Henri Ducard has been shot and left for dead! Can Batman save him, or has the world’s greatest manhunter been hunted—TO DEATH!?!?! Find out in Batman: The Detective #3!

Who is the detective?

I have defended this book’s title, comparing it to old Bogart movies, or suggesting that the detective in the title is, in fact, the reader—you and me. But the introduction of Henri Ducard in the previous issue suggests another dimension, and with the bulk of this issue focused on flashbacks to Bruce and Henri’s earlier acquaintances, the suggestion seems pretty solid. A reader proposed that the head of the antagonistic white Batpersons might be someone trained by—or otherwise connected to—Ducard, and that seems all the more likely after #3. Another reader speculated that she perhaps has a connection with Amina, the new Squire.

See? You and me, we’re the detective in this story.

What does it all mean?

At first glance, though, the flashback feels like a slamming of the brakes. I trust that it isn’t—that it isn’t just trying to give us a discount version of the Brucard story that other writers have crafted elsewhere—but it still feels like a loss of momentum. After all, a man has just been shot at the end of #2, and we take an almost immediate shift away from that for a walk down memory lane. Again, I know Taylor is up to something here, but I’m just talking about the practical, first-time-through experience of reading this.

Credit: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Brad Anderson, and Clem Robins

With that out of the way, I think the flashbacks are very well-done. Kubert continues to mine gold with Henri Ducard’s face, and the writing is snappy and efficient enough to make for a blazing fast read. And if you did come to this series hoping to see some plain old detecting, you’ll surely appreciate Ducard’s first-impression deductions about why Bruce has sought him out. Good stuff.

Shocker

The present-day bookend on the final few pages is meant to be a shock, but honestly, it’s not. For starters, this sort of thing has happened before. But more than that, it’s predictable given the context. I won’t spoil it here, but I trust most of you will agree once you get there.

That—and the initial jarring of the flashbacks—aside, I did find this an incredibly enjoyable book to read through. These flashback-type issues always read better in trade, because the disruption is less pronounced when you aren’t waiting a month to get back in gear; but even so, it’s an enjoyable flashback with a few things to chew on as we wait for the next issue.

Recommended if…

  • You don’t mind taking a break from the present for an issue
  • You enjoy stories of Bruce and his Bat-mentors
  • Kubert, baby.

Overall

Batman: The Detective #3 appears to halt its narrative progress in favor of a series of flashbacks, but I suspect there’s more at work here. And thanks to some snappy writing, and the usual storytelling prowess of Kubert, it’s not too hard waiting til next month to move things forward again.

SCORE: 8/10


DISCLAIMER: Batman News received a digital copy of this comic for the purpose of review.