Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Batman: Killing Time #3 Review


Back and Forth, Back and Forth...

Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Marquez
Colors by: Alejandro Sánchez
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: David Marquez, Alejandro Sánchez
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: May 3, 2022
Batman: Killing Time #3 continues the extensive cataloging of a heist by Batman's greatest rogues.  When Penguin pays for payback in the form of the enigmatic Help, everyone's on the run... including Batman.

 Was It Good?
Batman: Killing Time #3 is about on par with issue #2, which means it's a mixed bag of good things and not-so-good things.

 [Spoilers Ahead]

We learn Penguin survived the brutal beating by Riddler, and he's looking for payback by hiring a killer called The Help.  The Help is a mysterious figure who looks like an elderly butler but has all the skill and prowess of the world's greatest fighters, including Black Canary, Ducard, Al Ghul, and more.  The Help finds Riddler and Catwoman, but his killing is interrupted by Batman.  He beats Batman but has an uncharacteristic change of heart about his contract when he learns what the rogues stole and decides to get the artifact for himself.

It's a very straightforward plot with a bit of mystery surrounding the yet-to-be-named buyer, the introduction of a severe threat, and more double-crosses than you can count.  The art from Marquez and the art team is phenomenal, so you get great visuals to go along with intriguing plot points.

That said, the pieces that work are overshadowed by one piece that doesn't work and a huge red flag for the future of the series.

The piece that doesn't work is the tedious jumping back and forth in time.  There's no rhyme or reason to the jumps other than they complement the record-keeping of the unnamed narrator.  It's unclear why a record-keeping narrator would record events in a nonsensical order, but the reading experience quickly becomes a chore.

The red flag comes with a bit of reference to the unnamed artifact everyone is hunting.  In a series of flashbacks, we learn the artifact was a gift to Bruce Wayne by Ra's al Ghul, who discovered it on an archaeological dig.  The artifact was buried in 1372 and referred to as the "Eye of Christ." 

If you look up that description, you're going to find very little, but what you do find refers to books and writings with alternate accounts of the life of Jesus.

King has developed an earned reputation for destructive deconstruction, so introducing a plot device into a Batman comic that could lead to a controversial take on religion is cause for concern.  It's too early to tell where King is going with this, so we shall see.

Bit and Pieces:
Batman: Killing Time #3 continues the tale of theft, double-crosses, and payback as a new player enters the race for a mysterious artifact.  The art is phenomenal, and the plot points introduced are intriguing.  However, the excessive flip-flopping in the timeline makes for a tedious reading experience.


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