Detective Comic #968
Written By: James Tynion IV
Pencilled By: Alvaro Alvarez
Inked By: Raul Fernandez
Colored By: Tomeu Morey
Lettered By: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: DC Comics
Timothy Jackson Drake has gone through many trials and challenges in his publication history. From finding out Batman and Robin’s (Dick Grayson) identities, to then fighting to become Robin after the death of Jason Todd because of the darker path Batman had taken. From forming the team Young Justice (Not the TV Show, the comic) with his friends to then going on to follow in Nightwing’s footsteps and leading the Teen Titans. Tim was even the only one who believed Batman was alive at one point after Final Crisis and went on a journey to find him. Now having escaped capture from the early issues of DC’s Rebirth initiative, Red Robin has to now confront his older self…technically again (see Teen Titans vol. 3 #17-19 and #50-54) because of the previous retconning of the New 52. The only difference is Tim doesn’t have his friends…who are missing from this timeline…he has his family. Let’s take a look and see if it’s a good read.
What You Missed:
In a parallel future, The Crisis has occurred, and the end of the world has cause Tim Drake, the new Batman, to be the cold killer Bruce never wanted. Having murdered the other heir to the cowl Damian Wayne, Tim has become the sole protector of Gotham, and silencing any threats to his city…forever. Enter Mr Oz aka apparently Jor El father of Superman (see Action Comics: The Oz effect) who has wanted to capture Tim Drake’s, yes more than one, in an effort to use Batman’s most intelligent heir against him in whatever evil plans are afoot. So both our Tim Drake, Red Robin, and the parallel earth Batman work to free themselves from Mr Oz and arrive in Gotham. Where Tim Batman enacts one of Bruce’s greatest mistakes, Brother Eye. an artificial intelligence that is supposed to eliminate metahumans if they are deemed a threat. Can Red Robin and the Bat Family stop this time traveling “hero”? We’ll have to take a look.
We pick up right where the previous issue ended, Tim Batman has been encircled by Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin to stop him after he has activated Brother Eye. BatTim exposition about how the world went down in flames because of Batman. The cause of every major problem in Gotham including the indoctrination and every loss of life in the Bat Family is just that, the fault of Batman. Now BatTim is going to new everything in his power to stop it from occurring, starting with the death of Batwoman. Thankfully Batwoman is being guarded by the Gotham Knights (Orphan, Clayface, Batwing, and Azrael) and BatTim has to deal with himself and his brothers and father. It is at this time that we see the first of BatTim being pulled back to his timeline by…I’M SORRY WHAT?!?! HYPERTIME?!?! Oh no why is…that would take too much time to explain so in your spare time please google Hypertime.
As BatTim and Red Robin enter a train to the Belfry (headquarters of Batman and The Gotham Knights) BatTim pleads with Red Robin. Trying to make him understand that living this life isn’t worth dying for. Losing everything. But as they enter the Belfry where Brother Eye’s AI isn’t able to function due to Batwing and Red Robin’s defenses, BatTim fails in his plans as our Tim Drake realizes that no matter what happens, the life of a hero is worth fighting and dying for if need be. No matter what the cost and he will hold on to every moment till he has to pay it.
Opinions and Such:
WOW! So much story thrown into just a few issues. James Tynion IV proves once again that he is capable of not only representing Tim Drake’s past and future, but the personalities of every character in this series. One of the major struggles of a series with so many protagonists is to not overshadow them all by one for more than an issue or two, but Tynion seems to know the correct balance and does it immensely well. The return of Tim himself to the main plotline moving forward will add a missing dynamic that this team has missed for 20 odd issues, and the Gotham Knights can continue on as the protectors of the city they love.
The art here is amazing. In some panels what almost feels painted, Alvaro Alvarez shows expression in many ways and is able to detail every face of the Batfamily without any page not falling short. One of my biggest nitpicks is when artists shrug off detail and all of the detail is present within this issue and for that I am grateful.
Having left this title because of the “loss” of Tim Drake in Detective Comics #940 then returning to this series upon hearing of his soon return, the amount of continuity that is dropped back into the DC universe by this one story is astonishing. The future in which the Titans of Tomorrow exist returning? That raises so many questions but apparently with the upcoming Supersons/Teen Titans/Superman crossover, they might be answered. With Tim being forcibly removed from the Teen Titans by Damian and his “death” similarly to how Damian took his identity as robin prior to the New 52, Tim has been drifting through the DC Comics landscape. Now with him returning to Gotham, with his future self informing him of an old friend he’s forgotten named Connor, we might see the reunion of a group of heroes that has been long missed.