It has been billed as the next great crime epic in the world of The Dark Knight. A story promising to be held in the same regard as The Long Halloween. This particular issue in the series introduces us to a new character, stuck in the middle of a chaotic war, and how that war changes him forever.
In a method reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino screenplay, jumping around in its timeline, we are introduced to Charles Brown, an informant for the Bat. Batman seeks his assistance by asking Charles when his scheduled meet-up with The Joker is taking place... Okay, asking is not quite the right word. Think back to Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, when Christian Bale's Batman is hanging Detective Flass upside down, yelling "SWEAR TO ME!" That's pretty much how it went. However, Charles ends up being painted into a corner when Riddler's men get a hold of him and ask the same question. All this leads to a battle between the three angles (Riddler and his thugs, Joker and the Bat). Toward the end, Charlie's boy is injured and hospitalized, and while Batman swears to help him and his boy, Charlie decides to take matters into his own hands...
Tom King has taken his expertise in writing suspenseful crime mystery (The Sheriff of Babylon) and injected it into the unrelenting realm of Gotham City. He gives us a story where Bruce Wayne/Batman is the narrator and supporting character to a battle between two of his greatest foes: the Clown Prince of Crime and the Master of Mind Games. He gives us a Joker who no longer finds things funny and a Riddler who's less in the mood for puzzles. The two are at odds, compelled to battle each other rather than focus on the Caped Crusader. In the middle, the unknown Charlie who is used as a pawn by all sides until he hits his breaking point. Clay Mann (X-Men Unlimited, Daredevil v2, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death) brings us well detailed and defined characters, the closest to looking human without leaving the animated page. His beautiful art is equivalent to Stuart Immonen's current work on Marvel's The Amazing Spider-Man in the Secret Empire series.
So far, The War of Jokes and Riddles is an enticing story about two villains at odds with each other, creating a chaos that Gotham has yet to experience. Two of the city's greatest villains creating a war on the streets. One that Batman believes he must end quickly, before more innocents are affected and more blood covers the streets of his home. We are possibly in the midst of the next great crime story in the history of Gotham's Watchful Protector.
- “The Azorean One” Anthony Esteves of The Capeless Crusaders.