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'The Batman' star Paul Dano taking his big screen Riddler to DC Comics with new solo 'Batman' spinoff

The first issue goes on sale this October.

By Josh Weiss
The Riddler Comic HEADER PRESS

Paul Dano will go from playing the Riddler to writing for the Riddler in a new limited comic launching this fall. Titled Riddler: Year One (a nod to Frank Miller's iconic Batman: Year One) the six-issue bimonthly series — published under the DC Black Label banner targeted at mature audiences — serves as prequel to Matt Reeves' The Batman, giving readers a glimpse at Edward Nashton's evolution from mild-mannered Gotham City accountant to deadly criminal mastermind. European artist Stevan Subic will illustrate the book in his DC debut.

"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT'S BEEN TO KEEP THIS SECRET THIS WHOLE TIME," tweeted editor Chris Conroy in mock outrage. He added: "And now I have to go back to keeping anything and everything else about it secret until we're ready to say more."

Subic hinted at the project last month with a social media post about him starting work at DC Comics. "A new chapter has begun," he wrote in the caption.

Get a first look at the artwork below:

The Riddler Year One Cover PRESS

Based on the real-world Zodiac Killer and Se7en's John Doe, the Riddler of The Batman universe targets high-profile political victims (i.e. the mayor, district attorney, police commissioner, and even Bruce Wayne himself), whom he views a living embodiments of the city's deep-rooted corruption. He leaves behind cryptic notes and cyphers at the scene of each crime scene for Batman (Robert Pattinson) to find. The notes, which are scrawled onto light-hearted greeting cards, hold the clue to the identity of the next person on the villain's kill list.

"One thing Matt and I spoke about immediately was the two sides of trauma," Dano told Entertainment Weekly. "Bruce Wayne, as a child, experiences this trauma and the Batman is born of that. Sometimes we can take our scars or whatever you want to call it, and that can be fuel for a fire that drives one towards greatness at times. There's another side of that coin, where those traumas, scars, and pains drive you in another direction. And I thought that was really powerful in the script. I thought that the sense of good and evil was not as black and white as it often is in a superhero film. And I thought those gray areas were really exciting. What I felt was the opportunity that Matt was giving with a villain in this film was the more real, potentially the more terrifying."

"The Riddler is omnipresent, but almost as a ghost," said Reeves. "When I came up with the idea that the Riddler would be sending correspondence to Batman, [what] was captivating to me was if you're a character whose mode is to work as a symbol, be anonymous, to come out of the shadows, nobody is supposed to know who you are; your power comes from the fact that you're anonymous. Then suddenly someone starts to rob you of your anonymity, you start to lose a bit of your power and it starts to unsettle you."

Issue #1 of Riddler: Year One goes on sale this October. Beyond the general synopsis mentioned above, no other plot details are known at this time. With that said, the publisher is encouraging fans to share their theories for the book here.

The Batman is currently playing in theaters everywhere. To date, the film has made over $500 million worldwide.