Batman #25 Review

comic books:
Sergio Pereira

Reviewed by:
On June 21, 2017
Last modified:June 20, 2017


Take out your wallets and purses, ladies and gentlemen, because you'll be throwing your money at Batman #25. This is the Dark Knight story we want to read.

Batman #25 Review

This review contains minor spoilers.

To say I was worried about Batman #25, “The War of Jokes and Riddles” part one, would be putting it mildly. You see, Tom King and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on what constitutes a good story, and he had me tearing my hair out after Batman #24. He’s a talented writer – no question about that – but he often falls into the rookie trap of writing avant-garde narratives to show off. It’s like those first-year filmmaking students who constantly focus on clouds and trees, instead of something that actually moves the story forward.

Thankfully, King reins in his tendency for the theatrics and pens a super story here. In this retrospective arc, Bruce Wayne narrates a never-before-told tale to Selina Kyle about a past event titled “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” which took place after Zero Year. As its name alludes, it’s all about the Joker and the Riddler.

We dive into the story at a crucial moment: the Clown Prince of Crime has lost his sense of humor and ability to laugh. As a result, he embarks on a killing spree throughout Gotham, leaving numerous clues for Batman to follow. It’s not the Dark Knight who uncovers the answer first, though, as the puzzle master himself, Edward Nigma, solves it. Nigma approaches the clown, initially sympathizing with his condition, only to be met by a bullet for his troubles. Batman arrives and sees the damage done to Nigma, claiming that there’s no way he will survive, and chases after the Joker instead. The Riddler does pull through the ordeal, however, and escapes. Thereafter, the two villains plunge the city into chaos.

King sets the stage for an epic in fine fashion here. This isn’t complex or vague at any point, introducing the conflict and stakes from the get-go. It just feels like a proper Batman story, with entertaining villains and motives, and not someone writing fan fiction.

Additionally, King leaves the mystery of where Bruce fits into all of this is left right until the end, reeling us in for the next issue. It sounds ominous, but that’s what makes it more exciting. We all know that Mr. Wayne owns suitcases of secrets, so it’ll be interesting to see just how bad this one is in the grand scheme of things.

Despite King’s solid writing, the true star is Mikel Janín, who has taken his reputation to the next level here. This is one of those issues that we’ll be talking about in years to come simply because of the artwork. Janín’s illustration of the Joker, in particular, should become the new standard for the character. I’d much rather prefer this reimagining of the Clown Prince than be forced to swallow more of Jared Leto’s Juggalo Joker crap.

When you think of Batman, this is the sort of story that you expect on a regular basis. There’s more to come – and it could still derail – but Janín and King have produced a marvelous issue and it deserves to be celebrated. In short, Batman #25 is remarkable, and worthy of your time and money.

Batman #25 Review
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Take out your wallets and purses, ladies and gentlemen, because you'll be throwing your money at Batman #25. This is the Dark Knight story we want to read.

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