Written by: Tom King
Art by: Clay Mann
Inks by: Seth Mann
Color by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
“The Ballad of Kite Man, Part 2”
The Joker’s and Riddler’s war reaches a turning point. Batman chooses a side, knowing the only way to end the bloodshed is for one side to win the war. That’s right, the War of Jokes and Riddles has gone on long enough, and with enough bloodshed, that the Dark Knight himself has to ally himself with a criminal army led by one of his deadliest foes. We don’t get to see how this decision affects Bruce, though, because, for the second time in as many months, Kite Man is front and center.
The War of Jokes and Riddles continues in the same vein as it has, full of Tom King’s signature blend of violence and dark humor. It takes skill to make Kite Man (Really? Kite Man?) a more endearing character than Batman, if only for an issue, but damn does King pull it off. Kite Man’s flashback narration with his son, who was (SPOILER FOR BATMAN #27) murdered by the Riddler is heartbreaking, and the action that takes place during this comic makes it even more so. All the while, King continues to weave in enough panels with humor dark enough to make me smirk and wince at the same time.
The only issue I have is that I think this issue might progress the story too quickly. We’ve spent several comics being told the massive scale of this war, how Batman and the GCPD and even the feds could barely even mitigate the collateral damage. And now on this single issue, not only are the scales tipped, but it seems like the war is all but won. Hopefully, the rest of this story arc doesn’t wrap up too quickly.
Clay Mann, Seth Mann, and Jordie Bellaire continue to be spectacular as an art team. They capture the intensity of the war, the signature feel of Gotham city, and bring to life the bleak world of the War of Jokes and Riddles. The pages bring the tone of the story into perfect focus as Batman and his new allies further rip Kite Man’s world to shreds.
I rate this comic 8.5/10. While the story and art were great, the progression seemed too quick, but it’s possible that King has some surprises in mind for us. This is definitely an issue worth picking up!