The war between Joker and Riddler reaches a fever pitch as the city of Gotham now truly hangs in a lethal balance between two sets of very literal crosshairs. Commissioner Gordon makes a desperate gamble to do what he thinks can to help, but will it prove to be the wrong move? And when the world’s two deadliest assassins enter the fold, it will take Batman days to stop their violent showdown while bodies litter the streets.
“The War Of Jokes and Riddles” Part 3
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
Colors by: June Chung
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles
The body counts once against rises after what was a brief, yet emotional interlude last issue. This chapter finally sees two of the chosen villains, Deathstroke and Deadshot, enter the center stage as the two take each other on. It’s a brilliant sequence in already great issue and it’s one of 11 reasons to read this week’s Batman #28. Read them all below!
- “And The Lord said unto John: ‘Come forth and you shall have eternal life’. But John came fifth and won a toaster.” – The Joker. Having the Clown Prince of Crime say this to a Gordon stripped down to his underwear is both chilling and a nice visual call back to The Killing Joke.
- The long vertical panels that open the book. They create immediate opening tension.
- Juxtaposing Gordon visiting Joker and Riddler is a strong narrative trick by Tom King. It emphasis each villain’s nature perfectly.
- The appearance of the 90s Catwoman costume is a treat for old-school fans.
- “I’m not like them. They are criminals.” – Catwoman. “You’re currently breaking into a safe that’s not yours.” – Batman. Tom King writes the chemistry between these two perfectly. His Selina Kyle is believable as the kind of woman Bruce Wayne would fall for.
- “That afternoon the battle of snipers began” – Batman. It’s such a simple piece of dialog, but the lettering and caption placement give it the sense of dread that it needs in order to lead into the issues best sequence…
- The one-page kick-off to the Deadshot/Deathstroke standoff. It’s a perfect example of writing, penciling, layouts, coloring and lettering creating storytelling that only comics can do.
- And speaking of art, Mikel Janin and June Chung are a match made in comic book heaven. This whole storyline has been gorgeous to look at and this issue, in particular, is a standout. (Just check out the images I included in this review)
- Seeing a young, desperate Batman is yet another aspect of him that Tom King is showing us. Paired with the “narrator” Batman, it creates immediate growth and changes a character over 75 years old.
- “City always falls. We always catch it.” Gordon spitting Batman’s own words back at him is a powerful moment. King is also excellent at creating a great dynamic between these two.
- Batman’s anger and loss of control after finally catching Deadshot and Deathstroke. His brutal beatdown of Deadshot shows you how far from restrained this young Caped Crusader is and how far he must go before he becomes the methodical Batman we know today.
It’s tough to make a story work as a slow burn yet still have it pop with breathtaking action scenes, and that is exactly what has made ‘The War of Jokes and Riddle’ so fantastic. We’re at about the halfway mark and its pacing has been unique, powerful, explosive and compelling. I for one can’t wait for the punchline and answer to this riddle!