Batman #26 Review

Batman 26
comic books:
Sergio Pereira

Reviewed by:
On July 5, 2017
Last modified:July 1, 2017


If you aren't reading "The War of Jokes and Riddles," you're missing out on a soon-to-be modern classic. This is King and Janín at their best.

Batman #26 Review

This review contains minor spoilers.

Riddle me this, riddle me that, what’s the deep, dark secret of the Bat? After last issue‘s cliffhanger, we’re getting closer to finding out what damaged the Dark Knight forever. However, Batman #26 is mostly about the Joker and the Riddler, as they plunge Gotham into a new chaos.

Now that the Clown Prince of Crime and Edward Nigma have beef, Gotham is stuck in the middle of their feud and suffering as a result. Anyone who gets in their way gets put down, while the rest of the villains must choose which side they’re on – think of it as the rogues’ own civil war. Seemingly, Batman and the GCPD are powerless in the whole situation, as the bodies pile up and the war heats up. In fact, the list of victims on the last page is pretty frightening to see.

As expected, Tom King pulls no punches in penning a harrowing Joker. The man is a complete psychopath, who pulls out Carmine Falcone’s mother’s teeth to form a smile on the gangster’s table as an example. He appears deadlier than ever in this book, taking his murder and torture rampages to new levels.

What’s surprising, though, is King’s Riddler. In recent years, we’ve seen a Nigma who likes riddles and commits so-so crimes but doesn’t like to get his hands too dirty. He’s a little bit of a wimpy bad guy, really. In this story, however, he’s incredibly vicious, unafraid of slitting throats if need be. It’s a different iteration of the character, showing us a highly intelligent murderer who has more in common with Hannibal Lecter than Dick Dastardly.

King pays tribute to Tim Burton’s Batman in this issue as well, as Nigma visits an unlicensed surgeon, Dr. Jaime Knowles, to remove the bullet from his body. Their exchange is reminiscent of Jack Napier’s interaction with Dr. Davis in the film, making me think that King is utilizing this as a means to show symmetry between the villains. Or maybe it’s just a tribute to Burton, which is welcome, too, by the way.

Here again, Mikel Janín shines like an absolute diamond. His artwork is nothing short of outstanding, as he creates a truly unique-looking Batman adventure. It’s a refreshing take on Gotham City and its inhabitants, reminding me of the attention to detail and radical character designs often associated with Lee Bermejo’s work.

At the same time, colorist June Chung deserves special mention for the choice and application of colors in this issue as well. Without her efforts, Janín’s world wouldn’t pop as vibrantly as it does.

Part two of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” doesn’t fail to deliver. It’s another exceptional issue from King and Janín, which is setting a whole new standard for Batman stories to follow. There’s something special happening here, and this arc is on its way to becoming another legendary Dark Knight tale. If you aren’t on board yet, you better hop on before you suffer from the FOMO.

Batman #26 Review
Top Honors

If you aren't reading "The War of Jokes and Riddles," you're missing out on a soon-to-be modern classic. This is King and Janín at their best.