Once and Future Batgirls
This past week’s Detective Comics was a doozy, especially for anyone who has been one of the Batgirls. As Tim Drake has been taken over by OMAC (thanks to the General), Batman, Spoiler, and Orphan try to sneak into the Belfry. However, the General has been using tech gleaned from a Tim from an alternate timeline. OMAC-Tim decides to use this knowledge of other timelines against Spoiler and Orphan. With it, he reveals that both Spoiler and Orphan were Batgirl in the timeline the alternate Tim came from. This use of Hypertime stuns the girls, especially Cassandra (Orphan) who sees she wore the symbol of the Bat. However, Stephanie (Spoiler) has other ideas…
This storyline continues both from a past arc of ‘Tec, and a recent crossover between Super Sons, Titans, and Teen Titans. The alternate-timeline Tim caused havoc in order to prevent events in his timeline. That Tim bears resemblance to two versions of Tim Drake. The first is the Tim from the pre-Flashpoint timeline, which matches the big reveal he did. However, this Tim heavily references the Titans Tomorrow timeline, which had the Teen Titans become villainous dictators. While the latter turned out to be somewhat different, it does have a heavy pre-Flashpoint influence.
With this alternate Tim came an underused concept at DC Comics: Hypertime. Basically, Hypertime is that every story happened somehow on a main timeline or on an alternate one. This was an attempt to deal with retcons and the like. Used mainly by Mark Waid and Grant Morrison, it is not used by many others. Hence it is surprising that writer James Tynion IV used it for his Detective Comics run, as well as Peter Tomasi and others for their Rebirth arcs. But perhaps it shouldn’t be. Convergence (see some of our reviews here) brought back the concept, while planting the seeds for Rebirth.
Looking to the Future
However, this begs the question, what does the Batgirls reveal mean? CBR.com seems to think that a Batgirls title, with Barbara, Cassandra, and Stephanie sharing the cowl, is in the works, but I personally don’t think so.
A lot of Tynion’s run dealt with nostalgia. He was very much influenced by the older versions of the characters as well as the modern versions he helped create in two weekly titles: Batman Eternal and Batman & Robin Eternal. The characters constantly think about the what-might-bes and could-haves. In many ways, Tynion is holding a mirror up to older fans who love the characters but threw fits over their newer versions. Given Stephanie’s reaction on the last page, I think Tynion is going to subvert this. Tynion is going to show how nostalgia can be poisonous and sometimes we have to let it go in order to grow.
We will find out next week as Tynion’s run ends with issue #980.
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