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Villain Overview
Riddle me this: The man who makes it doesn't want it, the man who wants it will never use it, and the man who uses it will never know he has it. Give up? A coffin.
~ The Riddler

The Riddler is a supervillain in the Batman comics and media (as well as in the DC universe in general). He is a genius master criminal who is obsessed with riddles and always leaves complex clues for the ones trying to solve his crimes. Unlike Batman's other villains, in most interpretations, Riddler is primarily driven by an extreme obsession with proving he is smarter than Batman and continuously tries to create puzzles and riddles that even he can't solve. Riddler is also one of the few people that managed to discover Batman's true identity of Bruce Wayne (although this knowledge was presumably lost following the New 52).   

History

Modern Age

Edward Nashton was born into a broken home. His mother was never around to take care of him which left him at the mercy of his abusive father. One day, his school held a contest to see who could solve a complex puzzle. Determined to win, Edward broke into the school that night and used its text books to study the problem hard until he came up with a definitive solution. Edward won the contest the next day and was rewarded a book of riddles as a prize. Unfortunately, his father quickly became jealous of his son’s success and accused Edward of cheating before beating him. These beatings would compel Edward to always tell the truth in order to spite his father. However, they would also lead him to become a crazed criminal later in life.

When he got older, Edward left home and got work at a carnival where he used his brilliant mind to con people out of their money. However, Edward desired more of a challenge and decided to pursue a life of crime as the Riddler. Around the same time, Edward changed his surname to “Nygma” before he became an informant for the criminal underworld and soon to Batman as well. Although his relationship with Batman gradually got more antagonistic as time went on until he was a full-on adversary of the Dark Knight, pushing each other's genius to their limits.

Appearances in Other Media

1960s Batman series

Main article: Riddler (Adam West Batman)

Batman: The Animated Series

The Riddler is one of the many villains of the cartoon show, Batman: The Animated Series.

Batman Forever

Main article: Riddler (Batman Forever)

The Riddler is one of the two main antagonists of Batman Forever and was portrayed by Jim Carrey. He teams up with Two-Face who helps finance his crooked corporation NygmaTech with stolen money from every bank in Gotham City in order to make more products of the Riddler's neural energy-stealing grand invention called "The Box" in return for revealing Batman's identity and helping to eliminate him. They were both later stopped by both Batman and Robin during their last battle on Claw Island which results in the downfall of NygmaTech, the death of Two-Face, and the imprisonment of the now-mentally insane Riddler at Arkham Asylum.

The Batman

Main article: Riddler (The Batman)

Batman: Arkham Series

Main article: Riddler (Arkhamverse)

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

In one episode he captures Batman and forces Booster Gold to answer trivia questions in order to free him however Batman managed to escape in time and defeat Riddler. He is later shown in the episode Criss cross Conspiracy that he unmasked the Batwoman in front of everyone thus ruining her life. Batwoman later tried to kill him but was captured by him. Before he could kill her though Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl stopped him in time. He later made cameos in the episodes Knights of Tomorrow, Crisis 22300 miles above earth, and Legend of the Dark Mite.

Scooby-Doo! Crossover

The Riddler appeared as the main antagonist in the 2018 crossover film, Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Batman Under the Red Hood

Here he is shown in a flashback robbing a museum with his henchmen but was stopped by Batman and Robin. He is voiced by Bruce Timm in the movie.

Young Justice

While imprisoned at Belle Reeve Penitentiary, the Riddler tried to get on the good side of one of the ice villains, the head of the prisoners but failed because everyone saw him as a joke. When a massive escape was attempted, the Riddler somehow managed to escape during the confusion when no one else could. In a dimension without any children under the age of 18 (caused by a magic spell by Klarion the Witch Boy and other sorcerers), Riddler infiltrated Gotham's Star Labs. While Sportsmaster incited a riot outside to keep the police occupied, Riddler was able to sneak out with the last sample of Starro.

Riddler staged an ambush of the Team, by baiting them with Chesire and the echinoderm samples. The Team made short work of Riddler and his allies, Mammoth and Shimmer. Riddler was bound and gagged by Zatanna.

What the Team did not know was the ambush was meant to fail, and only served as a ploy to smuggle the echinoderm aboard the Justice League Watchtower.

Holy Musical Batman

The Riddler, along with the other rogues, works together with Sweet Tooth to destroy Batman and put the nuclear Warheads into the water supply of the city. He is portrayed by actress Meredith Stepien.

"Riddle me this, I got a puzzle that will put you to tears, I'm cruel, but never crass." (singing in "Rogues Are We" with the other villains).

Gotham (2014 TV Series)

Main article: Edward Nygma (Gotham)

Edward "Ed" Nygma appears on Fox's television show Gotham, which depicts the character's origin prior to Batman's arrival in Gotham City. He appears as a supporting protagonist in the first season, but during the events of the second season, he develops into one of the series' major antagonists. He is portrayed by Cory Michael Smith.

Batman: The Telltale Series

Main article: Riddler (Telltale)

Riddler appears in the second season of Telltale's series of Batman games called Batman: The Enemy Within. This version is a criminal who had operated in Gotham City many years before Batman, who suddenly resurfaces following the downfall of the Children of Arkham.

Injustice

Riddler made a cameo in Star Labs 142 and 152, where he drops question marks that are said to have a special effect.

Mad

Riddler appeared in the Mad sketch, The Dark Knight at the Museum. He threatens to blow up the museum and kill the cartoon characters thereby giving them remotes that can activate the bombs but is allowing one of them to live. Just then, all of the cartoon characters rushed towards him and beat him to the ground. Batman suddenly kills all of them before he leaves the museum on his motorcycle.

Quotes

Hello, Miss Young. You look tired. Anything you need my help with? Forgive my arrogance, Doctor, but if you think I need your help, well, you're in the right place.
~ Riddler interviewing tape in Batman Arkham Asylum.
What's wrong? Has your primate brain given up and accepted that I ,the Riddler, am better than you.
~ Riddler's game over in Batman Arkham City.
What fun would that be? The whole point of the game is to outsmart the competition... with the danger they'll outsmart you!
~ Riddler
You have eight minutes, gentlemen. Then Mockridge becomes the only good corporate shark. A dead one.
~ Riddler attempting to kill his former employer.

Trivia

  • Despite being introduced and recognized as a Batman villain, the Riddler actually appeared more in the comics as a Green Arrow villain.
  • Riddler has Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (or OCD) which compels him to leave a riddle at the scene of every major crime he commits, even when he doesn't intend to.

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