WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #976 by James Tynion IV and Javier Fernandez, in stores now.
The Bat-family is in shambles. Following the devastating events of "Fall of the Batmen," the foundation of trust between Batman and his allies has been shaken to its core. Thanks to the machinations of the Victim Syndicate, Clayface was pushed beyond his breaking point, and the only way to stop him from destroying Gotham was to put him down -- permanently. At least, Batwoman saw no other option, which is why she crossed the line that Batman never will, killing the former villain.
Her actions tore the entire team apart. Batman called a meeting to put Kate on trial in issue #975, but Kate came to her own conclusion to quit the team while Batman found himself on trial at the hands of his former proteges. Now, as the story continues in Detective Comics #976, the divide between Batman and the rest of his allies is becoming even more apparent. Worse still, it seems to be building towards an all-out Bat-family civil war.
The schism between the members of the Bat-family members was apparent as soon as Batwoman fired the shot that would kill one of their own. As the group stood on a rooftop after the fact, it was apparent that Batman, Red Robin, Spoiler and Orphan stood on one side of the argument, while newer recruits Batwing and Azrael were inclined to defend Kate's point of view.
Batman's stance is firm, as it always is. On his side stands Cassandra Cain and Damian Wayne, while others like Stephanie and Tim Drake now fall somewhere in-between, like Nightwing. However, Kate Kane not only drew the battle line, she essentially declared war by officially joining forces with her father and his army, the Colony. What's more, she even managed to convince Lucas Fox aka Batwing and Jean-Paul Valley aka Azrael to join with the Colony as well, with the promise of making a difference on a worldwide scale, outside of the confines of Gotham City.
Kate's goals might be noble, but they're also dangerous. The Colony has an "ends justify the means" approach, something that led them to tangle with Batman and the Gotham Knights before. Batman recognizes them for the threat that they are, and he isn't just about to let them operate on a worldwide stage -- no matter who might find themselves in their ranks. Lucas and Jean-Paul might have only appeared to side with Batwoman at first, but now their official departure from the Knights to sign up with the Colony just cemented the division of the team. Now these two factions stand apart, and they are on a collision course. The stage is all but set for Batman and his forces to face Batwoman and the Colony.
The Dark Knight may call Gotham City his home, but if Grant Morrison's Batman, Inc. taught us anything, it's that Bruce has a global net of allies. Who's to say how many old friends he could call forth in a bid to put an end to the Colony? James Tynion IV's Detective Comics uber-arc is slowly reaching a boiling point, and all signs seem to point at a big yet equally personal confrontation: The Bat versus the Colony. It might be time to place your bets.
CONTINUE READING: Detective Comics #974 Shows the Bat Symbol’s Ultimate Meaning