It’s only two issues in, but The War of Jokes and Riddles might be the best Batman story so far from all of DC Rebirth. It’s that good. Writer Tom King keeps finding new ways to make The Riddler and The Joker more terrifying with every page. In this issue, King portrays them both a horrifying grim reapers signaling death for anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path. It’s crazy how dangerous King makes these characters simply from dropping any pretense of laughs and humor from them. This isn’t the usual amusing, quirky portrayal — this is how Joker and Riddler would be in real life.
The War of Jokes and Riddles is a longer form flashback story with Batman retelling all the events to Selina. These events date back to the rise of Gotham’s super powered menaces with Batman just starting to make his mark. Both Riddler and Joker are busy rallying their forces for the pending war while Batman is stuck discovering the bodies. I’m loving the riddles King is coming up with for Riddler. They’re like this ongoing commentary and a very sly way to constantly show off his intelligence.
Mikel Janin’s cinematic artwork is stunning. It really grabs you and sucks you into this crime story. Typically, I’m not a fan of the washed out colors look, but June Chung’s colors definitely fits the tone of the story.
Maybe the most interesting aspect of the story so far is how powerless Batman truly is in stopping this war. Despite the accolades, the detective acumen and his superhero allies, Batman is just a man trying to stop madmen from making his city a war zone. Can he stop it is the main question, but it sure has become a fascinating read watching these villains bring hell to Gotham.
Rating: 10 out of 10