Script: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin & Hugo Petrus
Colours: June Chung
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Published by: DC Comics
The War of Jokes and Riddles continues with the fourth instalment of this eight-part event. The last issue involved the Caped Crusader running around Gotham chasing Deathstroke and Deadshot as the city’s body count continued to rise. This issue is much more focused and in my opinion better for it. The entire story takes place in Wayne Manor as Bruce Wayne acts as intermediary between the Joker and the Riddler. King plots a tight script with each scene playing out against the backdrop of a nine-course meal. Like most of King’s run on Batman, it is a unique take which is engaging but also one in which you must suspend belief. Would Brue Wayne really be willing and able to invite Gotham’s most dangerous villains into his house for a peaceful meal? Probably not but it makes for a tense and thought provoking scenario. It’s great to see Bruce taking centre stage and trying to resolve things peacefully. There is a lovely moment where he calls Gotham, “our Gotham” playing on the loyalty that everyone, hero and villain has for their home. Wayne/Batman is also the only person who can match The Riddler intellectually so it’s good to see him using his brains rather than just his fists . Speaking of which, I’m really enjoying this incarnation Edward Nigma – there’s something much more dark and sinister under the brains. The Joker? I’m still not sure. I know King is going for a different take and I appreciate that but he just doesn’t come across (for me anyway) as smart or savvy. He just seems a bit petulant but hopefully I’ll be changing my mind before too long.
When Mikel Janin was drawing Grayson I bought every issue for his art alone. I know it will be hard for a lot of fans to see past the fact that Greg Capullo isn’t drawing the main Batman book but seriously, this work is just phenomenal. Every subtle movement coveys so much emotion and motivation. Complemented by Hugo Petrus on inks, amazing colours by June Chung and letters from the incomparable clayton cowls and you have an almost perfect book.
King as per usual continues to plot an excellent story and one that will read best in trade format but with the art team of Janin, Petrus and Chung knocking it out of the park every issue, I’m not prepared to wait. Things are really hotting up for the second half of this epic.