I know that tomorrow is technically Batman Day, but we’re going to do a Bat-themed Subway Shorts today. Well, really, it’s mostly centered around Tim Drake, Batman’s third Robin, currently Red Robin and leader of the Teen Titans. We’re gonna look at Detective Comics 940, Teen Titans 24 and – in the non-Red Robin category – Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 2.
Detective Comics 940
Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils by Eddy Barrows
Inks by Eber Ferreira
I wasn’t going to read this book so soon, as I usually keep Detective Comics for closer to the end of the week. But as every comics site I visit – and I’m sure many I don’t – have been talking about, spoiling and examining the last pages of this book since it was released on Wednesday, it was just smarter to read it first, so that I could read it without getting too spoiled at the very least.
This is the final chapter of the “Rise of the Batmen” story, pitting Batman and his team of allies against Bruce Wayne’s uncle, the leader of an insurrectionist military cell called The Colony, which is attempting to use Batman’s methods to take down its enemies. The problem, of course, is that no one asked Batman if this was OK, and Batman doesn’t really share. But the battle is no longer between Batman and the Colony. Red Robin has diverted a series of attack drones to view HIM as the sole target, redirecting hundreds of drones away from suspected terrorist targets and towards the group’s headquarters in the Belfry.
We get a pretty emotional issue here, as Batwoman confronts her father, Bruce’s uncle, while Batman and the rest of the team desperately try and find a way to get to and save Tim from what is almost certainly a suicide mission. Because this is just a Bat-family book, he does everything but call the Justice League to intervene – even though it’s the only smart thing to do here – but we’ll let that slide and examine the book on its own, I guess…
No, the heroes don’t stop The Colony from escaping, save for Jacob Kane, who Batwoman pulls out from the flying headquarters before it disappears. And while Red Robin succeeds in taking down the drones, they all pretty much stopped attacking once their primary objective – Tim Drake – was eliminated. And the various members of the Bat-team mourn.
BUT! OK, look, there are spoilers here. If you don’t want spoilers… Really, why are you here?
Tim Drake has been “taken off the board” because he was “reconnecting threads that cannot be reconnected,” according to the mysterious hooded figure – we can only assume it’s Mr. Oz from Action Comics and DC Rebirth – tells an alive and imprisoned Drake at the end of the issue.
While I’m not sure what threads Tim has been reconnecting – that wasn’t really made clear here – but it’s not a stretch of the imagination that his tech skills, his strategic mind and his determination would be bad for whatever master plan Mr. Oz has. And I REALLY want to see where the Rebirth story goes from here, but I know I’ll be waiting for a while before we get any resolution.
Yes, Tim Drake will be back, but it probably won’t be for a while.
Writer James Tynion IV put together an emotionally wrenching story here and created a suspenseful ending that should have people frothing for what comes next. “Rise of the Batman” is probably the first MUST READ DC Rebirth story, and once it gets collected, it should be on everyone’s comics shelf.
Teen Titans 24
Written by Tony Bedard
Pencils by Ian Churchill
Inks by Norm Rapmund
And of course, we have the wake of Red Robin in the final issue of the pre-Rebirth Teen Titans. Tim Drake’s team mates – Bunker, Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Power Girl and Raven gather to mourn their leader and friend and reveal untold tales of Red Robin.
While the issue serves as a nice companion piece to the end of Detective Comics 940, the only real point it serves is to break up the current version of the Teen Titans group to help set up Teen Titans Rebirth, which will be released next month. Tim Drake is gone, which means the job of leading the Titans falls to the current Robin, Damian Wayne.
If you’ve been reading the book from the start, it’s a nice little bow on the New 52 Teen Titans, but there’s really nothing of note in this issue. The Teen Titans disband. Look for the Teen Titans next month.
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 2
Written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Art by Claire Roe
Wow, the stereotypes and tropes felt strong in this one. The three female stars of the book argued and were catty with each other; male guest stars question the abilities of the female stars to get the job done and call in the male mentor hero, who says he believes in the women. It all felt a little unnecessary. The Benson sisters aren’t really calling out a sense of ridiculous sexism with the way they structured the second part of the “Who is Oracle?” arc, they really just went along with it.
As readers, we KNOW Batgirl can handle herself. And we know her partners, Black Canary and Huntress, are more than capable heroes who can get the job done. So show us getting the job done. Don’t waste an issue of a new book with Commissioner James Gordon – Batgirl’s father – lecturing her about how he thinks Batman should be called in. The scenes distracted from the overall story and delayed the payoff for no real reason.
I really do enjoy the writing in this book, and I love the art. The book has a heart that a lot of the other DC Rebirth books don’t have. The interactions between the Birds of Prey is a lot of fun. I am certainly interested in staying on board to find out who has co-opted Barbara Gordon’s old alias, but I could do without falling into these scenarios to defend the strength and heroism of the female heroes. Show it in their actions, have them take down the bad guy. You don’t need a guest spot from Batman for a 1980s sitcom lesson about how girls are just as good as boys.
Hopefully, that’s out of their system now and we can get down to business with the next issue.