The never ending “War of Jokes and Riddles” rambles on with this week’s fifth installment and, I don’t know about you all, but I’m very tired…It’s not Batman fatigue really, it’s this “war” that just isn’t the “right” Batman for me now as a fan. With Metal usurping my attention span for Bat-adventures and Mister Miracle proving to be an impressive and better Tom King written story, I can’t express my ambivalence toward this Bat-tale enough. So, with that said, let’s take a peek and find out what the rogues of Gotham are up to now.
What is this all about?
‘THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES’ part five! Batman has done his best to keep the peace, but with neither faction backing down, he may have to choose the lesser of two evils if he wants the violence to end. Will Batman embrace the murderous anarchy of The Joker or the bloody fascism of the Riddler? If he wants to win, he’ll have to choose a side-and either way, he loses.
We are invited to a dinner. Not an ordinary dinner of course, but one with Bruce Wayne hosting Team Joker and Team Riddler. Bruce clearly cannot resolve this war as Batman. He is at wit’s end. So, ever the 1%, he invites Gotham’s gangs to the table to negotiate and eat fancy food. I find the dialog to be well-written – almost like reading a short play, but the story very dull. The Riddler over explains and Joker is boring, save for a couple of silly jokes and I really want to get past the frowning Mr. J. One scene, where Riddler catches a knife flung at his head, is wholly unbelievable.
Ultimately, Bruce wants to get to the beef. Why do the two sides want to kill the big bad Bat? After listening to J & R explain themselves, Wayne concludes he will use his fortune to fund the side he finds most compelling and end the war. Well, it’s not even remotely interesting in execution and the conversation drags. Big deal? Why do we Batman fans care at all at this point?
There are two high points in this issue for me as a reader and once again, one is the art, and the other is the art. Janin’s lines are amazing and June Chung’s coloring is wonderful. The black and gray Batman scenes against the color settings are a visual feast. Yet, nothing happens here that makes me want to recommend this story to a Batman noob or a scholar.
Finally, with last week’s Mister Miracle #1 I’m personally over King’s Batman and would love a new voice in the storytelling department. The art continues to be the main draw in the series as Janin is top notch, but the tale being forced upon us and characterization of Batman has become tedious beyond belief. For a talented writer like Tom King I expected to be into this story, especially by the 5th issue, and I’m not. Unfortunately I’m finding my patience and attention span wearing thin and wishing Joker or Riddler would just end the suffering already.
Reviewed by: Jeff Daily
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus, June Chung, and Clayton Cowles
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 16, 2017