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Robin: Month Three
We’re in the home stretch, ladies and gentledudes. We’ve explored the evolution of Dick Grayson from Robin to Nightwing. We’ve seen the life, death, and resurrection of Jason Todd, a.k.a. Red Hood. With Robin: Son of Batman set to launch next month, we’re taking time to explore the many boys-turned-men that have shaped the Robin mantle into one of the most iconic characters in fictional history. This month, we give the spotlight to Tim Drake!
Before Damian made his mark as the “true son,” Tim Drake was pegged as a fine successor to Bruce Wayne. Differing from his predecessors in the fact that he chose to join Batman in his war on crime, rather than be taken in after tragedy. Considered the most intelligent of Batman’s pupils in the now defunct Pre-Flashpoint timeline, young Drake would discover Batman’s secret identity all on his own. He came to the realization that Batman needed a Robin to keep him from falling into the darkness of Gotham.
Post-Flashpoint, Drake’s had his origin tweaked somewhat. Instead of figuring out Batman was Bruce Wayne, he comes close, (but that only counts in horseshoes and explosives.) Instead, he decides to make Batman aware of himself by crossing Penguin who proceeds to send his goons against the boy. They fail and Tim’s family is put into witness protection program, but ask that Bruce Wayne take Tim to give him a better life. Witness protection dubs him Tim Drake. So yeah, Drake isn’t his actual last name.
Oh, and Tim is actually known as Red Robin during all this. The name he continues to operate under, and Pre-Flashpoint, a name taken to honor Jason Todd, the second Red Robin (the original Red Robin was a mantle created for the Kingdom Come event and worn by Dick Grayson.)
In the latest continuity, we find Red Robin semi-retired, fighting crime over the internet a la Anonymous. Having had a falling out with Batman he flies solo now, but is seen monitoring young heroes across the planet, including Wonder Girl, Static, and Kid Flash. At some point he forms the Teen Titans (whether this is the first or latest incarnation is not entirely clear.)
Tim Drake has had an interesting history, with his association with the Batman Family. The best detective and arguably the overall smartest of the Robin’s, Tim Drake was trained by Lady Shiva and the only other person besides Bruce whom Ra’s Al Ghul referred to as ‘Detective.’ It was from Lady Shiva who taught Tim to fight with a Bo staff—an element incorporated into other versions of Robin later on.
He’s also found himself at odds with other members of the Batfamily as well as his own Titans teammates, due in-part to Batman’s use of contingency plans and the many traits he takes from his mentor. As of now, Red Robin finds himself leader of the Teen Titans.
Tim Drake is arguably one of the most well-developed characters in the Batman Family. This article has barely scratched the surface of his time, not just pre-Flashpoint but even up to now. We’ve yet to even touch on his first team, Young Justice, which formed the basis for his later costumes and friendship with Superboy (Conner Kent.)
If you’re curious to learn more about Tim Drake, there are a number of stories you’re sure to enjoy, including Red Robin: Collision and Red Robin: The Grail. If you’re ready to get more in touch with the current version of Tim Drake/Red Robin, then the Teen Titans-ongoing is the place to start. Reactions to the initial release in the New 52 were pretty varied, with most preferring the relaunch that took place in April with a new #1. Either way, he’s definitely a character worth checking out.