The Gift Of Nothing – Year Of The Villain: The Riddler #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The Riddler and King Tut meet up to lick their wounds and commiserate about their recent failures. Both have been overlooked by Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom in their “Year of the Villain.” After returning home, Edward Nigma finds himself visited by none other than Lex Luthor himself. Instead of a gift, Luthor tells Nigma a story of a man killed by his own fears and obsessions. The Riddler doesn’t understand the point of all of this, and Luthor leaves. Soon, the Riddler receives a call from King Tut about a team-up against the Batman, and the Riddler agrees to partake.

Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 cover by Mikel Janin
Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 cover by Mikel Janin

Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 is a fairly comedic installment in the saga of Year of the Villain. Instead of deadly gifts and violent turns, we watch the Riddler and King Tut complaining about how often the Dark Knight kicks their asses and how close they’ve been to defeating him in the past.
More to the point, we watch Edward Nigma, a brilliant thinker and ambitious man, come to terms with how hindered he has been by the title of “Riddler.”
It’s a journey of self-discovery, and it makes for a surprisingly compelling narrative. The Riddler must realize the joke he’s become if he’s going to become something better.
Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 art by Scott Godlewski, Marissa Louise, and letterer Travis Lanham
Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 art by Scott Godlewski, Marissa Louise, and letterer Travis Lanham

Scott Godlewksi’s artwork is an excellent fit for this tragic comedy. It’s a slick and somewhat cartoonish style that gives a good amount of detailing while emphasizing the comedic nature of it all. The Riddler is hanging out with a man with a dire obsession with ancient Egypt. The Riddler has question marks all over his clothing and even carved one into his own chest. It’s ridiculous, and Nigma doesn’t see it yet. Marissa Louise’s color art is bright and popping too, and that boosts the cartoonishness and energy of the visuals in a positive way too.
Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 is the story of a man coming to terms with what he is and what he could become. Edward Nigma is obsessed with his shortcomings and the few times he’s received adulation. He needs to move past that if he’s going to grow? Is he capable of it? You’ll have to read to find out. In any case, this one gets a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1 comes to us from writer Mark Russell, artist Scott Godlewski, color artist Marissa Louise, letterer Travis Lanham, and cover artist Mikel Janin.
Final Score: 8.5/10

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