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mygif

I would suggest that if it only ever took Batman 90 seconds to figure out the Riddler’s riddles, the Riddler wouldn’t be a very interesting villain.

I think Batman having to puzzle out the clues is what makes the pair’s dynamic so interesting.

Also officially not Batman.

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mygif

Wow. WAY simpler than where I was going with it.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on October 12th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

There’s still lots of loose ends, though. What about the three-toed statue? What about having to enter the numbers every 108 minutes? What about Walt?!? And for the love of God WHO WAS SHOOTING AT THEM FROM THE OTHER RAFT THAT TIME THEY TIME-JUMPED AND PEOPLE WERE SHOOTING AT THEM?!???

More seriously, how were we to know that guy in the picture was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve? Not annoyed, just wonderin’.

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mygif

I am also not even slightly Batman. I’m closer to Burt Ward’s Robin.

“He stole cake…which is like pie…which is a fraction of a circle! Holy Geometry, Batman! He’s going to rob the Hula Hoop Museum next!”

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mygif

All I have to add to the discussion aside from chalking up another “not Batman” to the list, was I could hear John Glover’s voice in my head while I was reading the Riddler’s dialogue.

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Wolfthomas said on October 13th, 2011 at 12:16 am

Thank you MGK for once again reminding me that I have to go back to my pitiful life of not being Batman…

…though on the upside my parents are still alive.

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mygif

I thought Riddler was going to steal forty cakes…

…And that’s terrible.

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ladypeyton said on October 13th, 2011 at 6:11 am

Thank you Unstoppable Gravy and Alexi for giving me an early morning belly laugh. Which is bracing. Especially when you are not batman. Or, I guess in my case, Batgirl.

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mygif

More seriously, how were we to know that guy in the picture was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve?

The last few clues weren’t meant to be fair clues, but rather the sort of thing that would be included in a comic book anyways.

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mygif

Ok, so I’m not Batman. But I can keep the tights on, right?

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on October 14th, 2011 at 8:51 am

I would point out to Riddler that if you include LIVE Chess at the end, then there are TWO other Grandmasters around.

“Another?” you ask, bewildered. “Who?”

Yes. :-)

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highlyverbal said on October 14th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

So what did the map have to do with anything?!

Also, if one can steal bearer bonds, just CASH THEM. That’s how bearer bonds work. Replacing them with forged copies has no upside.

Finally, bonds are embossed and watermarked and made from paper with certain materials (etc) and don’t photocopy well. Although the notion that the Riddler’s plan is to use a standard office copier is very quaint… 50s Batman-ish. Old school.

=========

Stealing bearer bonds? Ok, makes some sense. Bothering to leave a replacement? Shades of Gob’s decoy cooler! At least the Riddler doesn’t have to vomit up a hand-cuff key, I guess.

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mygif

If you leave forged replacements, no one notices the originals are missing. Duh. And he’s not literally using a copier, he’s using the copier as a clue.

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highlyverbal said on October 15th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

“no one notices the originals are missing”

Still not sure why this is UPSIDE. Who cares if anyone notices the originals are missing of BEARER bonds!? Doesn’t stop the Riddler from cashing them. (Duh.) I understand that leaving a replacement fulfills some heist trope, but aside from aesthetics, what is gained? Making the replacements isn’t cheap, especially if you’re asserting he has the special paper and the special ink and machines that will emboss.

(Surely we can agree the bean-counters will know WHEN THE BONDS ARE CASHED, right? Having a decoy cooler only creates a limited duration of misdirection under optimal circumstances.)

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highlyverbal said on October 15th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Let me google that for you:

“Whoever physically holds the paper on which the bond is issued owns the instrument. This is useful for investors who wish to retain anonymity. Recovery of the value of a bearer bond in the event of its loss, theft, or destruction is usually impossible.”

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mygif

@highlyverbal:

He doesn’t care about making money. It’s not about money. It’s about Batman not figuring it out. Batman would be more likely to figure it out if he didn’t attempt to cover his tracks, that would ruin the riddle: Batman would just see the news the next day and say “oh I see, he took the bonds.”

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highlyverbal said on October 16th, 2011 at 6:18 am

Ah, right, because acquiring the special inks and paper and embossing machine is entirely without risk and never attracts attention.

Got it. My bad.

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mygif

Being upset that the Riddler’s plan is more complicated than strictly necessary pretty much misses the entire point of the character. Its like complaining that Two Face only ever seems to kidnap twins or that Mr. Freeze sure makes a lot of ice-themed puns.

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highlyverbal said on October 17th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

But we can measure how much more complicated it is! If you have stolen the Bearer Bonds, they are worth value $x. If you have convincing counterfeits as replacements*, those are also worth value $x. If you just cashed the bonds you stole and cashed the bonds you forged, you would have value $2x. The Riddler’s plan manages to turn this into merely value $x again. So efficiency is AT BEST 50% compared to a normal, vanilla criminal. That clearly crosses a line of “more complicated than strictly necessary” into “obvious misuse of resources.” (Note also that the risk of detection skyrockets when the supply chain for bond forging is added to kidnapping and impersonation, etc.)

Portraying geniuses is hard. Hand-waving about design flaws in the genius’s plan pretty much misses the ENTIRE point of the character. You can’t have “smart but quirky” without the smart part – that comes first.

========

I have always wondered about the Riddler. He does always seem to want to push the line of plans that are irrationally baroque. Is this flawed genius the only kind that Batman can handle? The Lex Luthors of the world must be pursued by Supes? I am not a fan of Batman, but I still always reject that line of reasoning; and instead chalk it up to bad writing. The “Ultimate Detective” meme isn’t ironic, right? Solving these cases is supposed to be a real accomplishment, right?

But if you’re telling me now that Batman is in some sort of Detective Special Olympics and catching villains that actively harm themselves, ok, I will withdraw my objections.

Until then, I am chalking it up to bad writing.

======

* Actually, if you have a counterfeiting operation going, that is worth a lot more than value $x. Maybe I have been pursuing this critique from entirely the wrong angle. Instead of complaining that the Riddler is failing to use bearer bonds properly, I should be complaining that the Riddler is failing to use his counterfeiting set up properly. Just crank those babies out forever!

Let’s close the loop on the Death-Chess Grandmaster analogy. Acquiring the special ink, paper, & machines is like winning a piece in the opening. GMs don’t play those games out to the end; part of being a GM is recognizing and admitting the inevitable outcome. If the Riddler is really playing Death Chess, he would know that plans beyond the counterfeiting operation were not worth consideration – it is sufficient for the win.

Portraying geniuses is hard.

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mygif

Except that the Riddler pretty clearly doesn’t care about the money. He’s proven time and again that he could go straight and make a fortune off his genius and technological gadgets. But he’s still drawn back to crime because by committing crimes he gets have a mental showdown with the only other player operating at his level, Batman. Otherwise life gets boring.

Sure he could just forge bearer bonds in his basement, but that’s not going to attract notice and what he wants is Batman’s attention. So instead he’ll kidnap and impersonate the chair of the fed to steal a ton of bonds, and prove that he could have run the safer crime at the same time.

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highlyverbal said on October 18th, 2011 at 1:35 am

The trouble with that oh-so-convenient dodge of “not caring about the money” is that replacement method of keeping score in this high stakes game of chess seems to be “sticking it to Batman.” And in the hands of non-genius writers that has the inevitable consequence of writing absurdly non-genius plots and blindly asserting that the foolish parts somehow stick it to Bats extra hard. You’re doing it right now! Come now, how does an extra kidnapping/impersonation somehow make Batman worse off than a long-term counterfeiting operation? More humbled or something? It’s all about the intangibles, eh? Somehow, sticking it to Bats trumps rational risk management, not just money. Ultimately, there is no plan that is just too stupid to be entertained — if it can be spun as in Batman’s face.

Batman’s super power is making villains care more about beating him than formulating rational plans. Detective Special Olympics it is. Objections duly withdrawn.

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mygif

So the only “death” in this “death chess” is “death of the market”? 😐

Rex could have figured this out in fewer than nine nanoseconds. 😀

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mygif

Unless of course Riddler’s forgeries aren’t able to stand up to real scrutiny. Then stealing the originals is important, and the forgeries simply buy him time before the theft is uncovered.

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highlyverbal said on October 18th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Ah, we’re back to Gob’s decoy cooler, full circle.

Quick summary:
Special inks, paper, & machines dramatically increase the risk of detection; they are costly; and delaying discovery of the theft has no upside with bearer bonds. Do we have to start the discussion from scratch, or can you scroll up and find those arguments?

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Dilettante said on October 20th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hey, delaying discovery of a theft has some upside. Jewels, cars and cash can also be used even if stolen, but there’s some benefit to people not realizing they’re stolen for as long as possible.

That gives a thief options to get away, hide his tracks, etc. If the theft is not detected, the Riddler could have months to play with before anyone knows a crime’s been committed. So this part of the plan makes sense.

Of course, the idea that one could ‘impersonate’ a bank chairman is pretty crazy. People he works with know him, right? But in the DC comics universe, one of the genre conventions is that disguise is advanced enough to make this possible (like the Mission Impossible universe).

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highlyverbal said on October 20th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Let me google that for you:

“Whoever physically holds the paper on which the bond is issued owns the instrument. This is useful for investors who wish to retain anonymity. Recovery of the value of a bearer bond in the event of its loss, theft, or destruction is usually impossible.”

Does physically possessing a car convey ownership!? You can’t walk into a reputable place of business and sell it. Cars & other material goods require post-theft processing. Bearer bonds (& cash) are not analogous to jewels or cars in the slightest. Think harder.

Now, about that “upside” — how convincing are the forgeries? As the Entertaining Organizer was quickly forced to admit, the only way this is a rational plan is if they are not very convincing (otherwise, perfecting forgeries should be the entire plan). How long are not-very-convincing forgeries going to delay discovery? How did Michael put it again… “I think the cooler’s actually gonna help us. The extra second that it buys us could be the difference.”

Let’s measure that against the increased cost, and more importantly risk of discovery, in procuring the special inks, paper, and machines. Law enforcement tracks those things. One assumes Batman, the Ultimate Detective, has his finger on the pulse of those materials. Oh, and don’t forget… carrying poor forgeries INTO the federal reserve is as dangerous to impersonators as carrying the actual bonds out.

Look, as long as we are just going to make up whatever details are necessary to justify any plan, no matter how stupid, why don’t we just assert there is a pedestal down at the Gotham Fed with bonds on it, and Indy oops I mean the Riddler must slide copies of the same size and weight onto it when stealing the bonds or a big boulder comes rolling down towards him.

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highlyverbal said on October 20th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

(Oh, and once the bonds are cashed, the bean counters will know by close of business; no matter how good the forgeries are. So, unlike cars or jewels or even CASH, the theft will inevitably have to be discovered very shortly in order to reap the profit. Months to play? Ha.)

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mygif

I again feel compelled to point out that you’re complaining that the Riddler, whose entire MO is complicated puzzle crimes, is committing a crime that is needlessly complicated. Is it the perfect crime in terms of minimizing risk while maximizing reward? No. But do the clues and the plan work work for someone with a pathological need to get caught and sent to Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane? Absolutely.

The Riddler is a mentally unbalanced criminal with a superiority/inferiority complex. It’s not actually a problem if his plans are in some way flawed, that’s pretty much the point of a Riddler story.

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highlyverbal said on October 21st, 2011 at 1:19 am

No, I am complaining about something more than that. I have resisted every attempt by you to assert that my complaint was so shallow. Anyhoo…

Repeating your assertions is a failure to pay attention to Dilettante jumping in to say “So this part of the plan makes sense.” See? I know YOU are admitting that the Riddler is unbalanced and catching him is no real challenge, since he practically jumps into the boat. But some others are still trying to insist that the plan is rational. So my arguments to THEM might quite reasonably be different than my arguments to you without in any way failing to understand your point.

Welcome to an internet comment thread.

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