[World of Bats] The War of Jokes and Riddles

Hello and welcome to the World of Bats, the Batman Book Club!

This past month we’ve been in the strange and sometimes frightening world that is the Nineties, so let’s take a look at a more modern run that we haven’t looked at in a while, and that’s the Tom King run in Batman #25-32, “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” with art by Mikal Janin and Clay Mann.

Here are the links to the issues:

Batman #25
Batman #26
Batman #27
Batman #28
Batman #29
Batman #30
Batman #31
Batman #32

If you’re subscribed to the Ultra tier, you can also read this in digital trade form here:

Reading will last from 2023-01-28T06:00:00Z2023-02-03T06:00:00Z, but if you’re busy trying to find your ability to laugh again, you can always come back later.

Looking forward to discussing these issues with you all! :batparrot:

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I like this story well enough. But it suffers from one of my big gripes with stories set in the pre-Robin era: there shouldn’t be this many supervillains running around yet!


I agree with @AlexanderKnox that there are way too many villains in Gotham for this early in Batman’s career. I did enjoy this story. A very sad origin for Kite Man. Riddler was much more buff than I have seen him before, and more homicidal. I liked Joker’s look.


Interesting point! I hadn’t thought about that. I really like seeing Cluemaster hanging out, though I wish of course to see his daughter as well. :slight_smile:

My personal feelings about WoJaR is that the first half really feels the compression from the originally planned 12 issue miniseries with Mitch Gerads to a 7-8 issue arc in the ongoing. There’s too much summary. The Deathstroke/Deadshot battle is clever, but I just get too frustrated to enjoy it or feel much besides that frustrated. But the dinner party really gets me. That’s the kind of King off beat poetry that I like. And the ending hits home really hard with finally, the answer to the proposal.

And Ballad of Kite Man is very nicely done, even if I think it went a bit too dark.


Yeah, I can definitely see that point. It might have been interesting if maybe Dick as Robin was included in the story. He wouldn’t be able to do much, considering the story is already pretty packed as it is, but some interesting stuff could have been done with that, especially with what happens at the end.

True that – I don’t know what’s more wild – the fact that might be King’s biggest contribution to the Bat-mythos, or that this story is likely what inspired Kite Man’s inclusion in the Harley Quinn series:

Either way – Hell yeah.

I mean, the last big Riddler story before this was Zero Year, which had him probably indirectly kill many people with his storm device, so I guess him being more homicidal isn’t that far out of the realm. Plus, I imagine with that story he was stuck in the more isolated wards of Arkham and he used that time to get shredded at the Arkham Asylum gym.

Wait, just like…

Man, I did not think we’d get as many Harley Quinn connections here! :rofl:

HOW am I just learning about this? Oh man, that would have been awesome! :cry:


I was listening to to a lot of interviews during the King run! I do think it would have been better to be a longer arc. But then what would have happened in the main run? Dunno! :slight_smile:


Definitely a good read and worth checking out. The dinner party issue was my favorite. It’s just so tense


Yeah, I agree with I think Miller when they said that the dinner issue was really where the story picks up.

It’s funny, maybe it’s because of all the recent movie slate news, but while reading this, I had the sudden thought that this might work perfectly with The Batman line of movies, maybe as a climax of that universe. I mean, the end of that movie had Riddler and a…particularly happy individual yucking it up in Arkham, what would happen if that friendship soured?


It’s interesting that you should say that. While I was reading it I was imagining how well it could work as a movie scene


A brilliant idea! I know King would be thrilled if they did something like that.