Given that the Riddler is playing a fairly large role in ‘Zero Year’, it’s good that Scott Snyder is actually co-writing this particular Batman Villains issue. Along with co-writer Ray Fawkes, Snyder does a good job at showing what makes Edward Nygma tick, and how even though he’s a bit silly, he can still be very dangerous.
After a short flashback showing Riddler in Arkham, Snyder and Fawkes then set up a very cool framing sequence, with the Riddler asking the reader 4 riddles. I must say that I’m pretty crap at riddles, so I didn’t get any of them at first, so it was a lot of fun to see them answered as Riddler made his way up through Wayne Tower on his mysterious mission. The best thing about this issue was how well it showed that the Riddler is a planner, all of his schemes are set up meticulously, and that makes him a very challenging villain for Batman. We also got to see how crazy Riddler can be if his plans are ruined.
Of course, Batman is supposedly dead at the moment thanks to the Crime Syndicate, so just why is the Riddler attacking Wayne Enterprises? Well, it’s to take down the Arkham Guard who took away his playing cards at the start of the issue, who is know working as a security guard for Wayne. Riddler takes him out, and then sits at the top of the tower, playing Solitaire and waiting for the Batman to return. It’s an interesting take on a villain, that he doesn’t really care about committing crimes or making money or killing people, he just likes the challenge of going up against the world’s greatest detective. In a DCU where every villain is a straight up sociopath, this is a bit more interesting, and a bit more in keeping with the classic Batman tradition. It was also good to have a Villain’s Month title that didn’t have a flashback to a tragic childhood, because man, after two weeks, that is getting old as shit.
Jeremy Haun’s artwork also impressed me, I’ve always enjoyed his work when it pops up here and there, and it was very good here. He’s got a realistic style, and that very much suits a villain who doesn’t wear spandex anymore, and he did a good job at telling the story just through his art, I loved the page where Riddler golf-clubs away that yoghurt pot with the plastic explosive in it. Man, it’s weird to type that.
So yeah, a good issue, and I’m excited to see what else Snyder has up his sleeves for Riddler in Zero Year.