Detective Comics writer James Tynion IV has already re-written Tim Drake's history to bring it closer to what it was before the advent of the "New 52" in 2011. Now, he's teasing the previous continuities for Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as well.
In this week's Detective Comics #980, by Tynion, Scot Eaton ,and Wayne Faucher, a combative Brother Eye reveals to both Cass and Steph various scenes from their continuity before the "New 52."
Let's take a look at how this surprise revelation went down…
Tim Drake has been possessed by Brother Eye nanotech, thanks to the evil schemes of the young villain Ulysses Armstrong. He now looks like a Batman-costume-wearing version of Brother Eye, although he claims he's still himself and able to make his own decisions.
Suuure you are, Tim.
Then again, a lot of what nanotech-Tim is saying stems from the things he learned from his future self, the gun-toting Batman from the "Titans Tomorrow" story. That character was from a different timeline. Specifically, he was from the timeline that existed before the "New 52" reboot.
And now, it appears that Brother Eye is aware of that other timeline.
Futures and Pasts
In the previous issue, nanotech-Tim had constructed a messed up version of the Belfry to serve as he and Ulysses' new headquarters. But Batman and some of his Detective Comics teammates have infiltrated.
This week's Detective Comics #980 starts with Tim invading the Gotham City Police Department, wanting to build an OMAC army out of the officers there, including Harvey Bullock and Renee Montoya.
But Batwoman shows up, specifically protecting her love interest Montoya. And readers learn that this possessed version of Tim is more than willing to kill Batwoman to get the future he wants.
He drops a Borg-ish line ("Resistance is futile") and uses some magic high-tech-y stuff to show Kate her future.
And apparently that future isn't good. She sees Colony soldiers in Wayne Manor, and apparently that future isn't good. She sees Colony soldiers invading Wayne Manor, led by a future version of herself.
Meanwhile, Batman, Cass, and Steph are inside the Belfry, with Spoiler's drones making the team invisible to Brother Eye's detection software.
Of course, that doesn't last.
Just as Spoiler is trying to hack into the Belfry's central system and free Tim from Brother Eye's influence, some OMAC'd versions of Azrael and Batwing show up.
Batman holds off the surprise visitors and Cass stands guard to protect Stephanie as she continues trying her hack.
But Brother Eye starts talking to both Cass and Steph.
And this is where things get really interesting.
Brother Eye shows images to the two women that reveal each of their identities and their long histories before the "New 52" reboot.
Of course, neither Steph nor Cass have actually been Batgirl or Robin in this timeline. Not only were their histories as Batgirl and Robin erased with the "New 52" reboot, but the two characters are now portrayed as fairly new members of the Bat-family with very little history.
But the long histories of both characters did exist before the "New 52," and those are obviously the continuities being referenced, as Brother Eye shows Steph her history as Robin, reveals scenes where Cass trained with Barbara Gordon, and shows both characters in their post-Crisis Batgirl and Robin costumes.
Brother Eye is apparently trying to weaken them, but the images end up having the opposite effect, as Cassandra is honored that she was able to wear the Bat-symbol on her chest and Steph realizes she's good enough to be an accepted part of the Bat-family.
As the issue ends, Stephanie not only completes her hack into the Brother Eye system, but she vows that the information about her alternate-past as Batgirl and Robin only strengthens her resolve to become all she can be - and to beat Brother Eye and Ulysses Armstrong.
Detective Comics #981 - the finale of James Tynion IV's run on the book - is due out May 23.