Tim Drake. Batman’s third Robin (a title he held for nearly 20 years). A master detective with genius level intellect, a talented fighter and acrobat, and one of DC’s most popular characters. Until recently that is.
With the New 52 reboot starting in 2011, many characters and stories have changed. Martian Man-Hunter, once one of the leading members of the Justice league, was relegated to the little known “Stormwatch” for a time and currently finds himself without a book at all. And Stephanie Brown, a former Robin herself and the most recent Batgirl, seems to have disappeared completely from the new continuity. So what about Tim Drake? He is still present in Gotham City, but not like he used to be.
With Dick Grayson starring in Nightwing, Jason Todd in Red Hood and the Outlaws and Damien Wayne in Batman and Robin, Drake is the only Robin with no book to his name. What’s more, it has been revealed that Tim Drake was never Robin at all. Now known as “Red Robin”, the name he took up after the apparent death of Batman in 2008, Drake is part of the somewhat ill-received Teen Titans series. Another strange change is that Red Robin does not seem to use a bow staff, the signature weapon of Tim Drake since before he even became Robin.
A few months ago in Teen Titans Issue #0 even more shocking departures were revealed. Firstly, Tim Drake has loving, and more importantly living parents. Rather than losing both of his neglectful parents in the span of a few years, he has a pair of very proud and caring parents. The next, is that Tim Drake never actually discovers that the Dark Knight is Bruce Wayne. He gets close to the discovery, but Batman recruits him and brings him home before he figures it out for himself. That Discovery is perhaps the defining event of the original Tim Drake, convincing Batman to hire him after swearing never to take a partner again.
So in summation; The New Tim Drake was never Robin, he no longer uses his signature weapon, he has a completely different family history, and he never performed the incredible feat that made Batman hire him in the first place. With all of that change, could the character possibly be even more different? The answer, shockingly, is yes. In the last few pages of Issue #0 the most stark difference of all is revealed. After stealing a large sum of money from the Penguin, Tim’s parents are put into the witness protection program where they are given a new last name; Drake. In other words, though his first name remains Timothy his real last name is unknown.
The New 52 has surely made changes in the world of the Bat Family, but Red Robin may be the most pronounced. With no book of his own and not a lot of fan support for either his current placing or his new costume, Tim Drake may be in trouble. The current story arc of the Bat family as a whole titled “Death of the Family” promises to change Gotham drastically. If anyone in the family is actually to die, Tim Drake may just be the most likely candidate.
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