The Joker's death has left a void in the Gotham City underworld--a void the Riddler seeks to fill in the deadliest way possible. Creating a path of death and destruction, the criminal mastermind places Batman and Robin in an unwinnable scenario, with the clock ticking down the moments to disaster.
The Riddler is one of my favourite Batman villains, and he recently gained some notable exposure in the Zero Year arc of the main Batman comic from Scott Snyder. I don’t know how much he’ll focus in Arkham Knight itself as I haven’t been paying very much attention to Xbox One/PS4 exclusive games, but considering that I should be getting one of these two consoles in the next couple of weeks or so, I certainly hope that Edward Nygma will feature prominently. I’d prefer him to play a more direct role in the plot then be limited to side missions this time around, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But even if we don’t get that in Arkham Knight (no spoilers, please, I haven’t yet played the game), The Riddler’s Gambit serves as a fun way to put the Riddler in the spotlight, because if you remember in Arkham City, the Joker died, right? No more arch nemesis for Batman and a criminal underworld without a figurehead. And Batman hasn’t been seen in a while, either. It’s where we jump in to Riddler’s Gambit, which feels very much like part of the game itself, as any good tie-in novel should, drawing readers in and having them hooked right from the start, and if you want to read more about the Arkham world in prose format, you can’t go far wrong with The Riddler’s Gambit.
The Riddler’s Gambit serves as a welcoming treat for all fans of Batman and his rogues gallery. We have multiple villains but also multiple protagonists, for example, Robin (Tim Drake), who only cameoed in the main Arkham City game (and was playable in his own expansion) gets a significant part of the story here as the book spends time between Batman and Robin chapters, with the dynamic duo getting plenty to do and working together well. The book also serves as an example as to how the media view Batman, and we get a look into how he’s viewed both positively and negatively by articles on blogs and newspapers that separate chapters, told from the likes of Jack Ryder, Vicki Vale and more, as Irvine manages to utilise the rich cast to the most of his ability without feeling they’re shoehorned in. This book doesn’t suffer from the problems that can come with a lot of villains, as the Arkham games have handled this in a way that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 failed to accomplish. It reads well and does about everything you’d expect from a tie-in.
However, The Riddler’s Gambit suffers from a few problems. There are a couple of continuinty errors that I noticed and it will probably annoy fans of the Arkham games as well, and sometimes, the villain’s voices sound a little too similar, and not really as distinctive as I would have hoped, even if the characters themselves are still mostly handled well and given plenty of page-time. But those are really the only two minor problems that I had with this book because The Riddler’s Gambit otherwise allows for an action packed read with a lightning fast pace that as a result makes this novel feel very similar to a summer blockbuster, you’ll get through it pretty quickly and you’ll enjoy it, but it won’t exactly be anything that will blow you away.
The book also handles the relationship between Batman and Robin well, and it’s something that is great to see for fans wanting more Tim Drake (it’s worth pointing out that Tim Drake is my favourite Robin – Dick Grayson would be, but he works far better as Nightwing). The amount of stuff that Robin gets to do in this book should keep readers content, and I hope he gets more than just a mention in the game itself. Barbara Gordon fans should be happy with Oracle’s inclusion, so there’s plenty there that makes this book something that fans will enjoy, even if The Riddler’s Gambit may not be perfect.
It’s also worth noting that I’m probably going to hold off reviewing the Arkham Knight novelization until I’ve played the game (which should hopefully be before the year’s end), as I don’t want to be spoiled by any major plot twists as I’ve remained spoiler free so far. So you’re going to have to wait for that review to crop up, but it will make an appearance once I’ve finished the novel. But for now, The Riddler’s Gambit is something that you should check out if you’re an Arkham fan looking to get some more adventures focused on Gotham’s dynamic duo.
Andrea Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire continued to make Green Arrow the best series at DC under their run and it's a shame we had to see them leave becausAndrea Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire continued to make Green Arrow the best series at DC under their run and it's a shame we had to see them leave because this was simply incredible. Featuring enough Arrow characters (Diggle!) to keep the fans happy this book offered a unique take on Green Arrow that was simply sensastional, and establishes Sorrentino as a go-to artist for me and I'll read anything that he does in the future because his artwork was just so brilliant here. Highly Recommended. ...more
Offering a lighthearted counterbalance to the grimdarkness that has been flooding the Batbooks since the start of the New 52, it's a shame to see GailOffering a lighthearted counterbalance to the grimdarkness that has been flooding the Batbooks since the start of the New 52, it's a shame to see Gail Simone leave the book which up until her departure was one of the longest runs on a New 52 title (including Snyder and Capullo) that kept its original creative team. However Cameron Stewart and co kept Batgirl Vol. 1 interesting, fresh and entertaining giving it a nice feel that captures a unique take on the character. Recommended for Gotham Academy fans. ...more
Offering another alternative to the core Green Lantern book, Justin Jordan nailed it on New Guardians as it became during its run one of my favouriteOffering another alternative to the core Green Lantern book, Justin Jordan nailed it on New Guardians as it became during its run one of my favourite DC series. I loved the outer space stuff and the artwork was pretty awesome as well. Kyle Rayner, much like Guy Gardner in Red Lanterns, serves as a nice alternative to Hal Jordan here as well. ...more
Charles Soule may now be a Marvel writer but his best stuff has come from DC and his run on Red Lanterns has been one of the best series that DC had.Charles Soule may now be a Marvel writer but his best stuff has come from DC and his run on Red Lanterns has been one of the best series that DC had. Some awesome things going on here but it's sad to see him go. It's always good to explore more Corps that aren't necessarily the main Green Lantern ones as well. ...more
Not quite a 4 star, coming in as more than a 3.75, this book, with pretty awesome artwork, was a heck of a lot better than Lobdell's run which went doNot quite a 4 star, coming in as more than a 3.75, this book, with pretty awesome artwork, was a heck of a lot better than Lobdell's run which went downhill when he felt the need to cross it over with every other book that he was writing at the time. A nice breath of fresh air with some cool characters this is unfortunately a book that I didn't quite have the funds to keep up with on a monthly basis but something that I plan on revisiting in trades further down the line for sure. ...more
Otherwise known as the best DC book that nobody read, which was a shame because JM DeMatteis really killed it on Trinity of Sin and I would have lovedOtherwise known as the best DC book that nobody read, which was a shame because JM DeMatteis really killed it on Trinity of Sin and I would have loved to see it last, because the Phantom Stranger, Pandora and the Question were great as a team. Guess it was too obscure for fans to keep afloat but it made a nice follow up book to Phantom Stranger, which was excellent once DeMatteis came on board. ...more
This didn't quite work out for me and although I love the concept and some of the characters and the artwork was solid (although not always perfect) IThis didn't quite work out for me and although I love the concept and some of the characters and the artwork was solid (although not always perfect) I wound up dropping this book fairly quickly. Good for some light entertainment, but don't expect anything more. ...more
A flawed but fun DC series that's perfect for people looking for something different than your normal superhero fare. Shame it didn't last that long,A flawed but fun DC series that's perfect for people looking for something different than your normal superhero fare. Shame it didn't last that long, though, but it probably never stood a chance. ...more
Read as individual issues, and suffered from the same problem of Forever Evil. Too much of it and drawn out way too long. Should've been kept to one sRead as individual issues, and suffered from the same problem of Forever Evil. Too much of it and drawn out way too long. Should've been kept to one series. ...more
A full, proper review will follow closer to publication date but here are my thoughts on each story in brief.
SUPERMAN, Story: Greg Pak | Art: LeeA full, proper review will follow closer to publication date but here are my thoughts on each story in brief.
SUPERMAN, Story: Greg Pak | Art: Lee Weeks - Nothing we've seen before but still a pretty solid retread. Good artwork as well.
ROBIN, DICK GRAYSON, Story: Kyle Higgins | Art: Doug Mahnke - Again. Something that I'm familiar with but unlike Superman less people will be. Pretty good. First time I've seen this origin in the New 52.
SUPERGIRL, Story: Tony Bedard | Art: Paulo Siquera | One that I was the most unfamiliar with. Handled pretty well I think, relatively unfamiliar with both writer and artist.
BATMAN, Story: Ray Fawkes | Art: Dustin Nguyen | Something that didn't really need retelling especially with Batman Begins and Gotham being so recent. Great artwork, though.
AQUAMAN, Story: Jeff Parker | Art: Alvaro Martinez | Interesting as this, like Supergirl, I'm not especially familiar with (but know some details of). Parker is a decent writer and it's a pretty confident origin tale.
STARFIRE, Story: Scott Lobdell | Art: Paulo Siquera | Not a fan of this one. Lobdell isn't one of my favourite comics writers. Finally a character whose origin I know absolutely nothing about, though.
GREEN LANTERN, Story: Robert Venditti | Art: Martin Colcollo | Everyone remembers that awful Green Lantern movie from 2011, right? Well this is how a Green Lantern origin should be told. Fun and pretty awesome. One of the stronger entries.
BATWOMAN, Story: Jeremy Haun | Art: Trevor McCarthy | Pretty Good. Obviously can't reach JH Williams/W. Haden Blackman levels but this was a strong origin for a character who I wasn't too familiar with as well as a showcase for creators I wasn't too familiar with (I like Haun's art on Constantine but haven't seen him write before).
RED ROBIN, Story: Scott Lobdell | Art: Tyler Kirkham | Ack. Lobdell alert. Not good. Avoid this one.
HARLEY QUINN, Story: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti | Art: Stephanie Roux | Harley Quinn was lots of fun in this one even if I knew the story and now I really want to start reading the ongoing series. One of the strongest ones in the collection.
GREEN ARROW, Story: Jeff Lemire | Art: Denys Quinn | Very good artwork. Still getting used to a GA story not drawn by Sorrentino. Lemire was excellent as normal and this is probably my favourite story of the entire collection. Very good stuff.
ROBIN, DAMIAN WAYNE, Story: Peter J. Tomasi | Art: Ian Bertran | Not Damian's origin but the origin of how he became Robin. Pretty good and helped out expand a character who I didn't know much about beyond being "Batman's son". ...more
So this is the only weekly that I'm following in single issues and it's been superb from start to finish. Great exploration of various DC characters iSo this is the only weekly that I'm following in single issues and it's been superb from start to finish. Great exploration of various DC characters including the New 52 origin of Stephanie Brown and the appearance of the awesome Harper Row. Also, although not in this volumne IIRC, featured a Bane & Alfred teamup which was full of win. This is a series certainly worth investing in and it will allow you to get a great understanding of what makes the Batverse tick. Recommended. ...more
Excellent book and I am seriously contemplating buying Lemire's run in trades even though I own all the single issues in paperback as well because eacExcellent book and I am seriously contemplating buying Lemire's run in trades even though I own all the single issues in paperback as well because each issue is just that good. Sorrentino is my favourite artist and this book is the New 52's finest. Really disappointing to see the creative team leave the book especially for an awful replacement. ...more