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Edward Nashton, who later changed his name to Edward Nigma, is the super-villain known as the Riddler. His signature gimmick is committing high-profile crimes and giving clues or hints to law enforcement. This has made him an enemy of the Batman in Gotham City. The riddles are a compulsive obsession to prove he is smarter than others, and this has made him an occasional patient in Arkham Asylum.


Edward Nashton was born into a broken home. His mother was absent and his father was abusive. When Edward was a young boy, he became excited at the idea of winning a puzzle contest at school. To increase his likelihood of winning, Edward sneaked into school during the night and practiced the puzzle until he could solve it with ease. He ended up winning, and was awarded a riddle book as a prize. Since that time, he has mastered puzzles, mind games and riddles.

Edward was profoundly intelligent and would pass tests with apparent ease, something his father, out of jealousy, couldn't or wouldn't believe; he therefore attributed his success to cheating (supposedly catching him once) and started beating on him to keep him 'out of trouble,' or to stop him from lying. Out of the abuse, Edward developed a compulsion he has became known for, he constantly endeavors to tell the truth to prove his innocence. This is where his obsession with riddles comes from. Unfortunately, the abuse is also a main factor that drove him mad and to a life of crime.[1]

The Riddler

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The Riddler's First Costume

When Edward got older, he left home and became a carnival performer, using his skills to cheat carnival-goers out of their money. But this was not enough for him. He longed for something more, and became the Riddler, at the same time changing his name to Edward Nigma ("E. Nigma"), picking The Batman as an adversary, as he believes him to be an intelligent and more-than-worthy opponent.

Starting out as a simple informant and criminal profiler for the underworld of Gotham City, as well as for Batman, the Riddler slowly became more of a villain to Batman. It wasn't long before he became a main adversary to the Caped Crusader, constantly testing his analytical abilities to their limits.

The Long Halloween

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April Fool's

During the events of the Long Halloween, the Riddler became an informant for Gotham city crime lord Carmine Falcone. When a serial killer known as Holiday began targeting Falcone's associates, Carmine hired the Riddler to discover the killer's identity. However, the Riddler's results displeased Falcone, and the gangster even laughed at him, when the Riddler suggested that Carmine himself was the killer. The Riddler later became one of Holiday's victims, but much to the Riddler's confusion, was purposely left unharmed. A year later, Batman consulted Riddler about a second Holiday killer called Hangman.

Career Criminal

Over the years, the Riddler would earn his living through various heists and robberies, working his way up the criminal food chain, eventually even securing himself a couple of henchwomen to do his bidding.[2] Later in his career, after his exploits have been well established for some time, he attempts a heist in Manchester, Alabama, only to be thwarted by Impulse, whose problem-solving skills he severely underestimates after Impulse initially confused him for The Question.[3]

Dark Knight, Dark City

 Main article: Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City

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The Ceremony of the Bat

The Riddler became darker and more bloodthirsty when he took an interest in occult rituals. He discovered instructions on how to tame a bat daemon called Barbatos, originally summoned by Thomas Jefferson. The Riddler led Batman around the city with a series of riddles, designed to prepare Batman as a demonic sacrifice. To make Batman chase him, he kidnapped four babies. He tricked Batman into kissing a hanged man through CPR, and covered him in blood at a transfusion center.[4] The next step was a dance with the dead, accomplished through zombie robots, then slaying a dog with silver.[5] He forced Batman to slit the throat of an unbaptized child, by leaving him with a baby who needed an emergency tracheotomy. Finally he made Batman do an acrobatic dance in front of a goat representing the devil, by attacking him with a flamethrower. Batman was captured and tied to an altar. The Riddler prepared to stab Batman in the heart, but the demon Barbatos intervened to stop him. The Riddler fled in terror and torched the building, but Batman was able to escape.[6]


 Main article: Batman: Knightfall

Riddler was back in action, but he was attacked by Bane, who dosed Riddler with Venom. Batman tried to stop Riddler, but he was too strong and Batman was tired. Bane's henchmen shot Riddler under Bane's command leaving Riddler badly injured.[7]

His stay in Arkham was short lived as Bane released all the inmates as a plan to eliminate Batman. Riddler escaped as well, gathered his old gang and started planning his next move. Riddler sent a letter to the Gotham City Police Department, but they were too busy with all the other criminals from Arkham and Riddler's letters got overlooked in the situation.[8] After a while, his own henchmen got tired of waiting for the police to notice the clues and they ditched Riddler out of the score. On an attempt to be noticed, Riddler went to a live TV broadcast, armed with bombs and took over the show. He delivered his riddles to the audience, but nobody was able to answer them. Riddler was soon stopped by Robin, who watched the TV, learned of his move and arrived at the TV station in no time. The bomb turned out to be fake and Riddler was captured and taken to Blackgate.[9]

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 Main article: Batman: Hush

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The Man Behind Hush

The Riddler is diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he cures himself by stealing one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits. This grants him a temporary clarity, and he finally figures out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He tries to sell this cure to a rich doctor named Thomas Elliot, whose parents also died of cancer. Elliot hates Bruce Wayne, and they decide to work together to destroy Batman. Elliot becomes the villain Hush, and the Riddler designs an intricate plan. This involves enlisting or manipulating Catwoman, Clayface, Harley Quinn, Huntress, Jason Todd, The Joker, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow and Superman.[10] Batman and Nightwing actually fight the Riddler during this time when he robs an armored car. They assume the Riddler is too pathetic to be involved.[11] Hush loses to Batman, and Batman figures out that the Riddler was the mastermind. Batman explains that a riddle everyone knows the answer to is worthless, so he knows the Riddler will keep his secret. Ra's al Ghul will also have his League of Assassins kill the Riddler if they ever discover what happened. Batman punches the Riddler, tells a security guard that he fell, and leaves Arkham Asylum.[10]

After the Hush incident, Riddler escaped from Arkham and sought Poison Ivy's protection from Hush and from the League of Assassins.[12] However, Ivy was equally mad at him after he used her on his "Hush" scheme and she attacked Riddler as soon as he stepped into her lair. Riddler tried to escape, but Ivy wouldn't let him go.[13] Riddler finally gave up and asked Ivy to kill him and finish his pain. However, she refused, leaving Riddler helpless in a catatonic state.[14]

Downfall and New Start

Later, Elliott reappeared demanding from the Riddler the location of the Lazarus Pit. When Riddler refused to answer, he was brutally beaten. Seeking refuge, the Riddler went to the Joker and the Penguin. He tries to bargain with the Joker for asylum and he agrees but eventually his safety is compromised and he is forced to go on the run again.[15] He asks Poison Ivy for asylum, both of whom remembered his manipulation and the meeting didn't go well. At a loss, the Riddler went into a downward spiral of insanity and became homeless. He eventually was found by a ex-NASA decoder who helped him recover his mind. It is during this time that the Riddler has an induced flashback about his childhood, he comes to the realization of what happened when he was abused and why. He also deduces the reason behind why he has the compulsion he has for riddles.

Using his vast fortune, acquired over many years of crime, he gets minor plastic surgery and extensive tattooing. He covers the majority of his torso with his trademark question mark insignia. He kills the Codebreaker, who has discovered his secret identity and steals a priceless scroll, before Batman can get to it. It was at this time that Riddler starting amassing a huge fortune legally and attacking various heroes to prove his abilities.

During this time, he had a run in with Green Arrow, Arsenal and the Outsiders. The Riddler is up for revenge against his defeat by the Green Arrow and he brutally injures and almost kills the two archers. If not for the timely arrival of the Outsiders they may have been killed. Before these events, the Riddler was hired to steal artifacts imbued with mystical powers from one of Star City's museums, and then distract the authorities so that the related rituals could be commenced. He sends Team Arrow on a wild goose chase around the City, and then reveals that he has an atomic bomb housed in the stadium where the Star City Rockets play. However, as a side effect of the ritual performed with the artifacts, the city is plunged into complete darkness, and Green Arrow uses this to his advantage, to capture the Riddler.

Infinite Crisis

The Riddler was with a group of villains attacking the Gotham City Police Department.[16] He later escaped from Arkham Asylum after a worldwide breakout by the Secret Society of Super Villains.[17] He then is along with the Society when they attack Metropolis. He is defeated by the Shining Knight and is struck in the head by the Knight's mace.

One Year Later

The Riddler was sent into a coma when he was hit in the head by the Shining Knight's mace. When the Riddler awoke a year later, without his obsessive compulsive fixation for riddles but still possesses his great intellect and enormous ego. He also suffers from memory loss forgetting his own name for a while and not remembering that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but he is suspicious. With the Penguin's advice, he was reformed and then became a private investigator at which he legally develops even more of a fortune. He was finally on the right side of the law using his great talents for the good of the people.[18]

He even becomes involved in a ship bound murder mystery alongside Batman, while deducing a part of the mystery, Batman deduces the real reason. In the end they both did there part in solving the crime and have become hostile allies. He is then hired by Bruce Wayne to find a experimental drug stolen from Wayne Enterprises. In the end with the help of a reformed Harley Quinn he gets the drug back and returns it to the rightful owners.[19]

In a run in with Mary Marvel he describes to her how he is reformed, the two then join forces against Clayface, where Edward gets to see up front how twisted and cruel she has become with a great power. He suggests that she gets a mentor or some anger management.[20]

Even Nightwing hired him to find out who was behind recent string of museum robberies, whom he later saves from gang warfare while investigating Penguin's involvement in organized crime. He later deduces that Nightwing is Dick Grayson.

During his time as detective, word about Batman's death started to spread.[21] As crime became more violent in Gotham, he was approached by Penguin who wanted Nygma's service as an investigator to find the new Black Mask that started operating in Gotham. To help his investigation, he recruited Harley Quinn and later Poison Ivy joined their efforts. On this quest, Riddler became the man who helped Quinn, Ivy and Catwoman to become a team.[22]


  • Genius Level Intellect: The Riddler is a supreme problem-solver, criminal mastermind. He is a genius with brilliant deductive power. His mind excels with puzzles, minds games and manipulations.
  • Investigation: He possesses great deductive skills and analytic ability.
  • Escapology: Riddler is adept in escapology. Since childhood Edward has been a big fan of the late great Harold Houdini. Using this skill to build his infamous elaborate death traps and easily escape handcuffs. Like the Joker, he can escape the high security hospital Arkham Asylum whenever he pleases.
  • Tactical Analysis: His mind excels with puzzles, minds games and is a highly cunning criminal strategist.
  • Stick Fighting: He has shown to be quite adept in using his cane when fighting hand to hand.

Other Characteristics

  • Obsession: His riddles are a bizarre obsessive compulsion; his attempts to stop himself from sending them has met with failure time and time again. This extends to the fact he cannot simply kill his opponents when he has the upper hand. He instead prefers to put them in a deathtrap to see if he can devise a life and death intellectual challenge that the hero cannot escape. However, compared to Batman's other themed enemies, Riddler's compulsion allows him to commit any crime as long as he can describe it in a riddle or puzzle.


  • In many other realities, the Riddler's birth name is Edward Nigma, Edward Nygma, E. Nigma or even Edward E. Nigma. However, the New Earth Riddler was born Edward Nashton and changed his name to Edward Nigma later in life.
  • Jim Gordon has mentioned that several Gotham criminals have their own codewords. These are special phrases they can say when they call the GCPD, to distinguish them from prank phone calls. The Riddler chose "Oedipus" as his codeword, because Oedipus solved the riddle of the Sphinx. Gordon remarks that this is strange, because medical records suggest the Riddler hated his own mother. The Riddler's codeword for Batman is "The Hanging Man."[4]
  • The Riddler's online screen name is "Wizard101."[23] This might be a reference to the game of the same name, which was released the same year as Detective Comics #845, the issue where this username was used.


External Links


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