For my money Tim Drake was one of the biggest casualties of The New 52 and I’m hardly the biggest Tim Drake fan. But still that guy got the short end of the stick.
When I say that I wasn’t his biggest fan, I’m not saying that I disliked the character, I’m just saying that I quite literally wasn’t the biggest fan of the character. I hold torches for a few characters, some iconic (The Flash, Green Lantern) and some lesser known (Chase, Rond Vidar) but Tim Drake wasn’t one of them. He certainly wasn’t a character whose every appearance I felt the need to track down.
I remember when Tim Drake first appeared Batman: Year Three and watched his role expand in A Lonely Place of Dying. I totally respected how he earned the position of Robin. Batman wasn’t interested, but Tim was persistent and proved his worth. It felt like forever for that to happen. But it only took about a year for Tim Drake to go from supporting character to officially Robin.
Seeing him rescue Batman in his makeshift Robin costume was such a cool moment, because so much had lead up to that moment. Tim had put his time in working with Bruce and when the time came he saved the day.
That issue, Batman #457 was the last one book I picked up with Tim Drake for a while. I never picked up his various miniseries. I didn’t even pick up his solo title until probably the “War Crimes” storyline.
(I did read Young Justice, but the star of that book was the camaraderie.)
So while I didn’t consider myself a fan of Tim Drake, I had immense respect for the character. I loved the fact that he regarded Robin as a phase he was going through, one he’d eventually outgrow. I enjoyed that he was more cerebral than previous Robins, that he was an actual detective. I also liked that he had his own supporting cast and group of friends. He was Tim Drake, he just happened put on a costume and take the name Robin at night.
That was probably my favorite aspect of Tim Drake; that he was a normal kid whose hobby was crime fighting. When it came to characters with secret identities, Tim Drake felt like the realest.
And that’s what sucks about The New 52. Yes, as Convergence reminds us on a weekly basis, lots of our favorite characters and characterizations are long gone, but Tim Drake lost so much.
His new origin varies between convoluted and absolute rubbish, he has no life outside of being Red Robin and honestly has very little reason for existing, other than DC not wanting to offend an entire generation of comic fans.
So while a “Tim Drake” exists in The New 52 there’s very little of the essence that made Tim Drake so special. He’s very much a perfunctory character that was added to the mix “just because”, much like Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.
And honestly if you’re looking for a relatively high profile casualty in the next Bat or DCU event, I’d put money on Red Robin. He’s a decently recognizable name, whose death would cause ripples.
But in the mean time he’s the capable hands of Will Pfeifer who has turned Teen Titans into an incredibly enjoyable book. Hopefully Pfeifer will flesh out Tim Drake and infuse him with something that gives the character the vitality he used to possess.
Well, it’s Wednesday, which means new comics! So be sure to visit your local comic shop and pick ‘em up fresh, while they’re still hot.
Tags: Batman, Red Robin, Robin, Teen Titans, Tim Drake, Wednesday Comments, Will Pfeifer