Spoilers ahead for Detective Comics #968.
The blasts from the past just keep on coming in Detective Comics, as the latest chapter in the story of Tim Drake's return includes a reference to Hypertime. But this week's Detective Comics #968 also has a few prophecies about the future.
The issue, by James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez, concludes the title's current "A Lonely Place of Living" storyline about the return of Tim Drake from Mr. Oz's prison. In previous issues, Tim escaped from the control of Oz, but he was followed to his timeline by a future version of himself that became a brutal, gun-wielding Batman.
That Future-Tim is a character who first appeared in the Teen Titans storyline "Titans Tomorrow" by Geoff Johns and Mike McKone. In this story, it's revealed that an event in the near-future caused by Batwoman will start the series of events that leads Tim to become Batman.
As such, Future-Tim wants to prevent everything that went bad by killing Batwoman in the present.
On the way, Future-Tim has also name-dropped Conner Kent. And giving fans of the Superboy character hope - since he hasn't been seen since "Rebirth" began - young Tim Drake might not have known who Conner Kent was, but he felt something when he heard the name.
At the end of the last issue, Future-Tim activated Brother Eye, and readers are now seeing the ramifications.
The issue starts with Ulysses, who's been reprimanded by the Colony for his actions in Gotham, noticing that the Red Robin suit he's monitoring has become active. "Red Robin's supposed to be dead," he wonders aloud.
But the character's drones are picking up a signal of their own. Brother Eye is hacking them. Their target? Katherine Kane... Batwoman, in the Belfry. Ulysses is worried at first, but when he realizes that his drones are going to be able to let loose on a Bat-character, he decides to let events take their course so he can see what his toys can do.
Meanwhile, back at the Batcave, there's a battle being waged - on one side is Future-Tim, and on the other is Batman and all four former Robins.
And Future-Tim is winning. Man, this guy's good.
He insists that he's just trying to make everyone's life better. As they fight, Future-Tim starts spouting off facts about the future. Red Hood is going to discover a bone spur in his hip. Damian is going to do something terrible to "that poor Kent boy." Batman is going to die unhappy about his legacy to the rest of the Bat-characters.
Something strange starts happening to Tim - he blurs before everyone's eyes, apparently linked to his tachyon charge, as he describes it to Brother Eye. Time's running out, he says, then he activates all the Batmobiles to attack the Bat-characters so he can slip away.
Future-Tim heads to the Belfry. Present-Tim follows him.
The drones are going to get to the Belfry first. And despite Batwing's declaration that nothing can penetrate their security, Brother Eye hacks into the Belfry's system and shuts their security down.
So that blurring and tachyon stuff?
Future-Tim says it's "Hypertime."
That's a concept from the '90s that was introduced to explain the existence of other, alternate realities (in the absence, at the time, of DC's Multiverse).
Hypertime has been hinted about in other "Rebirth" stories, and this one is no different. The "Titans Tomorrow" storyline would not be another Earth in the Multiverse, but an alternate future of this main DC Earth.
The reason Future-Tim's time is limited, he says, is because "Hypertime is fighting back. The time stream doesn't want to be changed and I'm changing things."
He decides to hurry to kill Batwoman, preventing actions that she will take that - he claims - "shatter" everything he built in Gotham City.
Future-Tim says he basically has lost hope that the world can be made better. He recognizes that Present-Tim still has that hope. He believes killing Batwoman will keep that hope alive, and he tries to convince Present-Tim that the only way he can be happy (with Steph, with his college life) will be if the future is changed.
Present-Tim isn't having any of it.
Future-Tim gives him a karate-chop to the neck and knocks him out.
Man, this guy is really good.
Back at the Belfry
Batwing is trying to fix the security system while the rest of the Bat-characters are fighting drones. But Future-Tim shows up and has Brother Eye create a force field around himself and Kate.
Future-Tim says Batwoman talks like she's confident, but he has discovered that she has "no idea" what she's doing. And that she's shaping her mission to only help herself.
"You destroy people, Kate," he says. "That's all you've ever done. Piece by piece. But it's over now."
He aims his gun at Kate.
But it's hit by a batarang. It's Red Robin. Apparently he's been revived and he got through the force field somehow. It turns out that, although Tim built the computer, Batwing re-built them after Present-Tim transferred control. "Brother Eye has no power in the Belfry," Batwing announces, although he acknowledges that the Eye tech will probably hack through in about 10 minutes.
Is 10 minutes enough time for Future-Tim to kill Batwoman?
Hypertime hits hard. Future-Tim starts to fade. Batwoman and Present-Tim get the upper hand and start beating him. Man, this guy isn't that good after all.
In the meantime, Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Damian have revved up some of Bruce Wayne's older airplanes (Brother Eye having hacked all the new ones) and they're taking down drones.
Present-Tim decides to talk to his future self (instead of fighting him). He says he is aware of the sacrifices he'll have to make, but he thinks it's possible to be a "full person" and have a life filled with friends while being a costumed hero.
Future-Tim says it won't work. "You're going to see it all fall apart in your hands and it's going to destroy you," he says.
Future-Tim puts back on his cowl and disappears, warning his younger self that it's all going to turn dark sooner than he thinks.
Detective Comics #969 is scheduled for November 20, beginning a new arc titled "Fall of the Batmen."