This issue sees our favorite burger joint-named fugitive from the clutches of Scott Lobdell investigating the strange sickness the children from the Professor Pyg take down were suffering from. One of the biggest selling points to me for this series was that it was going to feature my favorite Robin in a capacity that might redeem his thus far unappealing portrayal in the New 52 continuity. It's a bit telling that it took the death of Damian and the removal of Dick as Nightwing before he came back into the picture, but I, for one, welcome back Timothy Drake. And here he gets more than just a short cameo.
Yeah, you really want to name public housing after a white collar criminal.
With Batman busy with the gang war and the Gordon investigation, Red Robin picks up the slack by investigating what appears to be some kind of nanomachine based virus that people at the low-income housing Bruce had built seem to be getting. Tim unfortunately finds himself fighting off a wild manifestation of the nano virus at an especially inopportune time (when is an opportune time to fight off a nanobot swarm?) and despite quelling that storm, runs into the next person with the problem. And lo and behold, it's Cullen Row, Harper's brother, and admirer of Tim Drake (in his civilian capacity, it seems).
Sassy but stupid reporter Vicki Vale finds herself in danger when she just waltzes up to lowlifes for a comment on Carmine Falcone, and is saved by Harper and her tazer-fu. I knew Vicki Vale was historically the kind of reporter who puts herself in incredible danger at times to get a good scoop, much like Lois Lane, but apparently she's got some kind of death wish just walking up to some shady looking goons in some random alleyway with some staff novice who has the audacity to actually read the paper they work for. The goons follow them back to Harper's apartment and are overcome by the nanobots, which is what gives Vicki the opportunity to question one of them about the gang war.
"Come with me if you want to live."
Unfortunately, there's very little actual Batman in this issue. He drops in on Red Robin for a few moments while he's at the project, but has to leave. He does seem to recognize something about the nano machines Tim found and it's revealed at the end of the issue that it's connected to Sergei, the man from the back-up story in Batman Vol 2 #22, the second issue of "Zero Year". In the back up, Bruce is in training to become what would eventually become Batman, and he's under the tutelage of a master inventor, Sergei. At the end of this issue, Sergei seems to be under the impression that it was Bruce Wayne who had these nanomachines made, maybe by him, for something, and now they've been activated too early.
"Oh vell. Back to being organ grinder, comrade."
I do have some preliminary tinfoil hat theories about the plot going on, so bare with me.
Okay, for one, I think either Bruce intentionally had these nanobots created for some other purpose, maybe to benefit the low-income families that live in the projects, and they've been subverted, or else somebody under the guise of Bruce (who knows a lot about Bruce) had these made intentionally to do what they're doing to corrupt Bruce's beautification of Gotham, perhaps even in an attempt to spoil his legacy. Somebody who knows Bruce intimately, perhaps the person addressing him at the beginning of the first issue of the series. Lincoln March? Thomas Elliot? Captain Singaree?
Please be Captain Stingaree!
He's a FABULOUS pirate.
Tim definitely seems to harbor some serious doubts about his relationship with Batman in this issue. Bruce is obviously keeping something from him, and after the thing with Joker where the mirthful maniac convinced the Bat family he knew their identities (he didn't) and Bruce didn't disclose the extent at which Joker could recognize him as Bruce Wayne, I can't really blame him for being suspicious. The problem with this is that there really wasn't a lot of fall out to "Death of the Family" because it was almost immediately followed by Grant Morrison issue of Batman Incorporated where Damian is killed, and everybody had been working together really well in that. Fortunately, Tim's feelings are a bit more justified thanks to the events of Forever Evil.
Or, at least, they would be, if Forever Evil had actually ended at this point, but the ending has been delayed. All we know about the fate of Dick Grayson is that there's a new comic coming out where Dick Grayson is a secret agent, and in the penultimate issue of Forever Evil, Lex Luthor was killing Dick to deactivate a bomb attached to him. What happens in between?
Anyway, I still like seeing Tim in action, and hope he continues to be awesome in this series.
"Ah, just put some balm on it."
Next issue will be SPOOOOOOOOOOOOKY.
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: James Tynion IV
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes, John Layman, & Tim Seeley
Art By: Andy lcarke
Colors By: Blond
Lettering By: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover By: Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson
Editor: Katie Kubert
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger