Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Batman: Killing Time #5 Review

Written by: Tom King
Art by: David Marquez
Colors by: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: David Marquez, Alejandro Sanchez
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: July 5, 2022

Batman: Killing Time #5 clinically, methodically, tediously unveils the penultimate issue with a horrific goon battle in Moldoff Park as Penguin's hired army faces off against Espinoza's government forces to claim the "prize." Amid the chaos, both the narrator's identity and the "prize" will be revealed.

Was It Good?

Riddle me this, Bat-fan. What do Batman: Killing Time #5 and Seinfeld have in common?

They both have plenty of things that happen, but ultimately, they're both about nothing.

If you thought that riddle was stale and unamusing, I have successfully recreated the experience of reading this comic. Hooray!

According to the cover numbering, this is the penultimate issue in the series and the big bang before the finale. While you do get some pretty big reveals to demystify the mystery, the reveals are most surprising for just how unsurprising they really are. 

Before we get into some spoilers, let's talk about the art.

Marquez and Sanchez are a knockout team on visuals. The action is eye-popping, energetic, and hard-hitting. The panel compositions are exquisite. And the overall mood, tone, and flow of the art are gorgeous. Visually, there's nothing better in DC's lineup right now (World's Finest under Dan Mora is a close tie).

The story is... well... [SPOILER'S AHEAD]

If you're a fan of the excruciatingly detailed time narration from the previous issue, you get more of it here and then some. The narrator gives you every minute detail of the battle in the park you could ever want or care to know. The action may be thrilling, but it reads with all the dull tedium of a detailed coroner's report that goes on for five pages straight.

If you like the obsessively cursing government agent Espinoza, she curses and curses and curses some more. So much so that Riddler starts to mock her for it. Good character development, this is not.

Amid the mayhem and chaos, the "prize" is knocked from the holder's hand into the field, eventually claimed by the waiting narrator. What is the "prize"? A plain, nondescript, powerless stone eye. That's it. There's no magical, mystery power, or magical energy. The "prize" is nothing but a carved and painted piece of stone. Through a succession of flashbacks over the centuries, you get the impression the artifact gained power through the "power" of the stories and beliefs surrounding it. If true, the eye is nothing but a symbol representing the belief of its holders.

Watch our Batman: Killing Joke #5 Review

Finally, the big reveal of this series' disembodied narrator, the tediously time-obsessed narrator, is exactly who you would have expected since issue #1 - the Clock King. If you were expecting a clever surprise or an unexpected twist on the narrator's identity, you get NOTHING!

In the final analysis (before the finale), you'd be right to ask, "What was the point?" What's the point of jumping through periods to loosely build a mythology around an inanimate object? What's the point of creating a mystery around a narrator's identity while making the identity patently obvious? What's the point of the ponderously tedious narration to get readers into the mind-space of the Clock King's perspective when it does nothing to enhance the story or even present an air of novelty.

If there is a point to all this, presumably, it will be made plain in the next and final issue. As of now, the point of this series is the biggest mystery of all.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.coma comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman: Killing Time #5 peels back the veil of mystery on the series' biggest questions. The answers, however, are most remarkable for giving readers no surprises or satisfaction. Thankfully, the art is phenomenal, so come for the answers but stay for the art.


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