In an effort to get closer to the stopping the war between Joker and Riddler, Batman strong arms Charles ‘Chuck’ Brown, a small scale criminal engineer, into setting up the Clown Prince of Crime. However, Brown is caught between the two villains, manipulated and threatened on all sides. As the situation again continues to escalate, things turn tragic for Charles Brown, leading him down the path of becoming the one and only…Kite Man!
“The War of Jokes and Riddles Interlude-The Ballad of Kite Man Part 1”
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Clay Mann
Inks by: Danny Miki, John Livesay, and Clay Mann
Colors by: Gabe Eltaeb
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles
Published by: DC Comics
Leave it to Tom King to turn a character he previously used as a bit of a joke, into a truly tragic and sad character. The details of Kite Man’s origin is the stuff of classic villain making; full of ill choices, some what good intentions, and the kind of gut-punch ending all good comic book stories about bad guys becoming bad guys need. The fact that it still ends by making you darkly chuckle, is just the icing on this sweet cake of a comic book. Read on for 11 reasons to fly with this week’s Batman #27.
- The rooftop scene with Kite Man and Deadshot. Juxtaposing the two villains shows you how Deadshot is a complete sociopath.
- Batman being scary. I always love scenes of Bats intimidating criminals. (And remember this is early Batman)
- “You’re the one with the name from the comics?” – Joker
- “Is this a joke or a riddle?” (Kind of the defining question of this arc!)
- The excellent, subtle, yet flowing panel work. The layouts create an intimate pace needed for this interlude.
- Riddler continues to be terrifying and sadistic. Just look at what he does to Kite Man’s son. This is a far more dangerous and evil Nigma than we have seen before.
- “Good Grief.” –Joker
- The way the Joker continues to NOT smile. It actually makes him creepier, and you can feel the tension building in him.
- The way Clayface kidnaps Kite-Man. Gross and funny.
- How and why Kite Man took such a silly name. The moment is full of impact.
- “Kite-Man?” –Joker. “Hell Yeah” –Kite Man.
Like the Swamp Thing tale in issue #23 that came before it, this excellent chapter works as a stand alone and is the kind of thing that will be collected, shared and re-read in years to come. Taking an interlude in a story like The War of Jokes and Riddles is tricky, but after you read this it’s not just great but feels vital and necessary. It gives you a clear window into how the battle between two psychopaths can affect so many. From the heroes fighting them, the henchman helping them, and the children that really only wanted to fly a kite with their dad. It’s scary, sad, tragic and at times, darkly funny.