Batman: The Detective #3 review

In Paris, Batman drops his injured mentor, Henri Ducard, off at hospital. He’s been near-killed by a lunatic group aiming for ‘equilibrium’ by murdering everyone Batman has ever saved. Asked how he knows the patient, Batman’s mind wanders…

It’s flashback time in the latest issue of this mini-series by Tom Taylor and Adam Kubert, with the main plotline not so much on the back burner as several cookware shops away. I’ve not found Ducard especially interesting previously, but writer and artists – inker Sandra Hope joins the series this month, giving Kubert’s work the finish I’ve been missing – imbue the Frenchman with charm aplenty.

Ah, Paris. Paris, France, as this comic and most of the US media would have it – I’d be surprised had the Australian Taylor included the geographic qualifier in his script. Still, it always makes me giggle. Actually, I smiled loads during this comic, enjoying the building relationship between 17-year-old Bruce Wayne and his comparatively grizzled trainer.

Bruce wants to emulate Ducard’s skill set, but not his morality – he’s going to hunt people down for Justice, not money, and is gone the minute he’s confronted by Ducard’s willingness to murder. Years later, with London threatening by a mad bomber, teacher and pupil meet again.

After the day is saved, Batman turns Ducard in, but they’re reunited in this future-set storyline. Harbouring no hard feelings, the now-free Ducard was willing to help Bruce – but his efforts may have lost him his life.

Taylor has fun making connections between past and present…

… and gives Ducard creditable charisma. It’s just a shame our title character is a humourless, ungrateful prat. Still, perhaps he’ll cheer up by series end.

Meanwhile, this is a great read, with Taylor’s pacey script matched by the accomplished storytelling of Kubert and Hope.

It’s a big treat seeing the bat-oval costume again, while Kubert draws a terrific Paris (France). Adding to the visual appeal are Brad Anderson with his real world colours and Clem Robins with his crystal clear letters. Kubert and Anderson’s cover is eye catching – a white background always provides ‘pop’ – but would benefit from Ducard’s outfit looking a little more distinct.

It’s a shame the entertaining Knight and Squire aren’t around this time after being in the first few issues, but the addition of Sandra Hope is glorious. Halfway through and this mini-series looks like a keeper.

8 thoughts on “Batman: The Detective #3 review

  1. Thanks for reminding me the latest issue of this mini-series is out. It’s been good so far, plus who DOESN’T enjoy Batman punching out a ghost?

    They’re still trying to make Henri a thing huh? Been that way since the 80’s with limited success. Personally I think Nolan gave us the best, most relevant version in Batman Begins.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. See that’s what I liked about it. After the overly camp years of Schumacher, we needed something different, and Nolan give it to us. But I can see why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I take Andy Kubert’s Batman for granted until a few years go by and I revisit it: Kubert never phones it in. As little as I like stories about a young Bruce Wayne shadowing seasoned men before he became Batman; because Lady Shiva never learned from anybody; this time around Bruce having had a corrupt mentor results in some unnerving moments. Where, exactly, did Bruce learn his ethics — beyond the trauma of Crime Alley, how does he avoid criminality? Tom Taylor uses Henri to explore the gray areas of how Bruce navigates dispensing justice. Earlier issues in this project showed how Beryl has taken the mantle of Knight and acquired her own Squire: not only has Beryl maintained her charm as a character, but she also legitimately challenges Batman’s practice of recruiting a battalion of adolescents to fight crime; what gives Bruce the right to do that? It goes without saying that Taylor is the best Australian writing Batman right now. Not everyone “gets” how Batman should act: for example, I didn’t like how Matt Fraction wrote Batman in the otherwise spectacular Jimmy Olsen series, but Taylor in Suicide Squad was spot-on when Batman guested over there and he’s faultless, here, as well. Batman The Detective is the Batman book I didn’t know that I needed as the main Bat books are just Jokering and Punchlining and Penguinning around right now, waugh. Give Taylor a main Batman book, please, and put me out of my misery. There, I said it 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve never been a big fan of old Henri, but I love him in this story; you’re right, though, this isn’t where Bruce learned his ethics. I guess it’s a combination of him being basically a good person, then being raised by his parents, Alfred, Uncle Philip, Leslie…

      Did you read the Knight & Squire mini-series of a few years back, by Paul Cornell and Jimmy Broxton? What a treat that was.

      Liked by 1 person

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