This trade paperback, War Drums, from DC collects Detective Comics #790-796 and Robin #126-128 and also serves as the prelude to 2004's Bat-title uber crossover, War Games. Whenever a gigantic crossover comes along in any of the big comic families (X-Men, Superman, Avengers, Batman, etc.) I always wait for the trade. I just never liked the concept of buying a bunch of comics I don't usually buy just to get all the parts of a story in one of the titles I read (in this case, Batman). True, this tpb doesn't actually have anything from the Batman core title collected in it, but it acts as a lead-in to War Games, which does use cross into the main Batman title so I picked it up to give it a read.
After reading it, I'm a little torn. I liked some of what was in here, and some of it I didn't. On the good side is Batman and his interactions with the new, female Robin, Spoiler. She has taken up the mantle after Tim decided to quit (I guess it had something to do with his dad not wanting him to, but it's not really explained). Seeing Batman train in a new Robin, especially one so dedicated and containing so much wit, was a real treat.
Another treat was seeing Batman working with a new character named Orpheus to set up a fake criminal organization to fill in where another gang had previously held sway. It's an interesting way to attempt to take care of the crime rate--install a leader that would answer to the Bat directly.
On the bad side is a story about a pop star and her sister's baby and another about some disease monster infecting workers at a waste treatment plant. Neither really held my interest too much. The monster story was only slightly more readable since it contained a nice guest appearance by the Tarantula. The resolution to the monster story was very obvious and just felt kind of lame.
The pop star story seemed very interesting to start, but it just couldn't hold my interest. Besides it not holding my interest, it, along with the rest of the stories, didn't seem to fit together as well as I had hoped. It was quite obvious that these stories only held a cursory connection to each other and DC simply slapped them together to make a tpb that they could sell with all the War Games hype. All in all it wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't that great of one either.