After my disappointing bout with the Classic TV Series Batman & Robin 2pk, I cancelled all my pre-orders for the line. It was partially because the figures really aren’t what I want them to be, but also because it became apparent I was going to have to see the figures in person to check the paint. That 2pk was the definition of awful.
Now that I’m back to hunting the figures down instead of pre-ordering whole waves, I’m also back to being open to the option of picking & choosing. I still feel some compulsion to get the set since Mattel has announced their own shortsightedness with no firm plans to go beyond Joker & Catwoman this fall, but I don’t need them all. There was one that stands out above the rest though. Not because the figure is that amazing, but because he just happens to be my favorite villain: The Riddler!
Some of my fellow fans scoff at me for saying the Riddler is my favorite Batman villain, but it’s really no contest for me. And no matter how much flak I get, it’s undeniable that he is one of Batman’s iconic villains. And a large part of that has to do with one man in particular, Frank Gorshin.
See, admittedly, I’m not that big of a fan of Riddler in the comics. There, he might be ‘roided up on Venom. He might be used as the last character you’d ever expect to be a “surprise mastermind” (y’know, I’d never suspect the genius Batman villain would to be a mastermind!). A lot of writers just don’t get the point of the character. And it’s annoying because it was right there on television for decades.
Gorshin brought a great menace to the character. Yes, he hammed it up as did everything else on the show, but Gorshin would also let his Riddler go deadly serious in a heartbeat. He was threatening – and threatening in a very special way. A lot of Batman villains just need to be overpowered by brute force or defeated through sheer force of will. The Riddler has to be outsmarted. His job is to contrast and challenge Batman’s intelligence. His reasoning skills. Joker may face off with the Dark Knight. Penguin fights the Caped Crusader. The Riddler? He’s out to match wits with the World’s Greatest Detective. The show was campy, but I think it used the Riddler effectively (Gorshin was nominated for an Emmy)! I only wish the comic writers could handle him as well.*
* – One great use was his pre-52 turn as a private investigator. A reformed Riddler may seem like an odd idea, but the direct competition was actually fantastic. He could finally beat Batman by being a better crimefighter than Batman. Great stuff.
Anyway, you can see my dilemma. The Batman line just isn’t as good as it should be, but I can’t imagine passing on a Gorshin Riddler. Any other Riddler I own stems from this version! So I had to get it – and I’m glad I did. It’s not a bad figure; it’s just a Mattel figure. Continue to Page 2…