For a while now, Batman’s team thought that Tim Drake was dead, when in reality he’s been trapped in an alternate dimension. A couple of months ago, Batman learned that Red Robin was in fact alive, and he’s been obsessed with finding his partner since. The previous two issues showed us Tim Drake’s escape, and also introduced a future version of the young, technical mastermind, who became Batman after some sort of tragic event. He’s also willing to kill people.
Now both Tim Drakes have returned to Red Robin’s time, and Tim’s older self wants to set things right. His plan – to kill Batwoman.
This issue is mostly setup, but there’s enough action to keep the quick pace going. James Tynion IV manages to fit in just enough of a nice reunion and a couple great jokes between Tim and the team that it’s satisfying (although there will need to be more time dedicated to whenever Tim meets up with Spoiler again). Meanwhile, future Tim/Batman proves himself a major threat thanks to decades of experience and building knowledge beyond his already brilliant teenaged self. So far, it fee’s like he’s prepared for every possible outcome. He’s proving to be quite the threat. It makes for exciting build-up.
The art by Alvaro Martinez is great. There’s a lot of detail in the environments throughout, like the Bat cave complete with open pages scattered on the ground, a monitor showing a map of Gotham City, and the pylons on the road as Batman’s speeding across a bridge in the Batmobile. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotions, like Cassandra Cain’s big smile when she’s hugging Tim, Clayface’s sarcastic grin when he jokes about a group containing a “zombie” and a clay monster finding something hard to believe, and Batwoman’s clear distaste for being locked up for her own safety. The colouring by Jean Francois Beaulieu is also great. The comic is fairly dark with great use of shadows, and it’s otherwise colourful with red monitors, the variety of outfits in Batman’s team, and a brief look at the greenhouse at Wayne Manor.
Although this story arc began two issues ago as a tie-in to the Oz Effect in Action Comics, this issue kind of feels like it’s kicking off the story anyway. I mean that in a good way. The build-up is exciting, and the tense mood is balanced out with a quick yet dramatic and entertaining reunion scene. The series as a whole is about a team co-led by Batman and Batwoman, and in this particular issue, they’re facing off against an alternate future member of their own. I highly recommend this series in general to Batman fans, and this issue is a great place to start.