Tuesday, February 21, 2017
A lot of episodic TV action or drama shows do this at least as much as comics: if the story features a previously unseen and unmentioned childhood friend/mentor/acquaintance, they are either going to turn out to be the villain, or get killed. Today the latter, but that's better than becoming Hush, right? From 2007, Detective Comics #828, "Sharkbite" Written by Paul Dini, pencils by Don Kramer, inks by Wayne Faucher.
This issue opens with the Riddler unmasking Bruce Wayne...dressed as Zorro at a costume party on a yacht. (The opening is a little lacking, actually; either like it was continued from the previous issue--and I don't think it was--or needed a bit more space.) Although I think he figured out Batman's secret identity in the aforementioned Hush storyline, by this point Riddler had (probably?) forgotten it, and was ostensibly reformed and working as a private investigator. While not a fan, Bruce doesn't mind having the chance to keep an eye on him; as well as watching over a childhood friend, Matthew Atkins. He might've dropped the ball on that one, though, since Matthew went over the side of the yacht, was mauled by sharks before Batman could save him, and dies. While the Riddler proclaims on TV "no signs of foul play," Batman continues investigating, since the bite patterns from the sharks seem off, and Matthew's hand had a incongruous spine from a porcupine fish in it. Looking into Matthew's job as a museum consultant, some troubling red flags arise, including that the Riddler may not have been finished with his investigation, either...
I almost thought I had read this before, in another Paul Dini trade: this story would be reprinted in Death and the City, I was thinking of Private Casebook. Still--and this isn't the only comic guilty of this--it's weird when partygoers come dressed as characters that in-universe would be considered villains, if not murderers. I could maybe see Catwoman being considered a Robin Hood-type hero, but dressing up like Harley or Ivy seems like it would be considered poor taste.