The Riddler's Ruse was the first overall story published in DC Comics' Batman '66 title. The story was initially published in Digital Issues #1, 2 and 3, and reprinted in Print Issue #1, with a further reprint in Volume 1 of the Compiled Volume series.
At a ceremony in Gotham Park, the Lady Gotham statuette is being awarded to Commissioner Gordon. A biplane flying a banner over the ceremony suddenly drops its banner for a replacement with a riddle, and balloons with anesthetic laughing gas also fall from the flying craft, paralyzing all on the ground in the park. It turns out that The Riddler has hijacked the plane to steal the statuette and the attendees' valuables. Thankfully, Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson are in attendance, and slipping away from the mayhem, soon change into their guises of Batman and Robin, and proceed to chase down the Riddler's purloined plane. Using a grappling hook in the Batmobile, Batman hooks and climbs up to the plane. But rather than be caught, Riddler sets fire to the plane and ditches, hoping to destroy the plane and Batman in one go. Thankfully, the Caped Crusader's cape helps him glide to safety. The plane crashes, but abandoned parachutes with another riddle across them show the Riddler and crew also made good their escape.
Back in the Batcave, Batman, Robin & Alfred puzzle over the parachute's riddle, "HOT PADS MAKE ME SHAKE A TAIL". Deduction leads to the Grand Opening of a new penthouse dance club, the Meow Wow Wow. There, the Dynamic Duo spot what seems to be the Lady Gotham statuette on a table in the club. Crashing through the skylight, they gain the ire of the club's owner, Catwoman. She sics her bouncers on the crime-fighters, and a short fight ensues, trashing most of the club, to the presumably legitimate Catwoman's chagrin. It turns out the statuette is a miniature TV sent anonymously to the club. Suddenly, the screen flares to life with the Riddler's visage, who gloats that Batman misinterpreted his clue. He was actually at the Gotham Art Museum stealing The Dancing Cat, a statue made by the same artist that created the Lady Gotham statuette--Oskar Villkoop. Riddler also lets them know that the TV is also a time bomb, which starts ticking and--seconds later--explodes.
Thankfully, Batman's quick thinking and a couple of well-thrown Batarangs bring the club's light and sound system casing on top of the bomb, smothering most of its destructive ability. Catwoman vows revenge against the Riddler for destroying her new club, and decides to team up with Batman and Robin to bring him down. After a Bat-Sleep-induced catnap in the Batmobile, the team of three go to the Batcave to use the Batcomputer's new 3-D printer to recreate models of the two stolen statues. they discover the two pieces fit together like a puzzle, with the cat;s tail pointing to a location on the map depicted on Lady Gotham's shield--a large crescent moon-shaped sculpture done by Villkoop, located in Gotham Park. It turns out all three pieces are a giant puzzle leading to Villkoop's fabled final art piece, which is supposedly in a hidden compartment in the sculpture. But when Riddler opens the compartment, he finds only a note with its own riddle: "WHAT ARRIVES AT ANYTIME OF DAY OR NIGHT ALWAYS READY TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT?" Batman and Robin then appear with the answer: "JUSTICE!" Teamed with Catwoman, the Caped Crusaders take out Riddler and his henchmen. Riddler nearly escapes, but is caught by Chief O'Hara and the Gotham Police. Batman reveals that he arrived earlier and removed the final art piece, that of a flying Bat, much to the disappointment of Riddler. Just then, Catwoman rides off on a motorcycle with The Dancing Cat in her possession. The crime-fighters pursue the felonious feline, but Batman isn't worried, as it's the printed replica of the statue that she stole!
- Written by Jeff Parker
- Drawn & Colored by Jonathan Case
- Lettered by Wes Abbott
- Cover art by Michael & Laura Allred
- Much like the first overall story of the TV series, this first overall comic story has the Riddler as the main villain.
- The first of the three "chapters" into which the story was initially divided is titled MIRTH FROM ABOVE. However, the other two chapters are untitled.
- While crawling up the side of the building where the Meow-Wow-Wow is located, a caped gentleman bearing fangs opens a window to see what the disturbance outside is. His heavily Balkanized accent, coupled with his slicked-back appearance might lead one to believe that a certain blood-drinking personage is visiting fair Gotham. NOTE: This is an homage to the many window-based cameos of other famous characters that appeared in the TV series from time to time.