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“The War of Jokes and Riddles” comes to an end this week and Batman finally reveals what he did that’s left him guilty as hell. The Riddler and Joker finally get to Batman, but what is it he must tell Catwoman?! Find out here.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES” finale! This is the finale everyone will be talking about for years to come! In BATMAN #24, we gave you the question; in BATMAN #32, you get the answer. As the Riddler and The Joker desperately fight for supremacy in Gotham City, Batman reveals how far he had to go to end the war. Now, knowing Batman’s greatest sin, Catwoman must make her decision: Will she marry Batman?
Why does this matter?
Tom King has been blasting readers right in the face with surprises from Batman proposing to Catwoman to Kite Man being one of the most interesting characters of 2017. The epic 5 part series weaving in Joker and Riddler comes to an end here.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Time for a rumble.
This is one of those comics that you’ll finish, reflect on, and then read again. At face value there’s not a lot to it as it consists of a fight sequence between Riddler, Joker, and Batman intercut with a delicate and intimate moment between Batman and Catwoman. The transitions between these scenes are great and yet another example of how good King is at pacing his stories. Comics are a visual medium and it’s quite clear King understands the balance of visual storytelling with dialogue and exposition. It’s in this balance that you’ll want to go back and reread this issue even when much of it is fists hitting faces.
The character temperaments are quite interesting as all three dynamics come to a head in this issue. Riddler seems to be filled with rage–probably because he doesn’t get the effect he was looking for–while Joker is incredibly subdued and even keeled. Batman meanwhile, is positively boiling over and loses himself. It’s quite a scene and while diehard fans will cry foul as far as Batman’s actions in this issue I think King does a good job supplying reason for what he does. He’s human after all and knowing your personality and attitude are in part due to the Joker (and Riddler) is quite a hard pill to swallow for anyone. You will come away from this issue with a better understanding of Bruce Wayne and how he’s still human even in the face of all the amazing things he’s done over the years.
Mikel Janin draws quite a good issue showing off some great choreographed fighting that’s fun to follow. The action is one of the reasons I felt compelled to read it again. In a key scene Janin draws a demented Joker that captures his wild and nuttiness beautifully. Following that up is a full page spread with a great use of “Ha Ha” text littering the page. Janin also makes the Catwoman and Batman scene feel quite intimate. They’re in their underwear, but the topic is incredibly heavy and personal, especially for Bruce. Janin will make you believe the emotions are running high even though their demeanor is low key and subdued. There’s a tension in the room that Janin just nails.
Great intimate moments.
It can’t be perfect can it?
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While readers get an answer as to what Batman is ashamed of I was still wondering how the scene with Joker and Riddler actually ends. There’s a dynamic moment we cut away from that could use some tidying up. It also leaves you wondering where does Joker and Riddler go from here. The main focus is on Batman’s action, but as a finale I was still let wondering in a way that left me wanting more.
Is It Good?
“The War of Jokes and Riddles” gives Batman a human quality you won’t expect, but can relate to in a fascinating sort of way. King and Janin have produced a story that continuously makes you think, which is an exciting way to enjoy your Batman comics. The character is made more interesting in a story further developing the Joker/Batman lore. Bravo to that.
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