You want an emotional feel good hug-fest? Well, look no further. Detective Comics #967 delivers the goods in some major ways.
But nothing is ever perfect, so I’m just going to put my biggest gripes up front and center before we move on to the positives.
During the course of this story; Future Tim has a fight with Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. All at the same time. And he basically wins. Now look, it’s no secret that Tim Drake is my favorite Robin. And yes, I root for him. But my love for the character in no way overrides my sense of logic in regards to his abilities. I do believe that Future Tim could take any one of these guys out in a one on one battle if need be. Throw two into the mix, and I’m sure he could at least hold his own. But all three?!? Well, you just crossed my willing suspension of disbelief. I understand that this is Future Tim we are talking about, so he is more skilled than present day Tim, but even still. The thought that he could take on three other “Robins” and win is just a little too much to swallow. Present Tim even mentions that Future Tim could take them all one on one. When did it go from that to three on one?
I”m not opposed to the idea of Future Tim being able to do this given the right set of circumstances. In many ways, Tim is like Batman. Give Batman prep-time and he can take out almost anyone. But if you just threw Bruce into a room with Clark with no warning and told them to fight, it’s simply not a contest. In any case, prep-time is the magic word fans usually use when these what-if-scenarios break out between them. And that is exactly how Batman is always able to take out the Justice League when necessary. But here, Future Tim’s ability to take out the “Robins” isn’t credited to some master plan or stratagem. He simply fights them. What is explained is that he fought them in a training simulator, giving him some kind of edge over them because he knows their moves like the back of his hand. But even if he knows the kinds of moves they would use by heart, and knows they are about to throw a right punch, does that mean he is fast enough to block or dodge it? Or….fast enough to block/dodge three incoming attacks at the same time? And even if he was, if his ability to fight them is being credited to having fought and won against them in a simulator, there are still so many variables at play during combat that there is no way he could have run down the exact set of circumstance that were about to unfold in order to give him a perfect edge. It’s just inconceivable.
If Future Tim’s tactical simulator gave him the edge over three, which I don’t think it should have, why wouldn’t it work against five?
I mean, that’s the line Tynion is drawing? Seems kind of arbitrary.
Incidentally, nobody helped Jason up. Haha. In your face Jason.
Perhaps if we had been permitted to see the fight take place I would have been more apt to accept what Future Tim did to win, but as it stands, the entire fight takes place off panel. That’s right! You don’t get to see what happens. Any of it. At all. My guess is that the reason it takes place off panel is because no plausible way for Future Tim to come out on top could be formulated. At least not one that was anything less than ludicrous.
While that was my biggest gripe, I do have another:
Let me see if I understand this correctly. In order to protect Batwoman from a Future Tim that is here to kill her, and in turn prevent his future from happening, you’re going to stick Batwoman in a cell…in the Belfry…that was essentially made by Future Tim. Has everyone lost their damn mind?!?!?! I mean, couldn’t Future Tim just HACK into the Belfry and use its systems to kill her? Just off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen ways that could go down. What they need to do is get her away from anything Future Tim had a hand in. The plan needs to be something completely outside of his understanding. Furthermore, I’m not entirely sure letting Tim come up with a plan to stop his future self is all that good an idea. I understand that things are in flux right now, so it’ snot like Future Tim will remember doing any of this, but still. Having the plan devised in Tim’s mind means that it’s also something that Future Tim could think up. Just makes no sense.
Aside from those two giant snafus, the rest of the comic was super solid.
It opens with a wonderful scene between Bruce and Alfred where Bruce relays the soul-crushing agony he has been under over Tim’s “death”. Perhaps it’s a little by the book. I mean, it’s not uncommon for Bruce to brood over his failures and obsess over what he might have done differently. But, that’s simply part of the character. Maybe I have seen it before in some form or another, but this is what I want to see. So, bring it I say. If you aren’t head over heels for this scene, I kind of have to wonder why you’re reading Batman comics. I jest of course. (But no, really, love this scene or get out.)
Next up, Batman becomes aware that Tim has been found, and it’s a no-holds-barred race to get to him as fast as humanly possible. Seeing Batman driving like a maniac, not really caring if someone should happen to see him stripping out of his hero duds, and totally pulling rank on a bunch of stuff hospital regulations did so much to show the extent to which Bruce missed Tim. It just felt great. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
I’m not going to break down the rest of the issue because there are some fun surprises in store for you that I want you to discover on your own. But, it’s basically all about everyone welcoming Tim back (which is emotional) and preparing for Future Tim to strike. And if all the feel good moments with Tim weren’t enough, Future Tim has some as well. There is a little more of a melancholic tone to his stuff, more about longing for things lost, but it’s equally as emotional.
Alvaro Martinez is on art for this issue. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he is currently my favorite Batman artist out there right now. I’ve talked at length about his awesomeness so many times it seems to me that I’d just be repeating myself at this point. Suffice it to say, unless I have something negative to say, pretty much assume I’m somewhere drooling over how gorgeous his work is even if I don’t outright say it. A couple issues ago I gave Detective Comics #965 a score of 9.5 / 10. Eddy Barrows was on art for that issue. If Martinez had been on deck for 965, you can guarantee that issue would have been given my first 10. That’s how close it was to being perfect for me. The only thing that held it back was Barrows’ occasional habit of drawing some goofy looking faces.
- Oh hell yeah! Detective Comics #968…gimme gimme gimme.
- I will say that I find the timeline established by TheNew52/Rebirth somewhat confusing (although, that is nothing new as it’s been a source of constant quandary since 2011). We know there is this thing where the last ten years of characters’ lives didn’t happen. But there are certain things like Brother Eye that fall into that, and it makes sense for them not to have happened yet because time has been rewound to before the part of pre-flashpoint where it occurred. But every once in awhile we are given something that shouldn’t be around based on this rule of the last ten years being erased, and yet, there it is. I’m not saying that the use of Brother Eye and Bruce having not made it yet is inaccurate according to this rule. Just that I have noticed a couple of instances in other stories where something has been there when it shouldn’t be.
Odds and Ends:
- Did Alfred just bring Bruce coffee from a Starbucks in a to-go-cup? Where’s the fine china? You’re slipping Alfred. You’re slipping.
- Gotham Knights was a Batman comic series that ran from 2000-2006. Prior to that there was a Gotham Nights miniseries that ran in 1992 and another called Gotham Nights II which ran in 1995.
- They really like playing with the whole knight/night thing. And let’s not forget Legends of the Dark Knight from 1989 to 2007 or The Dark Knight from 2011 and the next series of the same name from 2011 to 2014. There’s also the Gotham Knight animated movie that came out in 2008 that was connected to the Nolan Trilogy. Or The Dark Knight Returns (comic and animated film)…or The Dark Knight…or The Dark Knight Rises. Wow. They really love going through variations on that name, don’t they?
Edit: I forgot about The Dark Knights from Dark Nights: Metal. So much darkness…and nights…and knights.
- You want to read the feel good story of the year.
- You love Tim Drake.
I seriously wish I could give this issue more of a standing ovation, because it has some truly great moments. But alongside those come two major headscratchers that I simply couldn’t overlook. But aside from those, it’s a super solid issue. Absolutely amazing art, gut-wrenchingly emotional scenes, and wonderfully portrayed characters. The good stuff was so good that I still feel confident in recommending this…even with the questionable moments included.
SCORE: 8.5 / 10