It may be called “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” but this week’s chilling BATMAN #25 was deadly serious.

Set early in Batman’s career, Tom King and Mikel Janin’s new storyline reveals what happens when two of Gotham’s biggest crime bosses turn on each other. But these are no mere gangsters of the sunglasses-and-shirtcuffs variety. These are two of the Dark Knight’s deadliest foes—the Joker and the Riddler.

While far from friends, the two villains have managed to coexist relatively peacefully (let’s put a big emphasis on relatively, though) since they emerged within the Gotham City underworld. However, neither are happy with the way things have been going since the Bat arrived on the scene. The Riddler is in jail, presumably as a result of Zero Year, but he’s managed to carve out a decent existence behind bars by helping the GCPD solve puzzling crimes. However, all of that seems about to change…

The Joker on the other hand, has his freedom, but has lost his laugh. Things just aren’t very funny these days, and nothing he does seems likely to change that…no matter how over the top or deadly.

Why can’t the Joker laugh? It seems for the same reason the Riddler has lost his taste for puzzles: Batman.

Yes, the Dark Knight has made things pretty miserable for both of them. A punchline stops being funny when it’s always the same. Batman is a riddle that can’t be solved. At least, not by themselves. In fact, if one of them did manage to kill Batman, it would most likely lead to their mutual destruction. But it doesn’t have to, claims Nygma.

And perhaps it is, but we’ll never know once this happens:

The first shot has been fired in a war that will eventually include much of Batman’s rogues’ gallery, and while we don’t know how it will end, we do know that it will haunt Bruce for years afterward. In fact, if the truth were to come out, it just may change how everyone sees him. And the truth WILL come out. Be sure to join us when “The War of Jokes and Riddles” continues on July 5th!