Thursday, July 6, 2017

Comic Book Review: Batman #25 "The War of Jokes and Riddles, Pt.1"

By: Jerry Montgomery
June 25, 2017

Batman #25
“The War of Jokes and Riddles, Pt.1”

Written by: Tom King
Pencils and Inks: Mikel Janin

Why couldn't the cannibal finish eating the comedian?

The Joker can't laugh anymore. He can't enjoy all the things he loves to do. Even
causing all the mayhem and murder that he can possibly do, it just doesn't bring him the pleasure that it used to. Why is there an emptiness there instead? He just can't put his finger on it. He may not be able to realize what the problem is...but the Riddler knows. Thus begins writer Tom King's 8-part story arc, “The War of Jokes and Riddles” detailing these two super-villains’ clash between one another, causing a gang war to erupt in Gotham City.

The Joker has been causing carnage all over the city. There's been a distinct pattern in his targets and methods but the GCPD have been unable to make heads to tails of it. Hence, in steps the incarcerated Riddler, whom the police department have been using for a year to assist them in all those indecipherable cases in exchange for their help. Upon looking at the clues, Edward Nigma sees what the others can't. See what the Joker is trying to say. See who the message is for. The Riddler then embarks on his escape from jail as only the Riddler can, in search of the Joker…but then so is the Batman.

Having already solved the Joker's puzzle, the Riddler
finds him before Batman can. What takes place is unexpected and sets up a scenario that may tear Gotham City apart. Then again,  maybe its not so unexpected given the personalities of both the Joker and this new and improved Rebirth Riddler, who appears much for physically formidable than in the past. If you can imagine the Gotham underworld turning on itself, then you can imagine Batman's rogues gallery drawing lines against each other. A war of villains that threaten to tear themselves apart and the city of Gotham as well, with Batman caught in the middle. How can he save the city when it's Deadshot vs. Deathstroke, Solomon Grundy vs. Killer Croc, Two-Face vs. Penguin and more? The real question may be how Batman will react since he's asked Selina Kyle/Catwoman to marry him after questioning his own happiness in the epilogue of the “I Am Bane” story arc.  Of course, Batman will not allow Gotham to be burnt to the ground, but how far will he go to stop his foes from killing each other? Can Bruce Wayne ever truly be happy?

So, why couldn't the cannibal finish eating the comedian?
The cannibal said he tasted funny.

The Verdict: This issue is only the beginning of what I can tell should be an epic storyline in the Batman mythos, reshaping the origins of the past, and in turn, reshaping the future of all those involved. What this means for Bruce Wayne especially since he's decided to find his own slice of happiness, is left to be seen. Especially since he has decided to find some sort of normalcy and be with Selina. As always, Tom King's writing is tip-top and artist Mikel Janin has done a great job in his rendition of two of Batman's iconic villains. If you were disappointed with “The Button” story arc, “The War of Jokes and Riddles” looks like it will be a fine consolation for you. In the DC Rebirth universe, Batman and the Joker have yet to meet and it seems it has been well worth the wait. Both the Joker and Riddler are deadlier than ever and Batman appears to be at a sort of crossroad in his life. Buckle up!

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