Richard Gratton's Fantastic Reads 4 U

Batman #26
DC Comics
Release Date: 04/05/2017

Part 2 of The War of Jokes and Riddles continues in Batman #26, and the story picks up right where the previous issue left off. The Joker is still pursuing the Riddler, intent on killing him. The art is spectacular; the story is dark; the content is somewhat gruesome; and Bruce Wayne is still narrating the story to Selina Kyle, who is sharing his bed. What more could a Batman fan ask for? It goes without saying that this comic is an absolutely fantastic read.

I have not always liked writer, Tom King's work on Batman, especially the I Am Bane story arc, which was overly long, drawn out, and lacking substance. Recent issues of this title, have seen King take an introspective approach to the Batman/Bruce Wayne character and King is killing it so far. Because of his relationship with Selina Kyle, Bruce Wayne is digging deep into his own psyche and King's portrayal of Bruce's vulnerability is so real that I am left dreading the end of the comic simply because I don't want it to end and I desperately want more. In fact, when I heard this would be an eight-part story arc, I was initially dreading another potentially long drawn out story. Now, the only thing long and drawn out is the time between finishing reading one issue and the release of the next.

Mikel Janin's art is absolutely amazing. I've seen Batman books drawn many ways and in many different styles, by many different artists, each having their own merit and place in the Batman storytelling world; but Janin's is like nothing I've seen before, especially on a Bat book. It is beautiful, gruesome, and realistic; so much so, that coupled with King's story, I have become so immersed in this tale that I sometimes forget I'm reading a comic. Janin's work is absolutely captivating.

Even though Batman takes a bit of a back seat in this issue, visually, the book is ridiculously well drawn. King's story is so patiently paced, that he can give each character the kind of depth not usually seen in average comics; which draws us in even further to the story. And as we become so invested and caught up in what is going on, we forget the world around us. King is truly in his element in this story arc so far; he has complete command of both the Joker and the Riddler.

Batman #26 is an excellent comic. From cover to cover, it never falters. The art is absolutely fantastic, every picture is amazing. Writer Tom King has us in the palm of his hand with this story arc. He is slowly building something big here; the depth of character and realistic nature of the action leaves us salivating for more. I can't wait for what comes next.

Scale of Awesomeness: 10 out of 10