James Tynion IV’s run on Detective Comics has been quite a thrilling Batman experience focusing on Bat-Family teamwork. However, the cover of issue #939 solely features Tim Drake, Red Robin and for good reason as he is the main focus of the issue. Tim will forever and always be one of the best allies to Batman, but what if he were to utilize his genius intellect for another purpose than superhero duties?
After Batman and company take control of the Belfry back from the Colony – a Batman-themed military unit led by Batwoman’s father – Tim explains to Steph/Spoiler that he’s going to focus his attention on Ivy University’s Special Projects Program, putting his cape-life on hold. But when a wave of deadly Bat-Drones are discovered en route to Gotham, and hundreds of lives on the line, Tim makes the decision to face them alone. Hacking the drones and diverting them all to his location, Tim prepares to face off against the army of death drones. “This is math you’ve done in your head a hundred times, not a fight,” he tells himself – ending on a very gripping cliffhanger.
Detective Comics #939 moves this arc along, but the issue is mostly about its character moments. Batman has got his hands full, so it’s a good thing he’s assembled this team because they’ve needed every member. Clayface, in particular, has been an underrated addition to the Bat-Family, but not only is he a charming comic relief, he’s also being utilized nicely as just a plain old shape-shifting monster.
Tim, of course, gets plenty of time for his character to shine through his conversations with Clayface, Steph, Batman, and even himself. But with Tim considering a future away from Batman, the ever-crowded Batcave could be getting a little more spacious next issue. Tynion also has Tim Drake fans sick to their stomachs over the impending doom he now faces in that cliffhanger, and this issue could act as a farewell of sorts. If he truly is about to meet his end – or just spend some time away from the family – Tynion is clearly the right person to pen his sendoff.
Batman and Batwoman continue to develop a great leadership chemistry, at first butting heads then meeting in the middle. This particular story arc’s twists and turns have done wonders for the trust, and sometimes the lack thereof, between Bruce and Kate. The book also included some flashbacks, opening up with Kate’s father, Jake showing his first signs of anger towards Thomas Wayne at the funeral of his sister, Martha. This same funeral features a young Bruce being comforted by a young Kate Kane – setting up a touching moment about having family when you feel alone.
Detective Comes #939 is another visually stunning effort, as Barrows, Ferreira, and Lucas combine their efforts to create both exciting and dramatic panels on every page. Towards the end of the comic, there’s a beautiful bat-framed splash page that shows each character figuring out what Red Robin did to foil the Bat-Drone plan, along with a painted image of Tim just grinning before he goes out to face his flying foes. These moments where the art transitions into a less polished, painted approach that forces readers to stop and examine what is different – and more importantly why it’s different.
Six issues into “Rise Of The Batmen” and it proves to be a well-crafted story with a killer plot that’s littered with twists and action galore. Yet when Tynion takes a second to let things breathe, he somehow continues to keep the momentum high and further the stakes. Detective Comics continues to be a must-read series for all Batman fans as Tynion and team deliver on all fronts.