Part three of Tom King’s operatic, “The War of Jokes and Riddles” arrives! Last issue had all of Gotham City’s rogues choosing sides. Joker and Riddler proved their alliance to break the Bat was doomed to start. The generals recruited their commanders. Lines were crossed and many died. Batman was reduced to a keeper of the dead’s names. Now, in Batman #27, Batman must fight back against the forces of two men who think themselves demi-Gods. Will the Dark Knight gain ground on the battlefield? Who’s the new player promised by DC’s solicits to become “the pivotal key to [this war’s] potential resolution”?
You have to hand it to the King and Janin, they aren’t going for a quiet little side story. The word operatic seems fitting for the size and tone of this lost tale. From Bruce Wayne’s narration back in the twenty-fifth issue, we know there won’t be a happy ending. The test of a good story is to know exactly what will happen and still be riveted. In great storytelling, the march towards the climax and resolution is arguably more important. Execution is everything and execution has been on point in ever sense of the word.
Challenging readers by taking on two of the most iconic villains in all of comics is a dangerous task for any creator. King and Janin are willing to rise and meet the challenge(s). Will it satisfy every Batman, Joker, and Riddler fan? No. Comic readers have a sense of ownership of the characters they lose themselves in. Especially after coming off such winning depictions by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the newest creative’s teams willingness to play with these toys seems downright deranged. And yet…?
War is here. Battle lines are drawn. The battlefield is all of Gotham City. No loved ones are safe. The protector of the common good is no longer the true enemy. He has become a side note. Is this truly a Batman story? Who cares when it’s this good? Bring on the next helping of bloody jokes and broken riddles.
Batman’s greatest defeat is beginning to take shape. Last issue we saw the beginning of Bruce Wayne’s confession. Now, the terrible war he could not stop is about to escalate. After the shocking alliance in part one, just what will two of the Dark Knight’s greatest foes do next? And how many lives will be in the balance?
“The War of Jokes and Riddles” had a heck of a kickoff. The Riddler and The Joker are united. They have one goal: End the pointy-eared vigilante’s existence. It’s the only way they’ll laugh and riddle again. To do so, they’re about to take their feud to the next level. When the other villains in Gotham City are forced to choose sides no one will get out unscathed. Whose side will you be on? And will their be unexpected casualties in the crossfire? Bats is going to have to push himself beyond limits to keep civilians out of harm’s way.
Most definitely the core Batman title has been on an upswing. Each new story arc seems to be raising the bar for Tom King and his cadre of artists. Due to that, what began with a solid start has grown into a must-read saga.When a new creative team takes over on a title, there are questions. “Will this be the same character as I think of him?” “Is the next adventure be as good as the last?” “Can the book look the same or cooler?” Needless to say, following Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Tom King and David Finch needed to have good answers.
King’s Batman is arguably more human. Therefore, he doesn’t deny that he has emotions. He isn’t insensitive to others’. Hence there’s almost something romantic in this exploration of the seventy-eight year-old character. That’s far from a bad thing. To see a new side of an older character is often rewarding. How the change effects him for the long-term when King and crew move on will be the real barometer of success.
One thing’s for certain, the creator’s Riddler and Joker have been exciting. This next chapter is chocked full of devastating potential.