The Joker vs. The Riddler

The new storyline playing out in the Batman comics promises to be interesting. In particular I’m curious to see how the writer manages to make the Riddler even noticeable when he has to contest with the Clown Prince of Crime. Despite being one of Batman’s signature foes–I’d argue he comes in third behind the Joker and the Penguin–the Riddler has never really done anything for me. I’ve never been able to see him as anything but a second-rate Joker. He can either be played for comic relief, or, if they want him to be taken seriously, he has to come across s scary-crazy–and let’s face facts, where scary-crazy is concerned, nobody touches the Joker. Granted, the Joker has been played as a silly buffoon, too, on plenty of occasions. But the members of the Batman rogue’s gallery are at their best, I believe, when they are depicted as dark as the hero they are pitted against. They SHOULD be frightening. With the Joker it’s easy. With guys like Riddler and Penguin, not so much. I’m not the only one to see things this way. Even the writers have had a hard time figuring out what to do with the Riddler. They even tried making him a good guy a few years ago.

Joker’s gonna steal the Riddler’s heat. That’s unavoidable. But the first issue in the storyline makes a valiant effort at giving us a scary Riddler. Maybe they’ll use the fact that Riddler plays second string to Joker as a story point. Maybe his insecurity will be a motivating factor for whatever he does therein. At the end of the story, Joker’s still gonna be cooler. But Riddler can perhaps raise his stock a bit with this one.