Following the revelation of Mr. Oz’s identity in Action Comics #965, Oz has a one-on-one with Tim Drake, who was taken prisoner back in Detective Comics #940. Detective Comics #965, by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, opens up the “A Lonely Place of Living” arc, which purportedly returns Tim back to the world, reuniting him with the rest of the Bat-family. First, though, his conversation with Oz not only hints at Oz’s overall next move, but provides a terrific refresher on Tim’s character while bringing newer readers up to date on the history and origins of the superhero now known as Red Robin. Tynion also caps off the issue with a surprise that continues to demonstrate his skills on this title, as well as allowing him to play a larger creative role in the events of “Rebirth.”
Given that “A Lonely Place of Dying” — the 1989 arc that introduced Tim Drake into the Bat-mythos — was first told nearly 30 years ago, the historical recap is welcomed. The examination of Tim’s character is well-timed and well-scripted, re-establishing why it had to be Tim to pull Bruce from the brink of darkness after the death of Jason Todd when no one else could. The character study also sets up a startling gut punch regarding Tim near the end of the issue, and begins to address the question as to why Tim figures into the “Rebirth” saga so prominently. The exchange also provides a bit of an understated revelation on Oz’s place in the whole event — not all questions are answered, but Tynion ensures that the issue is a critical stepping stone towards the eventual answers.
The appearance of another prisoner — one previously unknown to be held along with Tim — is a brilliant twist on multiple storytelling levels. His arrival works purely at face value, but the character’s ultimate identity is likely very close to the last person anyone would guess — and yes, he has been seen before. Incorporating this incarnation of the character punctuates the very conversation Tim had with Oz, and raises potential questions about Tim’s future. Tynion reaching deep into recent DC continuity continues the trend shown in various story arcs throughout “Rebirth,” and his adeptness works well both within the fabric of his Detective Comics run, and the DC Universe as a whole.
Of course, that’s not the only unexpected character Tim has to deal with, as Tynion’s story rockets towards a cliffhanger with the entrance of an even deadlier foe. These characters, including Oz and Tim, are given a larger-than-life quality by Barrows, who uses splash pages liberally, but maximizes their impact with inset panels and dynamic perspectives. Ferreira’s inks add a dark atmosphere to the confines of Tim’s prison, and Adriano Lucas’ colors nicely bridge the flashback scenes and current sequences. The art team all combine to elevate Tynion’s already well-composed script.
“A Lonely Place of Living” is a tremendous start to a new arc, and just as strong a continuation of Tynion’s run on the series. The story will continue in Detective Comics #966, on sale Oct. 11.