Each week, MTV News is breaking down the big moments in DC Comics' "Batman Eternal," the weekly series that is redefining Gotham City as we know it.
This week, we talked to writer Ray Fawkes about the Riddler's snowy adventure with Batman, and how villains united may mean things are about to get a lot worse:
MTV News: Okay, let’s imagine you’re not Batman or The Riddler... How solvable is the mystery of this ultimate mastermind? Is it right in front of us and we can’t see it?
Ray Fawkes: Yes and no. I mean, we’re not Batman or the Riddler, so we might not all have the instincts and skills they have. Then again we’re not in Gotham city, so it’s easier for us to sit back and see if we can figure out who’s behind all this. We’re not getting shot and and chased and threatened, and we do have the Batman encyclopedia and the internet close at hand... I know I’ve seen fans speculating, and some of the ones I’ve seen have gotten the answer about half right...
MTV: Talk about some of the riddles in this issue... How do you approach building The Riddler’s puzzles? There’s obviously (no pun intended) a trick to writing a good riddle.
Fawkes: I’m a puzzle and wordplay nut, so for me, it’s really just playtime. Generally, I start with the answer and work backwards, and, since we’re talking about the Riddler here, I come as close as possible to cheating without actually lying. There has to be a twist somewhere along the way, even if it’s just a pun or a purposely misspelled hint...
MTV: While Batman is off tackling the Riddler solo, where’s the rest of the Bat-family?
Fawkes: All over Gotham city handling their own problems. You’ll see more about that very soon.
MTV: Last issue Catwoman finally seemed content. Why would she join the rest of the villains’ invitation? Is it curiosity, and if so, isn’t that what killed the etc, etc.
Fawkes: Selina’s a smart operator, and she knows that it’s better to know what’s going on than be left in the dark. But, as you say, curiosity... Well, we all know what they say about it and cats...
MTV: We’re seeing a different side of things with the betrayal of the police, and Patrick – how deep does this thing go?
Fawkes: Deep. Deeeeeep. It’s everywhere in Gotham, from the lowest depths of the underground to the top of its towers and beyond. At this point, there isn’t a part of the city that hasn’t been touched...
MTV: What’s Vicki Vale’s roll in all this, if she survives? Can she possibly hold her own with villains equipped with massive weaponry?
Fawkes: Vicki, as readers are seeing, is a force of truth in Gotham. In my mind, she’s no less a hero than anyone else in the Bat-family, and she’s a lot tougher than she looks. She might not have a utility belt or a million-dollar car, but she does have a few tricks up her sleeve. And she has a voice that’s louder than Batman can ever afford to be.
MTV: And finally, we’re seeing the uber-villain making a vocal appearance, if not a physical one. Are we close to that final reveal?
Fawkes: We’re getting closer and closer with every issue.
"Batman Eternal #39" is in stores now. Check out our previous post-games here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38