SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Detective Comics #971 by James Tynion IV and Miguel Mendonca, on sale now.
James Tynion's "Fall of the Batmen" arc seems more aptly named than ever, as rifts continue to grow among the members of Batman's Gotham Knights. The Victim Syndicate has taken over Arkham Asylum in the arc's third chapter in Detective Comics #971, citing past human collateral supposedly created by Batman and demanding his surrender. Batman, of course, has a trick or two under his cape, but another secret isn't exactly an ingredient to endear trust in his allies.
The tensions in Batman's organization have been escalating since Tim Drake's return from Mr. Oz's prison, but elements of discord were already in place. Kate Kane's (Batwoman's) father headed up the neo-militaristic group known as the Colony and tried to destroy Batman, and seemingly killed Tim in the process. Future Tim Drake arrived pegging Batwoman as a traitor. Stephanie Brown's (Spoiler's) ties to Anarky have caused suspicion. And Clayface has historically acted as an outright villain. Batman has allowed each of these figures into his inner circle and further enhanced their capabilities, but has his training actually fertilized these seeds of volatility?
Tim Drake Takes Another Step Towards A Dark Future
As shown in "A Lonely Place of Living," one possible future for Tim Drake entails him becoming a darker version of Batman, one who believes Batwoman to be the cause of a grim and unsettling future. Tim of tomorrow had traveled back to present day to kill Batwoman, but was stopped by the collective efforts of the Knights and Batman's other allies. Present day Tim, meanwhile, has changed since his return. Darker and more driven, he seeks to essentially militarize Batman's Knights across Gotham – a trait that certainly plays into his future demeanor.
This issue reveals the lengths Tim would go to achieve that end. Kate forces him to disclose that he had secretly been seeking to leverage the military might of none other than The Colony itself. The Colony, of course, recently encountered the Knights after trying to flex its own military muscle. This obviously brings Kate into conflict with Tim – a moment that could potentially be the genesis of their eventual falling out. Tim's willingness to ally with a villainous organization serves as an early logical step towards possible villainy.