It’s easy to feel sympathetic for The Riddler here. Chuck Dixon and Kieron Dwyer cover a little of his pre-costume days, but mostly they’re telling a semi-sequel to Batman: Year One. The only time Batman’s ever sympathetic–he seems a vicious bully otherwise–is when he and Jim Gordon banter a bit.
Through The Riddler (who narrates), Dixon keeps reminding the reader it’s not a Batman story and it isn’t. It’s the story of an angry, unexceptional young man. Dixon’s characterization of Edward Nigma is compelling for just that reason. There’s nothing special about him whatsoever, except his self-awareness.
Dixon goes a little quick in parts–some more with the childhood scenes would have been nice, along with some more with his weird female sidekicks (who Batman uncomfortably wails on)–but it’s a fine origin rehash.
Dwyer’s artwork is simply fantastic. It’s frantic, emotive and always measured.
Questions Multiply the Mystery; writer, Chuck Dixon; artist, Kieron Dwyer; colorist, Richmond Lewis; letterer, Albert DeGuzman; editors, Darren Vincenzo and Scott Peterson; publisher, DC Comics.