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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Riddler from the Reevesverse. The mainstream version can be found here: Riddler (DC).
If you are justice, please do not lie. What is the price for your blind eye?
~ The Riddler's second riddle to DA Gil Colson, and his most famous quote.
What's black... and blue... and dead all over? You, if you think you can stop what's coming.
~ Edward Nashton to Batman in Arkham, foreshadowing the flooding of Gotham.
Edward Nashton, better known as the Riddler, is the main antagonist of the 2022 superhero crime film The Batman, and will return as the titular protagonist of the upcoming prequel comic miniseries Riddler: Year One.
He is a former forensics accountant who became a serial killer who wages a war on corruption in Gotham City through a series of politically motivated murders, believing mass murder and terrorism to be the only cure for the city of Gotham.
Growing up orphaned, Nashton became determined to expose the hypocrisies and the deep-rooted corruption of Gotham's elite, particularly those connected to Carmine Falcone and the Wayne family. He is inspired to take up this crusade by his idol, the masked vigilante Batman. As the Riddler, he leaves clues and puzzles at the scene of his crimes, with riddles directed towards Batman in order to get him to co-operate with his plans.
The Riddler is a ruthless, egomaniacal serial killer who greatly abhorred the establishment within Gotham, specifically the corrupt elite. Growing up in an orphanage owned by Bruce Wayne's parents, he was always shunned by his peers, particularly Bruce himself, which made Nashton bitter and envious towards the Wayne family (whom he originally idolized, particularly Thomas), thus setting up his deep-seated hatred for the city's rich and powerful, particularly those who are corrupt. Despite his vain demeanor, he is sufficiently intelligent, as shown with how he planned his crusade to take down Gotham's corruption, as well as with the elaborate riddles and clues he leaves behind at the scenes of his murders.
Being a sadist, he believes that it is necessary to express his victim's demise in the most horrifying and creative ways done, while also showing it on Gotham Television. Additionally, he is very well-intentioned in trying to expose the secret immoral truths surrounding Gotham to its civilian populace. He has an inspired obsession for Batman, seeing the cape crusader as an aggressive ruthless influence on his motives to clean Gotham as he sees fit. His view on Batman's mask is how he sees himself wearing the Riddler mask; a means to feel free of any boundaries to be the real him.
He is deluded to the point that he believed Batman was an ally to his cause, expecting him to enjoy the scenery of Gotham being flooded and the assassination attempt on the newly-elected mayor. When Batman rejected him by calling him a delusional psychopath, he freaked out and screamed in immense disappointment, and when Batman demanded to know what Riddler had done, the latter merely gave a clue by tauntingly singing Ave Maria. On the plus side for Riddler's case, he has some compatibly with others who are fond of and follow his anarchy, as his private social media allies worked with him to set his plan in motion believing themselves, alongside with him, to be vengeance, and a certain jail inmate took thrill-seeking interest with him on what they were going to do in committing more of their crimes in Gotham.
Edward Nashton was born and raised in Gotham's foster-care system, growing up in an orphanage owned by Thomas and Martha Wayne where he was outcasted and bullied by his peers for his love of riddles. As Thomas mounted his campaign for Mayor, Nashton grew to idolize him for his proposed "Renewal" platform, although this was quickly undermined after his death in a deal gone wrong with the city's biggest crime boss Carmine Falcone, after which the Renewal fund was robbed by the city's corrupt officials. Feeling rejected for Thomas' immoral activities, Nashton grew envious of the Waynes, especially when the corruption of the city destroyed the Renewal initiative. Nashton grew particularly envious of Bruce Wayne, and was jealous of how he looked down upon the impoverished, as his family was of a much wealthier status.
Nashton grew up to become a forensics accountant, and in the process, began mapping out his plans to expose Gotham City's corruption. Nashton cultivated an online following, that of which helped Nashton engineer bombs and provide tips in his crusade, such as how to mount a detonator. Taking up the name of the Riddler, Nashton's sophisticated plan involved detonating car bombs at Gotham's breakwaters to flood the city after leading authorities on a wild goose chase. Furthermore, Nashton committed to an intensive research and investigation on Falcone's criminal activities, targeting political figures directly tied to him and a massive drug bust that led to Salvatore Maroni's arrest; this bust was never real and instead a cover-up facilitated by Falcone and corrupt GCPD officers. Also idolizing the masked vigilante known as the Batman, Nashton became obsessed with him and desired to make him cooperate in his war on corruption, creating riddles with the intention to leave them behind at the crime scene.
Edward Nashton begins his crusade against the corruption and stalks Mayor Don Mitchell Jr. and his son, before bludgeoning him with a carpet tucker. Batman was called upon the crime scene, learning of what the Riddler did. Riddler left a message for Batman to read but was scowled by Commissioner Pete Savage upon letting a vigilante tamper with a crime scene. The Riddler then kidnapped the commissioner and killed him by rigging a sophisticated rat cage to his head, forcing several rats inside to eat away at his face. He broadcasts this crime on the evening news. He left another clue for Batman, and then left a print on the car which is revealed to be from the Iceberg Lounge along with a girl named Annika, who works there. Batman arrives there and questions the Penguin, the lieutenant of the Falcone crime syndicate, on his involvement, but gets no leads.
At the Iceberg Lounge, the Riddler kidnaps district attorney Gil Colson and attaches a collar bomb to his neck. He commandeers Colson into plowing his SUV into the crowd at Mitchell's funeral at Gotham City Hall. Riddler then calls Batman during this as he activates a two-minute timer to the bomb, and forces Colson to answer three riddles relating to his corrupt dealings with the mob. Batman assists with answering two of them, but Colson refuses to answer the third; naming the informant who tipped the GCPD about the Maroni bust. Colson opts to die, believing himself to be a dead man either way, and the Riddler subsequently blows up his head.
As Riddler left behind a riddle taped to Colson's chest, Batman incorrectly deduces the informant to be Penguin. The Riddler is disappointed when the Batman captures Penguin, and instead urges Batman to realize the "bigger picture". Through his riddle, Riddler leads Batman and Gordon to an old orphanage, where the Riddler explains the rationale behind his politically-motivated crusade. Riddler sends a letter bomb to his next target, Thomas Wayne's son Bruce, but his butler Alfred Pennyworth intercepts it first, unwittingly blowing up Alfred instead, although he survives.
As Batman began to realize the true context behind the botched Falcone-Wayne arrangement, the Riddler releases and exploits the evidence of the Waynes' connection with Falcone, including Martha Wayne's history of mental illness, towards the public. The Riddler watches from the sidelines as Batman confronts Falcone, leading to his arrest. As things get heated between Batman, Falcone and Penguin, the Riddler takes up a sniper rifle and assassinates Falcone, fulfilling his ominous riddle to "bring the rat into the light"; Falcone was the informant in question who tipped the GCPD about the Maroni bust. By killing Falcone, Riddler robbed both Penguin and Selina Kyle, Falcone's illegitimate daughter, of their vengeance against him. A witness sees the Riddler escaping to a cafe, where he orders a coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie, but is immediately surrounded by SWAT and apprehended. With Nashton now under arrest for the murders of Mitchell, Savage, Colson and Falcone, he is immediately transferred to the Arkham State Hospital.
Nashton himself is defeated, and he fails to persuade Batman into understanding his motivations. But Nashton confesses that he idolized him as a vigilante and was the inspiration for his crusade against the corrupt, proposing a partnership. Batman angrily rejects Nashton and leaves; Nashton later befriends another inmate.
Nashton's followers, however, pull through with the Riddler's plan, and Batman discovers too late (by peeling a carpet in Nashton's apartment with the carpet tucker used in the Mitchell murder) Nashton's ultimate plan to flood the city. The bombs detonate, rupturing Gotham's reservoirs; the Riddler's followers trap civilians in Gotham Square Garden, which doubles as a hurricane refuge. Nashton's followers attempt to kill newly-elected Mayor Bella Reál but are stopped by Batman and Selina, thus thwarting the Riddler's campaign on corruption once and for all, though the city was now left flooded.
Riddle / Cyphers
What does a liar do when he is dead?
He lies still. (Attached: First Cypher)
Drive. (First Cypher)
Thumbprint-encoded USB drive which unlocks illicit photos of Don Mitchell Jr. with Annika Koslov.
Follow the maze until you find the rat. Bring him into the light and you'll find where I'm at.
Reveal who the police informant is to the public, and the Riddler will reveal where he's been hiding. (Attached: Second Cypher)
It can be cruel, poetic, or blind. But when it’s denied, it’s violence you may find.
If you are justice, please do not lie. What is the price for your blind eye?
Since your justice is so select, please tell us, which vermin you're paid to protect?
I grew up from a seed, as tough as a weed. But in a mansion, in a slum, I'll never know where I come from.
The sins of the father. Shall be visited upon the son.
See you in hell.
What's black and blue and dead all over?
~ The Riddler meeting the Batman.
Me? I’m nobody. I'm just an instrument, here to unmask the truth about this cesspool we call a city. Let’s do it together, okay? I’ve been trying to reach you. You’re part of this, too. (…) You’ll see. Say hello to my followers. We’re live. They’re here to watch our little trial. At the moment, the man across from you, Mr. Colson is dead.
~ The Riddler introducing himself and his followers to Batman.
SHUT UP! YOU DESERVE TO BE DEAD AFTER WHAT YOU DID! YOU HEAR ME?! I’m giving you a chance. No one ever gave me a chance. Now, ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved little puzzles. For me, they are a retreat from the horrors of our world. Maybe they can bring some comfort to you too, Mr. Colson. Three riddles in two minutes. You give me the answers, and I’ll give you the code for the lock. Do you understand?
~ The Riddler yelling and talking to Colson.
It can be cruel, poetic or blind. But when its denied, it's violence you may find.
~ The Riddler's first riddle to Colson.
The Waynes and the Arkhams. Gotham's founding families. But what is their real legacy? Twenty years ago, one reporter set out to uncover the dark truth. He found shocking family secrets. How, when Martha was just a child, her mother brutally murdered her father, then committed suicide and how the Arkhams used their power and money to cover it up. How Martha herself was in and out of institutions for years, and they didn't want anyone to know. Thomas Wayne tried to force this crusading reporter into a hush-money agreement to save his mayoral campaign. But when the reporter refused, Wayne turned to longtime secret associate Carmine Falcone and had him murdered! The Waynes and the Arkhams, Gotham's legacy of lies and murder! I hope you're listening Bruce Wayne, this is your legacy too and Gotham needs you to answer for the sins of your father.
~ Riddler revealing the Waynes' dark secrets to the public.
I just ordered a slice of pumpkin pie.
~ Nashton to the GCPD as he is being apprehended.
I told you I’d see you in hell. (…) “Want?” If only you knew how long I've been waiting for this day, for this moment. I've been invisible my whole life. I guess I won't be anymore, will I? They'll remember me now. They'll remember both of us. Bruce…….Wayne. Bruce……..Wayne.
~ Nashton meets the Batman in Arkham
You know, I was there that day. The day the great Thomas Wayne announced that he was running for mayor, made all those promises. Well, a week later, he was dead and everybody just forgot about us. All they could talk about was poor Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne the orphan. ORPHAN. Living in some tower over the park isn’t being an orphan. Looking down on everyone with all that money, don’t you tell me. Do you know what being an orphan is? It's thirty kids to a room, twelve years old and already a drophead, numbing the pain. You wake up screaming with rats chewing your fingers, and every winter one of the babies die because it's so cold. But oh, no... let's talk about the billionaire with the lying dead daddy because at least the money makes it go down easy, doesn't it?
~ Nashton explaining his experience as an orphan to Batman in Arkham.
Bruce…….Wayne…….He’s the only one we didn’t get. But we got the rest of ‘em, didn’t we? All those slick, sleazy, phony pricks. God, look at you. Your mask is amazing. I wish you could've seen me in mine. Ain't it funny? All everyone wants to do is unmask you, but they're missing the point. You and I both know I'm looking at the real you right now. My mask allowed me to be myself completely. No shame. No limits.
~ Nashton tells the Batman about the beauty of their masks in Arkham.
What do you mean? I told you, we’ve been doing this together. You’re a part of this. (…) We did. What did we just do? I asked you to bring him into the light, and you did. We’re such a good team. (…) I never could have gotten him out of there. I’m not physical, my strength is up here. I mean, I had all the pieces, I had the answers, but I didn’t know how to make them listen. You gave me that. You showed me what was possible. You showed me all it takes is fear and a little focused violence. You inspired me!
~ Nashton deludedly telling Batman how he inspired him in Arkham.
No, no, no, noooooooooo! NO! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… This is not how this was supposed to go! Arrrrrrggghhh... I had it all planned out!!! We were gonna be safe here! We could've watched the whole thing together! (…) EVERYTHING! It was all there. You mean, you didn’t figure it out? Oh you’re really not as smart as I thought you were. I guess I gave you too much credit.
~ Nashton's breakdown when Batman refuses to join him in Arkham.
Hey, guys. Uh, thanks for all the comments, and uh, special thanks to everyone for the tips on detonators. I just want to say, this will be my last post for a while, and uh, what this community has meant to me these weeks, these months, let’s just say none of us….is alone anymore, okay? Tomorrow’s Election Day. And Bella Real will win. She promised real change. But we know the truth, don’t we? You’ve seen Gotham’s true face now. Together, we’ve unmasked it; it’s corruption, it’s perversion, masquerading under the guise of renewal. But unmasking is not enough. The day of judgement is finally upon us, and now it’s time for retribution. I’ve parked 7 vans all along the city sea wall. And on the big night, they will go BOOM. When the vans, blow, the flooding will happen so fast, evacuation will not be an option. Those who are not washed away will race through the streets in terror. As breaking news hits higher ground in Gotham Square Garden, celebrations will turn to panic, as the venue becomes shelter of last resort. And that’s where all of you come in. Now, when the time arrives, I will already be unmasked. The pigs will have me in their custody, but that’s ok. Because then it will be your turn. You’ll be there, waiting. It's time for the lies to finally end. False promises of renewal? Change!? We'll give 'em a real real change now! We've spent our lives in this wretched place SUFFERING, wondering why us! Well, they will spend their last moments wondering WHY THEM!!!
~ The Riddler's final message to his followers.
This is the fifth live-action portrayal of the Riddler (after Frank Gorshin, John Astin, Jim Carrey and Cory Michael Smith's portrayals). It is also the first live-action portrayal of the character who doesn't utilize the "Edward Nigma/Nygma" name.
Paul Dano explained in an interview that he was a fan of Jim Carrey's portrayal of the Riddler, and took inspiration from his performance.
Matt Reeves cited the real-life Zodiac Killer as inspiration for this incarnation of the Riddler. Both were masked serial killers who employed cryptic messages and cyphers at the scenes of their crimes to taunt the local authorities.
Visiting rataalada.com in a web browser, much like in The Batman, will lead to an ARG centered on the Riddler and his history with Gotham. However, the website is no longer accessible after the site have been seized by GCPD.