The War of Jokes and Riddles reaches its penultimate chapter and by the end of this issue only one side stands triumphant. But what happens when the loser is a lunatic? Another great chapter that will likely lead to a lot of readers uttering Kite-Man’s catchphrase by its conclusion.
Few books make for quicker reads than a Tom King Batman issue. This issue was just as immersive as Batman leads Riddler’s army to finally take down The Joker.
Joker is holed up in his final hideout — a massive booby trapped skyscraper— and options for entry are limited. King pays off an arc-long plot that proves completely satisfying and well-earned. I won’t spoil it, but King has used every issue for this moment and it was tremendous.
King seems to really enjoy writing Joker and Riddler and coming up with various haunting jokes and riddles. He’s changing the perception of these characters in a very compelling way. Maybe the biggest testament to this story is I want to see King tackle both characters again. He hasn’t exhausted their potential under his watch and I want more.
Mikel Janin’s art remains fantastic. I love the way he always positions Batman in shadows. That’s a subtle character element that Janin has down without drawing a lot of attention to it. Janin’s Joker always looks terrifying and there’s something even creepier about a Joker who doesn’t smile or cackle.
Somehow Janin makes the mask-less Riddler still look menacing. I really hope DC plans to release posters of this issue featuring Joker’s army and presumably Riddler’s army next issue. With the daytime setting, June Chung gets to play around with some different color combinations and it’s a nice change and visual clash seeing Batman battle in daylight.
Barring another Kite-Man interlude (yes please), next issue looks to wrap up what’s been one of King’s best Batman arcs yet. This was a thrilling last warm-up for what should be a memorable finale.
Rating: 10 out of 10