Writer Tom King is currently putting DC Comics' Batman through the wringer in his and artist David Finch's "I Am Bane," which concludes this week. Afterwards, the Dark Knight will team up with The Flash to investigate lingering mysteries from "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 in the four-part crossover event "The Button." Beyond that potentially DC Universe-altering adventure, it appears readers will be transported to the past for an untold tale featuring a number of Batman's classic villains.
In a series of tweets, King has teased a flashback tale titled "The War of Jokes and Riddles," starring two of the most notorious members of Batman's rogues' gallery: the Joker and Ridder.
Coming in Batman: The War of Jokes and Riddles, a story of the past that will shape the future of the DCU. pic.twitter.com/0OMeoH5U2U— Tom King (@TomKingTK) April 3, 2017
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. pic.twitter.com/3sB0qXZOWe— Tom King (@TomKingTK) April 3, 2017
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? pic.twitter.com/7OOv1O4O5L— Tom King (@TomKingTK) April 3, 2017
This is no mere fill-in story, though; the writer calls Batman's battle against the Joker and Riddler "a story of the past that will shape the future of the DCU," as Gotham is divided in a war between the two villains a year after Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. King shared artwork by Mikel Janin that includes Batman foes Killer Croc, the Ventriloquist, Two-Face, Penguin, Man-Bat, Scarecrow, Mister Freeze, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter and Scarecrow locked in a heated battle as the Joker and Riddler stand on opposite sides of the page. A closer look at the center of the image shows Suicide Squad member Deadshot and Deathstroke, the Terminator will also get involved.
More images give glimpses of Riddler surrounded by Gotham City police officers in what appears to be Arkham Asylum, the Joker casually walking down the streets of Gotham as smoke and fires rage in the background, and finally, Batman crashing through a window.
The eight-issue "The War of Jokes and Riddles," by Tom King, Mikel Janin and June Chung, kicks off in "Batman" #25.