James Tynion is looking to go out big before ending his run on Detective Comics by going all in on the Brother Eye storyline he has been building towards. The last issue of Detective Comics saw Tim Drake’s worst nightmare come true as Ulysses has taken over his body and made him into a Brother Eyed version of Batman. All of this has pushed every character arc that Tynion has been building in his run on Detective Comics together in one last big story arc. Now can he wrapped things up in a satisfactory way? Let’s find out with Detective Comics #980.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Scot Eaton
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: John Kalisz and Allen Passalaqua
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the GCPD Central Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock are talking about recent events when Kate Kane calls Renee to get out of the building. Before Renee can react Brother Eye-Tim Drake and the OMACs attack the GCPD building.
Batwoman shows up and confronts Brother Eye-Batman, telling Tim if he and Ulysses want their “utopia” future they will have to kill her. Ulysses tells Tim it is his decision on what to do. Brother Eye-Tim orders all the OMAC to target Batwoman. Batwoman makes her escape and starts heading to the Belfry while being chased by Brother Eye-Tim and the OMACs.
At the Belfry Batman, Spoiler and Orphan have been able to make inside the tower without being noticed thanks to Spoiler’s drones.
Jacob Kane contacts Batman to let him know he has the Belfry’s schematics now and is just waiting to hear back from Batwing and Azrael. Jacob asks Batman if he thinks their plan will work. Batman says it has to.
Spoiler tells Batman that moving further into the tower is a problem as her drones can’t go with them anymore.
While Batman and the others look into the power grid Ulysses notices them and tells Tim about how Batman is looking to ruin their plans.
Somewhere in Gotham City, Batwoman is barely able to dodge Brother Eye-Tim and OMACs constant attacks. Batwoman stops running and mocks Brother Eye-Tim for completely changing his tone. Brother Eye-Tim says that he has seen the future and the others should have never trusted her.
Batwoman and Brother Eye-Tim start fighting one on one. Brother Eye-Tim is eventually able to overpower Batwoman, as Jacob watches from his base. Brother Eye-Tim then begins showing Batwoman what he saw for her future.
Back at the Belfry Spoiler notices that there is coding in the system that shows futures from alternate timelines. Brother Eye suddenly activates and says Tim gave him the control he needed. Brother Eye versions of Azrael and Batwing show up to take on the group. Batman takes both of them on his own to buy more time for Spoiler.
While Spoiler is working Brother Eye shows both her and Orphan alternate timeline versions of themselves as Batgirl from the previous DC Universe.
Inside Kate’s mind Brother Eye-Tim shows Batwoman that in the future he sees she ends up attacking Wayne Manor and destroying the Batman Family.
Ulysses watches all of this happily on his personal screens.
While Batman fights Azrael and Batwing, Brother Eye says Batman always stops short of doing what is necessary to stop the world’s destruction.
At the same time Brother Eye continues to show Spoiler and Orphan that they did become Batgirls trained by Barbara Gordon. Brother Eye even shows Spoiler that she also became Robin in that alternate timeline.
Understanding what they see Spoiler and Orphan hug much to Brother Eye and Ulysses’ confusion. Spoiler says all Brother Eye showed her is that she is amazing in any timeline and now she is going to kick his ass into the ground. End of issue.
The Good: With all of the set up out of the way “Batman Eternal” has kicked it into high gear with Detective Comics #980. There is a ton of payoff in where James Tynion has been going with every character in this series. That payoff made the reveals to different characters be elevated thanks to their reaction. At the same time, Tynion makes sure that not everything is paid off just yet as we still have several things to see how they go down before he ends his run on Detective Comics.
The big strength of Detective Comics #980 is that there is no waste of time with what we are seeing going on. Everything continues to push forward as each member of the Batman Family has now become active in trying to take Ulysses and Brother Eye down. Seeing Batman, Batwoman, Spoiler and Orphan continuously push forward made you feel how urgent things are right now in Gotham City. That sense of urgency made the threat the Ulysses and Brother Eye pose look even bigger than before.
What made the threat of how Ulysses is using Brother Eye even bigger was how it builds on what Tynion has done with Tim Drake’s character since he returned to the DC Universe. Since seeing his future self we have seen how driven Tim has become to make that not be his future or that of the rest of the Batman Family. While he preached unity his attitude towards Batwoman and others that get in his visions way has made him an even more flawed character. That flaw made his transformation into a Brother Eye-Batman more intriguing. Seeing this version of Tim go all out to destroy Batwoman showed the most extreme version of the character.
What added to this Brother Eye version of the character was the fact we didn’t see the actual Tim at talk. There was no fight in Tim as Ulysses had complete control over him. That does make you wonder if there is anything left of the Tim we know. And if there is any sign of the Tim we know how exactly will he even recover from his recent actions? That big question will be a good basis for Tynion to leave Tim’s character for himself or other writers to pick up on in the future.
With Ulysses and Brother Eye in control of the battle it was great to see that Tynion actually showed Batwoman the future we have been seeing for her in Detective Comics and her ongoing series. There is no doubt that given recent events the Commander Kate Kane who was shown to more villainous is the future she has been on the path. It’s a path that she was choosing given her recent actions. While what her future is not set in stone this reveal for Kate does open more paths to take as she makes bigger decisions on who she wants to be in and out of her Batwoman disguise.
Showing Jacob Kane all the things that his daughter is going through against Brother Eye adds an interesting element to his character development moving forward. Because up to this point we have seen him do everything he can to drive Kate to take over for him as Colony’s leader. Seeing his own daughter in such grave danger puts into question how he is going to act after these events. It is easy to either see him be an extremely protective dad and further push the idea that everything Bruce has done is wrong. What that relationship will be, especially after what Kate saw for a possible future, gives further intrigue in where Jacob’s character goes in relation to his daughter’s future development.
Adding to the futures we saw, it was also great to see Tynion use the past DC Universe timeline as part of Ulysses and Brother Eye’s attempt to mess with Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. Seeing the Batgirl versions of Stephanie and Cassandra was a good look down memory lane. The affect it had on both characters actually turned out to be a positive one. Seeing both Stephanie and Cassandra use the visions of their alternate selves as motivation to take Ulysses and Brother Eye down was great character development for both.
This was especially needed for Stephanie’s character as up to this point she has been pushed out of the Batman Family and into the background. Seeing Stephanie be the key in Batman getting in the Belfry was a nice way to remind readers of her skills. It’s something we haven’t seen much of recently since the focus was more on Batman, Batwoman and Red Robin recently. Seeing her talk smack to both Batman and Brother Eye was a good way to also show how she is the rebel within the Batman Family. It added a nice bit of comedy for an issue in Detective Comics #980 that was serious for most of the issue.
As for Batman, Tynion is continuing to build an intriguing narrative around the Dark Knight. All of these recent events with Red Robin, Batwoman and Brother Eye have created a big question as to his decisions for what he sees as the future for the Batman Family and Gotham City. It’s clear he has let his love for Red Robin and his own obsession with being ultra prepared has gotten in the way of making the best choices. Now that this Brother Eye attack has happened it puts an even greater weight on Batman’s shoulders as his current plans have been thrown out the window. What he does next with what is left of his team will be very interesting.
With Detective Comics #980 being an action heavy issue Scot Eaton got to stretch his action art muscles. The battle between Batwoman and Brother Eye-Tim showed a the skills of the former even when she was completely overpowered by the latter. The fighting between Batman and the Brother Eye’d Azrael and Batwing was looked just as good. Eaton also added a nice bit of nostalgia with how he drew the Batgirl versions of Stephanie and Cassandra. He captured both character’s looks and tapped into what fans may be missing from those versions of the characters.
The Bad: With how Ulysses used Tim’s darkest thoughts against him it was a shame we didn’t see a similar thing from the Brother Eye’d versions of Batwing and Azrael. Outside of being a visual threat Batwing and Azrael could’ve been replaced by other OMAC’s and it wouldn’t of changed a thing. It would’ve added to the attack on Batman if Ulysses used more of the current status quo for other characters outside of Tim to further drive home Batman’s failures. By not doing so Batwing and Azrael just come off as nothing more than voiceless side characters.
Overall: Detective Comics #980 is the strongest chapter of the “Batman Eternal” story arc we have gotten. James Tynion did a great job bringing all the storylines he has been developing over the course of his run together to push the entire Batman Family. What happens next and how the events of “Batman Eternal” leave Batman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Spoiler, Omen and the others adds a lot of excitement as to how Tynion wraps up his run on Detective Comics.