The road back to the Batman Family and DC Universe has not been an easy one on the young Tim Drake. Things got a bit more complicated by the presence of a future version of Tim Drake who has become Batman and has come to the present DCU. If that wasn’t enough this future version of Tim has gone ahead and activated Brother Eye, bringing yet another big element into the current DCU. All of this has led to the the future Tim Drake to face off against the entire Batman Family. Will our Tim Drake even survive to continue to help his family with events to come? And what will happen to the future Tim Drake after all is said and done? Let’s find out with the finale of “A Lonely Place Of Living” in Detective Comics #968.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
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: Over the Atlantic Ocean Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong records a message to Colonel Jacob Kaine from the Colony Airship Alpha about all the work he has done on his own and how he does not hold “hard” feelings over what led to his exile.
Suddenly Ulysses gets some an alert from the Red Robin costume he has been analyzing that gives him information on Two versions of the costume appearing in Gotham City. Before he can analyze the information Brother Eye turns on from inside the ship.
In the Batcave Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin and Robin fight future Tim-Batman. Tim-Batman is able to use his knowledge of Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin from the future to knock them down.
Tim-Batman body suddenly starts to disappear but he stops it by taking off his cowl and proclaiming he is going to set things right.
When Batman goings the fight Tim-Batman tells Batman that he knows Bruce regrets the fact he may have left all his proteges even more broken than when he found them. With Batman shocked by the words Tim-Batman uses the opportunity to knock Batman out.
When Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin surround him Tim-Batman has Brother Eye activate all the Batmobiles to attack the trio. In the middle of all the action Tim-Batman makes his escape from the scene, something Red Robin notices from the shadows.
At the Belfry Batwing sees some Colony Drone Fleet flying overhead. Before they can worry about the drones Brother Eye takes over the Belfry and the drones. Brother Eye surrounds the entire team, letting Batwoman out of her cell in the process.
At a transport center in the Batcave Tim-Batman gets in one of the shuttles. Red Robin tries to launch a sneak attack but Tim-Batman knew his younger self followed him and throws him into a shuttle. Tim-Batman sets the shuttle to take them to the Belfry.
While they get transported to the Belfry Tim-Batman fights off the time stream trying to erase him. Tim-Batman tells Red Robin he will stop Batwoman from causing havoc in the future as he is done trying to make things better and will do what he has to so his younger self doesn’t become him. Tim-Batman goes on to say that Red Robin won’t have to worry about blood on his hands and will be free to live out the rest of his life.
In the Belfry the team are fighting for their lives against the Colony Drone Fleet. Tim-Batman arrives and encases himself and Batwoman in an energy dome. When Tim-Batman goes to kill Batwoman with his gun he is stopped by Red Robin. Tim-Batman is confused at how the energy dome was broken.
Batwing reveals he was able to keep Brother Eye out of the Belfry and give them 10 minutes before the base can be taken over. Tim-Batman once again fights off being erased by the time stream.
Red Robin and Batwoman then proceed to fight Tim-Batman. With their combined efforts Red Robin and Batwoman are able to defeat Tim-Batman.
Outside the Belfry Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin use the original Batjets, which do not have any advance features, to destroy the Colony Drone Fleet.
Red Robin admits to Tim-Batman he never forgot the cost of being a superhero. Red Robin says that he knows that Batman and Robin are a symbol of hope and inspiration to him and the entire city. He goes on to say that being a superhero doesn’t mean he has to be alone and that he can still live a full life.
Tim-Batman starts to cry but recovers himself when the time stream starts to pull him in. Tim-Batman puts on his cowl and tells his younger self that he will see it all fall apart and destroy him. Tim-Batman then tells his younger self to cheshire these times before they are all gone.
Tim-Batman completely disappears in the time stream, leaving the Batman Family behind to survey the destruction in the Belfry. End of issue.
The Good: Detective Comics #968 does exactly what it was supposed to do as James Tynion effectively brought Tim Drake back into the DC Universe with a memorable story arc. In the process Tynion also delivers a story that shakes the foundation of the Batman Family with developments that change the dynamics of these characters.
From the moment that Tynion introduced the future version of Tim Drake he showed us that this was a character that was unhinged and in control at the same time. Through his life experiences this future version of Tim that became Batman turned himself into what he saw as the perfect fighting machine. But it was through his obsession with being perfect that caused him to lose sight of himself and see every choice he made to be what was right and everyone else was wrong.
That way of framing this future Tim made him an even more intriguing antagonist than the version we saw in Titans of Tomorrow. Because at the end of the day this version of Tim is just one possibility of who the character could become if he continued to fight against who he really is. This in turn made this not just a fight against what can be but what being part of the Batman Family means to Tim. And we can see that be something that our Tim realized through his final interaction with his future self. The fact that future Tim never did change his idea of what was right and wrong effectively put a stamp on what kind of antagonist he was.
In seeing a future version of himself that became Batman it sets up Tim to have an even bigger character arc for the future. Tynion did a good job through “A Lonely Place Of Living” to make Tim realize that he doesn’t have to give up on being a superhero to live a full life. Now with this realization Tynion can move Tim forward into creating his own legacy that could go beyond Batman, similar to Dick Grayson when he took on his own identity as Nightwing. It at least should raise Tim’s self-esteem as he can start seeing himself more of an equal to Bruce and Dick rather than someone that is just there to support them.
The future Tim’s battle with the entire Batman Family also brought up some very interesting teases for what’s to come for each member. The two most interesting facts we learn come from what future Tim said to Red Hood and Bruce Wayne. With Red Hood we learn that there was an injury that Red Hood is dealing with that even he doesn’t know he had from Joker beating him to near death. Now that he knows this there is greater interest in what Jason will do with his own future and how it possibly changes how he operates with this knowledge.
What was even more interesting to learn was what future Tim told Bruce about his true feelings about taking on so many proteges. Tim revealing that Bruce regrets taking on all his proteges because he believes he was not a good mentor that it left each Robin and Batgirl even more broken than when he brought them into the superhero life a big revelation. Bruce’s reaction to these words from future Tim have an even greater punch as we could see there was truth behind this line of dialogue. Now with this out in the open it brings to question if Bruce will actually try harder to be closer to the family he created for himself, especially now that he is engaged to Selina Kyle.
All of this sets up a lot of question to what the future of the team Batman has created. With the knowledge that Batwoman could possibly betray them in the future we can see Tynion now challenging the authority she has had with the team. The fact Batwoman’s father’s Colony group is still operating does not help Batwoman’s case.
And now that Brother Eye has been activated there is an even greater threat to Batman’s team. Brother Eye’s activation could also lead to even greater ramifications if Tynion goes with the version we saw back in Infinite Crisis. Though it isn’t working at 100% the limited version of Brother Eye can still be a threat, with how it took over the Colony drones being an example of that.
With Detective Comics #968 being filled with action sequences Alvaro Martinez more than step up to deliver strong artwork. Martinez did a very good job at showing the different type of aggression that the future Tim Drake had in his fight. There was a sense of control that the future Tim had through each fight. At the same time, Martinez got over how much of a struggle this was for both versions of Tim Drake. That was made better by how future Tim also battled against being erased by the time stream.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: From beginning to end “A Lonely Place Of Living” delivered on making the return of Tim Drake’s return to the DC Universe feel like a big event. And with Detective Comics #968 James Tynion and Alvaro Martinez were able to create an ending that has major ramifications for the future of the entire Batman Family. Moving forward there are a lot of intriguing questions in the air that will keep Batman fans wanting more from whatever Tynion has planned for Detective Comics.