Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Batman: The Detective #5 Review

All Is Revealed, But Was It Worth The Journey?

Written By: Tom Taylor
Art By: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope
Colors By: Brad Anderson
Letters By: Clem Robins
Cover Art By: Andy Kubert, Brad Anderson
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 21, 2021

Batman: The Detective #5 finally... FINALLY.. answers the mystery of who or what is Equilibrium. Batman and Squire drive the European highways while the International Bat-network searches for Equilibrium only to discover Ducard had the knowledge of her identity the whole time. In what amounts to an issue that's half action and half flashback, the rationale behind Equilbirium's crusade may just shock you.

Was It Good?

"Good" is a matter of how high or low you've set your expectations in this series. It all comes down to this in the penultimate issue of this series - who is Equilibrium and why is she killing people who have been saved by Batman?

My expectations, truthfully, were completely low in anticipation of the answer. I had no idea, and so I was content to simply let Taylor tell his story without rooting for any particular outcome. There was a fair bit of speculation that she might be Julia Pennyworth (Alfred's daughter), but I had no interest in that outcome either way. So, what it comes down to is whether or not the reveal is cool, does it make sense, and whether or not the journey was worth the climb.

Was it cool? It was okay in so far as it was unexpected and a true surprise. "Cool" may be an overstatement.

Does it make sense? It makes sense if you're okay with accepting that crazy people do crazy things in reaction to trauma. However, the lengths Equilibrium goes to, motivated by her trauma, strains credibility and sense. It's a "no" on this one.

Was the journey worth the climb (with the conceit there's one more issue to go)? As of now 'no.' After looking back at this series, where it now appears to be headed, and what needs to happen in the final issue to wrap things up, there's way, way, waaaaayyyyy too much filler. This story should have been an oversized one-shot. Maybe a two-parter.

"Wait," you say. "Who is Equilibrium and why is she killing people?" you lovingly plead.


In the interests of fair play, I'll give you one answer and redact the other.

Equilibrium is... a nobody. She's a completely new character made up for this series. Her background is as a former pupil of Ducard. In other words, Ducard knew who Equilibrium was the whole time. (or at least most of it).

The "who" of it is fine. Reveals of this sort need not be a big surprise, and there's always room for a new character. At this point, I was whelmed.

The "why" I leave for Taylor/Batman loyalists to find out on their own. Suffice to say you can follow the "why," but I found the explanation to be severely convoluted and hard to swallow. You can't help but wonder "would anyone really go through all this effort, even under the weight of emotional trauma, for such a thin thread of causality and blame." How many rationalizations you're willing to swallow is up to you. For me, the rationale was too weak and too thin to be happy with the explanation.

Bits and Pieces

Batman: The Detective #5 uncovers all the mysteries and plans of Equilibirum in the penultimate issue for the series. While the telling works well enough, the villain's lackluster identity and her rationale for becoming a mass murderer strains credibility. You'll enjoy this issue if you're simply in it for the novelty of Batman in Europe, but temper your expectations for a big surprise reveal.


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