Viewers met The Riddler on the silver screen. Now comics will help readers really get to know him.
batman is a box-office smash. Understandably, DC Comics has no intention of letting that success go by without capitalizing on it.
In addition to the TV spinoffs currently in the works, DC has announced Riddler: Year One, a comic book written by Paul Dano and Stevan Subic. Firmly set in the new movie’s continuity, the book will attempt to answer questions about the Riddler that the movie left unanswered.
Some readers might already recognize the name Paul Dano as the man who played batman‘s Riddler, and no, saying his name was not an accident. For the first time in Batman comics, one of the movies’ actors dives in to pen their own story. Stevan Subic will be inking the book. His work by him, seen in French publisher Glenat’s Conan the Barbarian comic (alongside writer Christophe Bec and illustrator Giulia Brusco), relies on heavy shadows, hard lines, and grim expressions. In other words, just perfect for a Batman book.
The prequel novel Before The Batman (no listed author) already dropped some tidbits about the Riddler. It covers Bruce and Edward in the years leading up to Batman’s reign and Riddler’s terror campaign. Edward Nashton gets a lot of attention, with the book arguably offering more insight into Riddler than Batman. As Bruce spends his resources street racing and modifying test cars, Edward delivers food to keep himself in school. Bruce nearly runs over Edward on one of his escapades from him, sparking his disdain for the wealthy.
Since the prequel novel touches briefly on Riddler’s movie-universe origin, it almost seems like there are not enough questions for the comic to answer. But some threads still linger, and Dano would be wise to tie up some loose ends. For one thing: who is Patrick Parker? Riddler was arrested with two different IDs, each with his face on it. One reads ‘Edward Nashton,’ his name in the comics, and the other is ‘Patrick Parker.’ This could allude to him eventually changing his last name from him to Nygma, but there could be a number of other implications. For example, was Parker once his victim, or is this just an alias?
The Batman’s prequel establishes Nashton’s grudge against the Wayne family, but it doesn’t include the class-conscious motives present in the movie. The book excluded his streaming career from him. They set up Edward’s fascination with puzzles, but it’s basically his only hobby. Riddles aren’t exactly super streamer-friendly. Maybe Nashton took up CS:GO or Minecraft. Perhaps he sat in a hot tub and read donation messages until he garnered a significant following. It’d be nice to see this highlighted in the pages of Year One since his internet community did the bulk of Riddler’s legwork.
While movie tie-in comics are pretty standard for DC, it’s not every day that a comic-movie actor turns around and writes a comic for his character. Keanu Reeves has won over many readers with his work on 2021’s BRZRKR (with Matt Kindt, Ron Garney, Bill Crabtree, and Clem Robins), but even though the protagonist carries his likeness, the comic is still an original property. This is more like if Heath Ledger penned an origin story for his Joker back in 2009 or William Dafoe writing a Green Goblin book. Perhaps this will set a trend, or maybe this will kill any possibility of actors writing comics in the future. However it turns out, it’ll certainly be something for any Batman fan to check out.
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