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.