The Riddler – An Analysis of Brilliant Incompetence


Art by JoJo Seames

By Arthur Sims

Take a moment to think about every villain that has ever dared to challenge the Batman, the supposed “world’s greatest detective.” Who would you call his mental equal? Hugo Strange? Ra’s Al Ghul? That silly pirate wannabe, Deathstroke? Perhaps any or all of these bums could go toe to toe with the Caped Crusader, but none could possibly defeat him in a battle of the minds, because, well let’s face it, they are all missing one very important trait. The fact that they are not the greatest mind this world, or any for that matter has ever known.

Mine of course!

No, not that imbecile Artie Sims, you dullards.

Did you really think I would let someone get away with calling me, the unmatchable Riddler, “ONE of the greatest tricksters to ever go mano a mano with Batman?” Come on people! He gives me far too little praise! It is a real shame too, because I even would have let him slide just this once, but did you even see the title of this drivel?

It is enough to drive a man to kill!

Figuratively of course. I would never stoop so low as to kill a man over his opinions, but accidents do happen.

Ah, but dear readers, I am not trying to bring you down with all of this talk of accidental crushings in printing presses while you enjoy your first cup of coffee, so how about we play a little quiz game to help stimulate all of your little minds for the busy day ahead?

Now, now. I do not take every one of you for complete idiots, that would just be spiteful. So I will confirm that our friend Artie is indeed strapped down to the printing line at the Gotham Gazette, ready to become tomorrow’s headline. Of course, it won’t be as simple as just knocking on the door and untying our dear journalist friend.

Every door has been sealed by the time this paper hits your doorstep and rigged with some party favors that I am sure will be a blast! This of course means that not only is Artie in a sticky situation, but so is every single employee that just did not have the good fortune to come down with the flu today.

How can all of these poor little pawns hope to survive my wonderful game of chess, you ask?

Why it is quite simple, even for those of you who happen to get hung up on the daily word jumble. I’m talking about you, Detective. Do you have what it takes to overcome my challenge, Bat?

The first step is easy, you just need what any door needs, why a key of course. Where will you find it? That is where the fun begins! If you have been paying attention to half of what I have said to this word you will already have half of the address! All you need now is an avenue to collect your thoughts. Might I suggest taking a moment to contemplate the accomplishments of those who built this city from just bricks and mortar while you are there? Just a thought.


Next you need to find a way to deactivate all of my little surprises. Did I mention that they are all on timers? You are going to need a numeric code for that one. I would not recommend trying any of your fancy gadgets on them either, Detective, but I am sure that you guessed that. You have been solving my puzzles since, oh when was that? I am sure that you remember.

Finally, with all but one of my little game pieces rescued you have but one more step. Will you be able to free Mr. Sims from Mr. Gutenberg’s grasp? Manual tampering will only make things messier, so I would recommend finding the password for the controls. Silly me, it looks like I have already revealed it in this step, but where? You may have to be a real renaissance man to solve this one!


Now link it all together and you may once again prove to be the hero that everyone seems to think that you are. You won’t have to dash too far to make the connection, the solution is in site! But don’t worry, if I have bested you there is no shame in defeat. Feel free to highlight your ignorance if you just cannot keep up.

Did you really think that I would give you the answer just like that? The only answer that I will will give you is yes, you really are THAT gullible.

JoJo Seames is a freelance illustrator, comic artist, and fine art painter from the frozen netherworld of Fargo, North Dakota. Her favorite Batman stories are “The Two-Bit Dictator of Twin Mills”, from 1944, and “A Change of Costume”, from 1946, wherein Batman dresses up as Louis XVI and makes Robin dress as Marie Antoinette. You can follow her on Twitter, tumblr and DeviantArt. The original watercolor Riddler piece above is for sale on Etsy.

Post By Arthur Sims (1 Posts)

Arthur Sims has been an editorial writer for the Gotham Gazette for over twenty years and is actually Deadshirt staff writer Kyle Herr, whose name we couldn't fit anywhere else in the piece without ruining the fun or spoiling one of the riddles.


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