Batman: The Animated Series is rightfully lauded as the apex of all Batman depictions beyond the comics. The show, which ran from 1993-1997, received universal acclaim for its thematic complexity, artistic quality, film noir aesthetics, music, and cast, and its enduring popularity over the years have ensured its legendary status as the greatest comic book show of all time.
However, there’s a lot more to the BTAS universe than most fans have ever realised. A run of comics, set within the same continuity, that began running in 1992 and contain a wealth of information that both adds to the animated Batman universe, have actually brought a number of 'lost' episodes to fans lucky enough to have discovered them. In fact, many beloved episodes of the Animated Series first began to take shape within these musty tomes, but not every tale ultimately made it to the screen.
Armed with this expanded knowledge of the BTAS canon, let’s examine the lingering mysteries and explore the very best of the never shown stories of Batman: The Animated Series.
5. How The Riddler Defeated Batman - The Batman Adventures Vol. 1 #10
The great thing about the Batman Adventures run is that it perfectly captures the feel and tone of the show. It also goes further in examining the limits and potential of the Animated Universe’s characters in stories that never made it onto the screen, like the story of how The Riddler fell into a depression, and then came to ultimately defeat Batman.
In Batman Adventures: Vol. 10 - The Last Riddler Story, Riddler is freshly released from Arkham as another trio of super villains (Mastermind, The Perfesser, and Mister Nice) attempt a heist of rare jewels moving through Gotham. Meanwhile, Riddler has sunk into a depression, saying that he feels himself ‘a failure’ and won’t challenge Batman ever again. After some cheerful encouragement from perhaps the friendliest goons in the history of comics, the Riddler agrees to try one last time to outwit the Bat, but after this he will riddle no more.
He offers Gotham this riddle: ‘What’s got wings that do not fly, arms that have no hands, and eyes that cannot see’. However, Batman, so distracted with The Perfesser, lacks the time to solve the puzzle and Riddler manages to succeed in his goal and steal the jewels for himself. By pure good fortune however, Batman is at the location at the time, and manages to stop the Riddler escaping. But, when the Riddler asks how Batman figured it all out, Batman merely responds ‘I didn’t’. Riddler then takes this as a victory, as Batman never solved his riddle.
He then gleefully returns to jail, joyously singing his way through his trial and sentence, in the wonderful knowledge that he (finally) defeated The Batman.