The War of Jokes and Riddles where Batman

This whole war started because Joker and Riddler couldn’t decide who should be the one to kill Batman. Things escalated quickly, with Gotham City supervillains big and small taking a side in what became a massive, city-wide turf war.

With the number of civilian casualties skyrocketing, most notably during an extended face-off between master assassins Deadshot and Deathstroke, Batman used the power and influence of Bruce Wayne to call a meeting between the two crime bosses. Over the course of what was the most tense and awkward dinner of all time, Bruce heard arguments from both sides as to why he should pledge his support, and therefore Batman’s

We learned his decision in Issue #30, which shows Batman sporting a green Riddler armband as he helps take out the villains on Joker’s side, including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Scarface and the Ventriloquist, Man-Bat, Mr. Freeze, and, finally, Kite Man. Riddler and Batman purposely left Kite Man to be the last villain standing because they knew he’d be the easiest to break in order to learn the Joker’s whereabouts.

It’s no surprise to see Batman pick Riddler over Joker. While Riddler is a murderous manipulator, there’s at least a method to his madness. The Joker, on the other hand, is wildly unpredictable, an agent of chaos who wouldn’t abide by any rules or agreements enforced on him, not when there’s mayhem to be had. This point was driven home last issue where both Riddler and Joker took civilian hostages to guarantee that they wouldn’t be arrested during the dinner. The Riddler set his hostages free after the meeting ended, whereas Joker killed all of his before he even got there.

With Riddler and Batman now in a position of power, Joker has been backed into a corner without any allies to back him up. Of course, like a wild animal, Joker is likely to be most deadly when turning to his last resort to survive and take out his enemies.

The big question looming over this war isn’t who wins, but what it cost Batman to bring it to an end. The story is being told as a flashback, with Batman explaining what happened Catwoman, all so he can reveal his darkest secret to her before she responds to his marriage proposal. We’ll have to wait to see what happens as the War of Jokes and Riddles continues in Batman #31 and then reaches the finale in Batman #32.