“Why did the man throw his watch out the window? He wanted to see time fly.”

And the winner is…

The War of Jokes and Riddles is coming to a close. Tom King still has secrets to reveal, but the bulk of the bloodbath is behind us. It’s been an epic battle between these most devious of foes. Batman has served more as an observer, a young hero still learning after the success of Zero Year. He’s sided with his former rival, The Riddler, against the fleeting forces of the Joker. Together they confront a fallen and desperate warlord.

The writer’s partner-in-crime is Mikel Janin. He’s been an incredible addition to the team since Batman: Rebirth #1. June Chung is giving Jordie Bellaire and FCO Plascencia runs for their money as best colorist in the business. She’s been giving Jae Lee’s work an extraordinary touch for over a decade now. It’s great to see her breathing new life into comics’ biggest pages. While this issue doesn’t feature Tom King or Mikel Janin’s best work, they set the course for a fantastic finale.

The good, the bad, and the equally as bad

Joker, Riddler, and Batman standing as three pillars. Two seek to rise above; one seeks to hold it all together. It would seem one must fall for anything to continue. Tom King has placed these warlords at odds in what has been an excellent read. Batman #31 is more of a fun breather, unfortunately. It doesn’t live up to the exciting or heart-wrenching issues that came before. It by no means lessens the quality of the literal War of Words, but it can cause a yawn or two.

Mikel Janin’s work reflects King’s almost perfectly. Without any major action set pieces or new designs, the art plays it safe for most of the issue. Hopefully, this means both artists are saving their best for an end for the ages.

The Verdict

The stage is being set for the final fight between foes. Batman #31 includes a wonderful cast of Batman’s best baddies. This war has been costly for all parties involved, but enthralling for any reader. Tom King and Mikel Janin have created a worthy new memory in the chronicles of the Caped Crusader. Partnering with the Riddler, Batman sets a familiar face to concoct a witty plan to get to the Joker.

Unfortunately, the issue is light on plot. To set up a more exciting finish, this penultimate issue serves more as a quiet moment before an explosive end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the previous entries. Without the emotional depth of #30, or the wondrous violence of #28, this issue is a bridge to what should be a captivating showdown.

Comic Book Review: Batman #31
The Score8
The Pro's
  • Tension Builds to the War's End
  • Funny, Lighthearted Script
  • Batman's Foes Have Some Fun
The Con's
  • Slow, Inconsequential Story
  • Creative Team Saves the Best for Last
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)