There have been three issues now to Tom King’s Batman story-arc “The War of Jokes and Riddles”, and I have got to say that so far I have been fairly disappointed. This was only the third issue released since the start of the story and it is specified as an “interlude” and not part 3 of the 8 part story. This entire issue feels like two or three issues rushed and crammed into one issue because the writer was too afraid to dedicate too much time to the character he was setting up, which then makes the reader feel as though they shouldn’t even care about this character if there couldn’t be time put into fleshing him and his circumstances out.
Spoilers from here on.
This is now six weeks straight of barely having any Batman in the Batman title and it is not working for me anymore. It made sense in the first issue when Tom King was setting up the motivations for Riddler and the Joker to go to war with each other, it was fine in the second issue when Batman was scrambling to keep up with the start of the war. In this issue, we only see glimpses of Batman through the eyes of Kite Man, passing over massive battles and the destruction of Gotham City in the process. I could not tell if this issue was supposed to take place more toward the end of the story arc or immediately after part 2 because I have no idea what is going on in the larger context of the story. I know that Joker and Riddler are fighting using other villains and Batman is trying to stop them. That is all I know, and that is all the information that has been provided to the reader since the very first issue. There have been no new developments in this plot, except for the transformation of Charles Brown into Kite Man at the very end of this issue and frankly, I don’t give a damn about Kite Man. Obviously, he is going to be playing a bigger part later on, at least I hope so if an entire issue was dedicated to his motivations to become Kite Man. This issue was essentially Kite Man Begins.
It is probably clear that I am growing frustrated with this story, but there were some good parts in this issue. Overall, the plot of this interlude could have been very interesting. The destruction of Gotham due to the battling of supervillains, Batman trying to hunt down the Joker through this goon, a massive battle between both sides and Batman, the failure of Batman through being outsmarted by the Riddler, and the transformation of a man into a supervillain. This is all good stuff, but it was condensed to 20 pages whereas it could have used at least another 40 to unpack everything the writer is throwing at you. The opening scene with Batman walking into the bar was also great, I’m always a sucker for superheroes crashing a sleazy henchmen hangout. And of course, the art in this issue was fantastic.
Overall, I thought this was by far the worst issue of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” to be released so far. It was a jumbled mess for most of the issue and the only pay off was the reveal of a D-list villain’s origin story. Perhaps I’m going to look like a fool when Kite Man saves the universe at the end of this story, but as of right now, I have to say that I just did not care. I’m going to have to give this issue a 4 out of 10.
What did you guys think? Am I being too hard on Kite Man? Are there any big Kite Man fans out there? What are your thoughts on “The War of Jokes and Riddles” so far? Please let me know. Thank you for your time and have a nice day.