What am I talking about this time: Detective Comics #976
Art by: Javier Fernandez, James T Tynion IV
Cover by: Eddy Barrows
Variant cover by: Rafael Albuquerque
Overall Review: 3 out of 5 evil Red Robins
Is it worth $2.99? I doubt it, maybe if this storyline gets better go back and get it or wait for the collection.
Spoiler Free Review:
Detective Comics has been falling to the back of my reading list lately. I want to read it and I generally enjoy it, but while some storylines feel almost tangible (Cassandra Cain), others feel rushed and thin (Tim Drake). There’s another underlying feeling going on here. Harken back to 1991, when the X-men and Marvel mutants divided into different teams. This created a great starting off point for many readers and began a pantheon of stories and ideas for the teams. This is what is happening to the Bat-family.
You can jump in here and get the gist of what is to come… but you will also probably be able to do that when these teams inevitably break off into their own issues as well. The problem is, none of this feels earned. It felt off the rails from the beginning, which isn’t necessarily bad, but the cart was moving way too fast to get there. It’s not a bad comic; it just feels like it could have used another touch-up, or two. I realize this is the start of a new arc, so maybe it’s just a bumpy takeoff… we’ll have to see next ish. The art is pretty sweet, though.
Previously on Detective Comics: Oh, boy. After Tim Drake escaped from imprisonment by OZ he takes back the mantle of Red Robin, working with Batwoman, Cassandra Cain, a reformed Clayface, Batwing, Azriel, and, of course, Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl are around, too. Led by Batwoman, but organized by Tim, and his obsessive plans to make Gotham safe, they are hounded by a military-like organization called “The Colony,” which incidentally is led by Batwoman’s dad. Then, another Batman attacks the team. Alt Batman turns out to be Tim Drake from the future.
The Tim who has lost everything and become a killer Batman. The team wins, but now everyone is wary of the present day Tim, and his increasingly frantic ways. Clayface turns all Godzilla, so Batwoman uses a sniper rifle to blow his brains out in front of his best friend, Cassandra Cain. The team is disbanded and they all go their separate ways.
Detective Comics #976: We start with a flashback of Cassandra Cain and Clayface working together, which dissolves into a therapy session between Leslie Thompkins and Cassandra. Cassandra says she can do good things, but she isn’t good herself. She says Clayface was trying to be good as well, and they killed him. It’s a solid scene, emotional and true to the characters. After a brief skirmish with the Court of Owls’ Talon soldiers on a boat, Batwoman, Batwing and Azriel agree to work with Batwoman’s dad. They lead the Colony, looking beyond the borders of Gotham to help people. Batman and Red Robin argue about disbanding the team.
Red Robin thinks the team is critical for his plans to succeed, but Batman’s decision is final. Batman urges Robin to seek therapy with Leslie, and Robin storms off in a huff. He goes…um…somewhere? Another figure from the future emerges from the shadows offering him all the information Future Batman has. The shadowy figure reveals himself to be Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, AKA The General. This felt kinda meh, and this is my biggest problem with the series.
Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin, has been a slow burn. They tease his obsession and possible madness, but now that it comes to a head, it feels like I missed a few issues. The tipping point was there, I’m sure… but where exactly? Was this issue it? Is it still coming? I love Tim Drake; he’s my all-time favorite Robin. So when he’s not handled right it bothers me more than it should, but I love the idea that he becomes an evil Batman since the idea first appeared in 2004. Getting to see that come to fruition can be really cool, as long as it’s done well. As long as it’s done well…ahem…talking to you Detective Comics.
Bits & Pieces:
On the final page at the bottom, there seems to be a brother eye symbol. Am I right here? Has this been in previous issues and I missed it?