COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Detective Comics #978 (Oh Brother Eye where art Thou)

Mystery is a foot Chum! Batman and Red Robin attempt to discover the mysterious origins of two Colony soldiers that have gone haywire, and Batwoman is tangled up in the conspiracy. As the Plans of the Future Villain Ulysses Armstrong unfold, Batman and Robin face their future.

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DETECTIVE COMICS # 978
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Eddy Barrows & Eber Ferreira
Colorist: John Kalisz & Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira & Adriano Lucas
Variant Cover: Rafael Albuquerque
Editors: Chris Conroy Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know:
Shortly after Batwoman was kicked out of the Batman family, She and Batwing and Azrael  Cor. Kane and the mysterious military organization called the Colony. They are dedicated to peace through any means necessary, and they do not share Batman or Tim’s regard for human life as sacred. Unbeknownst to the Batwoman team, the colony controls the Brother Eye software and has unleashed two sleeper soldiers in Gotham.

Tim also has been visited by a person named Ulysses Armstrong. He claims to be a “Fan” of Tim Drake’s vision of the future, and appears in a moment of discord between Red Robin and Batman, to try an appeal to Tim. He has the advanced tech and knowledge of the Batcave, but it seems like Tim is not at all convinced as he appears.

We pick up just shortly after Batman and Red Robin has subdued the two soldiers that were controlled by Brother Eye.

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What You’ll Find Out:
Back in the Cave Batman has the two colony soldiers to do a diagnostic on their suits. He tells Tim to keep them unconscious, despite Tim’s protest that they should not be in the cave at all. Batman says “You’re rumored to be a detective, Tim. You’re letting your emotions blind you to the mystery at your feet.” ( in true Detective comics style, they bring us through the evidence at hand. An injured Tim is set up in the cave while Batman takes off to discover the other piece of the mystery. Batman leaves to meet face to face with Batwoman and Col. Kane.

In true Scheming Villain style, Ulysses starts at his wall of monitors and begins to wax poetic about the doom of his enemies. That they have no idea what’s in store for them, as he is from the future. More like a college kid watching a bad horror movie, while he eats ramen noodles, Ulysses Armstrong watches as the events unfold.

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What Just Happened?
In a dark and almost haunted looking run-down house, Batwoman and her father (Bruce Wayne’s Cousins) meet to discuss what has happened with the Brother eye soldiers. While They talk about the Wayne family history, Batman plays it aloof and wanders about looking for evidence as he goes. Batwoman explains that whoever set those soldiers was trying to set these two factions at odds, and she’s not falling for it.RCO011DC

Back in the Batcave, Cassandra observes as Tim conducts a barrage of tests on the unconscious Colony soldiers. Cassandra is still hard to understand, but in her simple way know these were “Bad Men”, and that they bear the symbol of Batwoman. (clearly foreshadowing a showdown at some point).

Tim and Cassandra talk a bit about past mistakes, like Clayface and as he attempts to comfort her has a revelation about the task at hand. A brief Panel with Ulysses, who seems agitated that young Tim has figured out the nano-tech in the soldier’s systems. He decides to wait no longer. He activates his plan and takes control via Brother Eye’s programming and begins his protocol for the OMAC (One Man Army Corps). He shaves his head and reveals his name as The General. Telling Tim that he had his chance to help for the future, but that has now passed.

Batman and Batwoman are surrounded in the house as Omacs descend upon them, and in the final panel, we reveal the twist. Tim is turned into an Omac himself.

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Rating: 8 / 10
Final Thought:
There is certainly a lot going on, and enough to keep you interested, but this one falls a bit dull on the scale for me, besides the ending. I am glad to be back to a more Mystery driven plot, and the art is really well suited toward a gritty Noir style tale, but I just didn’t really get hooked into the drama of this issue. Always great to get a bit of backstory concerning the Wayne’s, and Tim is still a driving force on why this book has such great potential, but as a mid part to the story, this is mostly exposition an set up for a future payoff. The Villain reveal is something that DC really has no good concept of it seems. I would like to be surprised once in a while, instead of the newest character that shows up is the “Big Bad”. Really interested to see how Tim gets out of this one, see you next time for the outcome.


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