jlroberson: (Default)
[personal profile] jlroberson posting in [community profile] scans_daily

Now that I have scans of every freaking issue of BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS(I out-nerd you all for all time)--In response to(and supplemental to) this excerpt from RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE and the suggestion it's resting on something too obscure for most, here is the basis of what Morrison is doing. (That and Amadeus Arkham's Bat-Demon that he thought he was binding)

From summer 1990, certainly not a year when Batman projects were low-profile(I worked in a comics store that summer; believe me, this sold) an overview I've stitched together from Batman 452-454 by Peter Milligan and Kieron Dwyer, "Dark Knight/Dark City." You should track this down. Not collected, strangely, though the Riddler is the next movie villain, so it will be, because there are so few great Riddler stories. And this is a great Riddler story, my feeling being on him that everyone always forgets how genuinely threatening and nasty, like a clever, murderous and egotistical weasel if it were made a man, the Riddler really is. Done well he's not silly, he's creepy as hell--his silliness, as Gorshin portrayed it, wasn't funny(and Gorshin, though a comedian, was not trying to make him funny, just wild)--if you were really looking at his eyes and face, it was intense and scary, someone who was always on a knife edge. And he is in this story. I don't include what he does to the baby. But I will say none of this is out of character for the Riddler, even granted he's under the influence of something. In his way, more dangerous than the Joker when he's "on." Best of all, this is a totally Frank Gorshin Riddler. I always though Nigma and Milligan were a perfect pairing, given Milligan's love of plots and narration/dialogue playing Nabokov-like with games of words and logic. And some of the best Riddler art ever)

And this is the Barbatos ritual, with the man(though unnamed here) who will be, I'm betting you now, Dr. Hurt. This is a little gem Milligan left Batman with a long time ago, and I'm glad Morrison finally decided to pick up this fertile thread. (Too bad the execution in this particular issue of ROBW is so slapdash, unusual in a story that's so far been done beautifully) Anyway, be confused no more. Here is the force at the core of Gotham.

You could also argue that he's what Reggie Mantle would be if he were a Batman villain. Rock that widow's peak, Eddie! (When did he get the brown, full hair, anyway?)

(PS if interested: This week's LULU.)

Date: 2010-07-31 12:54 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Have to say I never warmed to this story, mostly because of it's take on the Riddler. Obsessive yes, absolutely. Prone to temper flare ups? Absolutely. Prepared to kill Batman and Robin in overcomplicated death traps? No problem, though there'd always leave an out if they were smart enough, because he wants to outsmart them more than kill them. The occasional henchman or criminal rival? Well, yeah, perhaps, but that comes with the territory.

Chatting to demons and prepared to murder random innocents? Nope, not liking that at all.

Date: 2010-07-31 01:08 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Oh Barbatos influencing him I can accept, but IIRC they also make a point in this story, that whilst Batman believes this, no one else does, and from then on he's viewed as having crossed a line by himself.

I just have to go back to my usual: IMO, these are Gotham villains. They're meant to be threatening.

Not really (IMHO to of course), they're meant to be CHALLENGING, specifically; challenging to Batman. They can be threatening to him (and by association, Robin and Gordon) all they like of course, but too many of them have veered into murder-death-kill territory to pander to some sort of lowest common denominator, when they really didn't need to.

Date: 2010-08-01 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
There is, however, a great deal of difference between being willing to JEOPARDIZE innocents who might get in the way, and being willing to directly put them in the path of death. Anyway, back then ALL Batman villains were willing to jeopardize innocents - those were not the days of deep and thoughtful characterization of antagonists. Villains were villains, and villains, even the relatively harmless ones, were rotten to the core - except for Catwoman, and that was because she had the hots for Batman. (Anyway, what I'd like to know is, where the hell'd he get an ear of corn that big?'

Date: 2010-08-01 09:49 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
I'm not getting the reference. Who is this Mr. Oldenburg?

Date: 2010-08-01 12:06 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Oh. Alrighty then. Yeah, he probably would have gotten on well in Gotham.

Date: 2010-07-31 02:43 pm (UTC)
seriousfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seriousfic
I agree. Every attempt to turn the Riddler into the Joker Lite (like that lame GA story where he scarred himself with question marks or something?) just takes away what makes the character so interesting; he doesn't want to kill Batman per se, he wants to outwit him. The moment Eddie reformed, he became a much richer kind of antagonist, just like Catwoman becoming a love interest or the Penguin owning the Iceberg Lounge.

Date: 2010-07-31 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
I think Riddler does it to prove he's the smartest guy out there, reformed or not.

He shouldn't be going around with murder on his mind, if someone dies it should simply be a case of them not being smart enough to get out of a death trap.

Date: 2010-07-31 02:47 pm (UTC)
kagome654: (Riddle me this)
From: [personal profile] kagome654
I do like the occasional reminders that the Riddler isn't (just) a playful and harmless trickster, at his core he's a vicious, mean little sneak, but this story (demon influenced or not) always struck me as too blatant. Right about when he shot that guard in the face I remember thinking 'Yeah, no...this isn't working for me.' It's an intense and well done story, and certainly worth the read, but when people mention it as the Riddler story I....furiously disagree, I guess (though I'm hard pressed to think of which story I would consider the best).

I always thought the Riddler's patient interview tapes from Batman: Arkham Asylum did a pretty good job at capturing several facets of his personality. I don't know if I can embed here, so here's a link for those who may be interested.

Date: 2010-07-31 03:34 pm (UTC)
kagome654: (Sheepish)
From: [personal profile] kagome654
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you thought it was 'THE Riddler Story,' it's just that I've heard it described that way before at other forums and it irks me. You've explained why it probably shouldn't be viewed that way really well (better than I ever have, since I usually just grumble about it), it isn't really about who he is, it's about pushing him and his MO to a frightening extreme.

It is very well done (I couldn't deny that even if I wanted to) but I am glad that Eddie isn't taken in this direction too often.

Date: 2010-07-31 02:51 pm (UTC)
nickfury90: movie-verse Spidey (Default)
From: [personal profile] nickfury90
I love, love, LOVE this story. One of the finest Batman tales of all, and I actually got some respect for the Riddler(who at worst is a one-trick pony and at best is Joker-lite).

Date: 2010-07-31 08:10 pm (UTC)
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dr_von_fangirl
The Riddler is hardly Joker-Lite. In fact, much like all of Batman's rogues gallery (or at least, the vast majority of them) he's the representation of a counterpoint to one of Batman's own characteristics.

Whereas the Joker is the Bright!Manic!Joyous! to counteract Batman's Grim!Gritty!Dark!, the Riddler is the counterpoint to Batman's intellect. The Joker challenges the dark knight from an emotional standpoint--he evokes an emotional, visceral reaction from the hero through acts of senseless violence; the Riddler, on the other hand, evokes a response from the rational, logical side of him. They work on entirely different levels as villains.

One of the reasons we never see a good Riddler story is that with a character whose IQ is so outrageously high, it's hard for writers of average--or even above average--intelligence to come up with a scheme/clues/riddles/motivations worthy of that intellect.

The beauty of Edward as a character, I think, is that he's not limited to a single end result to his crimes. Yes, he leaves riddles behind, but the Master Plan itself can be anything. The Riddler can be about blackmail, theft, manipulation for the sake of manipulation, power, attention, 'redemption'--whether real or not--any number of things.

In many ways, the Joker is far more predictable as a villain than the Riddler is. The Joker is pretty much guaranteed to kill/maim someone in the course of his crime, no matter what the crime is; the Riddler might or he might not. And while I don't think that makes him scarier than the Joker, I think it makes him a formidable foe for Batman at the very least.

Date: 2010-07-31 11:03 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Agreed, it's one of the reasons that there are so few Riddler stories in BTAS, because they found him the single hardest villain to write, it either ended up too Joker (and in "Mad Love" it's reversed, with the Joker noting that one of his plans was "Too Riddler!"), or all but impossible to justify WHY he'd be carrying out a crime like that.

I quite liked the take they had on Riddler in the "Justice" maxiseries which was that thanks to a father who beat him if he lied, the Riddler is psychologically incapable of not telling the truth, so whilst he can commit crimes without a problem (So he can be as dishonest as he wants provided he's NOT lying), he couches everything in cryptic clues and riddles to hide what he's really up to.

Date: 2010-07-31 07:40 pm (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
This is also a reminder of how good Kieron Dwyer can be when he really puts his back into it.


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