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Episode #49 - Riddler's Revenge
Original Airdate - February 17th, 2007
Stuck at the bottom of the ocean with Riddler and no hope of escape, Batman learns he may have played an important role in the creation of this dreaded foe and helps solve a long lingering mystery.

Review by Stu
Media by Bird Boy, Rick
Credits
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Brandon Vietti
Music by Thomas Chase Jones
Animation by Lotto Animation

Voices
Rino Romano as The Batman/Bruce Wayne
Evan Sabara as Robin/Dick Grayson
Robert Englund as Riddler
Brooke Shields as Julie
Bob Gunton as Gorman
Daryl Sabara as Harris
Lex Lang as Riddleman #1

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Review

Since it’s very, very poor premiere, I’ve been hot and cold on The Batman. Whilst the opening string of episodes were pretty lousy at best, the show found it’s footing with a very strong sophomore season before plunging into The Incredible Hulk and She Hulk levels of quality of season three thanks to the loathsome presence of the irritating Batgirl. Thankfully, season four has whooped ass thus far, and this episode wasn’t an exception to the rule – no whatever the DC to a True Believer is, "Riddler’s Revenge" is simply an outstanding episode which easily ranks as the show’s best, topping "Riddled", "A Matter Of Family" and even the sensational The Batman Vs Dracula DVD.

We are finally given a back-story to the show’s most interesting villain and it’s a damn good one. It’s a shame that this show rarely goes into the back stories/motivation with its villains because a lot of them are really, really underdeveloped and pretty much every time they do go into them, they produce cracking episodes like this one. The other great example is of course, "Strange Minds", when we are treated to a brilliant Joker episode. Here, we’re given a sympathetic version of The Riddler who has been wrongly treated and ultimately is simply looking for revenge against the man he feels has ruined his lives work. The Riddler has been a much stronger villain that the other rouges in Batman’s gallery, as he is actually presented as a challenge to The Batman, whilst a lot of the others are simply clearly out of their league whilst dueling with The Dark Knight, which means we rarely get the tension one desires from an action show. There’s rarely been drama added to the beautifully choreographed fight scenes and whilst this season has been a dramatic improvement, none of them have ever really come close to this level.

The show could’ve fit into Batman: The Animated Series’ world quite easily, except that this is a much better version of Mr. E Nygma. There are no stupid quips, the jokes are actually funny (Dick in school was classic) and there’s a simply brilliant twist in the episode that had me fooled. There’s nothing here to dislike, it looks great, the voice casting is sound and the performances are fine and it’s fascinating to watch how Eddie became The Riddler. If this were the type of episodes we were getting in season one, this show wouldn’t get the mindless bashing it’s repeatedly a victim of. I was actually really, really surprised to see that people weren’t reacting that positively to it – I think this is easily the best episode the show has ever done, and it completely knocks every other episode this season out of the water, although A Matter Of Family is still bloody awesome. Maybe it’s my own fascination with The Riddler and just how much I love this show’s version of him or how happy I am to finally see Batman and Robin reunited on TV again, how it should be. I’ll spare you my usual tirade about Batgirl and just say that both Batman and Robin are used perfectly in the episode, Batman is the dark detective and Robin his brilliant sidekick. No complaints here.

More of the same please. With the show now renewed for another season, I’m still undecided if I’d like to see The Riddler again, I don’t know how one can top this excellent finale for the character.

 

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