Last month’s issue of Future State: Robin Eternal ended right in the middle of Robin’s attempts to stop a transport of dangerous Lazarus Resin from reaching the Magistrate. With Tim Drake now soaked in the Lazarus Resin he was trying to destroy, he’s got a whole new host of problems to deal with. Mainly the question of if he’ll manage his goal before the effects of the resin turn out to be too much for him!
The issue picks up directly where the last one left off, with Tim quite literally rising from the dead (and a pool of Lazarus Resin) and jumping back into the fight. Much of the story is focused on his deteriorating mental state, and the continuing quest to destroy the resin and keep it out of the Magistrate’s hands.
Where the last issue has a more general focus, this one really zooms in on Tim and his internal struggle to focus on the task and not fall prey to the numerous doubts and insecurities the resin has brought to mind. His whole goal in this mini-series has been to protect Gotham and his family, and the issue works hard to drive that point home. It does it through the use of not only internal monologue, but also vision of characters like Dick, Damian, and even Bruce.
In addition to wanting to protect people, Tim also faces up against his own doubts that he’s good enough, strong enough, or capable of being the Robin he needs to be to complete his task. These voices and visions stick with him through the issue as he fights his way through the transport and up to the main controls.
The visions range between some wild ones that take Tim totally out of the train, to more mundane ones like Batman showing up in shadows. They’re all beautifully illustrated by Eddie Barrows. It’s not just him though, the whole creative team does a great job showing us Tim’s deteriorating mental state through the issue, through the use of a variety of different techniques. Most obviously are scenes like Tim facing off against Two-Face–colored brightly by Adriand Lucas, or when Tim sees Dick and Damian talking to him.
Then there’s Tim’s own doubt visualized both by Batman becoming every character’s shadow, and by unique black word bubbles thanks to Pat Brdsseau’s letters that grow more and more invasive through the issue. Put together, they all make the effects of the resin on Tim’s psyche easy to see and work really well with the narrative going on.
Where Tim’s internal struggle is the high point of the issue, the rest of it falls a bit short. Stephanie and Darcy vault from plan to plan as they try to figure out what happened to Tim, survive, and help destroy the resin. This makes quite a few of the plot elements feel rushed or like they came out of nowhere, like the fact that a Peacemaker is driving the transport, or that apparently he planned for Tim to show up and ‘test the resin’. It makes me wish this story had been balanced a little better between it’s two issues, or been given one more to let things breathe a little bit.
In looking at the issue as a whole it’s another quick read. I don’t mind that it doesn’t try to do too much, but at the same time, it does make me wish the book had felt like it’s stakes were a little higher. I can’t help but think that the Magistrate could always procure more Lazarus Resin from somewhere else, or figure out another way of making his army more powerful, and it makes me wonder at the story itself and all the potential I’d hope it would reach back when I first heard about it. I like Tim Drake, but to me, this is a book that didn’t quite find the right balance between character and plot.
The story wraps up in a way that both ties it to the greater events going on in Gotham. It takes a moment to touch on events tied to the Batgirls back up from The Next Batman issue #2, which I appreciated. Then it ends in a somewhat open-ended fashion that leaves things open for readers’ imaginations as to how Tim or the others could proceed from here.
- Tim Drake’s fears, struggles, and internal monologue is something you like seeing
- You’re here to see every part of Gotham’s future
- Stories that wrap up neatly in a couple issues are your thing
Tim’s quest feels like a drop in the bucket when you look at the larger scope that is Future State or even just dealing with the Magistrate’s control over Gotham, but I don’t mind that. It’s focus on character is more important than the title trying to accomplish a task too big for two issues. It tells a rounded story, and even reaches out to touch some of the other Bat titles in a way that makes it feel connected to everything going on. Generally, if you’re interested in Tim’s future in this strange new Gotham I’d say check it out, but if you’re already waning on Future State, it might not hold your attention.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.