Review — Batman Universe #1: Who is the Riddler?

4 min readJul 10, 2019

Batman Universe #1 — Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Nick Derington, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist


Ray — 9/10

Corrina: Think I’m in a Batman Slump

Ray: Last week brought us the first of the Walmart comics, a Superman tale by Tom King and Andy Kubert. Batman Universe #1 continues the switcheroo, as regular Superman writer Brian Michael Bendis takes on a new Batman epic with former Doom Patrol artist Nick Derington. The result here is a much smoother transition and one that makes me think Bendis might be a great choice to take over the Batman line as heavily rumored. Bendis’ Batman is a lot more chatty and snarky than you’d expect from the Caped Crusader, yes, but his vision of Gotham has a fascinating electric vibe that puts it somewhere between the Golden age and the Tim Burton version, with a touch of an edgier Batman ’66 mixed in. From the opening pages, as Batman argues with Alfred from inside the Batmobile as we see the city as Batman does, it delivers on a visual level like few Batman comics do.

Corrina: I think Derington and Stewart also have a great deal to do with how this Gotham looks and feels. 🙂 I enjoyed the artwork in this issue far more than the dialogue and could have happily enjoyed this as wordless comic. (But, then, we’ve established that Bendis dialogue is like nails on a chalkboard to me.)

However, overall, this story is much better at using a Batman familiar to the public than the Superman story, though I still think the violence is a little too much for a book that should be aimed at all-ages.

Ray: Bendis also makes a very smart choice for his first villain in the Riddler — one of the few villains who can actually match Batman on an intellectual level. This Riddler isn’t the confident master criminal we know, though — he’s actually quite panicky and his riddles aren’t up to snuff. That makes clear to Batman that this latest caper might actually be a cry for help — one that turns out to be much more complicated when he…