Now here’s an interesting development


For those following along with the many reviews Major Spoilers cranks out, my thoughts on Batman Confidential have been quite low as of late.  However, something strange has happened with this Legends of the Dark Knight reboot that kept the series on my pull list – a good story.

batmanconfidential27cover.jpgSomeone is posing as a riddle speaking pharaoh and killing board members of the Gotham City Museum.  The mysterious deaths bring Batman into the investigation, and as of last issue, he was convinced the Riddler was behind the crimes.  That is until the Riddler showed up to help.

Not having read every Batman story ever told, I don’t know how many times The Riddler has offered his services in exchange for leniency, but seeing as how the stories in Batman Confidential takes place prior to any modern tales, I like how issue #27 ends up foreshadowing Riddler’s willingness to turn a new leaf – retroactively.  Any time you can team Batman with one of his rogues to fight a common enemy in a well paced story is one that I an interested in reading.

The methods Batman uses to keep the Riddler close, while going through his investigation are well done, and I especially like how Riddler antagonizes Batman with his constant quips of their partnership.  Batman is able to get his own jabs in, but I’m especially interested in how DeFilippis and Weir don’t make Batman out to be the all knowing detective that others have portrayed him to be.  Perhaps it’s because this tale takes place at the mid-point of his career, but Batman failing to recognize traps and getting tricked by a ruse alarm, make this one of the most believable versions of a hero without superpowers we’ve seen in years.

Riddle of the Sphinx follows the three-act structure method of storytelling, with the heroes uncovering the villain’s scheme and racing to put an end to the madness before another person dies.

My dream television series would be a live action Batman series done as faithful adaptations of the comics.  Tales from Steve Englehart and Denny O’Neal would translate nicely to an HBO series  that has enough grit and adventure to snare fans in.  Riddle of the Sphinx by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir harkens back to those days of Batman knowing when to throw a punch, and when to do detective work to solve the crime and would be a perfect installment to my make believe television series.

By the end of the issue, Batman and the Riddler have indeed tracked down the culprit, but get tripped up in the villain’s lair by an intricate trap that harkens back to the Saturday morning cliffhangers of yesteryear.

I’m totally blown away by the art Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  It feels like he is channeling Bryne, Kubert, and Marshall Rogers to bring the issue to life.  If I had more free time in my day, I could stare and analyze every panel of this issue for hours on end.  Garcia-Lopez’s ability to lay out a page that flows smoothly from panel to panel, and his ability to strike dramatic poses with all the characters brings the page to life.  Even the use of techniques adapted from film add a little extra punch to this entire issue.

Prior to this new arc, I was ready to drop Batman Confidential completely from my monthly orders.  It took two issues to convince me to read the series a while longer, and for those who need their Batman stories during a time when Bruce Wayne is nowhere to be found (unless you are a time traveler), Batman Confidential: Riddle of the Sphinx scratches that itch, serving up a story that is worth 4.5 out of 5 Stars.


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Funny, the Riddler is called “le Sphinx” in French. Yet I never thought he’d take part in an Egytian oriented story.

  2. I love this series… I wonder if it’ll keep doing Bruce stories when we have a new Batman (or, gulp, Batmen?)? I hope so, though I’ll certainly feel sorry for Dick.

  3. OMG!! A live action Batman show based solely on the comic books with no commercials because it’s on HBO…? That would be a dream come true. I almost got a stiffy just thinking about it.

    Batman Confidential is not a bad book whatsoever. Legends Of The Dark Knight was probably my favorite.

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