WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #970 by James Tynion IV and Joe Bennett, in stores now.
In Detective Comics‘s recent storyline, “A Lonely Place of Living,” Tim Drake was brought to the forefront of the Batman universe. A future version of himself arrived in the present, attempting to prevent a terrible, dark future from becoming a reality. This Tim Drake of Tomorrow had Batwoman in his crosshairs, blaming her for everything going wrong. Her actions, he claimed, were the in a series of events that would lead to the fall of the Bat-family. Although this future Tim was ultimately defeated by Red Robin, Batman and the rest of the Gotham Knights, his warning of a grim and terrible future echoes.
Present day Tim Drake may have defeated his future self, but he still saw what he could become: a calculating and lethal man who wore the mantle of Batman, something he swore he would never become. Tim was staring into a twisted mirror, and is now strving to avoid this future at all costs. However, in Detective Comics #970, we see that even though Tim’s motives might be pure, even if he truly believes that what he is doing is for the best of Gotham and its citizens, the truth is that Tim is very slowly beginning to sound villainous.
Immediately, we see Tim becoming more and more obsessed with his mission, foregoing sleep in favor of putting pen to paper. Tim’s ideas are essentially to militarize the entire Bat-family, to divide the city into grids for each member to patrol. It’s a plan that would require the Belfry team to expand, adding new members like Batgirl and her Birds of Prey. These zones would be covered by their respective bat-signals, and victims would have access to their very own bat-ambulances (batbulances?), something that would require the assistance of Leslie Thompkins. On top of all that, Tim wants to use Batgirl’s Oracle hacking skills to divert the GCPD to smaller crimes, clearing the way for the Gotham Knights to handle the truly dangerous situations.
If that all sounds a little crazy, well, that’s the point. It’s no accident Joe Bennett drew Tim with an unsettling smile as he divulges his plans. Ever since his return to the team, Tim has helped propel the Gotham Knights to become more efficient than ever – and people are starting to get worried. The military, Gotham’s mayoral office and even some of the city’s citizens are becoming wary of the fact that Batman and his war on crime is becoming organized. It’s no longer aiding the authorities, but aiming to replace them.
If Red Robin’s efforts continue to escalate, if the Bat-family’s actions continue to verge on the side of authoritarianism, this could very well lead to the downfall of Batman and the rest of his allies. Batman has always been surgical and quiet, but with Tim’s newfound purpose, the team is becoming loud. They are becoming harder to ignore… and they are starting to become a national concern.
The Tim Drake of Tomorrow believed the fall of the Batmen would start with Batwoman, and perhaps he was right as far as his timeline is concerned. But in trying to avoid his destiny at all costs, in trying to prevent himself from turning into the murderous Future Drake, Red Robin is becoming the inciting incident to everything in his world going to Hell. Tim, in trying to avoid becoming a villain, is becoming exactly that. He has become the first domino… and its about to fall.
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