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Isn’t there a new Puzzler that actually breaks into jigsaw-puzzle-like pieces, or am I thinking of someone else?

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The Puzzler is tailor-made for The Venture Brothers, especially as written by you: “Hey! Poker champion! I just beat you to death with a poker! Now you’re dead! PUZZLER!”

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“His sign is a bent nail — half of a common puzzle.”

Even his calling card indicates that he’s not quite complete. Paging the Suicide Squad….

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I like the one book he’s holding: “How to Cheat and Win.” As opposed to all those suckers who lose while cheating.

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G. Baptiste said on April 17th, 2008 at 10:13 am

To be in theme, wouldn’t he have to whack the rummy champ with a drunk, rather than a bottle of rum? Any guy who can lift a hobo up and beat someone to death with that hobo is at least a little impressive. Too bad the writers copped out…

(The hearts scene would have been pretty intense too, I imagine. Not my thing, but you know.)

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mygif

29% is WAY too high, for a guy who you’ve just written as a complete waste of space with a vanishingly small percentage of ONE DAY being redeemed.

There’s no way this guy approaches one third Rex….

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According to the bio, he did try to kill Rummy guy with rum, Hearts guy with a heart attack and Cassino guy… at a casino. He’s like the Se7en killer, turned down from 11 to about .02.

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It’s mostly the goatee. if Rex the Wonder Dog had a goatee, he would be 140 percent Rex The Wonder Dog.

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CandidGamera said on April 17th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Cluemaster, Trickster, and the Riddler all have this guy beat.

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Cookie McCool said on April 17th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

So, like, his amazing power is that he CHEATS? My little brother was a more kick-ass bad guy than this guy when he was 4 years old. That kid cheated at Candyland like a motherfucker, and he would’ve looked way more awesome with a little goatee on.

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I have to say that as much as I dislike the trope of comics writers pointing out how lame a particular obscure villain is (because taking a D-lister like the Prankster and finding an interesting twist on him as Busiek did is infinitely more interesting to me than pointing out that Stilt-Man is kind of lame lolz), I rather wish someone would bring back the Puzzler as a frustrated super-villain.

Like an unemployed guitarist who believes he could be a rock and roll god IF ONLY HIS FINGERS WOULD DO AS THEY’RE TOLD, the Puzzler dreams of teaming up with the Riddler and hitting Gotham. (It’s like jamming with Hendrix!) He sits in his room for days trying to think of the perfect Dr. Phibes-ian revenge scheme for the man who beat him at poker, and the best he can come up with is “sometimes words have two meanings.”

I also feel it’s worth pointing out that he DID manage to beat that dude to death with the poker. Just because he isn’t creative doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous.

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mygif

The guy looks like a beatnik Fred Flintstone. I would have given him 17%. Let him earn more points when he actually is written well.

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Andrew W. said on April 17th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

“I like the one book he’s holding: “How to Cheat and Win.” As opposed to all those suckers who lose while cheating.”

Well, considering the bugger can’t win even when he’s cheating, he is one those of suckers.

“So, like, his amazing power is that he CHEATS?”

I think it’s that he cheats . . . and LOSES CHRONICALLY.

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mygif

Yeah, like Justine said, he beat a guy to death with a poker. He’s not just stupid; he a friggin’
psychopath. He’s like, what if you took a semi-believable serial killer from our world and inserted him into the DC universe, where there’s an expectation for criminals to don eclectic personas. He just wants to kill people who pissed him off, but there’s social pressure from him to call himself a supervillain as he does it.

That said, Paul Dini’s Clock King would disassemble him.

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mygif

Sociopathy sucks as a super power too. But I guess if Steel Wool got extra points for dressing decently, this guy should too. I bet the pocket square is worth a couple five percent, easy. (There’s no way he had a “lair”, though. Superman was just being nice. We’re talking a crappy unheated studio apartment above some old lady’s garage. At best. Maybe a deserted tree house.)

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GutterPunkMonkey said on April 17th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Now, I know he’s a Superman villain, and I know Gotham doesn’t really *need* another themed crazy, but I’d love to see this guy brought back in Batman, instead. Because while Bruce would be looking for the usual kind of thematic lines of thinking you see in the Riddler or something, he’d be totally stumped by this guy’s brand of “90’s PC adventure game logic.”

BATMAN: The victim was found bludgeoned to death with a fire poker. Hh.
ROBIN: Huh. Hey, this guy’s calendar says something about a poker tournament the other week. Maybe we could look into that?
BATMAN: …That’s retarded.

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mygif

He makes me think of the scene in Underworld Unleashed where the Prankster tries to chat with the Trickster and gets no respect. Which is a decent motivation for a crook looking to make a come-back. Maybe he can take the Key’s genius formula or something…

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Edgar Allan Poe said on April 18th, 2008 at 12:13 am

>BATMAN: The victim was found bludgeoned to death with a fire poker. Hh.
>ROBIN: Huh. Hey, this guy’s calendar says something about a poker tournament the other week. Maybe we could look into that?
>BATMAN: …That’s retarded.

That kind of logic was Batman’s standard MO, back in the sixties.

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Rob Brown said on April 18th, 2008 at 9:07 pm

It’s mostly the goatee. if Rex the Wonder Dog had a goatee, he would be 140 percent Rex The Wonder Dog.

So without the goatee, the Puzzler is -11% Rex?

Yeah, that sounds about right. :)

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mygif

You see a sad loser, but I see potential. You see a villain with no style, but what I see here is the super-equivalent of Scotty Evil; he actually gets the job done. No idiotic death traps, no mad multicolour costume, no declaring this or that hero his archenemy – if he wants someone dead, they die, in the simplest way possible. It all goes back to his roots; not only does he cheat at regular games, he also cheats at the game of murder, the one that putzes like Toyman or Captain Cold lose at every day because they play by the rules. Thus, he’s not only an enemy of the heroes, but also the villains.

I can actually really see this guy being a success in the modern age. He doesn’t wear a costume, he doesn’t want to be a Supervillain, he only gets involved in the business because Superman gotinto him when he started murdering people. He could blend in with a crowd, and as mentioned above, his crimes are so obvious no-one would solve them until it was too late. And imagine how jealous I’d angry other supervillains would be, that he’s cheating and winning at their game. Imagine the beauty you could get into the scene where he forces a guy to have a heart attack.

Frankly, if no-one else has any faith
that a character can make a turnaround, I’ll take him. This guy could be the next Zoom in terms of sheer character depth and potential for badass.

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Rob Brown said on April 19th, 2008 at 6:18 am

Oh, I’m not saying that he can’t be made better. Almost any villain can be in the right hands. I’m just saying that the Puzzler as described here is a sad loser.

If he’d ever actually had any success against Superman I might be a little more impressed. If he even tried to kill Superman at any point I might be a little more impressed.

But it says here that he challenges Superman to a game of checkers. It’s for the life of Lois Lane, whom Superman has already saved from him at this point. So to review: the Puzzler had Lois in a deathtrap, Supes rescued her, and then Puzzler basically says “Hey, no fair! Play checkers with me! If I win, I get to threaten Lois’ life again! C’moooonnnn!”

Instead of just leaving with Lois, Superman says “oh, all right,” and easily beats him at checkers.

Now that is very, very sad.

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Rob Brown said on April 19th, 2008 at 6:20 am

Oops, I take back what I said about him never trying to kill Superman, because I see now that Supes had to deal with some of his death traps (which were “nothing” to him, apparently).

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mygif

I like Salieri’s take, but I could see another one, too.

The Riddler and his ilk, for instance, are geniuses who don the clothing of criminal thuggery. Brilliance that could make billions in the world of commerce being squandered on bank robbery.

The Puzzler, on the other hand, could be played the opposite way. He’s really a common thug (whose *first* impulse is “bludgeon my opponent to death.”) But he’s putting on the “costume” of a genius! Admittedly, it’s still the sort of villainy more likely to be a threat to the Venture Brothers than to Superman, but there’s some potential there.

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Rob Brown said on April 19th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Not a bad idea, Sue. Now at least he has a somewhat believable motivation for taking on this identity; he wants people to think he’s smarter than he really is.

Of course, for this to work you have to concede that he isn’t all that smart (or doesn’t believe himself to be very smart), and that makes it more difficult to portray him as a credible threat. But it makes him more interesting than he otherwise would be.

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mygif

Mm…it’s certainly an intriguing take, but you don’t want to fall into the trap of a villain becoming the villain so that he can restore his self-esteem; that way, after his first defeat, he’d logically be too crushed to try again, and you wouldn’t be able to bring him back. Instead, you could have it that he’s not exactly a genius, but also not an idiot; he’s under the delusion that he’s genius-level, and that delusion keeps him going, even when people contradict him til they’re blue in the face by beating him at everything!

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The new female Puzzler — that *does* split into pieces like an actual jigsaw, appeared in the ‘Up, Up & Away arc in Action Comics’ written by Busiek and Geoff Johns.

* She hinted at a previous encounter, but if it exists, and isn’t just banter, it’s not one I’m familiar with.

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[…] than, say, being smothered by bats. Miss Liberty’s Liberty-Bell-themed death is worthy of The Puzzler. “You called yourself Miss Liberty and your real name is Bell! Now you’re dead because […]

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[…] other news, I reread this, and I realized that there is a good idea in this character. Essentially, he’s a guy who […]

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All right, so this post is nearly two years old, but the Batgeek in me can’t resist. The comments about using the Puzzler as a Batman villain are amusing because there was a Batvillain called the Puzzler (played by Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans) in the 1960s Batseries starring Adam West.

Which is scary on two levels: first, that as far as I can tell nobody here knew that (I can’t be that much more of a Batgeek than this crowd, really I can’t); and second, from the descriptions it sounds as if the Maurice Evans character might actually rate higher on the Rex scale than the versions described here.

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