Joker & Riddler Are Going to War (Without Batman?)

In the world of Batman's comic book Rogues Gallery, few are more beloved than Joker and Riddler - and now, the two will be fighting it out to see who is really the king of comic criminality in Gotham City. With Batman: The War of Jokes & Riddles revealed by current Batman writer Tom King along with some intriguing artwork, fans will be asked to take sides between the two supervillains... even if the pair's clash over the city is actually a glimpse backward into Batman's career.

The titular "war" will begin this summer - while Batman is elsewhere launching the DC Universe into a "Metal" meltdown - by sweeping fans back to the earliest days of the New 52. Spinning out of the events of Scott Snyder's Zero Year, it seems that Joker had his own part to play in the larger conflict. Riddler may have taken control of Gotham for a year in the first days of Batman's career, but King is now set to reveal how that event helped shape the current state of the DC Universe - and how it may still impact the future.

For those unfamiliar with Snyder's Batman run, or the Zero Year event as a whole, it's still unclear if Riddler's efforts to hold the city hostage are required reading for this Riddler/Joker war. Beginning with Batman #25, referred to by DC as an "extra-sized anniversary issue," Tom King and artist Mikel Janin begin the story being referred to as Bruce Wayne's "greatest failure." Apparently, it's a mistake that he may not yet to finished paying for.

King himself revealed the coming storyline via Twitter. Check out his (multiple) teases below:

Coming in Batman: The War of Jokes and Riddles, a story of the past that will shape the future of the DCU. A year after he began, Batman thinks he understands the pain and power of Gotham. And the war comes, and he learns he knows nothing. Joker vs. Riddler, a war that divides and destroys his city. In the midst of the carnage, will the Dark Knight rise again or finally fall? The Riddler is tired of jokes. The Joker is tired of riddles. War of Jokes and Riddles is an 8 part epic starting in Batman 25. Scripts by me. Art by my genius brother, @mikeljanin.

The event was first teased in the now-concluding "I Am Bane" story, in which Bane returns to Gotham City to give Batman the fight of his life. That fight only came after Batman concealed himself deep in the bowels of Arkham Asylum, sending the convicts to keep Bane busy. One by one, Bane fought his way through with growing anger. But as he passed Eward Nygma - incarcerated ever since the events of Zero Year (or some other, more recent crime on the same level as attempted murder of an entire city) the man calling himself Riddler had a request.

He asked Bane to say "Hello" to Batman for him, and to remind him that imprisoned or no, he still remembered their "war of jokes and riddles"... and what Batman did. The implication being that Batman had done something he would rather not remember. And thanks to the new synopsis, it sounds like Batman's avoided memory will be a grave mistake... one that involves both the Riddler AND the Joker. How the clown prince of crime fits into the narrative is the real secret here, and how King's version will be placed alongside the one introduced by Snyder. And the most obvious question: how will this event being brought to light impact the "future of the DCU," as King claims?

Regardless of the hazy details, fans know one thing: when the Joker grows tired of jokes, and the Riddler grows tired of riddles, the truly dark, twisted, and obsessive sous within them come to the surface. We don't yet know what Batman did, but we have a hard time believing the readers won't understand his reasoning. But definitive answers will have to wait...

NEXT: Batman Makes DC 'Metal' This Summer

Batman #25 will be released June 21, 2017.

Source: Tom King

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