In this latest issue of Batman: Killing Time, Batman rides a motorcycle, we learn more about the villain The Help, and the mystery surrounding the McGuffin continues. Written by Tom King, amd with art by David Marquez, this series has been an intense one form the start, with time shifts on every page and incredibly detailed art to go along with it. Oh, and Batman has to fight a bunch of tigers!
This issue opens with Batman fighting tigers. We last saw these tigers when Catwoman was mingling with them in the last issue. As the story jumps around a lot, all things are eventually explained. Batman is using his super keen detective skills to track down Catwoman, which leads him to a tiger enclosure and, being the superhero that he is, determines he must put these tigers back in their cages. It’s a distraction, similar to how the Batmobile was totaled by Catwoman in a previous issue.
Like a good mystery, the jumping around in time — be it hours or centuries — helps keep the reader on their toes. The reader must fill in gaps that force you to deduce what is going on and when. It’s a fun trick that mostly works.
I will say, the much older events continue to prove baffling. This is likely due to these events being tied to the mysterious McGuffin that Batman is after (and that Riddler is trying to sell). Once we know everything about those older events, everything will likely make sense. To further baffle the reader, though, these scenes are spoken in riddles as a play commences at the Acropolis. Ultimately, we have enough clues from previous issues to piece together that this McGuffin has something to do with eternal life. If you aren’t following close enough, or forget key bits of details in past issues, you may find yourself lost, though.
The big takeaway of this issue involves The Help. He’s an older man who has the fighting skills that can beat Batman (as seen in the last issue). In this issue, however, King offers up some new details that are quite intriguing. It also changes the dynamic between The Help and Batman in an interesting way. All that said, The Help went from nearly killing Batman in the last issue to becoming a partner way too quickly. This is comics — however nonsensical and quick plot can change — but it reduces the believability of this character on some scale.
The art by Marquez is top-notch as always. He’s one of the best when it comes to hyper-realistic, hugely detailed art. The colors from Alejandro Sanchez are also quite good, too, especially with the play of light happening across the issue. Be it the glow emanating from a diner window, or the shock of the light on the front of Batman’s stolen motorcycle, there’s a lot of atmosphere in the use of color. The available action and fight choreography is reduced in this issue, but there’s an upside thanks to Bats vs. tigers.
Batman: Killing Time #4 continues to entertain in how it plays with time (and the readers’ sensibilities). It’s such a strong element in the story, and it’s practically a character in and of itself. This issue also offers some intriguing new information surrounding The Help — even if there’s a much more deliberate pace without nearly as much breakneck action.
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