Posts Tagged ‘Robin’
How can anyone hope to solve a crime when the Silver Age Riddler is involved? I mean, yeah, he’s dropping clues like crazy, but honestly, these are the most vague fucking clues EVER. You’d have better luck if you just ignored his clues entirely and did some actual detective work. I don’t know if ol’ Nigma’s riddles can possibly get much goofier than they did in Batman #171, “the Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler.”
The issue opens to Eddie Nigma standing across a desk from the warden of the aptly named State Penitentiary; he’s receiving a wad of your hard earned tax dollars for being good and making parole. In exchange, Eddie asks the warden a riddle (“Why do the cons in this prison call it ‘Fiddler’s Inn?’”) with the promise of giving him the answer when and if he returns. After some anti-Batman inner monologue, Eddie buys himself a newspaper and reads that Batman is struggling to capture the Molehill Mob. This pisses attention-whore Eddie right the fuck off so he promises to “do something about this.”
The next day, Eddie is hanging outside of the police headquarters, like you do, when he catches Batman and Robin just kinda milling about. They don’t recognize him out of costume so he asks them that “once in a minute, twice in a moment” riddle. “Oh, shit, you’re the Riddler!” cries Robin, prompting the stupidest fucking origin story ever.
As a kid, Edward Nigma “won an historical jigsaw puzzle” by taking a picture of it, so he turned to a life of puzzle based crime. By this logic, if you look at the picture on the box of any puzzle before completing it, you’re a terrible human being and you will probably spend the rest of your life committing elaborate crimes. My grandmother is a terrible human being.
Anyways, Batman just assumes that the Riddler is about to give him the clue to his next crime. Au contraire! It turns out that the Riddler has turned over a new leaf and is only interested in helping capture the Molehill Mob! Ever the brilliant mind, Batman replies with “HUH?!” and then thinks about the Molehill Mob. Apparently, this gang giving Batman and Robin so much trouble is, like, three or four unarmed guys who are remarkably good at navigating the sewers after knocking over banks (Did the Turtles go rogue?). The Riddler does have one condition for helping, however: he wishes to wear his “working clothes” (what is he, a hooker?).
After a one-panel interlude of Bruce and Dick playing Scrabble (totally necessary, I guess?) we cut to the Riddler, Batman, and Robin jumping into the sewers. Despite being stuck in prison and never even hearing of this gang until after he was released the freaking day before, the Riddler is able to lead our heroes straight to the Molehill Mob, no problem. The gang springs a few sewer-themed traps in an attempt to thwart Batman and Robin (rolling manhole covers, giant spools of wire, what I’m pretty sure are creepy hentai tentacles), but the Dynamic Duo escapes easily. Then, I guess everybody just goes home.
Two days later, Batman and Robin are hanging out at the Police Athletic League picnic at the park when they discover a riddle in their picnic basket! “What is the longest word in the world?” Time for Batman logic: it turns out the answer is “smiles,” because there’s a “mile” between the first and last letter! And hold the phone, there’s a man named “Smiles” Dawson who owns a fancy yacht, the Black Pearl of the Pacific, at the Gotham City Marina! Let’s roll!
Batman & Robin head to the marina and, after escaping the Riddler’s worst puzzle trap ever (honestly, look at that picture and tell me how you’d NOT be able to escape), they confront the villain. Yeah, turns out ‘Smiles’ just bought the yacht for $30,000 and “forgot” about the puzzle traps that shoot out of the car when you hit that hidden button in the glove compartment (I completely understand, I’m always hitting those damn secret glove compartment buttons). Everybody laughs it off and the Riddler bails.
But wait! He left another riddle! “How is an orange like a bill?” Simple! They both must be peeled/pealed! Oh, nothing reads like a joke that only works when said aloud! Anyways, it turns out that the Peale Art Gallery is in Gotham and is currently hosting the Fancy-Ass Shit exhibit. Let’s roll (again)!
They show up just in time to see the Riddler pointing a pistol at a very frightened looking man handing him an ivory cross covered in rubies!The Dynamic Duo break in and tackle Eddie, bringing his ass to justice. Suddenly, the frightened looking man yells, “But the Riddler didn’t steal the cross, Batman!” Que el fuck? Turns out, Eddie’s uncle died and left him the cross in his will, the gun was actually a cigarette lighter, and the man’s frightened expression was just poor genes or whatever. Once again, the Riddler gets to walk away, but not after telling Our Heroes that they’ve already got the next riddle. Riveting!
Back in the Batmobile, Robin comes to a startling conclusion. The boat was called the Black Pearl! The cross was red and white! “What’s black and white and red/read all over?” A newspaper! And it just so happens to be the Gotham Times 100th anniversary tonight! Doesn’t matter, by the way. Robin’s wrong.
They hightail it to one of Gotham’s “gay night spots” (uh, wink?), the western-themed Ox Club just in time to see the Riddler going through the manager’s safe! But it’s cool, the Riddler assumes a weird stance and gives up. Nope, just joshin’, instead the most confusing fight ever breaks out. The Riddler’s suit turns electric and he becomes impossible to knock over, like one of those Weebles from the 70s. The Riddler’s henchmen run in and Batman & Robin proceed to make Wild West puns that are so bad, the underlings vanish into thin air. They turn their attention back to the Riddler and punch the shit out of him, not really doing any damage. Batman realizes that the weird stance I mentioned earlier was the Riddler hitting a secret button on his chest, pumping himself full of painkillers. Batman re-hits the chest button like a Lord Zedd Putty, turns off the drugs, and punches the Riddler in the stomach. But how ever did Batman figure out where the Riddler would be?
Forget the colors, the clues were in the shapes. Or something. Whatever, fucking Batman logic. The boat was called the Black Pearl and pearls are round, the cross was a cross and crosses are cross-shaped. Put a round-shaped thing next to a cross-shaped thing and you get the word “ox” (but not “to” or anything with the initials “O.X.,” “X.O.,” “T.O.,” or “O.T.”) which means it HAD to be the Ox Club. Case closed, brain exploded.
But what about the riddle Eddie gave the Warden back on page one? Well, it turns out the inmates call State Penitentiary the “Fiddler’s Hotel” because it’s such a “vile inn/violin!” Wait, really? That’s the worst joke ever. Dude, Eddie? Shut the fuck up.
This is a recap post. As such, it is SPOILERRIFIC. We clear? Okay. Batgirl #1 starts with a bunch of dumb boys racing to see who can stop just short of a wall while some gangleader takes bets on who’ll die, because criminals in Gotham are always psychotic or stupid. A bat-with-boobs swoops in, stopping both cars – but she’s sloppy and causes a lot of property damage and broken bones in the process. That alone should have told you who’s under that cowl.
Dick-Batman and Damien-Robin are skulking somewhere high above the action, just WATCHING, like dicks. They call her sloppy (she is), and Dick says she’s not as good as the OTHER Batgirl, kicking off the spotlight on the romantic tension between Dick and Babs that DC has promised to carry on throughout the year, DAMMIT. Just do it already.
Next page? SPLASH SPOILER ALERT it’s STEPHANIE BROWN, the Bat-family’s bitch. Batman & Robin (whoever they might be at any given moment) couldn’t give less of a shit about her most of the time, unless she’s literally DYING. Her relationship with Tim was full of dramz and afterschool specials that would never get a comics code stamp. A few Red Robin‘s ago she promised to stop patrolling in the Spoiler persona. Yet here she is, inexplicably wearing Cass Cain’s Batgirl costume, which I guess is her way of getting around that whole PROMISE she made to Tim Drake. I mean Wayne. Whatever.
Next, Stephanie’s mom brings her WAFFLES in BED. Best mom ever. But this was SPOILED at SDCC this year. I had prior knowledge of these waffles, dammit! Mom is proud of Steph for going to college and being normal, no more of that vigilante stuff. She steps towards Steph’s closet asking “What are you going to wear?” The Batgirl costume is hanging up in there, so Steph freaks out and gets between her mom and the closet door. I don’t know about you, but to my mom, that would have been a sign to open the closet door and figure out what the fuck I was hiding in there. But no. Mom leaves. Sigh of relief.
Next, Barbara is watching a ladies wheelchair basketball game, coached by Bruce’s friend Dr. Leslie Thompson. Leslie wants Barbara to play basketball with them. Barbara is FML Alan Moore made me so psychotically angry can’t deal. She takes the subway home, and some muggers go for the chick in the wheelchair. Babs gives them what-for, and enjoys the hell out of it and Barbara Gordon is so fucking awesome I can’t deal.
Stephanie in Philosophy 480 at Gotham U. She’s being flakey and not paying attention, drawing Bat symbols all over her notes. Spacing out, she flashes us back to…
Three weeks ago: Steph as Spoiler and Cass as Batgirl are fighting some thugs. There’s a cute little team up jinx moment here that is actually adorable, but when the fight is over Cass is all fuck this shit Bruce is dead and I don’t WANNA. So she gives her Batgirl costume to Steph and disappears.
Next up, Babs has dinner with Commissioner Dad. All the cops still love Barbara cos she was their “little red-headed mascot.” Babs is touched, maybe, but also non-plussed I think. Commissioner Dad wants to hook her up with the hot new detective at GCPD. Babs is annoyed. Dick Grayson calls, and she’s MORE annoyed, cos omg DO IT ALREADY.
Steph is at home, NOT doing her homework. She’s trying to find a way to rationalize breaking promises to at least three different people and going out on patrol anyway. She’s got a police scanner. Homework or vigilante-ism? Guess which one Steph picks?
There’s a riot in Gotham. Commissioner Gordon is there, his guys are getting killed left and right. Nick (who I think might be Hot! Detective) is with the bad guys. They’re roughing each other up until a little bat punches through the window. She does a pretty ok job of beating up the bad guys, but as usual, she kind of fucks it up, almost getting Hot! Detective Nick killed in the process. Nick radios back to Gordon; “I met my first Bat-person! …Wait? Which Bat are you again?” Stephanie skulks off, annoyed.
Next morning, the gratuitous shower scene. I guess she’s college age now so this isn’t THAT icky. Steph is tired, and thinks maybe she should have just done her homework instead of going out and beating up bad guys willy-nilly. She walks downstairs to see…
A VERY annoyed Barbara at her kitchen table. Steph’s mom is held up at work. Babs is annoyed as fuck. Babs tells Steph to have some waffles. This should be a fun talk…except, END of issue.
Yeah, I’m going to keep reading this as long as it’s Barbara-heavy. Honestly, Steph just needs Barbara in her ear at ALL moments of her life, in costume or not. I feel bad for Stephanie. Everyone loves Barbara, but Steph’s been consistently pulled into the Bat-family only to be unceremoniously dumped out of it how many times now? Maybe wearing the Bat-symbol for real will force her to grow up and be a little less nuts and a little more bad ass? Probably not, but getting this much Barbara in a book is good.
I’ll go ahead and a give it a 3.5 out of 5. It was kind of cheesy, but this is meant to be a lighter title, and I LOVE the Gordons so it gets a big boost for that alone. The second they stop showing up though…well, let’s just say I’m less likely to fork my money over for a Batgirl book without at least a Barbara cameo. Just sayin’.