The return of Tim Drake started off strong as we were left with the big surprise that the version of the character that became Batman during the Titans of Tomorrow future is also still around. That was a big revelation that opens the window for many other forgot characters and stories to return. Along with that we learned a little bit more about Jor-El’s return as Mr. Oz and why exactly he took Tim Drake as a prisoner. Now with that knowledge and a powerful ally in a future Batman version of himself by his side will we see Tim finally return to the DC Universe? And if he does what will that mean for the future of the Batman Family? Let’s find out with Detective Comics #966.
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: Sometime in the future Batman (Tim Drake) stops Anarky from committing another crime. Anarky tries to fight back so Batman decides to put an end to him by killing him with his gun.
Commissioner Montoya arrives on the scene to remind Batman that this “Free Gotham” where he is not allowed to be in. Batman leaves saying it will only stay that way for now.
Back in the Batcave Batman plays the messages on his computer. The first one is from Superman (Conner Kent), who asks for Batman’s help. The second one is a video of Stephanie Brown meeting with Anarky to talk about how far Batman has gone wrong and that he is not the same Tim Drake she knew.
Suddenly Batman is teleported away.
In the present Batman and Red Robin dodge Doomsday’s attacks. Batman uses synthetic kryptonite to stop Doomsday long enough for them to make a run for it.
As they run to Jor-El’s control room Red Robin is surprised by how Batman knocked out Doomsday. Batman says he spent months secretly laying out plans on how to defeat every member of the Justice League and their Rogue Galleries.
While Batman uses his tech to access Jor-El’s computers Red Robin wants time to process everything. Batman knows that Red Robin is thinking “I’ll never be Batman. I never want to be Batman,” and reveals that he actually remembers this conversation.
Doomsday suddenly busts in. Batman is activate some of the control room’s defenses to keep Doomsday back.
With this buying them some time, Batman reveals that in his timeline Dick did take on the mantle of Batman after Bruce but Dick ended up retiring to settle down with a family. When Tim tried to find Jason to take over the mantle Jason was severely injured by his battles with mystic assassins. During that time Damian took on the mantle and burned the city to the ground. This lead to the future Tim to do what is necessary by becoming Batman.
Red Robin still does not fully understand everything. Batman says that no matter what he did to try to make preparations to protect the city it did not work, especially because of what Batwoman did in his timeline. He goes on to reveal how leaving the team Batman created to go to college led to things falling apart.
Doomsday breaks through all the defenses. Batman uses more of his tech to create a Superman hologram that flies away. Doomsday gives chase to the Superman hologram, believing it to be real.
Alone once again, Batman finally gets Red Robin to go along with his plan to escape Jor-El’s prison by reminding him how questionable it is for a cosmic entity to kidnap a college student. Red Robin takes Batman’s hand and they both teleport back to Red Robin’s timeline.
As they look at their surroundings Batman tells Red Robin to apologize to Conner for everything before he loses his friends. Red Robin is confused about who Conner is, much to Batman’s surprise. Batman checks his computer system to figure out that things have already been altered from the timeline he is from.
Batman slashes Red Robin’s arm. Batman takes off his glove to see the scar he gave himself.
Realizing he can change things Batman knocks Red Robin out. Batman then prepares to kill Batwoman in order to stop “The Fall of the Batmen” from ever happening.
The Good: There is a lot to digest after reading Detective Comics #966. James Tynion IV goes all in on everything we have seen Tim Drake involved in the last decade or so to create further interest in future DCU storylines. Some of those storylines aren’t necessarily focused on Tim Drake but the ones that are make for a lot interesting possibilities for the future of the character.
Coming out of Detective Comics #966 we got to see all the future versions of Gotham City consolidated into one continuity. Not only do we see the Titans of Tomorrow future but we see it combined with the future created by Batman #666 where Damian Wayne became a demon enhanced Batman. These two futures along with all the different futures we have seen Dick Grayson become Batman created a strong connection to how much information the present Tim Drake had to take in.
What was most surprising about this was how Tynion was able to make it all flow into one understandable timeline. That is not an easy job but Tynion clearly spent a lot of time to make sure this consolidation made sense for the reader. He more than accomplishes that in order to explain why the Batman version of Tim thinks in the way he does.
Adding in the current continuity storyline of Tim making the preparations to make sure Gotham City is protected enough so he can finally step away added to the intrigue behind Tim-Batman. Tynion made sure to never paint this version of Tim-Batman as just an extreme future version of the character. Instead we see how the character uses a lot of logic behind his methodology. That logical way of thinking led to understanding why he was able to pull all sorts of weapons in order to keep Doomsday from killing him and his younger self.
In establishing all this background on the Tim-Batman Tynion created a greater emotional impact when the character discovered his future already changed upon returning to the current DCU continuity. Seeing the shock in Tim-Batman’s face when his younger self did not know who Conner Kent was felt like a punch in the guy. Tynion got over how much sadness and hope the character felt at the same time as he quickly went from shock to determination about changing his own future again.
Tim-Batman’s final statement about killing Batwoman does create even more interest in the direction Tynion is taking this series. We have seen how Batwoman is already going down a road that puts her at odds with what Batman is trying to create with his team. The same is going for Stephanie Brown, who has become a wild card within Gotham City that Batman can’t just mentor like the others. This all creates a scenario where the Tim-Batman could severely affect things moving forward for the Batman Family if he is successful in changing the future.
All of this also puts the present Tim Drake into a position where his true future is unknown. The position Tynion is putting the present Tim in is not all that different from when Dick Grayson fully gave up being Robin. In that time we saw how Dick did not know what he really wanted to do with his future until he came to accept he can be his own type of hero that escapes Batman’s shadow. That is exactly where Tim is at since he wants to move on but has kept himself back by believing he must be a Robin, even going so far as becoming Red Robin rather than fully graduating from the role.
Tynion is showing us that while Tim’s future goes beyond being Batman or Robin. And now with how he is literally facing his own future we are seeing Tynion provide Tim with the kickstart he has needed all this time actually move forward. This creates further questions as to what that future will be since there are a lot of ways Tim can still go as long as he is able to survive past this storyline.
Though the main focus was on the present and future of Tim Drake there were also a lot of big ramifications that go beyond the character in Detective Comics #966. The biggest one is the implication that a lot of events from the New 52, specifically the ones involving that era’s Teen Titans, has been completely changed. This puts into question if the New 52 itself branched out into it’s own universe given how we have seen the current DCU already have a different continuity for the Batman, Flash and Superman Family. That is something we may not see answered until Doomsday Clock takes place so we’ll have a lot more to look forward to when that event begins.
Eddy Barrows once again delivers strong artwork that makes all of Tynion’s dialogue have a much more emotional impact throughout Detective Comics #966. Barrows’ artwork is especially strong whenever he had to get over how surprised the two versions of Tim were when they discovered something they did not know. He also was able to do a good job making both characters different enough in their way of presenting themselves so it didn’t look like the characters were mirror images of one another.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: For every answer that James Tynion provided in Detective Comics #966 he gave us two more questions to be answered. The interaction between the present and future Tim Drake made for a compelling chapter in the character’s life as his true future is still up in the air. Ending the issue with the future Tim Drake turning his attention to a major Batman Family member provided an intriguing hook ending that will keep fans guessing as to what will happen next.