Writer: Tom King
Art: David Marquez, Alejandro Sánchez, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: May 3rd, 2022
The heist resumes, as CATWOMAN and the Riddler hideout waiting for the Buyer. However, the Buyer hasn’t quite arrived yet leaving CATWOMAN and the Riddler wondering if things went pear-shaped, as well as how close the BATMAN is to figuring out their plan. Stay tuned as BATMAN: KILLING TIME #3 by Tom King ramps up adding some new wrinkles into the fray.
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Readers get a rather large, ambiguous hint as to what CATWOMAN and the Riddler are trying to sell as this issue of BATMAN: KILLING TIME unfolds. However, as the jumpy narrative flip flops back and forth through time, BATMAN fans uncover what appears to be the prize everyone is after. Now, we don’t necessarily know what it does BUT readers could easily speculate as to what it’s capable of. Furthermore, the new villain added to the story seems to have a thorough and interesting backstory that somehow manages to put him bouncing around many of the same circles as BATMAN. Overall, the captivating new villain known as the Help, as well as the wrinkle involving the stolen artifact, definitely elevated this reviewer’s interest in BATMAN: KILLING TIME and bought King one more issue to attempt to hook this reviewer.
There are two problems that I’m about to go over that will basically spoil key elements of the issue. So, if you want to be spoiler-free, you may want to skip over these next two sections and land with my thoughts on the art. However, I’ll do my best to not reveal a book report of events that unraveled. Nevertheless, the first issue I have is about the artifact itself. King literally refers to the artifact as the “Eye of Christ”. And I could be wrong, but I think the impression is that it’s just that… the literal eye of Christ. Now, I know King is writing fiction but if in DC COMIC lore Jesus Christ was the same Jesus Christ as in real life, it would make absolutely no sense to have the literal Eye of Jesus Christ nor would it make sense for anyone to physically own it.
Jesus Christ rose with all his body parts and wasn’t a one-eyed pirate. I feel pretty confident the Bible would have mentioned that little nugget of knowledge in the New Testament. And even if someone procured His eye after the resurrection, Jesus assented to Heaven directly leaving nothing physical behind. So, unless the DC COMIC version of Jesus is different from what King is going to explain, this carrot revealed seems downright ridiculous. Furthermore, later in BATMAN: KILLING TIME #3, it’s referenced as simply the “Eye of God”, which at least King connects those pieces together and appears to understand a little bit of Christianity there. Nevertheless, my point is that King would have been better off making it simply called the “Eye of God” leaving the idea more ambiguous than the “Eye of Christ”.
Do you really think King is going to take the time to explain how someone stole Jesus’ eye? Is King seriously rewriting Jesus Christ in DC COMICS? Let me tell you, if people had a problem with him changing Wally West into a murderer and making Thomas Wayne a villain out to stop his son from becoming BATMAN, how do you think people will react to him retconning Jesus Christ? It seems rather big of him, doesn’t it?
The new villain referred to in this issue of BATMAN: KILLING TIME is called the Help. And, he actually seems pretty cool… at first glance. However, there is a fight scene where the Help basically articulates each move of BATMAN’S and where he learned it. This implied that the Help has basically been in many of the same circles as BATMAN but has somehow never been in contact with him until this point. The problem is that King is trying to thrust into continuity a new villain as if he’s been around for a long time. He’s forcing a longwinded tapestry of a backstory into this new character to make him seem more wicked, substantial, and volatile. Yet, it’s that very same backstory that’s causing the problem. It’s ultimately King messing with continuity again but in this case to fit in his new villain… and it doesn’t work. How has BATMAN never heard of this new villain or crossed paths with him before? And why would the Help tell him to take pointers from the Canary? The entire wordplay throughout the fight was extremely trivial and actually lessened the wicked nature and ability of this possibly 80-year-old mad man.
David Marquez and Alejandro Sánchez continue to be the glue holding this story together. This new villain referred to as the Help is drawn in such a way that’s cold and calculated but sadistic. It’s almost as if they took Ra’s A Ghul’s strong and proud vernier and mixed it with the JOKER’S twisted and maniacal demeanor. That is what Marquez and Sánchez capture so vividly throughout BATMAN: KILLING TIME #3. Furthermore, the action is explosive, the colors are vibrant (even at night), and their take on a cold-blooded killer is almost too scary for words. The one thing I can continue to give King is his eye for talented artists. He always works with the best and Marquez and Sánchez are no different.
BATMAN: KILLING TIME #3 by Tom King finally reveals a few clues as to what this item is that CATWOMAN and Riddler managed to steal. Moreover, the action and intensity level up as the series integrates a new villain that fits BATMAN’S Rogue Gallery in the truest sense. However, it’s David Marquez and Alejandro Sánchez who continue to illustrate such a vivid and dynamic series which will undoubtedly enthrall the reader causing BATMAN fans to overlook some of the narrative missteps. That said, King is back to his old tricks rewriting continuity and weaving together backgrounds of newly introduced characters and artifacts that just don’t make sense. Additionally, he aims for the wow factor instead of providing context clues, narrative beats, and explanations. One would assume this newly procured artifact gives life or at least has the power to resurrect. Yet that’s only because of its name alone and nothing King states.
Readers, between the continued choppy storytelling, reworking continuity vibes discussed early, and the lack of context clues, BATMAN: KILLING TIME is almost out of time. I’m still intrigued but merely at this point to see how King weaves together these pieces that just don’t make sense nor seem to fit. Furthermore, with all the shared relationships this new villain has with BATMAN, how is this the first time they’ve ever met and why have they never met since? And how would someone originally procure this artifact almost 2000 years ago? Too many pieces don’t fit nor do they make sense at this point. Rewriting Wally West, Thomas Wayne BATMAN, and so many more won’t hold a candle to who King appears to be altering next. And readers, it takes a very big and bold personality to alter the King of King’s and Lord of Lord’s. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!