Edward Nashton, who later changed his name to Edward Nygma, is the super-villain known as the Riddler. His signature gimmick is committing high-profile crimes, and giving clues or hints to law enforcement. This has made him an enemy of the Batman in Gotham City. The riddles are a compulsive obsession to prove he is smarter than others, and this has made him an occasional patient in Arkham Asylum.
Edward Nashton was born into a broken home. His mother was absent and his father was abusive. When Edward was a young boy, he became excited at the idea of winning a puzzle contest at school. To increase his likelihood of winning, Edward sneaked into school during the night and practiced the puzzle until he could solve it with ease. He ended up winning, and was awarded a riddle book as a prize. Since that time, he has mastered puzzles, mind games, and riddles.
Edward was profoundly intelligent and would pass tests with apparent ease, something his father, out of jealousy, couldn’t or wouldn’t believe; he therefore attributed his success to cheating (supposedly catching him once) and started beating on him to keep him ‘out of trouble,’ or to stop him from lying. Out of the abuse, Edward developed a compulsion he has became known for, he constantly endeavors to tell the truth to prove his innocence. This is where his obsession with riddles comes from. Unfortunately, the abuse is also a main factor that drove him mad and to a life of crime.
When Edward got older, he left home and became a carnival performer, using his skills to cheat carnival-goers out of their money. But this was not enough for him. He longed for something more, and became the Riddler, at the same time changing his name to Edward Nigma (“E. Nigma”), picking The Batman as an adversary, as he believes him to be an intelligent and more-than-worthy opponent.
Starting out as a simple informant and criminal profiler for the underworld of Gotham City, as well as for Batman, the Riddler slowly became more of a villain to Batman. It wasn’t long before he became a main adversary to the Caped Crusader, constantly testing his analytical abilities to their limits.
During the events of the long Halloween the Riddler became an informant for Gotham city crime lord Carmine Falcone. When a serial killer known as Holiday began targeting Falcone’s associates, Carmine hired the Riddler to discover the killer’s identity. However, the Riddler’s results displeased Falcone, and the gangster even laughed at him, when the Riddler suggested that Carmine himself was the killer. The Riddler later became one of Holiday’s victims, but much to the Riddler’s confusion, was purposely left unharmed. A year later, Batman consulted Riddler about a second Holiday killer called Hangman.
Over the years, the Riddler would earn his living through various heists and robberies, working his way up the criminal food chain, eventually even securing himself a couple of wenches to do his bidding. Later in his career, after his exploits have been well established for some time, he attempts a heist in Manchester, Alabama, only to be thwarted by Impulse, whose problem-solving skills he severely underestimates after Impulse initially confuses him for The Question.
The Riddler becomes darker and more bloodthirsty when he takes an interest in occult rituals. He discovers instructions on how to tame a bat daemon called Barbatos, originally summoned by Thomas Jefferson. The Riddler leads Batman around the city with a series of riddles, designed to prepare Batman as a demonic sacrifice. To make Batman chase him, he kidnaps four babies. He tricks Batman into kissing a hanged man through CPR, and covers him in blood at a transfusion center. The next step is a dance with the dead, accomplished through zombie robots, then slaying a dog with silver. He forces Batman to slit the throat of an unbaptized child, by leaving him with a baby who needs an emergency tracheotomy. Finally he makes Batman do an acrobatic dance in front of a goat representing the devil, by attacking him with a flamethrower. Batman is captured and tied to an altar. The Riddler prepares to stab Batman in the heart, but the demon Barbatos intervenes to stop him. The Riddler flees in terror and torches the building, but Batman is able to escape.
Riddler was back in action, but he was attacked by Bane “The next derivation I will later on discuss!” dosed the Riddler with. Batman tried to stop Riddler, but he was too strong and Batman was tired. Bane’s henchmen shot Riddler under Bane’s command leaving Riddler badly injured.
His stay in Arkham was short lived as Bane released all the inmates as a plan to eliminate Batman. Riddler escaped as well, gathered his old gang and started planning his next move. Riddler sent a letter to the GCPD (Gotham Police Department), but they were too busy with all the other criminals from Arkham and Riddler’s letters got overlooked in the situation. After a while, his own henchmen got tired of waiting for the police to notice the clues and they ditched Riddler out of the score. On an attempt to be noticed, Riddler went to a live TV broadcast, armed with bombs and took over the show. He delivered his riddles to the audience, but nobody was able to answer them. Riddler was soon stopped by Robin, who watched the TV, learned of his move and arrived at the TV station in no time. The bomb turned out to be fake and Riddler was captured and taken back to Arkham.