WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #981 by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas , on sale now
What started as an attempt to create a more efficient and well-coordinated Batman became the nightmare of a future after Bruce Wayne was murdered by Batwoman. The system Tim Drake had put into place would one day be used to establish a fascist state in Gotham City, and it was done by a future version of himself. Thankfully, that very dark and tragic future has been averted in Detective Comics #981, all thanks to the truth finally being revealed.
As it turns out, Batwoman didn’t actually murder Batman like Tim Drake had originally believed. In reality, Kate was sent by the US government to apprehend the Dark Knight, but with the hero in her sights, she couldn’t betray her own family. That’s when Bruce Wayne pleaded with her to take his life and put the legacy of Batman to rest. In the end, the truth sets Tim Drake free, and he is able to stop Ulysses Armstrong and Brother Eye from taking over the world.
The Truth About Batman’s Legacy
All throughout this run on Detective Comics, James Tynion IV has maintained that Tim has something of a boyhood fascination with everything that Batman can become. Since he was a kid, he believed that there would always need to be a Batman to give hope to the people of Gotham City. Tim developed the Gotham Knights protocols to ensure that there would never have to be just one man behind the cape and cowl. In this way, Batman could be eternal.
However, it is discovered that Brother Eye had actually doctored the video of Batwoman killing Batman in order to manipulate the events of the future. Tim didn’t just get half the story, he didn’t even get the right one. The real video footage showed that Bruce Wayne was dying of radiation poisoning, having paid the price for building Brother Eye with radiation poisoning. Instead of worrying about Batman’s continuing legacy, Bruce was preparing for a world without Batman.
All of Bruce’s efforts to ensure the future’s safety had just brought the inevitable end closer than he was ready for. In a last ditch effort to fix the world, Batman used Brother Eye to do as much as he could before it was too late. However, he also determined that it was already too much. He had seen that his fight had gone on for too long, had touched too many lives, and he was prepared to bring it all to an end. This, along with the fact that he was already dying, is ultimately why Batwoman shot him.
Though Batman had brought so many skilled crimefighters into the fold, his legacy was what was holding them back. He recognized that having them try and live up to what he left behind would not be the best course for them. Bruce wanted them to go off and do good in their own way, wherever and however they can do it. If that meant giving up the cape and cowl, going to college, or helping in other more legal ways, so be it.
Batman didn’t want Brother Eye to secure the legacy of Batman, like Tim Drake was led to believe. The artificial intelligence was simply pulling the strings in order to make its own existence meaningful. It was built to fight a war, and it used Tim to do it. If anything, the satellite was damaging Batman’s legacy.
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