Detective Comics #940 Review

Posted September 14, 2016 by Alexander Handziuk in Comic Books

Written by: James Tynion

Art by: Eddie Barrows

Publisher: DC Comics

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers

There has been a lot of hype leading into issue #940 of Detective Comics as it not only concludes the stellar first arc, but it also has been rumoured to contain the death of Tim Drake (Red Robin). I’ll get to Tim Drake’s fate in a moment, but for now, Writer, James Tynion and Artist, Eddie Barrows deliver their best issue to date and one of the most emotionally charged comics I have read in recent memory.

This issue is all about the final battle between the Bat-Family and Colony, and it picks up directly on the cliffhanger from last issue. I’m not going to go too deeply into the events that lead up to the shocking end, but suffice it to say that they are worth experiencing first hand and feature some great moments between Kate and her father.

Now, onto the potentially dead elephant in the room! The death of Tim Drake is something that this book has alluded to rather heavily over the past couple issues, and last issue’s cliffhanger made it seem pretty obvious that Tim Drake was going to die in this book. The problem is that death in superhero comics has all but lost its meaning over the recent years, and  as much as killing off Tim would have been, sad it wouldn’t have felt very emotionally gripping as he no doubt would have been back in a few months via time travel, the speed force, or some sort of other magical device.

Thankfully Tim’s fate is not what it was widely expected to be as he does survive, but the revelation of how he survives hints towards some even greater plans for the DC Universe down the line. I’m not going to go into specifics, because you seriously owe it to yourself to check this book out. The ending is a special treat for those who have been following Rebirth since the special back in May.

Speaking of payoff, this issue has the feeling of a big summer blockbuster and these high stakes are elevated by Eddie Barrow’s stunning pencils. From the crackle of lightning that runs throughout, to the pain on the faces of the Bat- Family, and the fearlessness of Tim’s last stand, this book features some of the most bombastic art that Rebirth has offered thus far. Barrows effectively sets the high-stakes mood of this issue as he works harmoniously with Tynion’s script. Every flash of lightning and every crackle of thunder builds the tension in issue, giving this book a dire feel and setting up for the big twist at the end.

There is potential for the happenings in this issue to come off as cheap, as Tim does not in fact die and from that angle it can seem like a lack of payoff, considering the cliffhanger of last issue. What prevents this cheapening effect is  that as much as the reader knows that Tim Drake is indeed not dead, Stephanie, Batman and the whole Bat-Family think that he is. What’s more is that in the moment, Tim believes that he is indeed sacrificing himself, and Tynion masterfully depicts his supposed final moments as heartfelt and full of love. Tim’s sacrifice is emotionally gripping, and his presumed final words to Batman, his friends and most importantly, to Stephanie are heart wrenching. Tynion has built up the family dynamic over the course of his run and to see these heroes reacting to the death of one their own, someone they love and care about, makes it that much more meaningful.

Detective Comics #940 is a masterful end to a great first arc as Tynion and Barrows come together cohesively to deliver an issue that is able to balk expectations and deliver a book full of emotionally-rich moments. This is an issue that should not be missed and a series that can’t be ignored any longer. Seriously, go buy this book!!

About the Author

Alexander Handziuk

Alex is a comic aficionado who loves Aquaman, Overwatch, the musical Hamilton and medium length strolls on beaches. Check him out on the Comics Dash Podcast, on twitter at @axehandziuk and in real life patrolling the borders of Canada.