REVIEW: Detective Comics #967: Bats in the Belfry

It doesn’t take the world’s greatest detective to find a great Batman story, just $2.99 for a copy of Detective Comics #967. Rebirth has spawned some great stories and this one written by James Tynion IV definitely ranks among them.

The story opens with Batman in the Batcave obsessively pouring over the evidence he has gathered about the disappearance and faked death of Tim Drake. It is made obvious that he has not eaten or slept in days as Alfred tries to convince him to rest. One can only imagine Bruce having flashbacks to the death of Jason Todd and feeling as if he has failed yet another Robin. Alfred’s pleas fall on deaf ears as Bruce continues to work on figuring out what really happened to Tim. Alfred sees an alert that Tim’s distress beacon has been activated in Gotham. The next thing we see is the Batmobile racing through the streets to the hospital where Tim has been taken.

Tim and Bruce are reunited, but there is no time to celebrate. The Bat Family is gathered together and brought up to speed on future Tim.  Future Tim has taken up the mantle of the bat and is none too happy about that and has come back in time to attempt to prevent the events that led to his becoming Batman. The key to Future Tim’s plan is to kill Batwoman, Kate Keene, who somehow will set the events in motion.

After a quick visit to Spoiler, Stephanie Brown, where he promises to make things right Future Tim arrives at Wayne Manor to ask Alfred for advice. The conversation is interrupted when the other Robins (Dick, Jason, and Damian) arrive on the scene. Of course a battle ensues and Future Tim is able to put his plan into action as he initiates the Brother Eye Protocol, leaving us with one hell of a cliffhanger and the need to come back for the next issue to see more.

Batman does NOT fail often and when he does he doesn’t take it very well. Bruce blames himself for not seeing the truth behind Tim’s disappearance. The scene where a stubble faced Bruce chastises himself for failing Tim showed a great deal of character depth.

Alvaro Martinez does an impressive job bringing Gotham to life and the inking team of Raul Fernandez and Tomeu Morey took those pencils and turned them up to 11. The colors rom Jean Francois Beaulieu, whose work on I Hate Fairyland I have been quite impressed with, pop off the page and really brings it all together.

I was impressed with how Tynion managed such a large cast without it feeling cluttered and yet included everyone in on the action. Another subtlety that I loved was the mention of the Connor Kent Superboy and Present Tim saying the name pulls at his heart, but doesn’t know why.

As long as this creative team stays in place it will be no mystery as to whether to add this book to your pull lists.

Story 4.5
Art: 4
Overall Rating: 4.25

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez (CA) Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira

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