Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Molly Mahan
Group Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Cover Price: $4.99
On Sale Date: September 11, 2019
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Hoo boy, this has been some Year of the Villain so far, hasn’t it! You’ve got holographic Lex Luthor handing out some major boons to worthy villains…and some not-so-major boons, and it’s been crazy! As in, it’s had little effect on the DCU thus far. I imagine it will all culminate in something amazing, though, Hey, maybe this issue about the Riddler’s gift from Lex will be the tipping point for this event, hah?
Here’s the thing about the Riddler: he’s essentially the by-product of the creatively bereft generation of comics creators that worked during the Golden and Silver Agess. You read that correctly. These alcoholic wiseacres were coming up with their insipid mysteries and then, in a stroke of laziness, Bill Finger came up with a garish villain who left clues to his crimes by leaving actual riddles. The character has carried on since 1948 (with some major gaps in appearances) and lived in mortal fear that one day he’ll have to cede the title of Most Telegraphed Criminal to Cluemaster.
So it is that we have a Story about how the Riddler has to regroup and rebrand, at the suggestion of Lex Luthoir. And at the end of the story, the Riddler does discard his trademark punctuation embroidery for something to be determined. But getting to that point is a real slog. There are some interesting character moments, and I did appreciate the inclusion of King Tut as the Riddler’s sounding board (and would-be partner in crime) because, despite my diatribe in the first paragraph, I love the goofy Silver Age shit. But there’s a lot of redundant conversation, chats between Tut and Nygma about their worthiness and what Lex’s intangible gift meant. It seems padded out to fill the page allotment, and the conclusion is hardly a worthwhile pay-off.
Bits and Pieces:
If you’re one of the handful of die-hard Riddler fans in the world, or if you want to see some nicely-executed sequential art, then you might check this out. But if you’re looking for a lively story with some moments that “count,” then you can look elsewhere,