Edward Nashton was born into a broken home. His mother was absent and his father was abusive. When Edward was a young boy, he became excited at the idea of winning a puzzle contest at school. To increase his likelihood of winning, Edward sneaked into school during the night and practiced the puzzle until he could solve it with ease. He ended up winning, and was awarded a riddle book as a prize. Since that time, he has mastered puzzles, mind games, and riddles.
Edward was profoundly intelligent and would pass tests with apparent ease, something his father, out of jealousy, couldn't or wouldn't believe; he therefore attributed his success to cheating (supposedly catching him once) and started beating on him to keep him 'out of trouble,' or to stop him from lying. Out of the abuse, Edward developed a compulsion he has became known for, he constantly endeavors to tell the truth to prove his innocence. This is where his obsession with riddles comes from. Unfortunately, the abuse is also a main factor that drove him mad and to a life of crime.
When Edward got older, he left home and became a carnival performer, using his skills to cheat carnival-goers out of their money. But this was not enough for him. He longed for something more, and became the Riddler, at the same time changing his name to Edward Nigma ("E. Nigma"), picking The Batman as an adversary, as he believes him to be an intelligent and more-than-worthy opponent.
Starting out as a simple informant and criminal profiler for the underworld of Gotham City, as well as for Batman, the Riddler slowly became more of a villain to Batman. It wasn't long before he became a main adversary to the Caped Crusader, constantly testing his analytical abilities to their limits.
The Long Halloween
During the events of the Long Halloween the Riddler became an informant for Gotham city crime lord Carmine Falcone. When a serial killer known as Holiday began targeting Falcone's associates, Carmine hired the Riddler to discover the killer's identity. However, the Riddler's results displeased Falcone, and the gangster even laughed at him, when the Riddler suggested that Carmine himself was the killer. The Riddler later became one of Holiday's victims, but much to the Riddler's confusion, was purpoesely left unharmed. A year later, Batman consulted Riddler about a second Holiday killer called Hangman.
Over the years, the Riddler would earn his living through various heists and robberies, working his way up the criminal food chain, eventually even securing himself a couple wenches to do his bidding.  Later in his career, after his exploits have been well established for some time, he attempts a heist in Manchester, Alabama, only to be thwarted by Impulse, whose problem-solving skills he severely underestimates after Impulse initially confuses him for The Question.
The Riddler was eventually diagnosed with cancer. Being the clever man that he was, he found one of the secret Lazarus Pit's of fellow Batman villain Ra's al Ghul, where he cures himself of his fatal disease. It was during the time he was suffering with brain cancer, under the alias Arthur Wynne, that he came across Dr. Thomas Elliot who would one day become the criminal Hush. When Dr. Elliott saw how he had made the fast recovery, Riddler offered the knowledge to Elliott for a price, if he wanted to save his dying mother. Elliot preferred not to take the Riddler up in his offer so that he can gain his mother's money upon her death. The Riddler and Elliott decided to destroy Batman, Riddler developed a complex plan involving the manipulation of many of Batman's rogues such as: Joker, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Ra's al Ghul, Lady Shiva, and Talia al Ghul. He even involved Superman in the scheme. The Gambit was as dangerous for Batman as it was for the Riddler, but on the plus side it allowed him to solve the greatest riddle of all: that Bruce Wayne is Batman. With the Information he tortured Batman with the memory of Jason Todd, the second Robin. He had Clayface take the form of Jason and torment Batman in reality. Later, Jason's body was found stolen from his grave; Batman was sure it was the Riddler, only to find that Jason was alive the entire time.
When Batman found out Riddler's plot and realizing he knew his secret identity, the only way to ensure Riddler's silence was to match wits with him. He explained that Riddler could never tell anyone he was Bruce Wayne to do so go against everything the Riddler stood for, The Riddler couldn't accept that. Batman also threatened that to do so would reveal that the Riddler knew where Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits were and he would meet an end at the hands of the League of Assassins.
Downfall & New Start
Later, Elliott reappeared demanding from the Riddler the location of the Lazarus Pit. When Riddler refused to answer, he was brutally beaten. Seeking refuge, the Riddler went to the Joker and the Penguin. He tries to bargain with the Joker for asylum and he agrees but eventually his safety is compromised and he is forced to go on the run again. He asks Poison Ivy for asylum, both of whom remembered his manipulation and the meeting didn't go well. At a loss, the Riddler went into a downward spiral of insanity and became homeless. He eventually was found by a ex-NASA decoder who helped him recover his mind. It is during this time that the Riddler has an induced flashback about his childhood, he comes to the realization of what happened when he was abused and why. He also deduces the reason behind why he has the compulsion he has for riddles.
Using his vast fortune, acquired over many years of crime, he gets minor plastic surgery and extensive tattooing. He covers the majority of his torso with his trademark question mark insignia. He kills the Codebreaker, who has discovered his secret identity and steals a priceless scroll, before Batman can get to it. It was at this time that Riddler starting amassing a huge fortune legally and attacking various heroes to prove his abilities.
During this time, he had a run in with Green Arrow, Arsenal and the Outsiders. The Riddler is up for revenge against his defeat by the Green Arrow and he brutally injures and almost kills the the two archers. If not for the timely arrival of the Outsiders they may have been killed. Before these events, the Riddler was hired to steal artifacts imbued with mystical powers from one of Star City's museums, and then distract the authorities so that the related rituals could be commenced. He sends Team Arrow on a wild goose chase around the City, and then reveals that he has an atomic bomb housed in the stadium where the Star City Rockets play. However, as a side effect of the ritual performed with the artifacts, the city is plunged into complete darkness, and Green Arrow uses this to his advantage, to capture the Riddler.
The Riddler was with a group of villains attacking the Gotham City Police Department. He later escaped from Arkham Asylum after a worldwide breakout by the Secret Society of Super Villains. He then is along with the Society when they attack Metropolis. He is defeated by the Shining Knight and is struck in the head by the Knight's mace.
One Year Later
The Riddler was sent into a coma when he was hit in the head by the Shining Knight's mace. When the Riddler awoke a year later, without his obsessive compulsive fixation for riddles but still possesses his great intellect and enormous ego. He also suffers from memory loss forgetting his own name for a while and not remembering that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but he is suspicious. With the Penguin's advice, he was reformed and then became a private investigator at which he legally develops even more of a fortune. He was finally on the right side of the law using his great talents for the good of the people.
He even becomes involved in a ship bound murder mystery alongside Batman, while deducing a part of the mystery, Batman deduces the real reason. In the end they both did there part in solving the crime and have become hostile allies. He is then hired by Bruce Wayne to find a experimental drug stolen from Wayne Enterprises. In the end with the help of a reformed Harley Quinn he gets the drug back and returns it to the rightful owners.
In a run in with Mary Marvel he describes to her how he is reformed, the two then join forces against Clayface, where Edward gets to see up front how twisted and cruel she has become with a great power. He suggests that she gets a mentor or some anger management.
Even Nightwing hired him to find out who was behind recent string of museum robberies, whom he later saves from gang warfare while investigating Penguin's involvement in organized crime. He later deduces that Nightwing is Dick Grayson.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Genius Level Intellect: Supreme problem-solver, criminal mastermind. He is a genius with brilliant deductive power. His mind excels with puzzles, minds games, and manipulations.
- Investigation: He possesses great deductive skills and analytic ability.
- Escapology: Riddler is adept in escapology. Since childhood Edward has been a big fan of the late great Harold Houdini. Using this skill to build his infamous elaborate death traps and easily escape handcuffs. Like the Joker he can escape the high security hospital Arkham Asylum when ever he pleases.
- Obsession: His riddles are in fact a bizarre obsessive compulsion; his attempts to stop himself from sending them has met with failure time and time again. This extends to the fact he cannot simply kill his opponents when he has the upper hand, but prefers to put them in a deathtrap to see if he can devise a life and death intellectual challenge that the hero cannot escape. However, of Batman's themed enemies, Riddler's compulsion is quite flexible, allowing him to commit any crime as long as he can describe it in a riddle or puzzle.
- Many adaptations of the Batman mythos have given the Riddler the real name Edward Nigma (or Nygma) or E. Nigma. Occasionally his full name has been given as Edward E. Nigma. Some have depicted this as a false name and his real name as Edward Nashton.
- The Riddler is one of the Batman's few foes who has actually managed to discover his secret identity. Others include Professor Hugo Strange, Ra's al Ghul and Catwoman (although Batman willingly revealed his secret identity to Selina).
- The Riddler's online screen name is "Wizard101."
- 173 Appearances of Edward Nashton (New Earth)
- 61 Images featuring Edward Nashton (New Earth)
- 10 Quotations by or about Edward Nashton (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Edward Nashton (New Earth)
- The Riddler at dccomics.com
- Riddler at Wikipedia.org
- "Origin of The Riddler" at DCComics.com
- Riddler article at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #19 (Riddler biography page)
- The Riddler at the DC Animated Universe Wikia
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