Riddle me this! What lures bats but never catches them? The Riddler! Why leave a trail of a “perfect” crime? If he’s so smart, why isn’t he rich? When is a villain not so bad? Where can you find these answers? Let’s find out!
Edward Nashton was raised by his abusive father who thought there was no way for his son to be smarter than him unless he was cheating. This instilled in Edward a desire to prove he was the smartest person, even if he took shady ways to get there, he wanted others to be stumped even by the proof he’d leave for them.
During a school contest which involved solving a puzzle box and doing so the fastest. Knowing he could solve it and deserved to show off his smarts, Edward broke into school and practiced with the puzzle box until he’d perfected it. Come time for the contest, Edward would solve it in no time and was rewarded for his criminal behavior while stroking his ego.
As a young man, Edward would work carnivals and using his skills to con people out of their money. Changing his name to Edward Nygma, E. Nygma, he’s make hismliving outsmarting those around him. Finding himself unchallenged by rubes his life would change when stories of Batman began to spread. The World’s Greatest Detective, well surely this modern day Sherlock needed his Moriarty. Who better than Edward himself? He knew the answer to that riddle immediately.
Soon, Edward was working his way up the crime food chain, making a name for himself as an informant and consultant. As the landscape of crime changed in Gotham, Edward flourished, adopting his carnival suit and becoming the Riddler, he’d begin performing impressive crimes and leaving riddles behind that would lead only the smartest people to find him. Believing only he was smart enough to solve them, Edward was intrigued when Batman actually could keep up with him. Not as big a fan of the punches to the face, but still, this hero really was smart, but Edward had to be smarter, right?
He was considered one of Batman’s most reasonable rogues and while he’d often work with other criminals, he’d be the voice of reason. His compulsion to leave riddles behind was equals parts ego as it was just funny to him. There ere times even Batman would come to him for consultation and Edward was as smug as could be if he got to be someone the Batman had to come to for advice.
Edward would get the answer to his most frustrating riddle, who is Batman? He’d lord this over the Dark Knight until he got a severe head injury where he’d get amnesia and even lose his own identity for a time. Rebuilding himself, he’d remake the Riddler from super criminal to super private detective. Using his notoriety, Edward would become a favorite amongst Gotham’s wealthy to hire a reformed villain turned hero. He’d even work with Batman on cases, and get hired by Bruce Wayne for a case. He’d bring on fellow reformed villain, Harley Quinn for a case and he would help Harley, Selina Kyle, and Pamela Isley form their own team.
In the New 52, Edward Nygma is a strategist at Wayne Enterprises who works for Bruce Wayne’s uncle the then current CEO of the company while Bruce was traveling the world. He’d use his time and resources here to help set up Zero Year in which Edward plunges Gotham into an apocalyptic scenario with him ruling over Gotham. Batman would reveal himself and raise to prove he is and will be Gotham’s protector.
There you have it folks! The Riddler is one of my favorite of Batman’s rogue’s gallery and he’s got quite the look. He’s been on TV, live-action and animated, he’s been on the big screen, he’s a pillar in Batman’s story. He is Batman’s opposite with regards to his genius, Batman does not gloat or lord over his intelligence while it’s all Edward has. Well, that and his cane, its a really sweet cane. See you next time!
Detective Comics #140
The Long Halloween
Legends of the Dark Knight