This week, James Tynion’s love letter to Tim Drake fans wraps up in “A Lonely Place of Living.”
I feel this story is a success for many reasons, predominately because of the return of Tim Drake! After being egregiously mishandled during the New 52, James Tynion created a large sigh of relief when he corrected these wrongs in Rebirth. And then, just when we felt that everything was good in the world, Tim was “killed off.” As readers, we knew he wasn’t dead, but still, the decision hurt just as bad because we’d just gotten the real Tim back.
The stories that followed Tim’s removal fluctuated in qualit until finally turning to this arc. After months of waiting, Tynion brought Tim back… Actually, he brought back two Tim Drakes! Pulling heavily from Geoff Johns’ incredible “Titans of Tomorrow” storyline from Teen Titans, Tynion gave us a glimpse of Tim’s future if everything moves forward as intended. In the future, Tim becomes Batman, and as a result becomes a much darker, much more brash individual. Everything he experiences shapes him to become a gun-toting judge, jury, and executioner! Now that his back in our timeline, he intends to prevent all of this from happening by killing the catalyst that sets everything in motion in his timeline… Batwoman.
In this issue, Tim has reunited with Batman and the Gotham Knights to stop this futuristic Tim Drake from killing Batwoman. The thing is, this Tim is much more skilled and experienced than the Tim of our timeline, and he knows all of his teammates incredibly well. Future Drake may be outnumbered, but he’s not outmatched. This becomes evident as Batman and the Robins (Dick, Jason, Tim, and Damian) all work together… And fail to stop the future Tim. To make matters worse, future Tim has activated Brother Eye, and has gained control of the Colony’s fleet of drones. Batman and his team are capable of incredible things, but this mission feels futile.
Which is where the strength of Tynion’s script comes into play. One of the reasons Tim is so popular as a character is because he brings hope. His eagerness alone inspires more than just his teammates, but readers as well. The persistence matches the feeling I had back when Tim was originally being introduced and embracing the role of Robin in a “Lonely Place of Dying.” This core theme drives the success of this issue, while peppering in an abundance of foreshadowed plots that should carry Tynion’s run well into the future!
If I have one argument about this chapter, it’s that the conclusion feels rushed… and yet, at the same time, makes the story feel as though a four-issue count was one issue too many. What I mean is that the conflict of this issue escalates and resolves very quickly! The pacing feels rushed, but not to an extreme degree. The problem here is that the pacing of this issue is drastically different from the pacing of the previous issues of “A Lonely Place of Living,” and results in the overall story feeling disjointed. It makes me wish that some of the moments in the previous three issues could have been edited so that the finale could have taken its time and felt a little grander.
In addition to this, the conclusion falls a little flat. Yes, the energy is high and the action is quite bombastic, but most of the excitement stems from Tim’s return, as well as what the future might hold. Don’t mistake this opinion as my disliking the story though. I feel quite the opposite. This is by far the best Detective Comics has been since it’s second arc, opportunities and all. Now I’m ready to explore the aftermath of all of this! Can Detective Comics #969 come out next week? Please?
The Art: Alvaro Martinez covers pencils for this issue, and does an incredible job. If his art had been intertwined with Eddy Barrow’s, I’m honestly not sure I’d notice much of a difference. DC should take note of this because these two would serve as a great duo for future double-ship titles. I loved his definition of each character, and more importantly, enjoyed the characterization he infused into them through physical movement/ presence. In addition to this, his layouts and approach to storytelling feel cinematic, and work hand-in-hand with Tynion’ script to deliver the best story possible!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Reflections of What Was. Tynion continues to bring elements of pre-Flashpoint Tim Drake back into the fold, and I was happy to see his edge come through again. There were so many textures from Christopher Yost’s Red Robin run the deliver in the idea that Tim could be – and in many ways is – the best of the Robins! Beyond Tim himself though, we have teases of potential returns for the future, namely Connor Kent.
Legacy. My favorite moment in this issue, was when future Tim confronted Bruce about his negligence. Yes, each of the heroes have chosen to join this mission, but Tim also admits that in many ways he felt trapped by this calling – and still does – after becoming Robin. He feels that Bruce wasn’t necessarily forthcoming in tole of life, and the line about his sons being more broken now than when he found them was a huge punch to the gut. It’s a painful revelation, but it’s painful because it’s true in a number of ways.
On the Horizon. Tynion has set up years-worth of stories in “A Lonely Place of Living.” I already mentioned the tease of Connor Kent, but now Brother Eye has been reintroduced as well. On the character front, we still don’t know exactly what Kate does to impact the timeline that future Tim is from, so that will be lingering for a while. And then in general, the details of this potential future will undoubtedly result in our heroes trying to prevent some of these occurrences… I just wonder if these attempts will be for better or worse.
A Rushed Resolve. As fun and enjoyable as this issue is, it was incredibly rushed. This conflict should have started earlier. Perhaps we could have done without the Doomsday bit early on, and just let Tim and future Tim’s escape from Oz’s fortress be enough. This would have allowed all of the other plot points to shift forward, so that the climactic confrontation could have had more room to breathe. The rushed nature of the issue also prevented much of an emotional response. More questions should have been asked pertaining to what Kate does in the future, and while I’m certain it will be explored soon, I can’t help but feel it was a missed opportunity that would have rounded out this chapter a little more.
- You’re a fan of Tim Drake.
- You’re a fan of “A Lonely Place of Dying” and “Titans of Tomorrow”
Overall: Tim Drake’s return is complete, and the future of Detective Comics looks both promising and abundant. The lag that impacted this title for the past few months has diminished, and energy has been restored to the narrative. While I feel the issue itself is a bit rushed, the action is solid, and the themes and characterization infused into the story make up for any opportunities that pop up. For me, “A Lonely Place of Living” will serve as a high point for Detective Comics, and I’m excited to see what the future holds! Welcome back, Tim Drake!