Detective Comics #976 review

When James Tynion IV was first announced as the new writer for Detective Comics, he made the statement that he wanted to be on the title till issue #1000.  Having said such a thing, it led me to believe that he had already mapped out a story that would take us to that point.  Now, I’m not sure if this rumor is true or not, but it appears that Tynion might be leaving the book after issue #981.  If that’s the case, it either means that his remaining 25 stories are going to be compressed into the remaining 6 issues, or he has come up with something new to help close out his run.  Either way, it seems to me that we might be getting the short end of the stick.

Since Tynion has already spent 40 plus issues weaving all kinds of plot threads, and most of us have sat through all those issue, it will be a real shame that we won’t get to see the resolution of each and every one of those threads.  Looking at the solicitations for the 6-part “Batmen Eternal” storyline, it doesn’t seem to me that The League of Assassin or Ra’s Al Ghul are going to show up again, but it did seem at one point in time that that was what Tynion was building toward.  I’d also be surprised if we got anything further on Clayface.  And while Steph is mentioned in a future solicitation, I simply don’t feel like there is enough time left for her and Drake to have any kind of satisfactory resolution to their story.  And what about all that stuff with the mayor being resistant to Batman and the citizens being all up in arms?  Will we get anything further on that?

If Tynion is leaving, that’s pretty meta.

Basically, it looks like this last story arc is going to focus on Batman and his non-existent team versus Batwoman and her team.  While I wouldn’t be surprised if some version of this was going to end up being Tynion’s final arc, (After all, it does seem to have come full circle back around to The Colony, which were the antagonist from Tynion’s first arc on Tec.) I’d still have to imagine some of the other stuff I mentioned above would have been inserted in the interim.

I guess I’m just unhappy thinking about all the rushed and omitted stuff we are probably going to have to suffer through for the next 2 months.  On top of that, it seems like everything is falling apart right now for our characters, and I don’t foresee that things are going to end all that well.  I just have this terrible feeling in my gut that Tynion’s run is going to end on a real sour note.

The story opens with a flashback depicting Cassandra taking down a child trafficking ring.  In and of itself, it’s a nice little scene, and reads very Batman like.  She sabotages their vehicle while they aren’t looking, douses the lights, and then takes them all out like the Bat she says she is.  That last thing really stuck out to me too.  Considering that Cassandra was Batgirl in the pre-Flashpoint continuity, and took on her father’s moniker in the New52 era, it’s really nice to see her acknowledging herself as a Bat.

All of this ends up being a story that Cassandra is telling to Leslie Thompkins, her stand in psychiatrist.  And that’s when things get really dark (as you can see from the images above).  Leslie ends up chastising  Bruce, just like Barbara did from the last issue, over not helping Cassandra out as much as he ever helped any of the boys.  What’s funny is, it never occurred to me that he wasn’t helping her out.  Pre-Flashpoint Bruce was very involved in Cassandra’s rehabilitation, and for me, I kind of always assume that stuff from past continuities is going on until I see something that overrides it.  So even though Tynion wasn’t showing Bruce helping out Cassandra on the page, in my mind, all that was going on off panel.  For me, this realization is coming super late, and it’s kind of jarring.  Perhaps it was mentioned earlier on somewhere in the run, but since I was so oblivious to it, perhaps highlighting it a little more could have been useful for establishing the current relationship Bruce and Cassandra have.

In any case, they just spent 8 pages focusing on Cassandra, and like I said in the intro, Tynion is running out of time to fit stuff in.  So while I enjoyed some of it, I’ve just got this voice in the back of my head questioning whether or not everything I just read is going to end up being the best use of pages, or if I’d rather have seen something else once everything is said and done.  I know.  That’s a terrible way to be looking at it.  But that’s just where I am right now.

It’s about to get real in here.

Probably the most pertinent thing that happens in this issue is the fallout that was bound to happen  between Tim and Bruce after Tim found out that Bruce didn’t give two craps about his Belfry initiative and was merely using it to meet his own goals.  Their discussion starts off pretty tepid, but quickly boils over.  What’s funny is, both men are doing what they are doing for the other.  Bruce’s recent failure with Cassandra is driving him to be even more overprotective of Tim, and that just drives Tim up the wall.  Meanwhile, Tim only wants to honor Batman’s legacy.  Both characters make excellent points, and I’m sure if both were thinking clearly they’d see that they only have the best interests of the other in mind, but since they aren’t, we are left wondering if there is any hope for this Dynamic Duo to reconcile.

Kate’s portion of the book is strange to me.  From solicitations, I know that her and her team are featured in the rest of this story arc.  But if I just had to go off of the speech she gives to Batwing and Azrael, it almost seems like the three of them are going to go off and start there own spin-off comic.  She even says that she intends to leave Gotham to Batman and wants to become a Global Peace Force.  So yeah, sounds to me like their interactions would be limited.  Especially since Kate and The Colony are in South America right now.  Where is this story going?  I’m not really sure.

Odds and Ends:

  • You mean Batwoman?  Right, Tim?  I guess you’re suffering from that concussion more than you think you are…
  • “Wendy the Werewolf Stalker”.  Copyright translation: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Interesting Facts:

Robin had 3 mini-series before he got his own ongoing monthly title:  Robin, Robin II: The Joker’s Wild!, and Robin III: Cry of The Huntress.  Robin Volume 4 had 183 issues, 185 if you count the Zero issue and #1,000,000.  I’m guessing that’s what Tynion meant when he said R3 185, but shouldn’t that have been R4 185?

Recommended if…

  • You’ve been following Tynion’s run since the beginning and simply have to know how it ends.


The biggest concern I have going into this story is whether or not Tynion will be able to meet all the expectations he’s been sowing for the last 2 years.  While there are certainly entertaining elements strewn throughout this issue, I just kept wondering how necessary everything that was going on really was to fully wrapping things up.  I also think that the tension isn’t entirely believable.  Not that I don’t think there aren’t valid reasons for the characters to be displeased with one another, but some of it just  seems a little manufactured.  Further tension is also removed when you consider the that opposing forces within the story aren’t really all that against each other when you stop to think about it.  All in all, it’s got some good parts, but a pretty rocky start to the arc if you ask me.

SCORE: 6.5 / 10