Elsewhere in the DCU – Detective Comics #965 and #966

Greetings one and all, welcome back to another edition of the “Elsewhere in the DCU” reviews, where we take a look at appearances by Superman or his supporting cast that appear in other books across the DC Universe.

The couple of books we are looking at today feature a character who has remained in mystery since ‘Rebirth’ started. Only recently have we learned that the mystery man known as Mr Oz is actually Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father, whom we all thought perished along with his wife Lara when Krypton exploded… For more on that, check out the awesome reviews of “Action Comics” by Mario Bennese here at the Homepage.

Just a little background as to why this book matters… Tim Drake/Red Robin appeared to meet his doom in Detective Comics #940. However, we the reader learned that he did not die, but was abducted at the last minute by Mr Oz, and has been kept prisoner by him since. Tim would later make a special appearance in the ‘Superman Reborn’ arc, as he mocks Mr Oz, saying “Someone got out”, referring to Mr Mxyzptlk.

In Detective Comics #962, the one time villain Ascalon reveals to Batman, that Tim Drake is indeed alive.

Mild Mannered Reviews – Detective Comics #965Detective Comics #965KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 12, 2017

Cover date: November 2017

“A Lonely Place of Living” – Chapter 1

Writer: James Tynion IV
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
Cover: George Perez
Variant Cover: Rafael Alburque

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We open with a flashback to Tim Drake’s origin as he takes the mantle of Robin. Tim himself narrates his story to the mysterious hooded figure who is known as Mr Oz. It appears that Tim is being interrogated regarding his exploits as Batman’s partner. But Tim proves that he can also take charge, as he taps into Mr Oz’s software system and frees himself. Tim begins an assault on Mr Oz, only to be quickly defeated, it is here that we see Mr Oz reveal himself as Jor-El, Superman’s biological father. He locks Tim in his cell and leaves.

Soon after, Tim manages to send out an SOS, as a last ditch effort to escape, hoping that one of his allies in Gotham will respond and come for him.

He gets a reply from none other than Batman himself, this leads an excited Tim to seek out his mentor, who appears to be in the same facility as him. Tim locates Batman, only to discover that he is not the Batman he knows in Bruce Wayne, but rather an adult version of himself, who has become the Dark Knight of his future. One that wields a gun, and isn’t afraid to use it.

The young Tim can’t come to terms with himself ever becoming Batman, leading the older Tim to brush aside his younger self, and prepare to engage with an oncoming threat… “We weren’t the only prisoners in this place”… It is then that the monster Doomsday breaks through the walls…

To be continued…

5Story – 5: This is everything I want and love about the current DC Comics. This story has been simmering for almost a year. Over in the Superman books, Mr Oz has popped up from time to time, with his agenda unknown to us as the reader until recently. It was when he “rescued” Tim from his impending death, that he crossed over to the wider DCU. Which leads us here.

Tim Drake is my favorite Robin, this side of Dick Grayson. He was the Robin that I grew up with in the 90s. I hated how he was pushed aside for Damien, and had to become Red Robin, and let’s not even get into what happened with him in the New 52. So you can imagine how excited I was to have him return to the “Bat-fold”, especially now with this connection to Superman.

Tim gets a minor updated origin, which is 90% faithful to the original. I commend James Tynion IV for crafting a story without losing any of the magic that made the original so great. Most writers these days just write over or create new origins, disregarding that which came before, so it’s great to see a writer put in so much effort to honoring the past while telling their own stories.

The origin is not the only thing that James Tynion IV told masterfully, I loved the fact that he took cues from Geoff Johns’ “Teen Titans” run from the 2000s, with Tim growing up to be a more violent and questionable Batman, while his younger self not wanting anything to do with it. Also the seamless tie-in to “Action Comics” was great.

If we look back, Mr Oz abducted Doomsday when Superman and Wonder Woman attempted to send him into the Phantom Zone, it’s all coming to light now. So if you like what is happening in “Action Comics” recently, I urge you to check this arc out.

5Art – 5: If you have ever read any of my reviews, you know that I am the “art guy,” so I was absolutely delighted that Eddy Barrows returned for this arc, and I get to review it. Barrows started off as the regular artist for “Detective Comics” at the start of ‘Rebirth’, but had been absent for the last few story arcs.

What really stood out to me the most was Barrows’ recreation of the panels that the great Jim Aparo drew in the original origin story for Tim Drake “Lonely Place of Dying”. This issue really paralleled a lot from Jim Aparo’s book, but gave it a more updated look.

The art had nice flow, and didn’t trip up the story in any way. So I am glad that Barrows was behind the steering wheel for this. Loved the reveal of Jor-El under the cloak of Mr Oz, and the last page as Doomsday bursts through.

Eber Ferreira used his palette well in coloring the book. I especially love the soft almost painted panels. I think they add a lot of gravity to the visuals.

Along with the story, this is a 10/10 book.

5Cover Art – 5: Both the covers are great for this issue. The main cover by Barrows is a wonderful homage to the “Lonely Place of Dying” cover by George Perez. However the variant cover by Rafael Alburque is a most wonderful call back to the Krypton scenes from Superman: The Movie. With the rotating rings and the floating heads in the back.

Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Mild Mannered Reviews – Detective Comics #966

Detective Comics #966KindleDownload iBookBuy Now

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 11, 2017

Cover date: December 2017

“A Lonely Place of Living” – Chapter 2

Writer: James Tynion IV
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
Cover: Eddy Barrows
Variant Cover: Rafael Alburque

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We open with a flashback from the future, where Tim drake as Batman is hunting down the vigilante Anarchy, and kills him. He then runs from the GCPD. It’s when he returns to the Batcave that gets abducted by Mr Oz and transported to the prison which houses him, his younger self as Robin and Doomsday.

We cut to the present as both Tim Drakes flee for their lives from a rampaging Doomsday. The two Tim’s banter back and forth, as the older tells his younger self that no matter what he tries, he will become Batman, the future is set, and he will become the killer that he is.

They manage to distract Doomsday long enough to escape back to the current day Gotham City. The older Tim tells his younger self to not push away all his friends as he gets older, especially Conner. Young Tim asks, “Who’s Conner?”, when the older version learns that time is not set in stone anymore and he can change the future, his future. He stuns his younger self, and heads off to take care of the one person he blames for his turn to the dark side. “I need to kill Batwoman”.

To be continued…

5Story – 5: This issue could have easily been a filler and slug-fest, but it’s a wonderful chapter in this story as it is the first mention since ‘Rebirth’ began of Conner Kent/Superboy.

To any of our newer readers who aren’t familiar with Conner, he was the teenage Superboy that preceded Jon Kent. Sadly his origin and back story was “messed up” a little during the New 52 era, and he was wiped from continuity completely since the beginning of ‘Rebirth’, but I’m sure as hell hoping that he makes a triumphant return soon.

I loved the way that Robin/Tim has no clue as to who Conner is, which ties us up with the upcoming “Doomsday Clock” story-line due out soon. Someone (I think we can all guess who) has tampered with time, and made everybody forget certain heroes in the DCU. So far that consists of the JSA, Conner Kent Superboy, Bart Allen Impulse/Kid Flash and Cassy Sandsmark Wonder Girl from the top of my head. Kudos to James Tynion IV for crafting a tale that gives you a peek down the proverbial rabbit hole, and leaves you wanting more.

With the reaction that Batman/Tim had toward young Tim not knowing about Conner, and him finding out that the future is not set, made me really feel for the older Tim, who actually despises what he has become. In the last issue I mentioned that this is similar to the Tim Drake Batman from the Geoff Johns “Teen Titans” future Robin (I almost confused myself there), now I am wondering if this is actually that very version of Tim. I love the continuity call backs. Which begs the question, the Superman in the flashback scene that calls Tim, is it Clark or Conner? He does state, “The Titans need their Batman”.

Lastly Tynion IV showed us how each possible Robin met his end. I found it rather poetic that Tim may have actually killed Damien to claim the Batman mantle from him. Wasn’t too impressed with what happened to Jason Todd, but that’s a minor nitpick. Really loving this arc right now, looking forward to the next issue. Congratulations DC you have done well.

5Art – 5: So much awesomeness in the art of this book, it’s going to be hard to put in words. From the different Batmobiles in the Batcave to the flashback scenes of how the Bat Family fell, the detail by Barrows is amazing.

Firstly let me mention, we see an awesome shot of Superman, via a holographic projection by Batman/Tim. Ed Barrows has the current Superman costume locked down, the belt looked great, something that a lot of artists are finding difficult to pull off.

Secondly his Doomsday has a genuine frightening quality to him. The sharp boney exterior and the larger size made for great suspense as both versions of Tim ran for their lives.

Many comic artists use this technique, but the almost storyboard-like panels in some scenes give you that cinematic feel that we are used to seeing in live action and animation.

I literally can’t wait for the next issue. Barrows is fantastic, he and James Tynion IV make a great duo for story telling.

Lastly let me mention both Eber Ferreira for his inks and Adriano Lucas on colors. They added so much to the visuals, it would be a crime not to acknowledge their contributions. The inks aren’t too heavy and the colors are right on par in setting the tone.

5Cover Art – 5: I like the main cover by Barrows more than the variant. I think having Doomsday come for Batman and Robin is more impactful than watching Batman holding two guns.

Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

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Kal L
October 19, 2017 7:24 pm

This could be the return of Conner… Fingers crossed.

October 21, 2017 7:52 am

I wish we could hurry up and get through the editorial book-keeping phase to all the heroes being restored. In other words, kick Dr. Manhattan’s over-rated ass already and let the DCU finally get on with life!

October 22, 2017 6:54 pm

Detective Comics 965 cover is from Eddie Barrows, not George Perez. Eddie did it after George Perez cover from the 90’s saga “A Lonely Place To Die”.

Kal L
October 23, 2017 6:24 am
Reply to  Gladiator

The main cover by Barrows is a wonderful homage to the “Lonely Place of Dying” cover by George Perez.

That’s exactly what Keith wrote dude.