Detective Comics is heating up this week as Tim aka Robin has had his mind hacked. Meanwhile, his friends are starting to wonder if he’s part of the problem, and all of this is part of James Tynion IV’s big send-off from the series. Get hype!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“BATMAN ETERNAL” part four! Ulysses Armstrong knows everything there is to know about Tim Drake’s future–including every inevitable step he’ll take on the road to becoming a dark version of himself! Unfortunately, Ulysses is perfectly happy to take everything from him…and use it to give birth to an unstoppable menace!
Why does this matter?
A lot of what Tynion IV has been building towards comes down to this arc which adds a lot of weight to the narrative. Philippe Briones (with colors by John Kalisz) joins him on this trippy journey.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with some mind-bending layout design as Ulysses screws with Tim inside his mind. Tim has lost control and is now viewing the outside world through screens. I hope they’re high def. As Ulysses attempts to break his spirit, Batman and Batwoman are taking on some unbeatable OMAC soldiers that have possessed Batwoman’s army. This adds some action to the story as Tim attempts to gain back control of his mind. Tynion does a good job with Ulysses’ dialogue, making him go off the deep end into a maniacal maniac. There’s a great wait on Tim that’s bound to stick with him for some time and that adds to the entertainment value.
Briones and Kalisz do a great job with the tiny details in this issue, from the skyscrapers of Gotham to how the Belfry glows with evil intent at the end. There are a few impressive double-page layouts to be ogled here and the action has an intensity that increases the tension.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Ulysses does a lot of talking to the point where you might be wishing he just does something already. The visuals help show he’s pushing Tim to practically become homicidal. He pushes Tim in different ways, but it all comes off as the same sort of mental case who has lost his humanity toying with Tim. He’s been more complex in the past and comes off as one note here.
It’s hard to shake the feeling that this issue is mostly setting up the next issue rather than delivering major plot developments. New details are learned, sure, but you can sort of guess where it’s going after the first few pages.
Is it good?
A good build-up issue if I ever saw one. You’ll come away knowing Tim Drake is going to be changed forever after this one — if he comes out alive at all.