SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Detective Comics #977 by James Tynion IV, Javier Fernandez, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreura, John Kalisz, Adriano Lucas and Sal Cipriano, on sale now.
Detective Comics has been one of the absolute best comics since James Tynion IV and company took over the title and turned it into a team book at the beginning of DC Rebirth. One of the main reasons for that is how tightly plotted it is and how well executed those plots are; although separated into distinct stories and arcs, everything informs everything else since the very beginning and the big threats at the heart of Tynion’s final arc can be traced right back to his very first title on the book.
This week, Tim Drake is presented a new way of doing things that seems awfully attractive, but while he’s considering abandoning his place in the Bat-Family for a role much bigger in scope, his potential ally is manipulating things in the background which results in a deadly massacre and the return of an Infinite Crisis-era threat that may be too big for the Bat-Family to overcome alone.
To understand what’s going on in Detective Comics right now, you need to know who Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong is and what he’s been up to throughout this run. He was introduced as the tech-guy for The Colony, Jacob Kane’s paramilitary outfit inspired by Batman. Ulysses served as a counterpart to Tim Drake, they’re both tech guys inspired by Batman in different ways and Tynion’s run on the title has been about their parallel and intersecting journeys to where they are presently.
The character actually existed prior to the New 52 relaunch of the DC Universe as the Robin villain known as The General, who later became another incarnation of Anarky but his Rebirth persona is perhaps his most ruthless and chilling. Having acquired access to archives from the future from the future Tim Drake, Ulysses learned that it was his destiny to become an also-ran in Tim’s rogue gallery and dedicated himself to something much bigger than that. While his sales pitch to Tim is that they can use this information of the future to present the dystopian timeline where Batwoman kills Batman and Tim himself turns Gotham into a police state, in secret he’s been working on a new Brother Eye.
He Ain’t Heavy
Brother Eye was a concept first introduced by Jack Kirby as the artificially intelligent sattelite which granted Buddy Blank his OMAC powers. The idea was re-interpreted for the modern day as an artificial intelligence created by Batman to keep an eye on the world’s superheroes, but hijacked by Maxwell Lord who used it to turn select members of the population into OMACs; unstoppable killing machines with a database of every superhero and how to stop them. Brother Eye and OMACs were a central pillar of the larger story being told through the DC Universe for much of the mid-to-late 2000s and it seems they’ve come back in a big way.
Armstrong is able to use his tech skills and the artificial intelligence of Brother Eye to hack into the armored suits of The Colony and make them his unwilling soldiers, and while not the nanomachine virus that they were before these men are now very much OMACs. Armstrong may be in control for now but Brother Eye almost always goes rogue in any of its incarnations and Ulysses just granted it access to the systems of one of the most elite paramilitary groups in the DC Universe. This issue ends with a massacre at the hands of two Colony soldiers no longer in control of themselves and a lot more people are going to die before this is all over.