In the previous issue of Detective Comics we saw it end with Tim Drake facing off against an army of drones. This life or death situation that James Tynion IV placed Tim in has led us what could be a controversial ending for the “Rise Of The Batmen” story arc. I have my doubts that we are going to see the end of Tim in Detective Comics #940 but Tynion has done a great job so far establishing Jake Kane’s Colony as a dangerous organization thus far that this could be at least an explosive ending. With all that said let’s see what exactly Detective Comics #940 has to deliver.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On The Colony Airship Alpha Jake Kane has intercepted Batman’s message to his allies calling for them to all return to Wayne Tower to help Red Robin. Jake yells at Ulysses to get the drones back to go after their original targets. Ulysses is still in shock that Red Robin could exploit his program like he did which Jake finds unacceptable.
Batwoman suddenly makes her presence on the airship known to her dad, with several Colony soldiers lying unconscious on the floor, telling him he has lost. Jake once again tries to get his daughter to understand what he is doing while saying that Red Robin doesn’t understand what he has done. Batwoman punches Jake and says that all she wanted to do was make him proud.
Jake gets back up and says that she will understand what he is doing and when she does to come find him. Batwoman says that won’t happen as Batman spoke to the President and now Colony is wanted for domestic terrorism.
Jake does not believe her but suddenly Argus on their airship to order Colony to stand down so they can be arrested peacefully.
Jake yells at Ulysses again, who says that Red Robin is actually beating the drones but Jake knows that won’t matter once the second wave of drones gets to his position. Jake then makes the order to active the Black Flight Protocol as Argus breaks into Colony’s airship. Before Jake can teleport away Batwoman tackles her father through a window into the outside of airship.
Batwoman then knocks her dad out with a punch and informs Batman about what happened. Batman tells Batwoman he needs her to get to the Old Wayne Tower fast.
At Wayne Tower a heavily wounded Red Robin is on the ground with all the drones destroyed. Batman tells Red Robin to get inside the Belfry over their communicators as he desperately tries to reach the tower. Red Robin uses his staff to get up and asks about the others. Batman says they will be safe.
As Red Robin slowly walks to the Belfry due to his leg getting shot he sees a second wave of drones beginning to arrive. Knowing what is going to happen Red Robin tells Batman to tell Dick, Jason and the others he is sorry and thanks him for everything.
As he is able to see all the drones approaching Wayne Tower while still several miles away Batman yells for Tim as Red Robin cuts off communication.
Red Robin calls Spoiler with the little time he has left. Red Robin thanks Spoiler for everything she has done for him over the last few months and says he loves her. He gives her one final goodbye as Spoiler races through the city to get to Wayne Tower.
Red Robin stands up just as the drones surround him and gets himself ready. The drones then all fire their weapons at Red Robin.
Not long after Batman arrives to find the drones announcing that they have eliminated their target and begin to leave the location. Batman goes through the rubble only to find Red Robin’s bloodied staff on the ground.
As Batman mourns Red Robin’s death Batwoman arrives and tells Batman that she has her dad ready to be turned over to Argus. Batman orders Batwoman to put her dad in the Belfry holding cells to answer for what he has done to him.
Sometime later Spoiler gets back to her apartment and takes off her hood to cry over Tim’s death. Batman suddenly appears out of the shadows to talk to her since she didn’t have her communicator on. Stephanie says she is fine. Batman tells Stephanie that Tim saved hundreds of lives and will be remembered as one of the greatest heroes ever.
Stephanie silently gets an envelope as Batman continues talking and hands it to Batman. Batman opens the envelope and reads the contents of the letter inside which is Tim’s acceptance letter to Ivy University. Batman drops it in shock after reading it. After a short while Batman and Stephanie reach out to each other and hug while not saying anything else.
Elsewhere an injured Red Robin suddenly appears in an unknown location. Mr. Oz suddenly appears addressing Red Robin as “Mister Drake.” Red Robin is confused as he says he felt the drones missiles hit him and wonders if he is dead. Mr. Oz says that his friends think he is. Red Robin hits the glass door in front of him while yelling about where he is at. Mr. Oz tells Red Robin that he needed to be taken off the field as he was beginning to reconnect threads that cannot be connected. Red Robin threatens Mr. Oz with letting him go or regretting not doing so.
Mr. Oz walks away while giving Red Robin credit for having some of Batman in him. Red Robin says that this isn’t over which Mr. Oz agrees with. As Red Robin is left alone in his cell he says that his friends will come for him. End of issue.
The Good: Detective Comics #940 was an unexpected read not because of how good it was. I expected it to be good given how well-crafted James Tynion IV has made the ‘Rise of the Batmen’ story arc to be thus far. What was unexpected was how Tynion executed the “death” of Tim Drake, which had been rumored leading into this issue, and spinning it to the greater narrative of the current DC Universe since Rebirth started.
Tynion did a very good job building the anticipation for Tim’s big “death” scene by establishing how smart Tim was to hack Colony’s entire system. Seeing how both Jake Kane and Ulysses were completely thrown off by Tim’s actions was something different for them. This is something that we have not seen from Jake in particular in this story arc up to this point. So for him to get as angry as he got was a good way to establish how much of a genius Tim is.
What Tim did also added to the tension once Batwoman arrived on Colony’s airship. We already knew that this latest confrontation between Batwoman and her father would be heated. That was a given but given Tim’s current situation the scene felt even more important as Tynion made you wonder if Batwoman could do anything to stop the drone attack.
At this point the whole broken hearted Batwoman is long gone and now we got to see Batwoman ready to turn her dad in to pay for his actions. Tynion did a good job still adding to Batwoman’s surprise at her dad’s actions when he revealed he would retreat. This was a nice final straw for Batwoman to release all her anger in the tackle and punch she used to knock him out.
While the closure between Batwoman and her father was a good way to end things for now between the two the scene also established how Tim put himself in a no-win scenario. Seeing as Ulysses could not stop the assault at all and Batwoman find anything that could help Tynion did make me wonder if Tim would die. Because leading into this issue I did hear about how Tim may be dying soon as rumored back during SDCC. It’s something that I didn’t believe when I heard it but given his final messages to Batman and Spoiler that I remembered the rumor and thought this could be it for Tim.
Speaking of which, I did like the short nature of Tim’s message to Batman and Spoiler. Tynion was smart to make both talks short to make you feel how soon his end would come. I particularly like Tim and Stephanie’s short conversation. While their relationship was short in this new continuity Tynion established that it was still an important relationship for Tim. Because, as we saw in previous issues, Stephanie was someone that pushed Tim to go beyond just being Red Robin and Tynion made Tim’s fate even more heartbreaking.
Credit to Tynion for adding to the weight of Tim’s sacrifice by having Stephanie reveal to Batman that Tim was not only going to go to Ivy University but was given a prestigious grant as well. Seeing Batman realize that he may be the reason Tim didn’t get to live out his dream was a great character moment for him. In a rare instance Batman felt the weight of his decisions and gave into how sad he felt and actually hugged someone, in this case Stephanie.
But as everyone felt sorrow for Tim’s “death” Tynion gave us one final twist by revealing Mr. Oz not only saved Tim but took him as his prisoner. This makes Tim the second person that Mr. Oz takes off the field following Doomsday over in Action Comics. This was an very interesting reveal because to my knowledge this was the first time we saw Mr. Oz appear outside a Superman-related comic book. Not only does this add to the mystery of who Mr. Oz is but also makes Tim an important character while he is not seen in the comics for a while.
For his part, Eddy Barrows delivered some excellent art to go along with Tynion’s story. With this issue having so many emotional scenes Barrows was more up to the task in conveying all of the emotion the characters felt through his art. Barrows did an especially good job in conveying Batman’s wide range of emotions as we saw him go from a desperate hero trying to save his protégé to mournful father figure.
The Bad: The one small problem that I did have with Detective Comics #940 is that we didn’t get to actually see how Tim was able to take out the first wave of drones alone. All we got to see from Tim’s big scene was people talking about how amazing it was. Since we didn’t get to see any of this ourselves it did feel like we were cheated of one last badass moment for Tim before he was taken off the table.
Overall: Detective Comics #940 turned out to be a much more important comic book than originally advertised. Not only did James Tynion deliver a big development by taking Tim Drake off the table for use in the immediate future but also tied it into the greater narrative of DC’s Rebirth story. This ending also leaves Batman and Batwoman’s new team of heroes in an interesting spot after the quick crossover with Batman and Nightwing comics is over. I am definitely more interested to see what happens next than I was already which is all I can ask for from any comic book.