Review: 11 Reasons To Celebrate The War Being Fought In ‘Batman’ #26

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The war between The Riddler and the Joker escalates. As Riddler turns to Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy for help, Joker infiltrates the organized crime family of Gotham ‘Godfather’ Carmine Falcone. Both men will stop at nothing to destroy the other, with heroes, villains and civilians all caught in between.Batman #26

Batman #26
“War Of Jokes and Riddles” Part 2
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
Colors by: June Chung
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles

Although both Joker and Riddler are written and illustrated amazingly in this arc so far, it’s Edward Nigma, in particular, that is the stand out for me. Not to play down the creative team, but the Joker as a character always carries a certain attitude and weight that is heard to screw up. However making the Riddler not only a major villain but also a major threat to both Batman AND the Joker, is no easy feat. Read on for 11 reasons it’s hard to pick a side in Batman #26, ‘War of Jokes and Riddles’ Part 2!

Batman #26
Page from ‘Batman’ #26
  1. The amount of backstory regarding the Falcone crime family that is worked into Bruce’s narration by Tom King. In a less capable writer, it would easily fall into exposition. Here it reads like the musings of a man who knows everything, as Batman WOULD.
  2. “I took your mother’s teeth from her mouth and I made a smile.” This Joker is truly scary.
  3. The Riddler doctor scene that is a callback to the Nicholson Joker scene in the ’89 Batman.
  4. Poison Ivy coldly and calmly taking out a bunch of thugs and gangsters.
  5. Riddler carving a question mark into his skin. This is a new kind of Edward Nigma we haven’t seen before.
  6. Joker trying various ways to force a smile on his face in front of a mirror as news of the Ridder’s crimes plays on the radio; 8 of the creepiest panels you will see this year.
  7. Riddler’s riddles. Funny, creepy, and actual excellent word-play and brain teasers.
  8. The GORGEOUS page of Batman cutting down some of Poison Ivy’s victims. The Way Janin uses vines as panel borders is genius. The colors are vibrant. This art team continues to draw one of the best renditions of Batman ever.
  9. The haunting image of Bruce standing in front of a wall of images containing the names and faces of victims of the various rogues. Again this is a Batman with loads of emotional baggage and pain.
  10. “The called me the Dark Knight. The World’s Greatest Detective. The Caped Crusader. I was a superhero.”
  11. All the villains are that drawn into the story. We get Firefly, Clayface, Deathstroke, Killer Croc, Zsasz, Two-Face, Ventriloquist and Scarface, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Man-Bat, Deadshot, Mad Hatter, Solomon Grundy, and Mr. Freeze.

    Batman #26
    Page from ‘Batman’ #26

We’re approaching a year now with this Rebirth version of Batman, and the title is only growing stronger by the issue and arc. Don’t miss out on it this week. Even though it’s the second part of the story, it’s still something you can jump into if this is your first time reading Batman in a while. Fans of Batman’s rogues should definitely get this too.