DETECTIVE COMICS #969
Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Joe Bennett
Tynion IV takes us from the return of Tim Drake in “A Lonely Place of Living,” straight into part 1 of “Fall of the Batmen.” Sounds like serious business to me. I can’t wait to get into it. Spoilers ahead.
Stephanie Brown is visiting Lonnie in Arkham Asylum. Lonnie’s character bothers me so opening on this was a bummer. Just when you think we’re done hearing from him, he keeps popping back up. He tells her of the Victim Syndicate, their “noble” ways, and how they are a growing organization. Lonnie gives her a time and a location to go check things out for herself. I only assume it’s a meeting of syndicate members. He’s trying to manipulate her, but at least she knows that it doesn’t feel right. I say this because she’s walking away visibly regretting even going there in the first place. But I’ve been questioning Stephanie’s aptitude lately. I will get into that more later.
Back home, she is putting on the Spoiler attire and she is greeted by Tim Drake for the first time since he’s been back. She is overjoyed, kisses him, and immediately begins talk about having all the time in the world to go to college, start a life, and so on. Not even a “where have you been all this time?!” Tim is mentioning hypertime, the prison of Mr. Oz, and Stephanie is over there like “Ivy University is cool.” This gave me the impression that she is totally spaced out right now. Does someone need to explain to her that the guy she loves that she knew to be dead is mysteriously back? Ugh… I don’t know… So Tim states that he needs to finish unfinished business. He wants her help and she views this unfinished business as the “last crime fighting task.” So she joins back up with Batman’s vigilante team. Tim told Stephanie that he “sees his mistakes” and that he “knows how to improve them.”
Let’s backtrack a moment. Before Tim got trapped in the prison of Mr. Oz, it was his intension to quit the superhero business and go to college. After his imprisonment, Tim met a future version of himself who also quit and then inadvertently ended up donning the cowl of Batman, and his life couldn’t be more of a disaster. So this is what Tim means by seeing his mistakes and wanting to correct them. Instead of going to college, he is going to remain a superhero and shape is own future.
Members of the Victim Syndicate that we have never seen before are meeting in secret. They have pictures of our Bat-team sprawled out on a table and they are discussing plan of action. But since Spoiler got the location from Lonnie, the whole Bat-team is on location and ready to make their move. Our heroes then bust in on them to ruin their night. Though we don’t see the outcome of the fight I reason the Victim Syndicate got their butts handed to them.
Batman confronts the new Mayor of Gotham, Michael Akins, in his office. Akins likewise has pictures of our Bat-team and I assume there is some connection between him and the Victim Syndicate. I would think he either got the pictures from the Victim Syndicate or vice versa. The former makes the most sense to me.
Cut back to Arkham Asylum and the guards are releasing the Victim Syndicate members that have previously been imprisoned. This includes Lonnie. Not only are the guards releasing all the members but they are physically dressing the First Victim into his outfit. Why did the guards let them out? Is this the Mayors doing? What is going on? We will find out next time in “The Syndicate Strikes.”
This issue was an entertaining read and left me wanting more. The Victim Syndicate is obviously back and, judging from the title, they have built some momentum or are about to.
As you can tell by now, I do not like how Stephanie Brown’s character has been portrayed over the last 13 issues. And that is no exaggeration. She started wigging out in issue 956 and hasn’t stopped. This is issue 969. She is being portrayed as naïve, gullible, and totally unable to make a level-headed decision when it comes to absolutely anything. With the Lonnie/Anarchy thing, and the whole hating Batman and wanting to quit the hero business thing. I am not a fan… I liked Stephanie back when she was briefly a Robin, Spoiler, when she became Batgirl, and then Spoiler again; seeing her character fall off is very disappointing. Even right at this moment she is the only character in the entire Bat-team that is operating on pure delusion. I know that is mostly Tim’s fault because he is not telling her about being Red Robin permanently. But I mean, come on… she is totally unpredictable and weak. I hope that changes soon.
What else can I say? Not much action here. Tim Drake is my favorite character and I am so happy that he’s back and it’s legitimate. This was a solid story and seems to be setting something up that will be quite entertaining. The art was fantastic as always. The colors are what you’d expect form a Detective comic which really sets that gothic/dark tone that’s lateral to the history of Batman. It’s only appropriate that that mood follows through into a team created in every way by him. Definitely include this in your pull.