The latest issue of Tom King’s and Mikel Janín’s run on Batman starts to heat up the battle between Joker and Riddler with June Chung joining the team on colors while Clayton Cowles provides lettering.
After last issue's opening salvo in the War of Jokes & Riddles left Edward Nygma bleeding from a gunshot wound, this issue begins with an homage to Jack Napier’s origin story from the original Batman movie from 1989.
Janín’s interiors and Chung's coloring are easily the best parts of the issue as the plot devolves into “edgy” chaos and murder. Janín composes each layout to deftly convey the scenes, and Chung adds a layer of depth that sometimes evades Janín’s pristine figure work.
Chung portrays a grimy crime scene, a sunny pool deck, and foliage-rich park, maintaining heavy contrast consistent with the light source of each setting. Janín has gotten better with each issue and his collaborations with Chung make his work that much prettier.
The story of the issue leaves a little to be desired, though, as both Joker and Riddler work to make allies in their petty squabble.
Joker begins by murdering Carmine Falcone’s goons and ripping his mother’s teeth from her head, using his resources by indoctrinating his top lieutenant Oswald Cobblepot.
With Penguin fighting for Jokes, Riddles sways Poison Ivy to the Other Green Team. When Falcone’s goons show up and try to take them out, Ivy is convinced to join the Riddler.
Of course, with the lines drawn in the sand the villains all choose a side. Nygma recruits some of the fiercest baddies in the Batman rogues gallery, including:
- Killer Croc
- Two Face
- Mr. Zsasz
That’s a lot of scary, wanton murderers for the master strategist, but the Riddler is a master strategist and he has a grand plan in play, especially with Poison Ivy on his side. Note the silhouette in the bottom right corner, showing that there is an ace of the Riddler's sleeve.prevnext
The Joker, on the other hand, recruits a bunch of wildcards and lone wolfs, as opposed to Riddler’s group of enforcers. But there are a few more powers and abilities at Joker’s disposal, including:
- Tweedledee and Tweedledum
- Mr. Freeze
- Solomon Grundy
- Mad Hatter
With Penguin on his side (and to a lesser extent, Falcone) it seems like Joker has the upper hand. But this early, Riddler might have the advantage for the loyalty he can inspire from his allies while Joker is a murderous psychopath who would kill you at the drop of a dime.prevnext
The story is definitely going to heat up. Hopefully the stakes are raised in a meaningful way that this becomes one of the better Batman epics in King’s, Janín’s, and Finch’s run on the title.
Check out the solicitation for the issue below:0comments
Written by TOM KING—Art and cover by MIKEL JANIN—Variant cover by JOSH MIDDLETON
“THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES” part two! The Riddler and The Joker escalate their bloody feud, and the villains of Gotham City are forced to choose sides or be caught in the crossfire! It’s up to Batman to push himself to the limit and keep innocent citizens out of harm’s way.
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