‘Batman’ #31 Brings All The Elements of ‘The War Of Jokes And Riddles’ Together

"You might be surprised what a kite can carry."

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Batman, Kite Man and The Riddler (with a little help from Catwoman and a few other villains) make a final move to infiltrate the Joker’s hideout. But what they find is a terribly unhinged Joker who will do anything to win this war. Can a well intricate plan defeat a man of true chaos and madness? Or have Batman and his ragtag team made a horrible and fatal mistake? A mistake that seems to haunt Batman to this very day. Batman #31

Batman #31
“The War Of Jokes and Riddles” Part 5
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
Inks by:  Mikel Janin
Colors by: June Chung
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles

We are right back into the action after last month’s interlude and we finally get to see Batman, Kite Man (who becomes more heroic by the page) and Riddler make a physical play for the Joker. This is a fast-moving issue that features a great action scene, some much needed and welcome humor, grand visuals and one truly disturbing and out of control Joker who seems to have given completely into his madness and chaos.

Batman #31
Art by Mikel Janin

Writing

Tom King has really shown us all his cards in this arc. This issue is filled with not only some nice, soaring action but some of the funniest exchanges between characters I have read. The back and forth between Killer Croc and Kite Man actually made me chuckle out loud.

On the flip side of that, his Joker is certainly no joke. The entire sequence with Joker mentally, emotionally and then finally physically torturing a man is one of the most brutal things I’ve read in any recent comic.

King also continues to make Kite Man completely endearing, giving us a complete 180 from the one-page joke we had seen before. “Hell yeah!”

And although it’s brief, we also do get another great scene and exchange between Batman and Catwoman that not only adds levity but is also filled with charm. It’s a great beat that shows you how much affection King has for these two lovebirds, and just gets us even more riled up to finally see how Selina will answer Bruce’s proposal.

Batman #31
Art by Mikel Janin

Art

Art-wise, this issue (the whole arc really) is a thing of beauty.  The scene of the kite winged hero and villains flying into the Joker’s stronghold is a masterclass in illustration, layout, and design. It’s fluid, crisp and beautiful. In short, worthy of being framed.

But it’s not just the ‘big’ moments that are rendered well. Even the subtle moments, the slight expressions in faces and body language and movement are all great.

June Chung colors are vibrant without being overly glossy or distracting. They serve the pencils and inks by helping create a complete package and also adding atmosphere.

And it’s not often I notice or mention lettering, but Clayton Cowles creates almost audible voices and cadence with his fonts, sizing, and letter placement. It’s great to read a comic where something often overlooked stands right out with the writing and the rest of the art.

Batman #31
Art by Mikel Janin

Conclusion

‘The War Of Jokes And Riddles’ has proven to be so unique, giving us so many different tones, so many variations, and pacing. This has been a hell of a ride, and this issue had a little bit of everything that has made the arc great as a whole. Next month we find out how this war ends and I can’t wait.