By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 09/17/2013 12:30 pm EST
Publish date: September 11, 2013 Publisher: DC Comics
When I first heard about what the Forever Evil event would bring to the monthly DC books, I was very excited. Even if they were all only one-shots, giving the creators of these titles a chance to get into the minds of such infamous villains that so many readers love sounded like an amazing opportunity, but one that could also go very poorly if not handled well. Batman #23.2, which focuses on the Riddler, was a must for me, as he is one of my favorite characters. Even if the event as a whole sucked, this one shouldn’t.
At this point I feel that I must implore you, dear reader, to read Forever Evil #1 first. Note, however, that this issue does not tie in to the event as much as this month’s other one-shots do, but is an extended setup. In fact, one of my few complaints about this book is that it really doesn’t tie into or accent Forever Evil at all, but that is easily overlooked.
The book starts off with a flashback, the three most important panels out of the entire issue. They show a bad time, a moment of weakness, and as important as those panels are within the story that is told, they are over quickly. Now is not that time, now is a time for confidence and execution.
Edward Nygma has planned for some time and he has a goal, even if that goal is not obvious. He also has his riddles, which are fun and poignant for this issue. No really, pay close attention to them. This issue was written by Scott Snyder and Ray Fawkes, showing how much this character benefits from real talent (Scott Snyder didn’t have as much to do with him here, but the Riddler’s story will continue in Batman: Zero Year #25). The Riddler’s target is Wayne Tower, which he points out to be the most secure building in Gotham, but nothing is safe from his genius. The Riddler is confident, smug, and even shows spurts of rage, cracks in his usually cool and collected demeanor. Though that may seem uncommon for the character, it adds a lot to the story. Nygma prides himself on being the smartest man in the room and nothing will prove him wrong today. There is only one person that, in his mind, is worthy of matching wits against him.
The Riddler looks great here. This is the version of the criminal mastermind I like to see. Jeremy Haun’s art fits the story well, creating an enemy and an atmosphere that work beautifully with the theme. The action flows and is brutal where it needs to be, telling an engaging story with almost every panel. The cover alone was enough to entice me to pick the book up. It, like several other scenes of the comic, is imaginative.
Batman #23.2 is refreshing and fun, like a heist movie and revenge story from a true subtle psychopath. From what I have read so far, this issue has a good chance of being one of the most memorable one-shots of the Forever Evil event. True fans of Batman’s rogues’ gallery should make the time to join the crown prince of conundrums for his adventure.
Summary:GREAT: The Riddler is not one to be taken lightly. While the world quakes under the pressure of Forever Evil, he has a score to settle, with a new found confidence that should strike fear into even the Batman.
Author:Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, Jeremy Haun
Published:September 11, 2013