Review: The Riddler: Year of the Villain #1

by Tony Farina
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The Riddler YOTV cover


[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Mark Russell

Artist: Scott Godlewski

Colorist: Marissa Louise

Letters: Travis Lanham


Reviewer: Tony Farina



The Riddler sits with King Tut and wonders, why not me? Why did those other baddies get the love of President and Monster Lex Luthor. As luck would have it, Lex is in town and swings by to have a chat with Ed. There is a parable about killing yourself to live and getting out of one’s own way.

Ed misses the point, but he and Tut decide they are going to set a booby trap for the big Bat. Riddler almost realizes how dumb it all sounds, but he is a sucker so…


Leave it to Mark Russell to give The Riddler a soul. He ponders, “Are we all? Just going through life never suspecting how pathetic we are until we see our reflection in those we pity?” Wow, right? This comic is actually filled with nuggets of insight and wisdom.

Of course, this is Mark Russell, he can’t just make it all philosophical can he? He needs a joke or two in there. The best and funniest of those jokes is the use of King Tut. The King Tut character actually only exists in the Batman 66 series. At one point, the Riddler almost realizes what a farce it is, but he is not quite there. There are so many brilliant gags in this books that to give them all away here would be a crime and I would be the Villain of the year.

The actor who played him, Victor Bruno, would be thrilled with Scott Godlewski’s revision of his overall look. I hope when someone makes a visual joke of me, Godlewski does the art. Yes, I know what I just wrote, but if you take a look at the work he is doing here, you will feel the same way. In addition to doing some excellent action, Godlewski gives The Riddler some pathos. This book, while rife with jokes and visual humor, is an emotional kick in the gut too. The last page is Godlewski’s finest work.


King Tut is in this. King Tut. From Batman the series. I personally think it is funny. Not everyone will. Nor will everyone love that last page, but again, I beg to differ.



Riddle me this.. What will it take for Mark Russell just win an Eisner already? What does he have to do but keep thoughtful, funny, touching, and intellectually demanding comics? Oh wait, he already does that. Ok, this is not a riddle.  If you have not read any part of the Year of the Villain, you will be fine. If you have, you are right on track. Spend some time with a ne’er do well, who is not doing well no matter how much he tries.


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