Posts tagged ‘Edward Nigma’

Detective 837 – Harley Quinn and the Riddler, crime fighters

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher give centre stage to the Riddler and Harley Quinn in Detective 837 (Dec. 2007), a tie-in to the Countdown weekly miniseries.

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Edward Nigma’s agency is not doing as well as he had hoped, but things look to be turning around when Bruce Wayne comes to him with a case.  One of his employees has gone missing, along with an experimental serum, and Bruce offers the Riddler a hefty sum to retrieve it, and find the woman.

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The Riddler tracks her to Athena’s spa, a centre for the empowerment of women, which has become home to Harley Quinn, as seen in Countdown.

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Harley relates the circumstances that saw her leave the Secret Six, something that occurred between their miniseries and ongoing book.  Harley, along with Deadshot, Cat-Man, Scandal Savage, Knockout and Rag Doll, had been hired to protect an ambassador’s daughter during a parade.  Instead, Harley and Rag Doll got into a fight, which distracted everyone enough for kidnappers to steal the girl.  Harley got fired.

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Holly Robinson, Catwoman’s sidekick, is also at the spa, as per Countdown, and joins the Riddler and Harley as they deal with the thief, who injects herself with the serum to take them down. It does not have the desired effect.

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The Riddler retrieves the rest of the serum, returning it to Bruce Wayne.  We learn that he hired the Riddler and paid him well, simply to keep him content as a detective, and less likely to return to crime.

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The story ends as Athena turns over vial of the serum, extracted from the thief’s blood, to DeSaad.

Harley, Holly and Athena and her spa continue their storyline in Countdown.

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Detective 828 – Batman and the Riddler on the case

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher return on Detective 828 (April 2007), as the Batman and Riddler work on the same case.

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Matthew Akins, Bruce’s friend from the first story of Dini’s run, returns in this tale, running into Bruce Wayne at a costume party aboard a yacht.  Bruce was dressed as Zorro, but dramatically unmasked by the Riddler.  Matthew winds up falling overboard, dying apparently after being eaten by sharks.  But both Batman, and the Riddler, suspect there is more to it.

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Looking into Matthew’s past, and his sudden flush of cash that made Bruce suspicious of him in the earlier tale, Batman finds clues that lead to the museum, where he had recently been working.  Batman discovers the Riddler already three, and unconscious, on the same trail he is.

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Oh, and Batman finds the killer as well.

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The Riddler revives, while Batman is on the ropes, and to everyone’s surprise he stands his ground and defeats the costumed villain.

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Batman solves the rest of the case, how Matthew’s girlfriend, who worked at the museum, had been using him to sell off antiques.  But greed spelled the end for the poor guy.  The Riddler offers to share the credit with Batman, who has a number of good reasons to refuse.  But the offer, following the heroics during the fight, pretty much show the Riddler to be one of the good guys now.

Detective 822 – The Riddler becomes a detective

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The Riddler switches teams in Detective 822 (Oct. 06), by Paul Dini, Don Kramer and Wayne Faucher.

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Bruce Wayne gets implicated in a murder investigation, and the Riddler is on the scene as well, hired by the secretary of the victim.  He is playing to cameras, but sincerely seems to be doing his best to solve the case. He has shed his old persona (although not the outfit), and decided to use his wondrous brain for the common good.  And for fame and fortune, the legitimate way.

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The police are embarrassed.  Bruce Wayne was never a serious suspect, they just needed information about a photograph he appeared in – which turned out to be of a double.

Batman allows the Riddler to join him as he works on the case.  He does not seem to either really trust or distrust Nigma, but keeping him close seems to be the wisest bet.

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Nigma makes big press solving the case, but Batman sees that he has merely found the solution the actual murderer intended him to find.  Batman confronts the secretary, and explains her intricate murder plot.

But the Riddler still gains fame, and respectability, even though his solution was wrong.  Edward Nigma continues to be a supporting player in Dini’s run.

Detective 705 – the Riddler, Cluemaster, Query and Echo

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Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and David Roach launch a highly entertaining, three-part story that has the Riddler and Cluemaster together for the first time, beginning in Detective 705 (Jan. 97).

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The story also brings back Query and Echo, the Riddler’s sidekicks from his Year One origin in last year’s annual.

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Nigma is in the hospital, and we see how his broken arm int he previous issue was intended to get him to where he wants to be.

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As Query and Echo rampage through the city, they also break Arthur Brown out of prison.  At first, he is not recognized by the police, who believe the girls have a hostage.  Sergeant William Pettit makes his first appearance in Detective.  A trigger-happy cop, he was introduced the previous year in the Man-Bat miniseries.

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Query and Echo bring the Cluemaster to the roof of a building, which the police have surrounded.  Their plan seems to make no sense, and things look bleak when Gordon realizes that they are holding Cluemaster, not believing that this is all happening without his consent.

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The roof escape is great.  Huge and garish, suiting the two villains, as the radio tower is blown up and used as a bridge to the next building.

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Cluemaster is not surprised that the Riddler is none too fond of him, and I do enjoy how Nigma contrasts the two men, who methods seem so similar.  For Nigma, the riddles are part of the entire meaning of his existence.  For Brown, they are just a gimmick.

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So the Riddler puts Cluemaster in the centre of his new caper, strapping a bomb to him, and making him solve the riddles he usually sends to Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 703 – Gotham goes dark

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Detective 703 (Nov. 96) is a Final Night crossover, by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna.  The sun has been consumed, and as the world slowly freezes, many heroes gather to try to figure out a solution. But not in this issue.

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This issue largely follows Robin and the Huntress, as they patrol Gotham together, and discuss what it means to work with Batman, and the problems he has with the Huntress.

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Intercut with this is a radio disc jockey giving a very bleak show, insisting that there is no hope and everyone will die.  People are actually listening to this, for some reason.

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There is also a brief sequence, setting up the next Riddler story, in which another inmate breaks Nigma’s arm, at Nigma’s request.

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The disc jockey almost gets killed by a couple of muggers on his way home after the show, but is saved by Batman, who tells him to have faith.

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Not bad, but it adds little to Final Night.

Detective Annual 8 – the origin of the Riddler

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The origin of the Riddler is the subject of Detective Annual 8 (1995), one of the Year One annuals released this year.

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Chuck Dixon and Kieron Dwyer do an admirable job of being faithful to the original story, while expanding it to carry the length of the issue.  Dwyer’s art captures some of the look of Batman: Year One, but in a way that the Riddler does not look completely out of place.

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The story delves more into Edward Nigma’s neglected childhood, and his being bullied at school, to give more weight to his decision to cheat on the puzzle contest, and the brief burst of recognition that came with it.  He begins a life of crime, but finds it no challenge.  His first riddles are sent to the police in general, but it’s Jim Gordon who reads them.

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His first encounter with Batman, which weaves away from the original tale, comes as a shock for the Riddler.  He had assumed Batman was nothing more than an urban legend.  But he has found his worthy adversary, and now his crimes would not be complete without a teasing clue sent to Batman beforehand.

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The story weaves back to the original tale with the billboard and its crossword clues.  Having had no success convincing any real hoods to join up with him, the Riddler’s first two sidekicks are women, Echo and Query.

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While the police interpret the clues to mean that the Riddler is going to rob a banquet at the Basin Street Hotel, Batman suspects the clues may have another, less obvious, meaning.

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The underwater bank robbery (Basin St bank-wet) is far more impressive than in the original tale, with the water being used to fool the hi-tech safe, and make the robbery far easier.

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The Riddler and his sidekicks get caught, of course, and he winds up in Arkham, where he launches into his rant (the story we just read) to show the sanity behind his madness.  Sadly, the doctor was on lunch break at the time.

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