Writer: Tom King
Pencils: Clay Mann
Inks: Seth Mann
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Batman allies himself with one of his greatest foes in an attempt to stop the War of Jokes & Riddles. Kite Man continues to take center stage in this flashback storyline.
The War of Jokes & Riddles has been plagued with pacing issues, but one thing can’t be denied: Tom King is easily one of the most talented writers to ever take the reigns of the Batman title. The way he deconstructs each character and delves into their psychology is incredibly interesting. I don’t think there is anyone else in comics that writes quite like him. He has singlehandedly made Kite Man an interesting character. Yes, KITE MAN. Not only has King made the low level rogue relevant, but you have to cheer for him now even over Batman.
There have been moments in the past where Joker has been unhappy or depressed about a situation, but he has never been written quite like this. He’s angsty and uncertain, its an entertaining new take. Unlike Riddler, whose newfound bravado has been very off-putting. Maybe they’re leading both characters to a point where they act normal, but as of right now this Riddler wouldn’t even view Batman as worth his time, let alone obsess over one-upping the Dark Knight. It’s just an odd take.
Speaking of Batman, there hasn’t been much of him in this story, but the writing has been so excellent you don’t notice too much. King is just an amazing storyteller. Though one problem I have is at the start of the war, Riddler kills Kite Man’s son, and now Batman is on the Riddler’s side fighting Kite Man. Obviously I’m going to let the story play out, but I admit the implications of Batman teaming up with a child murder against the victims father makes me uncomfortable.
The art was a real standout this issue, Clay Mann is such an amazing artist. His pencils are stylized but in my opinion has a hint of realism. I just wish he was allowed to draw more Batman. The colors really set the mood for what turned out to be a really moody and depressing story.
I have a few minor problems with pacing, Riddler, and Batman but nothing has really dampened my love for what Tom King is doing on this run. He’s bringing something fresh and new to a character that has multiple comic books and over 75 years of history. He’s putting Kite Man on the map and he’s using Joker in a way that feels like he’s treading new ground. This issue was tragic, compelling, and focused solely on a secondary villain. That’s how impressive a writer King is, he made us care deeply about Kite Man. Hell Yeah.