Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Batman #26 Review and *SPOILERS*

Death Threats and War Cries

Written By: Tom King
Art By: Mikel Janin, June Chung, Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: July 5, 2017

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Well, you all went and done it now.  Since you gave Jimmy Boy such a hard time about his thoughts on the beginning of the War of Jokes and Riddles, he's now taken on the duties of reviewing JLA from me and I'm now up to the plate on Batman........... where you'll probably give me a hard time too, but we must move on.  In our previous issue of Batman, we saw Bruce telling Selena a tale about when he failed at being the hero that the city needed and it had to do with Riddler escaping custody and trying to create an alliance with Joker so that the two could kill Batman together and with that, get the peace that the two needed with their respective jokes and riddles........... Yeah, that didn't work out and the Joker tried to kill Riddler and that seems to be where the war will begin.  Let's jump into this issue and see what these two crazy villains are up to and what our Dark Knight will do to screw things up so bad that he feels he must turn it into pillow talk.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins with Joker just doing more random stuff, like having a cabbie take him to some random house in the burbs and killing the family inside, while also dosing the driver with Joker toxin, which is just narrative for our Dark Knight Detective to go over the names of the dead that this war caused, whether it makes sense to the story or not and while that is going on, we see Riddler getting fixed up by a Dr. Knowles, much like Joker from the '89 Batman film, with dialog ripped straight from the movie and while this is a fun inclusion, it really doesn't do much but show us that Riddler is using the bullet wound in his gut as the dot for a question mark that he carves into his chest.  I just want to know why he doesn't have a giant gaping wound out of his back for how close Joker shot him and with that size caliber of bullet.

So yeah, people are dying, Joker can't laugh and the Riddler is now pissed and calling the Joker out by leaving a message for him, that isn't in the form of a riddle at all, but straight up saying that he's going to kill the Joker.  In retaliation, the Joker gets a hold of Carmine Falcone and tells him that he has one hour to kill the Riddler and while Carmine initially blusters about it, as soon as the Joker hangs up you know how afraid Carmine is because he immediately sends his men to do the job........ which I know it's the Joker that we all know, but since this is the early days of the character I would have liked a little more background on why someone like Falcone would be as afraid as he is because it seems that King is playing it both ways, where this is the beginning of the Joker, but yet, everyone seems to know and fear him already.  

In the end, we see Riddler walking with Poison Ivy through the park, trying to get her on his side of the upcoming war by telling her that the Joker will scorch the Earth, which seems like a bit of a exaggeration, but after Carmine's mean find them and try to kill them, it seems that Ivy is on the Riddler trolley....... and we continue Batman going through the names of all the men that died, even if they were pieces of shit or not.  As our story closes, Carmine returns home to find the Joker, who since the hour had passed and the Riddler still wasn't dead, presents Carmine with his mother's teeth before shooting all of his men and wounding Carmine himself.  At this point in time it seems that The Penguin is Carmine's assistant and now that the Joker is taking control of Falcone's organization, he makes Penguin his new assistant to make sure everything gets done that he wants.  This is probably the best part of the book in my mind, where The Penguin says that Carmine's mother lives three hours away and with their hour deadline, he would have had to already done this........... which does feel like a classic Joker to me.  

That's it for this issue of Batman and while we're setting the stage for the upcoming war, there's not a lot to this issue that really grabs me.  The big parts that seem to matter are Riddler recruiting Ivy and Joker taking over Falcone's organization........ with a lot of filler in between, which just seems to be there for something cool to look at.  Where I had problems with the Joker and the way he was acting in the previous issue........ and still some here, I thought that the ending with his reveal of Carmine's mother's teeth actually felt spot on to me and because of that, it was my favorite part of the book and now that the war actually seems to be brewing, I find that my excitement is back to where it originally was when this arc was announced........... I just wish that the upcoming issues weren't about Kite-Man because goddamn is he being overplayed lately.  The art in this issue was fantastic as always and I love what Mikel Janin brings to the table, but the overall story so far just seems a bit lackluster, with Batman only being here to name the names of the dead, while the city goes to hell.

Bits and Pieces:

While the art in this issue is fantastic, I have to say that the story itself was a bit boring until the end, where I thought it picked up because we finally had the Joker seeming to act like himself again, but even with that, the Riddler continues to feel weird and our title character barely makes an appearance at all.  I still look forward to the War of Jokes and Riddles moving forward, but this issue, with the previous make me question whether I actually should.



  1. This issue almost makes me as angry as the end of I am Suicide. This issue was just stupid. Cover to cover dumb. Boring as hell and 99% pointless.

  2. While I don't hate the main story, for some reason last page with Bruce as narrator as Selena gawks at him really bothers me in both issues of this. Like, shouldn't she pretty know the basics of what went down in Gotham City a few years ago already?

    1. She obviously needs to hear the account of every single victim so she can fully grasp the brevity of the situation when Batman reveals his secret.

    2. In truth, I think King struggled to find a way to have Batman be a part of this story he wanted to tell. There can't be a war of Batman was involved from the start, and there has to be a lot of victims so just have Bruce recount how he came about all the information. Then we're cutting to Kite-Man to see the war from another angle as that gives us another in to the story without involving Batman.

      Seems like he wanted to tell a Batman-less story but didn't want to make Riddler or Joker the main character or narrator.

  3. Yep I agree repairman and that is also why he wrote CAT in not to actually marry them but to use her as a foil to tell the story. After this story I am betting it forms a rift between the two of them. She will be upset and will not want to be with him. She is a glorified in story tie-in.

  4. Solid review, Eric. I actually liked this issue better than part 1 of this arc, mostly because I felt like there wasn't quite as big plot holes as last issue. I'm not sold on the Riddler thus far. But the part with Joker and Falcone's mother's teeth was chilling. Definitely best part of the issue.

    I don't expect to really see much of Batman in this arc. He feels pretty removed from it.

  5. Good review of a bad issue. I was looking forward to this issue after the last one, which I actually enjoyed despite the flaws. But this was boring and disjointed, and the story didn't really progress at all. It looks like they're using two splash pages to show the most interesting part of the story, which is the villains choosing sides; while spending page after page on the minutiae of henchmen. Utter nonsense.
    At least the art was good.