Review: Batman #25

Don’t miss this extra-sized anniversary issue! In his own words, Bruce Wayne narrates a harrowing, never-before-told story of the Dark Knight’s greatest failure…and the horrors it unleashed!

Teased for some time now, “The War of Jokes and Riddles” begins in Batman #25 written by Tom King and art by Mikel Janin. It’s one hell of a beginning with an interesting start that doesn’t have much Batman at all.

Instead, King gives us a story about motivations of two of Batman’s greatest foes, the Riddler and the Joker. King gives us something new it feels like as much like he has for 24 issues, the focus is motivations of the characters. He also presents it as a riddle in some ways, rather appropriate considering the characters, in that the quandry is presented in that if either of the villains succeed in beating Batman, the other loses as well. That expands things in so many ways to force the reader to think a bit more about not just these two villains, but all of Batman’s rogues. How does one’s success impact the rest?

The story is an interesting one setting up the conflict and the stakes and doing it in a way that the I’m reminded a lot of Snyders’ “Year Zero” storyline. The set up is solid, and has me excited to see what comes next. King has done a good transition of exploring Batman’s psyche and here he looks to do the same of some of his best enemies.

The art by Mikel Janin is really good with a style that’s gritty and dirty and in some ways reminds me of Greg Capullo’s “Year Zero” as well. His Riddler is a little buffer than expected but the Joker is scary and menacing hiding in the shadows. There’s a scariness about it all as the story plays out with each panel using the shadows to hide the menaces within.

I knew we were getting a clash of Batman’s greats, but I didn’t expect King to set it up in a way that the narrative feels like a perfect transition from how he has explored the world of Batman for the past 24 issues. While it doesn’t quite feel like an “epic” 25th issue, it is a solid start that has me excited to see what comes next.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janin
Story: 8.05 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review