Out of all the superheroes out there, many comic book fans would argue that Batman has the best rogues' gallery. With great villains such as Mr. Freeze, Ra's Al Ghul, and Two-Face among so many others, Batman has to contend with some of the most creative and sinister baddies in comic book history. However, out of all of the villains listed on "Gotham's Most Wanted," there is no better feud in Batman comics than Batman and the Riddler.
That's right: the Riddler is Batman's greatest enemy. More than Two-Face, more than Bane, and more than Ra's. The Riddler is even more of a threat to Batman than the Joker.
Many may scoff at the idea of the Riddler, AKA Edward Nigma, being Batman's greatest nemesis, but there are plenty of reasons to support this claim. Remember how the Riddler held Gotham hostage in the Zero Year? Or that he knows the immortal secrets of the Lazarus Pit? Or that he knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne? Read on to see why The Riddler is a great villain and the greatest foe of the Dark Knight.
He's Financially Independent
Compared to most super criminals, the Riddler is incredibly successful financially. Whether it's because of a sneaky getaway from an in-person bank robbery or the modern method of hacking into other people's bank accounts, the Riddler usually isn't strapped for cash. Even if he doesn't do the dirty work himself, he has been hired and handsomely paid as a strategist for both legitimate and illegitimate businesses alike. If the Riddler needs money, he can get it.
Edward Nigma's motivations are out of a desire for more rather than a need for more. The Riddler sees crime as an art form above everything else. That makes him more patient to act and allows him to afford more resources to play his games. Nothing he does is out of a desire for actual material gain, but more out of a desire for power and showing off his intellect. That is more dangerous than most Batman foes that usually commit atrocities out of necessity, impatience, blind greed, or desperation.
He Can Effectively Collaborate With Or Manipulate Other Batman Foes
It doesn't matter if it's his collaboration with nearly every member of Batman's rogues' gallery in Hush or other times he's teamed up with other Bat-Baddies; the Riddler knows how to work with others for his schemes. Whether it's appealing to another colleague's ego, offering payment for their services, or outright manipulation, the Riddler is able to corral, convince, and cajole others into working with him, including foes with such uncooperative personalities as the Joker.
Even more impressively, the Riddler usually ends up having his co-conspirators do most of the hands-on work and lets them get victimized by Batman if things go bad. This means that Nigma is usually the last person to get punched in the jaw for his troubles. Batman usually has to get through one or more other foes before he squares off with the Riddler.
The Riddler Forces Batman To Stay Sharp
Who do you consider your greatest rival: your equal or the one that forces you to become better? Time and again, the Riddler keeps Batman on his toes mentally and forces him to deduce the most complex mysteries, figure out the most maddening puzzles, and use abstract thinking to solve complex riddles. As the Joker himself exclaimed in Death of the Family, Edward Nigma keeps Batman's mind sharp. Many other villains give the Dark Knight challenges, but the Riddler is the only one that truly forces Batman to continually grow mentally.
Batman Begrudgingly Needed His Help
Sometimes, Batman is smart enough to know when he's not smart enough. There were a handful times when he had little choice but to team up with the Riddler to solve a case or two. A great foe and rival isn't just one you continually fight, but one that you would welcome to have as an ally if there wasn't conflict between you. This type of dynamic is rare compared to Batman's relationship with other villains.