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Alternative versions of Riddler

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Alternate versions of Riddler
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDetective Comics #140 (October 1948)
Created byBill Finger
Dick Sprang
See alsoRiddler in other media

As a fictional character and enemy of Batman, the Riddler has been represented in a variety of different stories that redefine elements of the characters appearance and personality. Each work typically establishes its own continuity, and sometimes introduces parallel universes, to the point where distinct differences in the portrayal of the character can be identified. This article details various versions of Riddler depicted in works including various alternative universe stories.

Possible futures[edit]

Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again[edit]

The Riddler can be heard saying "ruh-riddle me this" in Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again.[1]

Kingdom Come[edit]

The Riddler appears in the miniseries Kingdom Come, having been invited to a meeting of the Mankind Liberation Front by Lex Luthor. In this alternate future, the Riddler has become an old, bald man wearing glasses with question mark-shaped rims. He still indulges in his habitual riddling, asking "Who is the Riddler?" when Luthor referred to him by his real name. He appears to have been invited to the meeting only upon the insistence of Selina Kyle, as Luthor does not appear enthused by his presence.[2]

Other universes[edit]

Joker[edit]

File:Hipster riddler.PNG
Edward as he appears in Joker.

A radically different interpretation of the Riddler is featured in Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo's Joker. In this version, he wears a solid green jacket with question marks on the very back of it and a circle of question mark tattoos around his abdomen. His cane serves the purpose of helping to prop him up, due to a disabled leg. In the story, he sells an unknown substance to the Joker, who identifies him as "Edward".[3]

Thrillkiller[edit]

In the Elseworlds miniseries Thrillkiller, Nygma is a psychiatrist who counsels Barbara Gordon. Doctor Edward Nygma, author of Riddle Me This — What Do We Really Mean?, keeps Barbara dosed with increasing amounts of Valium and encourages her to mix with people that she actually loathes. Edward wears a green suit and the cushions of his couch bear the pattern of the Riddler's outfit. Alfred, Barbara's butler, takes the drugs away from her at the request of her father Commissioner Gordon, who considers Edward to be a quack.[4]

Batman: Earth One[edit]

The Riddler makes an appearance at the end of Batman: Earth One. He is the main antagonist of the sequel, who attempts to stage a coup to take over Oswald Cobblepot's criminal empire after his death, and sees Batman as a threat to his plan.[5]

Batman/Judge Dredd: The Ultimate Riddle[edit]

In the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover Batman/Judge Dredd: The Ultimate Riddle, the Riddler uses a reality-manipulating wand-like device he acquired during the Zero Hour crisis to pull Batman, Dredd, and six alien warriors together, intending to pit Batman against the other warriors and get him killed. However, Batman and Dredd are able to work together to overcome their opponents, culminating in Dredd shooting Riddler in the shoulder and Batman claiming the device, subsequently using it to return the survivors home.[6]

Justice[edit]

The Riddler's appearance in Alex Ross' 12 issue series Justice suggests a new motivation, that, as a child, he had been beaten by his father whenever he told a lie, to the extent that he was now psychologically incapable of telling a lie. His riddles are his method of subverting his condition so that he is still technically telling the truth, but always in as cryptic a manner as possible.[7]

Antimatter Universe[edit]

The Riddler has a heroic counterpart in the antimatter universe called the Quizmaster, who is a member of Lex Luthor's Justice Underground (that Earth's version of the Injustice Gang) which opposes the evil Crime Syndicate of Amerika. He first appeared in JLA Secret Files 2004 #1. He later has the right half of his face burned by Ultraman, leading him to don a half-face and temporarily take on the name "Enigma". He last appeared in the Trinity series. As the New Earth Riddler slowly became a lighter, less criminal figure, Enigma became a darker figure in this series, attempting to join forces with Desparo and Morgraine le Fay to perform a ritual that will allow them to 'supplant' the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and gain the power to manipulate the multiverse. In the course of the series, it is revealed that Enigma seeks this power to save his daughter after she was mortally injured, but the ritual fails when Desparo is replaced by one of his henchmen in an attempted coup, creating an imbalance that destabilises reality until Trinity's allies can regain enough of their own memories to help their loved ones come back to themselves. Similarly, on Earth-3, the Riddler's heroic counterpart (simply Riddler) is married to Three-Face (Evelyn Dent) and is the stepfather to the Jokester's daughter, Duela Dent.[8]

Emperor Joker[edit]

In the "Emperor Joker" storyline, the all-powerful Joker creates an alternate Riddler, known as "Enigma", to be a member of the Joker's League of Anarchy along with alternate versions of Poison Ivy and Bizarro. After learning of the Joker's plans to destroy the universe, he leads the League in an uprising against him. The Joker's vast and amazing powers cause the plan to fail, and the entire League is destroyed as a result.[9]

Batman: Crimson Mist[edit]

In the third issue of the Batman vampire series Batman: Crimson Mist, the Riddler appears in a morgue where he shoots the mortician who was about to start an autopsy on a corpse where the Riddler had stored a large number of drugs. The Riddler in that appearance has a big question mark-shaped scar on his face and another one on his chest with his navel being the dot. While shooting he cites what would be his final riddle: "When Genius becomes dope plus 'E' how does she redeem herself? Answer: By turning 'Heroine' which minus the E is 'Heroin', lots of it and redeemable for lots of cash," at which vampire Batman appears and scolds the Riddler for graduating from robbery and extortion to drug trafficking and murder. In a panic, the Riddler begins to fire at Batman only to find that his bullets have no effect on him. Stunned, the Riddler asks Batman what he is, to which Batman replies: "The answer to life's every riddle: death and hungry darkness." With that, Batman proceeds to drain the Riddler of his blood.[10]

The Batman Adventures[edit]

In The Batman Adventures #2, the Riddler makes yet another attempt to go straight.[11] While reformed in issue #11, the Riddler struggles to avoid the temptation of crime as well as planting riddles. To remedy that, Batman recruits the Riddler to answer a great riddle: "How did the Penguin succeed in becoming mayor of Gotham City?".[12] In the process, he is heavily injured by the Clock King, which ends up with him in a coma in issue #12.[13] The series was canceled before the Riddler's fate could be resolved. The story planned for the Riddler would have him emerging from his coma stricken with amnesia, allowing him to solve the greatest riddle: "Who Am I?".[14]

The character was featured in several issues of The Batman and Robin Adventures. In his first appearance, he holds an entire Christmas party hostage, convinced that Batman and Robin are among the crowd. This issue is also the debut of his two assistants, Query and Echo, in the DCAU continuity. In a later issue, he kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and threatens Gotham City with deadly nerve gas. Since Batman and Robin fail to show up, Batgirl is forced to take on the Riddler alone and save her father.

The Riddler is featured prominently in Batman: Gotham Adventures, a spin-off of Batman: The Animated Series.

Injustice: Gods Among Us[edit]

In Injustice: Gods Among Us's prequel comic, when the Justice League come to remove the patients of Arkham, only to be resisted by Batman and Nightwing, the Riddler watches the argument between the heroes in silence. He was about to make a riddle but Cyborg orders him to be silent. Cyborg next plans to remove him but is stopped by Batman when he activates a virus he had uploaded into Cyborg years ago.[15] Riddler is freed by Harley Quinn alongside all the other inmates to attack the heroes. The Riddler is seen about to crush Batman's head with a large rock but hesitates as he tries to think of a riddle to say before committing the act, allowing the Green Arrow to knock him out with a boxing glove arrow, before being beaten down by Robin.[16]

Teen Titans Go![edit]

In the tie-in comic to the Teen Titans animated series Teen Titans Go!, one issue focused on a villain named "Kwiz Kid", whose plan was to stump Robin with riddles in an attempt to get a date with Killer Moth's daughter, Kitten. Kwiz Kid is possibly a younger version of the Riddler as he bears a number of similarities to the Riddler in both style and physicality, even down to wearing a green suit with a question mark as his symbol.[17]

Batman: White Knight[edit]

The Riddler made a minor appearance in the 2017 series Batman: White Knight. Riddler, along with several other Batman villains, is tricked by Jack Napier (who in this reality was a Joker who had been force-fed an overdose of pills by Batman, which temporarily cured him of his insanity) into drinking liquids that had been laced with particles from Clayface's body. This was done so that Napier, who was using Mad Hatter’s technology to control Clayface, could control them by way of Clayface's ability to control parts of his body that had been separated from him. Riddler and the other villains are then used to attack a library that Napier himself was instrumental in building in one of Gotham City’s poorer districts. Later on in the story, the control hat is stolen by the Neo-Joker (the second Harley Quinn, who felt that Jack Napier was a pathetic abnormality, while the Joker was the true, beautiful personality), in an effort to get Napier into releasing the Joker persona.

References[edit]

  1. Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #1-3
  2. Kingdom Come #2
  3. Joker
  4. Batman: Thrillkiller # 1-3
  5. Batman: Earth One
  6. Batman/Judge Dredd: The Ultimate Riddle
  7. Justice #5
  8. JLA Secret Files 2004 #1
  9. Emperor Joker #1
  10. Batman: Crimson Mist
  11. The Batman Adventures #2
  12. The Batman Adventures #11
  13. The Batman Adventures #12
  14. "Batman Adventures: Tribute - The Comic - Ty Templeton". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  15. Injustice: Gods Among Us #15
  16. Injustice: Gods Among Us #16
  17. Teen Titans Go! #15

External links[edit]


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