Batman is in the foreground with Riddler, Catwoman, Killer Croc, and the Penguin behind him in the background on the cover of Batman: Killing Time.

Batman: Killing Time #1 Review

Written by: Tom King

Art by: David Marquez

Coloring by: Alejandro Sanchez

Lettering by: Clayton Cowles

The Riddler smirks and tips his hat with blood on his lip and his Question Mark shaped cane.
Tom King has really helped this villain step up.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Tom King books usually go one of two ways. Some of his books are written better for trade, and then there are books you can’t help but froth at the mouth for the next issue. Whether your frothing with rage or delight though can be anyone’s guess. Batman: Killing Time aims to be a book I can recommend to read month to month more than most.

Batman: Killing Time has all the hallmarks of a Tom King mini-series. It has a mystery that it obviously intends to hang over your head while feeding you believable red herrings. It also has drearily depressing subplots to make you feel bad for the small character who may or may not come back. And of course, it leaves you little clue as to what is really going on. In Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, it ended up being his best in my opinion, and in Batman/Catwoman it’s… not. Here, Batman: Killing Time feels more like Supergirl’s first issue than Batman/Catwoman’s, which is a great thing.

Riddler stands to the left as Catwoman leans on him with her claws out. Killer Croc snarls behind them as the Penguins head and top hat looms large.
This is their show.

This story is enjoyable in the way Supergirl was, in my opinion. The mystery doesn’t feel like a dissection of the character in itself, being subtle instead. Of course, this is the first issue and that may change. I do feel like the first issue of Batman/Catwoman did signal the problems I would have with the series later. For this reason, I don’t expect this Batman book to go off the rails as Rorschach did, but of course, it’s not unlikely. The mystery here seems to reveal that we will learn more about the characters as they solve/reveal it. It’s the best kind of mystery, to me at least.

And like many of the best Tom King stories, this one is also not about the title hero so far. This story isn’t narrated by him and spends much of its time establishing the villains of this book. We see a more villainous Catwoman from Tom King–who is slowly turning me around on the character–his amazingly terrifying Riddler and a tragic Killer Croc who deserves his lot but also doesn’t in a way.

The first issue of Batman: Killing Time feels like a fresh of breath air for Tom King’s Batman, and I’m ready for more.

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