"Riddle of the Jinxed Sphinx": Upon his latest escape from Arkham Asylum, the Riddler resolves to stop sending riddles to law enforcement, and hires himself out to mobster Big Jilly for mundane jobs such as safecracking and assassination. Despite his success in these riddle-less crimes and encou
Appearing in "Riddle of the Jinxed Sphinx"
- The Riddler
- Big Jilly (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Riddle of the Jinxed Sphinx"
Upon his latest escape from Arkham Asylum, the Riddler resolves to stop sending riddles to law enforcement, and hires himself out to mobster Big Jilly for mundane jobs such as safecracking and assassination. Despite his success in these riddle-less crimes and encouragement from his henchwomen Query and Quiz, the Riddler's compulsion to send riddles grows stronger by the day, until he is left questioning his self-worth and very identity.
Eventually, the compulsions (and bitterness at Jilly for claiming most of the take on his jobs) drive the Riddler back to his old m.o., and he sends a string of riddles to the police and Batman relating to his recent jobs for Big Jilly. A furious Big Jilly, along with Query and Quiz, confronts the Riddler at his sphinx-themed nightclub, but Batman quickly arrives and subdues all of them. As the Riddler contemplates his latest defeat, Batman assures him that the riddles had less to do with his capture than did information he already had on Jilly's criminal operations. This information redoubles the Riddler's mania as he returns to Arkham, and gives in wholly to his insanity.
Appearing in "The First Cut is the Deepest: The Secret Origin of Mr. Zsasz"
- Dr. Temple (Only appearance; dies)
Synopsis for "The First Cut is the Deepest: The Secret Origin of Mr. Zsasz"
During another routine day of incarceration at Arkham, Mr. Zsasz shares his (supposed) origins with a curious therapist. According to Zsasz, he was once the son of a happy, functional, and wealthy family, and grew to be a top student and eventual business titan. Tragedy struck, however, when his parents died in a boating accident when he was twenty-five.
Seeking distractions from his grief, the young Zsasz abandoned his responsibilities and traveled around the world on a gambling binge. Eventually, he lost the last of his family's fortune to the Penguin in a Gotham casino, and suffered a total breakdown that, to him, revealed the truth of the world: "We're robots... zombies driven by the desires of the flesh and the fears of the psyche. There is no free will."
The breakdown initially drove Zsasz to attempt suicide, but he was interrupted by a vagrant seeking to rob him of his remaining valuables. Survival instinct drove Zsasz to beat the vagrant down and take his knife; then, upon looking into the vagrant's eyes, Zsasz realized a "duty" to free the vagrant - to free all human beings - from their meaningless, empty lives. And so, he killed the vagrant, and began his career as one of Gotham's most notorious killers.
Zsasz's therapist is intrigued by the story, but when she steps closer to his isolation cage to hear more, he reaches out of the eye-slot and strangles her with a single hand. As the therapist dies, the last thing she hears are Zsasz's mocking words: "I kill because I want to kill. Because I choose to kill."
Appearing in "Workin' My Way Back to You"
Synopsis for "Workin' My Way Back to You"
A wordless story in which Killer Croc is chased out of his new home in the Louisiana bayou, rides along on a freight train, encounters a prize bull, and makes his way back to Gotham City.
- This book was first published on November 28, 1995.
- No special notes.
- According to Dr. Temple, Mr. Zsasz's body count at the time of this story is 147.
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