The Riddler: Year One #3 by Paul Dano & Stevan Subic

Another excellent chapter in The Riddler Year One series. Paul Dano is doing a fantastic job writing this book. It reminds me of the good old days of Vertigo. Stevan Subic’s art is perfect for this book. Parts of this comic could’ve been pulled straight out of the Matt Reeves BATMAN film.

The Riddler Year One Chapter 3: I Know What I Must Become

We open with an envelope being left at the Gotham City Police Department. It’s addressed to The Police Commissioner in scratchy red writing and there is a USB taped to it. A question mark is penciled on the USB.

Can barely breathe.”

“What’s this?” The desk officer objects.

“Hey man, I’m just dropping this off for a guy, y’know? Said his name was Patrick Parker…”

Switch scenes to Edward’s office at KTMJ. Edward’s boss is asking if he’s found anything unusual in the Wayne account. Edward hasn’t, but tells his boss he’ll let him know if he does.

He’s watching you, Edward. He doesn’t realize you’re watching HIM.”

On the next page, we see Edward watching the New Beginnings Animal Rescue building. A patrol car cruises by but doesn’t stop.

“Why aren’t they stopping?”

I have to comment on the art by Stevan Subic. I love the way he draws the streets of Gotham, dark, moody, the people appear as shadowy shapes, vague and unsettling.

I see danger around every corner.”

Edward is surrounded by strange and frightening creatures. They appear to be visions, hallucinations, seeping out from the dark places in his subconscious. “I need help!”

He walks to his apartment, stepping over the bodies of dead rats. Someone is waiting outside, half hidden in the shadows, speaking of disease.

“Edward the Rat. Cage 5H.”

How, how did you know my…”

Edward hurries inside and locks the door. He doesn’t feel safe anywhere, even at home. We see a small creepy figure in the room staring at Edward. I love the way artist Stevan Subic has painted the figure’s glasses white. They stand out against the backdrop of darkness.

On the next page, we see a day in Edward’s life as he goes from waking to working, then to watching the police department.

“Wake up, Edward.” “Brush your teeth, Edward.” “Don’t forget to eat, Edward.”

We see Gotham Mountain Security bringing in boxes that Edward’s boss signs for, foreshadowing events coming up later in the story.

Look at this next page as a good example of great comic book storytelling. There’s almost no dialog, but we understand how this character is feeling from the panel progression. She has a baby who is making her smile, but a few moments later she’s crying. She is clearly very upset about something. Then we see an email offering information about her father. She clicks the link and it leads to an anonymous chatroom. The person messaging her is trying to help but mentioning the POLICE terrifies the young woman and she severs the connection.

It was Edward, of course, but he’s clearly in over his head.

He heads down to the docks and breaks into the Waterfront Industries building. It is abandoned and looks like it has been so for a while. Again, we have excellent visual storytelling here with minimal use of text.

On the next page, Edward sees a shadow at the window. Is it Batman? He wishes it was.

OK, let me skip ahead to this page where we learn more about Gotham Mountain Security. It is Gotham’s “oldest and safest way to store confidential information.” Established long before the digital revolution, it is still used today by “corporations and rich people.” The location is an old copper mine outside the city.

Edward imagines Batman breaking his way inside and we get this jarring panel showing a silhouetted Batman with two pinpricks of light for eyes. It’s very unsettling and gives you the impression of a demon or creature from beyond. The other, or alien.

OK, there’s still plenty of story to go but I will stop here.


This series has been so good. There are three more issues to go and I really hope it remains at this level of quality. A BIG recommendation from me with the caveat that this ain’t about unicorns and rainbows. It’s dark, almost experimental, but very compelling and radiates quality.

SCORE: 8.5 out of 10

My Video Review of The Riddler Year One issue #3

Thanks so much for reading!

-Wakizashi, *trying to get this finished before I go to bed. My bed is calling. Can you hear it?*


8 thoughts on “The Riddler: Year One #3 by Paul Dano & Stevan Subic

    • The first issue totally surprised me because I wasn’t expecting it to be very good. You know, a Hollywood actor writing a comic book…oh no! Go away! But it was good, and the art was really good if you like this Vertigo/indie style. It is being written as a prequel to Matt Reeves’ The Batman movie and is telling the story of Paul Dano’s Riddler character.

      Liked by 1 person

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