Writer: Tom King / Artist: Clay Mann / DC Comics

Tom King has a clear obsession with Kite Man. If you would’ve told me that a year ago I’d honestly be a bit concerned about the direction one of DC’s most popular titles was headed in, but given the work he’s done thus far, he’s more than earned the wiggle room to experiment and bring some stuff out of left field.

And you know what? It works.

Batman #27 continues a trend King seems to really enjoy, which is making Batman a background character in his own comic book series. Some people may not like that, but given that the character’s been the focus of hundreds of issues to date, taking some time to flesh out other characters is only for the better. King’s so committed to this that a fight that would otherwise take up half of an issue was relegated down to a two-page spread. But you get an idea of exactly what happened.

This issue shows how the War of Jokes and Riddles is affecting everyone in Gotham City, from the criminals on the front lines to the citizens caught in the crossfire. Charles a.k.a. Charlie Brown is a man caught in between both of those worlds. He’s a low-level villain – like, the lowest you could possibly go – so he rubs elbows with Gotham’s underground regulars just to go back home to try and be a dad during his free time. Navigating this dual-life is probably just as difficult as it is for some heroes, and we see that as Brown has to neglect his fatherly duties for a job.

The Joker and Riddler are currently on the fringe of the story, but I’m sure things will come to a head where they’ll be at the complete center of the action soon enough. For now, King got away with advancing the story while also developing a character almost no one thought they’d care about.

9 out of 10

Reading Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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