After last issue’s inspired interlude, The War of Jokes and Riddles resumes. This issue finds Batman recalling Joker and Riddler’s conditions for a cease fire and the mini war of snipers of Deathstroke and Deadshot.
Deathstroke typically has been treated as an elite level threat capable of battling the Titans and Justice League by himself. Deadshot hasn’t been portrayed quite as capable, but writer Tom King puts them on an even playing field in this conflict. As usual for this story line, King makes the villains truly terrifying. King removes their point of view and has other characters share encounters with them.
How crazy would it be to live in a city where two deadly snipers and marksmen were having a private vendetta? And with a rising body count no place in Gotham would feel safe from any distance.
This issue marks the first time in the arc that Catwoman can chime in on the story. And it wouldn’t be a King Batman story without the requisite Kite Man cameo. Although after last issue, I was a little disappointed he didn’t get at least one arc of being formidable.
Mikel Janin’s art continues to be a highlight for the arc. Janin’s frowning Joker is a very fresh take on the character who previously seemed like all aspects of his personality and moods had been covered. The double page spread of Deadshot and Deathstroke’s rivalry was very well staged with excellent fight choreography.
This issue wasn’t as revelatory as issue #27 as Catwoman’s role felt forced and took away from the main players. King shows his skill in the ironies of superhero stories once Batman catches up to Deathstroke and Deadshot making for a clever ending. These mini battles give the war a welcome layer of depth. Hopefully next issue King will revert the spotlight to The Joker and The Riddler.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10