. In addition, Batman warned the Riddler that if he revealed the secret, it would give Ra's al Ghul a vital clue that he used a Lazarus Pit without his permission, and the League of Assassins would subsequently retaliate against him.
The fallout from Riddler's failed scheme would be played out in Batman: Gotham Knights #50-53. In the story "Pushback," Hush reappears and beats Riddler senseless across a rooftop. Seeking refuge, Riddler would go to the Joker and the Penguin. He would offer to tell the Joker who had killed his wife if the Clown Prince of Crime would protect him from Hush. The Joker agrees, but eventually Hush, with the help of Prometheus, defeats the villain, forcing the Riddler to flee for his life.
In Detective Comics #797-799 the Riddler faces a great humiliation at the hands of Poison Ivy in the storyline entitled "Low", which took place the same time as "War Games" In this encounter, the Riddler would seek shelter from Ivy only to be humiliated. Riddler and Ivy then faced off in a physical duel, which Ivy won easily.
Riddler was stripped of his deductive powers and left to rot as a member of Gotham City's vast and invisible homeless population. A chance encounter with an ex-NSA codebreaker gave him a positive environment in which to recover his mind. During that stay, he experienced an induced flashback that led him to realize that his father had abused him many years ago. His father, unable to grasp that his son was brilliant, believed he had cheated in his accomplishments, and beat him out of jealousy. Once Riddler discovered this, he also realized that his compulsion was born out of a strong desire to tell the truth to prove his innocence of deception.
Having made this connection, the Riddler spent some of his vast fortune, acquired over many years of crime, to get minor plastic surgery and extensive tattooing, covering most of his torso with his trademark question insignia. He returned and killed the codebreaker- who had pieced together his identity but couldn't act on it- then promptly stole a priceless scroll out from under Batman's nose. Since then, the Riddler has spent most of his time either legally amassing a huge fortune or attacking various heroes in order to prove his newfound power. He has apparently lost the desire to plant riddles or clues at his various crime scenes, although he still enjoys riddles in an abstract sense, and will occasionally make subtle references to them in the course of his crimes. After attacking and nearly killing Green Arrow and Arsenal, Riddler once again escaped before the Outsiders arrived to save them.
The Riddler later showed up in Infinite Crisis #1, with a group of villains attacking the Gotham City Police Department while the city dealt with the chaos resulting from the finale of Day of Vengeance. He was back in his green suit and talking in riddles, even wielding his brass question mark-shaped cane. He was next seen escaping Arkham Asylum during the world-wide supervillain breakout the Society engineered in Villains United: Infinite Crisis Special #1, which took place only days after the prior supernatural disaster. Riddler re-appeared as part of the Society's "Phase Three" attack on Metropolis. He was roundly defeated by the Shining Knight, who struck Riddler with his mace.
In Detective Comics #822, The Riddler returns, having spent much of the previous year in a coma due to the one-sided fight against the Knight. He has seemingly reformed, and is now a private consultant on the murder of a wealthy socialite. Hired by the socialite's father, he successfully - with great flamboyance and in front of the media - proves that a photo of Bruce Wayne apparently implicating him in the crime depicts an impostor, and briefly works with Batman to investigate the crime. As a result of his coma, The Riddler has apparently lost his compulsion for riddles, but retains both his intellect and his mammoth ego. Furthermore, he suffered severe memory loss; upon emerging from his coma, he barely remembers his own name. He does not appear to remember that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same, though he does harbor some suspicions of once knowing something about Bruce Wayne.
The Riddler appeared to solve the case with the suicide of the apparent murderer, and quickly took the credit. However, Batman found evidence that the suicide was a setup to divert attention away from the real killer. Eventually, he loses interest in crime-fighting; he finds his cases irritatingly simple; and may return to crime.
In Detective Comics #828, Riddler is a guest along with Bruce Wayne on board a ship during a party. During the party, an old friend of Bruce's falls overboard and is mauled to death by sharks. Bruce suspects foul play, and eventually tracks down the killer, who Riddler was also close to catching, before Nigma was bludgeoned over the head by a shark-tooth club. The killer pushes Batman out the window, and is about to drop him to his death, when Nigma wraps his tie around an arrow, lights it on fire, and shoots it into the killer's back. As the man rolls around screaming, Nigma taunts him, refusing to douse the flames. Batman extinguishes the flame, and responds to Nigma's assertion that they're now allies with hostile dismissal. Nigma also asks Batman if the shark mauling victim was someone he knew. Batman denies it and leaves.
The blow Riddler receives to his head, followed by his subsequent questioning of Batman's relationship with the deceased has led some to speculate that he may be regaining his memories.
In Detective Comics #837 the Riddler is hired by Bruce Wayne to track down an experimental drug developed by Wayne Enterprises currently being tested for muscle stamina and cellular regeneration which has been stolen by a lab assistant named Lisa Newman. He discovers that Newman is staying at the same Athenian Women's Help Shelter as Harley Quinn. With Harley's help he defeats Newman and returns the drug to Wayne Enterprises.
In Countdown #42, Riddler tells Mary Marvel that he has gone straight and is now a detective. The two join forces to defeat Clayface, and after witnessing Mary's new malicious approach to crime fighting, suggests that she consider finding a mentor to help her control her powers or at the very least get some anger management.
After a grisly serial killer surfaces on the streets of Gotham City, the Riddler hones in on closing the case, only to find that the killer is actually an old victim of his out for revenge. The young man, whose girlfriend years earlier had gotten caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between The Riddler's gang and security guards, captured Nigma and attempted to kill him, but Batman intervened just in time and saved his former enemy's life.
In the 2008 miniseries Gotham Underground, The Riddler investigates the Penguin's involvement with the Suicide Squad. He saves Dick Grayson, who was undercover during the Gotham Gang War between Penguin and Tobias Whale and deduces that Grayson is Nightwing. He appeared in Battle for the Cowl: The Underground, where he was hired by The Penguin to find Black Mask. To aid in his investigation against Black Mask, he tracks down Selina Kyle, meeting up with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in the process.
Most recently, in Gotham City Sirens #1, Poison Ivy is controlling the Riddler, keeping him in a nearly vegetative state so she and Harley Quinn can move into his townhouse and use it as a hideout. When a villain named Boneblaster decides to make a name for himself by killing Catwoman, he takes the battle to the Riddler's townhouse. The townhouse is severely damaged in the following chaos, but the Riddler is freed from Ivy's control in the process. Dismayed at seeing his house in shambles, he takes his old brass question mark cane off of the wall and begins to vent his frustration on the already downed Boneblaster.
Shortly after, the Riddler is attempting to solve a duo of unlikely suicides, the first being the second best female tennis player in the world, the second an ace race car driver. During his re-enactment of one of the deaths, he is visited by both Catwoman and Poison Ivy, seeking his help for locating Harley after her abduction. Due to the events of the first issue, and Harley's mental state, he quickly declines, and brushes off Poison Ivy's threats.
In his efforts, he uncovers that these deaths are in fact homicides orchestrated by a serial killer who leaves subtle clues to the next victim within the body and time of death of the current victim. While attempting to alert the media, he provokes Dick Grayson as Batman. Almost instantly, Riddler deduces that the Batman before him is a new one. Nevertheless, Riddler reveals that the next victim will be the sister of the second victim, a young romance writer, something that Dick needed Alfred and the Batcave computer to figure out.
In the end, Batman goes off to confront the killer, whereas Riddler agrees to look after the intended victim. After a brief, but expected misunderstanding about Riddler's intentions with the young woman, Batman phones in to announce that he has apprehended and questioned not one, but three killers about their intentions, but gets no answers. Riddler almost leaves the woman to her life, when the lights go out unexpectedly. Riddler immediately concludes that Batman has not captured all of the killers, and pulls the woman out of harms way when a bomb goes off in front of her bookstore.
While Riddler and the writer hide as the smoke clears, three costumed assailants enter the wreckage, looking for their victim to mark with their next riddle. The two men are led by a woman going by Conundrum, and their costumes sport black and green color schemes along with disturbingly similar question mark emblazoned on their outfits. As Riddler stealthily disposes of the two grunts via use of his cane, Conundrum manages to take the writer hostage at gunpoint. At which point, Riddler deduces that Conundrum and her men are all college students, who specialize in Police Sciences. Due to his famous rehabilitation, Conundrum's group decided to fill the void with their debut murders. Conundrum even admits that Riddler was her idol, and that it would be a shame to kill him.
At this point, Riddler announces that Batman is en route to their very location, something both Conundrum and the writer have difficulty believing. Riddler claims that since his reform, he and Batman have become close, and that his cane now has its own GPS that alerts Batman to his location whenever the question mark is twisted. Still unbelieving of his claim, Riddler calmly asks Conundrum with a smirk "Why is this man smiling?" After his question has been delivered, Batman shows up and knocks out Conundrum. Riddler then admits that he is completely baffled that Batman is indeed there, since he was only stalling for time until he thought of something, leading him to wonder if there truly is a Batsignal in his cane (a panel during Riddler's "bluff" shows that there is indeed a Batsignal in his cane, as a green question mark alongside a map shows up inside the Batmobile's window).
After the ordeal is over, the young writer hugs the Riddler, thanking him for saving her life. After which, she and the reformed villain go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, with Batman looking over them. Dick admits that Riddler is indeed on a path of recovery, but must still be watched. After washing up in the men's room, Riddler sees a gossip show on a circuit television, showcasing a plainclothes Harley getting into a car with Hush disguised as Bruce Wayne. He then calls Selina Kyle and tells her to turn on her television.
Afterwards, the Riddler goes to attend Arkham Asylum's reopening gala to keep an eye on Kitrina Falcone. Also at the party are Dr. Arkham, Mario Falcone and Dr. Singh from Gene-Core, a company going into partnership with the Asylum. Oracle, angry at Huntress for kissing Dick, makes her go after Kitrina. Unbeknownst to her, the Riddler trailed both women. Kitrina Falcone breaks into Gene-Core's lab, then sets off a bomb, destroying the lab and much of the building.
Having had the bomb go off near his face, Edward has began using his old Riddler eye mask again. He has also been seen to be acting suspiciously lately, suggesting that he may very well be returning back to a life of crime. Some time later, Riddler arrives at his office to find his secretary bound and gagged at her desk, with Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman waiting in his office. The women tell him that they're being framed for the murder of a young woman who's body was dropped into their pool, and they need his help to prove that they had no part in it. After examining the woman's body, he comes to the conclusion that the trio were telling the truth, only to be attacked by Dr. Aesop.
He agrees to help his neutral associates solve the murder, only to find out the trio only used him as bait for Dr. Aesop, whom the women suspected of trying to run them out of their home. Feeling betrayed, the Riddler begins contemplating whether he should return to his villainous roots. Meanwhile, Dick Grayson deduces that the Riddler must have been hired by someone to attend Arkham Asylum's reopening gala, and decides to look into the matter further.
The New 52
In DC's 2011 relaunch of all of its monthly titles, The New 52, Riddler appears as an inmate at Arkham Asylum in Batman #1. Redesigned in the style of the new titles, he sports a green mohawk in the shape of a question mark.
Riddler appears in more traditional form in the short that concludes Batman #15 "And Here's the Kicker", the third part of "Death of the Family". After it is revealed that Joker has secretly hijacked Arkham Asylum, Riddler is depicted as a current inmate, calmly biding his time and taunting guards. But when Joker appears and reveals his great respect for Riddler (as the villain whose dangerous intellect has kept Batman "sharp"), he uses Joker-gas to force Riddler to prove he could have escaped his cell anytime he wanted. To his chagrin, Riddler does, and becomes quite alarmed when Joker shares a write-up of his plan to ambush Batman. Joker admits Riddler will have little part in his designs, but should stick around for the "show" anyway.
After the Batman is subdued by Joker, Penguin, Two-Face & Riddler, the Joker then proceeds to lock the other rogues in a trap to prevent any of them from actually killing Batman. Although the Riddler is able to quickly decipher an escape he unfortunately succumbs to a tranquilizer the Joker had previously given him to nutralize his ability as an escape artist. The Riddler is later apprehended after the defeat of the Joker along with Penguin & Two-Face.
The Riddler later appears as the primary antagonist for both the second and third chapters of the "Zero Year" storyline. In the canon, the Riddler is batman's first masked supervillain, who is not only able to best Batman twice, but is also able to completely take control of Gotham, causing it to become a flooded wasteland where only the intelligent are meant to survive. Although the Riddler continues to be steps ahead of the Dark Knight, he is eventually defeated by the combined efforts of Batman, Commissioner Gordon & Lucious Fox before he could truly destroy Gotham as he originally intended. He is later moved to Arkham Asylum, which is at the time not fit to house such a criminal but is in the process of being renovated to fit the needs.
Later during the "Batman: Eternal" storyline the Riddler appears once again although for only two issues. While Batman and his allies have been battling an unknown villain that appears to have the upper hand, the Riddler has been patiently observing, refusing to take part of the scheme due to his pride forbiding him from doing something so sloppy. It isn't until the Riddler becomes unpatient with Batman's slow progress that he attempts to get the Dark Knight's attention. Although Batman at first suspects that Riddler is behind the latest attacks, Edward rebuttles by explaining that although he wants to defeat the Batman, he is not the mastermind but he does reveal the masterminds identity in the form of a riddle. Despite not being part of the plot, Batman still intends to take him back to Arkham, causing the Riddler to trigger a bomb that starts an avalanche. After tracking the Riddler through the harsh snow, Batman eventually captures Edward and takes him back to Gotham.
Names and Variations
Many adaptations of the Batman mythos have given the Riddler the real name Edward Nigma (or Nygma) or E. Nigma. Occasionally his full name has been given as Edward E. Nigma. Some have depicted this as a false name and his real name as Edward Nashton, who legally changed his name to Edward Nygma. ("E. Nigma" = enigma which means mystery)
In the French and Québécois translations of various Batman titles, his nom de plume has been translated to Le Sphinx referencing the riddle-posing monster of Greek mythology that Oedipus confronted. Sometimes, he's also known as L'Homme-Mystère, which means "the Mystery Man" in French.
In Germany, the villain has been called Mr. Sphinx, as well as Der Rätselknacker (which is a strange translation, because a 'Rätselknacker' in German would be the man to unravel a riddle).
In Italy he is called Enigmista, the literal translation of "Riddler". Similarly the character's Finnish name, Arvuuttaja, is also a literal translation.
In Mexico and Latin America, the Riddler is known as El Acertijo, which literally means "The Riddle".
In Brazil, the character is called Charada, Portuguese translation of "charade" which also means "Riddle".
In Spain, the Riddler is known as "Enigma"
In Denmark, the Riddler is known as Gækkeren, which, loosely translated, is a person, who plays tricks on others, though not necessarily through the use of riddles.
In Sweden, the Riddler has been known as Gåtan, which is Swedish for "the riddle", and sometimes Gåtmannen (=Riddle Man).
In Russia, he is called Ребус (Russian for Rebus). In some translations, the Riddler is also called Человек-загадка (Chelovek-zagadka; literally, "the Mystery Man").
In Greece, he is called Γρίφος (Greek for "Riddle").
In Poland he is called Człowiek-Zagadka (Polish for "The Riddle Man"), or sometimes Pan Zagadka ("Mr. Riddle")
In Hungary, the character is called Rébusz witch means riddle, rebus.
In Chinese, he is commonly called 謎語人, which literally means "Riddle Man".
In Turkish, he is called Bilmececi, the literal translation of the character's original name.
In Czech, he used to be called Rébus (literally rebus), later is called Hádankář (Czech for ,,The Riddle Man").
Powers and Abilities
- Genius-Level Intelligence: Supreme problem-solver, criminal mastermind. His mind excels with puzzles, minds games, and manipulations and also shown to be skilled with engineering and technology.
- Expert Detective: He possesses great deductive skills and analytic ability comparable to Batman.
- Independently Wealthy: Riddler has a vast fortune that he has acquired over years of crime as well as legally.
- Escapologist: Riddler is adept in escapology. Since childhood Edward has been a big fan of the late great Harold Houdini. Using this skill to build his infamous elaborate death traps and to easily escape handcuffs.
- The Riddler's Cane: a steel question mark shaped cane, it has a wide variety of technological devices and weapons, like Holograms, Security Bypass and Electrical Blasts.
- Question Mark Grapple Gun: Riddler has used his own version of the grappling hook pistols used by the Batman Family.
- Automatic handgun: In the Batman Forever Game, it shoots bubbles which can make their opponents blow up like balloons and temporarily float around in the air for a few seconds, if successfully shot at the opponents.
- Gimmick-based items: Exploding jigsaw puzzle pieces and crossword puzzle throwing nets.
- Query and Echo - Two females who serve as Riddler's henchmen and bodyguards. Query's real name is Diedre Vance and Echo's real name is Nina Damfino. (Detective Comics Annual #8)
Frank Gorshin played the character in the series, the first incarnation to wear a green derby hat and jacket on occasion. John Astin played the character in two episodes, the first time the character ever carried cane. In 1979 Gorshin returned as the Riddler in Legends of the Superheroes. The character's real name was never revealed.
Originally The Riddler was going to be the main villain in The Dark Knight before Nolan decided to have the Joker as the main villain instead. Through marketing for the film, it was revealed Edward Nashton lived in the film's universe, and had written to a newspaper.
The Riddler had his first turn in animated form in the Filmation Batman installments first seen on "CBS Saturday Morning" in 1968 as part of The Batman/Superman Hour with a James Cagney type accent. While he didn't appear in The New Adventures Of Batman, he is shown briefly in the opening theme.
He later appeared in Hanna-Barbera's Challenge Of The SuperFriends as a member of the Legion of Doom. Playing off the Gorshin model, this Riddler is a hyperactive lunatic whose contrived riddles baffle all but Batman and Robin. He was voiced by Michael Bell.
He made his only solo appearance in a Superfriend short episode, "Around The World In 80 Riddles", where he sprays Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin with a chemical to reduce their intelligence to that of two year olds.
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman first mentions Riddler in a call to Commissioner Gordon that he halted Riddler's "crossword puzzle crime spree", but Riddler does not appear.
The Riddler makes an on-screen appearance in "Legends of the Dark Mite." He, along with Killer Moth, The Joker, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Kite Man, Mad Hatter, Penguin, Catwoman, Catman, Polka-Dot Man, Tweedledum & Tweedledee, and Tiger Shark appear briefly in Bat-Mite's imagination. He appears in the same pose as on the cover of his comic book first appearance, and he catches Bat-Mite in the same trap as well.
In the teaser of the episode "A Bat Divided!", he hosted the game show "Riddle Me This" telling riddles to a tied up Booster Gold to determine the fate of Batman with every wrong answer given by Booster Gold giving Batman a shock. Batman managed to free himself before the final riddle and then freed Booster Gold and Skeets. Both of them managed to defeat Riddler and his henchmen. The Riddler is voiced by John Michael Higgins.
The Riddler was the main antagonist in the episode "The Criss Cross Conspiracy!" In it, the Riddler, 10 years prior to the events of the episode, crashed the "35th Annual Wordy Awards" ceremony, and commented how proud he was to not have been invited or nominated while grabbing a trophy. However, Batman and Robin appear and combat with Riddler and his goons, and are interrupted by the sudden appearance of Batwoman, aka Katrina Moldoff. While Riddler notes that Batwoman's skills are impressive, he flees from the scene of the crime only to be caught outside of the building by Katrina. He then asks her, "Why are you like a bride on her wedding day?" While Katrina is confused, the Riddler then answers "Because you're about to be unveiled," and unmasks her in front of a horde of news reporters. He is then knocked out by Batman while Katrina is in shock.
In the present day, the Riddler digitally stole money out of Gotham's reserves when Batman ambushed him. Batman threatened to kill him, which surprised the Riddler until Batman revealed he was actually Katrina in the Caped Crusader's body. The Riddler was surprised by this revelation, and knocked out Katrina by electrocuting him/her. He then wraps her in chains above a tank of acid, where the Riddler asks, "When is Batman not Batman? And do you know what the answer is?" Katrina looks at him sternly, and Riddler answers "Who cares?" and comments on he would either be destroying Batman or Katrina in Batman's body, which he states is a win-win. However, Batman in Katrina's body, along with Nightwing, Batgirl, and Felix Faust, charge in and battle the Riddler and his henchmen, until Faust switches back Katrina and Batman's bodies. Batman then knocks out the Riddler again and sends him off to jail.
The Lego Batman Movie
The Riddler makes several cameo appearances in the film voiced by comedian, Conan O'Brien. His design resembles the Jim Carrey version of the character. At one point of the film, the Riddler removes a Lego citizens named Jeff's left arm with his cane. Another prominent scene is when after Batman's villains are trapped in a giant Christmas present, the Riddler is the only villain to question what just happened.
The Riddler has also appeared in several video games based on Batman. He was a boss in Batman: The Animated Series, the SNES and Sega Genesis versions of The Adventures of Batman & Robin: The Video Game, and various video game adaptations of Batman Forever. The SNES game had Riddler re-using the Riddle of the Minotaur Maze from "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" (But this time with the Gordons as hostages) and the chess board from "What Is Reality?". In the Sega CD game, which had fully-animated cut scenes, John Glover reprises his role as the Riddler.
He is mentioned by the JLA's Watchtower recorder in Justice League: Heroes. The message, sent to Batman, is "Just now, a toy sells death".
LEGO Video Games
Batman: Arkham series
DC Universe Online
Riddler appears in DC Universe Online.
Riddler has made several appearances as an action figure as part of Hasbro's Batman: The Animated Series and Legends of Batman lines, Mattel's The Batman line, and Art Asylum's minimates line. He has also been produced as a Heroclix.
He was also part of the line of action figures The World's Greatest SuperHeroes.
- It is interesting to note that, of the four main villains in Batman (The Joker (Cesar Romero), the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (Julie Newmar), and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), the Riddler was the only one to never enter the Bat Cave in the TV series, but in the first film series, the Riddler (Jim Carrey) was the only one who does enter the Batcave.
- A version of the Joker's origin reveals that Riddler was involved with the events that led to Joker's birth. Whether or not this is true has yet to be proven.
- The Riddlers famed catchphrase "Riddle me this" was referenced in the season 5 episode of Smallville, "Haze".
- His name (Edward Nigma) is a play on the word "enigma".