The Riddler: Year One
Cover page of The Riddler: Year One #1 by Bill Sienkiewicz (October 2022).
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics (Black Label)
ScheduleBimonthly
FormatLimited series
GenreSupervillain
Publication dateOctober 25, 2022
No. of issues6
Main character(s)Riddler
Creative team
Written byPaul Dano
Artist(s)Stevan Subic
Letterer(s)Clayton Cowles
Editor(s)
  • Jim Chadwick
  • Chris Conroy
Collected editions
HardcoverISBN 1779523068

The Riddler: Year One is an American comic book based on the DC Comics character the Riddler. The six-issue limited series—written by Paul Dano and illustrated by Stevan Subic—is a tie-in prequel to the film The Batman (2022), in which Dano also played Edward Nashton / the Riddler, with the series focusing on the character's life and his descent into criminality before the events of the film. It was published bimonthly under DC's adult-oriented Black Label imprint beginning on October 25, 2022.

Plot

Shortly after his birth, Edward Nashton is given to the Gotham Orphanage after his mother is committed to Arkham Asylum, later dying in an apparent suicide. He grows up displaying high intelligence and interest in puzzles, but suffers neglect due to lack of funding for the orphanage and bullying from other residents. Edward also admires billionaire Thomas Wayne due to his charitable donations to the facility and is one of the orphans who performs during his announcement to run of mayor. However, after Wayne and his wife are murdered, Edward believes his son Bruce is taking attention away from them because he is rich. After various applications to Wayne's Gotham Renewal Program are rejected, Edward's mental health and self-esteem deteriorate, even causing him to develop apathy towards everyone in Gotham.

As an adult, Edward works as a forensic accountant at KTMJ following a recommendation from one of his college professors. After five years at the firm, his boss sends him to investigate the New Beginnings Animal Rescue shelter. Edward soon uncovers that it is breaking up payments to a shell company amounting to $10,000 to avoid automatic checks in the financial systems. Edward brings these directly to their boss Richard Stone, though his discoveries are dismissed as mistakes and he is threatened to be fired if he continues to investigate.

Whilst returning home, Edward witnesses Batman apprehend a thug named Higgins. Edward begins to admire the vigilante and follow his activities. Whilst attending Higgins' trial, he learns the thug works at New Beginnings and, whilst visiting it, notices Stone visiting a nearby Iceberg Lounge. Edward later breaks into Stone's office and uncovers payments from New Beginnings to various companies in Gotham, including Renewal. Secretly undertaking further investigations and surveillance on the shelter, Edward learns it was formerly used by Salvator Maroni to launder profits from his Drops operations and that these are continuing under a new client. He also witnesses Stone and Higgins murder its owner over a number of discrepancies, actually committed by the latter to post bail, and later learns they have forced his daughter Ana to take over.

Using his involvement in another case for Stone, Edward begins to investigate financial records related to New Beginnings, secretly breaking into the warehouse where the records are being kept with the assistance of a disgruntled security guard. After months of investigating, he soon realizes KTMJ also represents Renewal and uncovers that the program has been used to discretely bribe for various political figures in Gotham, including the Mayor, Police Commissioner and District Attorney. Edward soon uncovers that the fund is actually under the control of mobster Carmine Falcone, who took it over after Thomas' death and has been using it to run the city. Edward's image of the Waynes also deteriorates after he learns that they were secretly associates of Falcone, who used their connections to silence a journalist threatening to reveal secrets related to Martha and her family.

Deeming Gotham as unsalvageable, Edward formulates a grand plan to expose and assassinate Falcone, his allies, and political figures to ensure they do not fall under his Syndicate's influence, and intends to organize a flood. Adopting a costumed persona of "the Riddler", he begins to recruit a community of followers to help plan and conduct his schemes. Edward also plans to bring Batman into his operations, believing he has been helping him investigate these discretely. In the days approaching his plans, Edward enlists Ana's help to expose New Beginnings' involvement in Drops, arranging for her to leave Gotham as she and her father planned. On Halloween, he arranges Higgins death and sends Stone a recording he made of his crime, threatening to send it to his family. Stone commits suicide whilst Edward prepares for his first crimes as the Riddler.

Publication history

Background and creation

During the production of the film The Batman (2022), Paul Dano—who played Edward Nashton / the Riddler in the film—conceived ideas for his character's backstory, which he shared with director Matt Reeves, who encouraged him to develop them into a comic book, though he was hesitant to go ahead with the project.[1] Reeves then contacted DC Comics and told Dano the next day that the publisher was interested in hearing his proposal for a Riddler-centric comic.[2] Dano always envisioned Nashton's backstory as a comic, citing Fyodor Dostoevsky and Thomas Bernhard as influences and enjoyed the "archetypal energy of the images in comics".[3] In March, Reeves and DC had officially announced that Dano would be writing a six-issue limited series titled The Riddler: Year One, with Stevan Subic serving as illustrator.[4][5][6][7] The comic is intended to be a tie-in prequel to The Batman, depicting Nashton's life and descent into criminality prior to the events of The Batman.[8][9]

Dano said in July that he had not yet finished writing the series, an experience which he described as being "totally incredible".[2] He described his experience working with Subic as being "super collaborative". Dano had written treatments of the overall story and sent them to Subic, to which they collaborated in developing the story together. They had held Zoom meetings, in which Subic shared his screen and showed Dano his layouts. While they discussed the storytelling and eventually continued working, Subic pencilled and Dano continued to write.[10] They would then discuss the story that same month when Dano attended DC's panel at San Diego Comic-Con, where he promoted the series.[11][12]

Publication

The Riddler: Year One was published bimonthly under DC's adult-oriented Black Label imprint beginning on October 25, 2022.[13][14]

Issues

Issue Title Publication date Comicscore Index Ref.
#1 "Chapter One: A New Beginning" October 25, 2022 76 [15][16]
#2 "Chapter Two: People Lie, Numbers Don't" December 27, 2022 80 [17][18]
#3 "Chapter Three: I Know Now What I Must Become" February 28, 2023 78 [19][20]
#4 "Chapter Four: There's No Place Like Home" April 25, 2023 78 [21][22]
#5 "Chapter Five: Blinded by the Light" June 27, 2023 67 [23][24]
#6 "Chapter Six: Judgment Day" August 23, 2023 74 [25][26]

Reception

The announcement of The Riddler: Year One was met with a highly positive response from fans, who expressed their approval and enthusiasm for the comic on Twitter, as the topic became one of the most popular trends on the social network at the time.[27]

According to Comicscored.com, the first three issues of limited series received generally favorable ratings, with a Comicscore Index of 78 based on 24 ratings from critics.[28]

References

  1. ^ Amidon, Aurora (July 25, 2022). "The Batman's Paul Dano Is Ready to Play The Riddler Again". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 25, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 22, 2022). "How Matt Reeves helped Paul Dano's Riddler: Year One comic come to life". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 22, 2022. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  3. ^ Phillips, Jevon (November 21, 2023). "Paul Dano's 'Riddler' comic book tries to unravel the Batman villain: He wasn't 'born evil'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 21, 2023. Retrieved February 16, 2024.
  4. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (March 18, 2022). "New Riddler Year One Comic Written by The Batman's Paul Dano Announced". IGN. Archived from the original on March 18, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  5. ^ Outlaw, Kofi (March 18, 2022). "The Batman Director Announces Paul Dano's Riddler Year One Spinoff Comic". ComicBook.com. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  6. ^ Pereira, Eduardo (July 22, 2022). "DC Black Label revela capa da HQ do Charada escrita por Paul Dano; veja". Omelete (in Portuguese). Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  7. ^ Brail, Nathaniel (July 26, 2022). "The Batman Star Paul Dano Is Ready to Return as The Riddler in Sequel". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  8. ^ "DC CONNECT #27". DC Comics.com. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  9. ^ Publicity, DC (March 18, 2022). "Paul Dano to Write The Riddler in a New DC Black Label Limited Series!". DC Comics.com. Archived from the original on August 13, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  10. ^ Cecchini, Mike (October 6, 2022). "Riddler: Year One – How Paul Dano Created a New Origin Story for His Batman Character". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on October 6, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  11. ^ "SDCC: More Big News from Jim Lee and His Friends!". DC Comics.com. July 22, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  12. ^ Brail, Nathaniel (July 22, 2022). "Comic-Con 2022: New The Riddler: Year One Preview Released". ComicBook.com. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  13. ^ Johnston, Rich (July 22, 2022). "DC Comics October 2022 Solicits & Solicitations – Not Just Batman". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  14. ^ Puc, Samantha (July 22, 2022). "DC shows off Riddler: Year One and Static: Up All Night art as EIC Marie Javins receives Inkpot Award". GamesRadar+. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  15. ^ "The Riddler: Year One #1 (Cover A Bill Sienkiewicz)". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved 2022-07-03.
  16. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022) #1". Comicscored.com. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  17. ^ "The Riddler: Year One #2 (Cover A Bill Sienkiewicz)". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved 2022-12-13.
  18. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022) #2". Comicscored.com. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  19. ^ "The Riddler: Year One #3 (Cover A Bill Sienkiewicz)". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  20. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022) #3". Comicscored.com. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  21. ^ "The Riddler: Year One #4 (Cover A Bill Sienkiewicz)". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  22. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022) #4". Comicscored.com. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  23. ^ "The Riddler: Year One #5 (Cover A Bill Sienkiewicz)". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved 2023-05-04.
  24. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022) #5". Comicscored.com. Retrieved June 28, 2023.
  25. ^ "The Riddler: Year One #6 (Cover A Bill Sienkiewicz)". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  26. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022) #6". Comicscored.com. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  27. ^ Brail, Nathaniel (March 18, 2022). "The Batman: "Year One" Trends as Fans Anticipate Paul Dano's Riddler Comic Series". ComicBook.com. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  28. ^ "The Riddler: Year One (2022)". Comicscored.com. Retrieved April 23, 2023.