Batman #23.2 (Riddler)
By Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, and Jeremy Haun
After reading every Villains Month issue (so far), it appears to be a mixed bag. A few are great, some are good, and a few are pretty crappy. The books that are the best aren’t the ones that are necessarily reinventing the wheel or trying too hard to be different, the writers that truly “get” the characters are putting out the best content.
When the average person looks at The Riddler, he looks ridiculous. To be fair, in numerous mediums he has been portrayed as such. However, the hardened Batfans/comic readers know better. The dude is a scary psychopath that can rival some of Batman’s greatest villains in terms of craziness and resolve. This is exactly what Ray Fawkes gets right.
Receiving help with a script from Scott Snyder certainly helps, but the main writing credit goes to Fawkes. He doesn’t bore us or demean the fans with some lame and new origin, he just lets Nygma do his thing and what he does is both insane and glorious. Riddler has his motives for what he is doing, which only make sense to him and he’s ok with that. By the end of the issue, your jaw drops in disbelief. How can somebody be so nuts? Not only that, but Ray finds a way for you to feel sorry for the guy. Fawkes has always been technically proficient with his writing and as of late, his character work has vastly improved. It’s not easy to feel sympathy for a crazed killer.
Jeremy Haun’s pencils on The Riddler issue are solid, and with John Rausch on colors, it gets even better. The panels are set up to flow perfectly with the story, so splash pages really hit home and have more significance than just looking awesome. With great drawing and some beautiful color work, this issue is stunning.
The Riddler is a worthy foe for Batman, and that’s exactly what Snyder/Fawkes show in his solo issue. Not only is this story entertaining, but Haun’s art makes it gorgeous. This is easily one of the best Villains Month issues and even if this is a gimmick from DC, The Riddler makes it worth it.