By Allison Eckel
Some fans are all about one character (check out Rob Kelly’s Aquaman Shrine). I try to follow the whole DCU as though it were my soap opera. Well, it is my soap opera. And with all of the story lines and all of the characters, I am bound to have a favorite once in a while.
In the past, such faves have included Kyle Raynor as Earth’s newest Green Lantern (from Ron Marz’s creation of Kyle in 1994 to 2002, after which I lost interest), and Wally West fully realizing his potential as the Flash (Geoff John’s run on the book from 2000 to 2005). DC’s onslaught of crises since has kept me from attaching to anyone in particular.
Until now. The character I am most interested in at the moment is Tim (Drake) Wayne, currently appearing in his own title Red Robin.
Each Robin has balanced Batman in a different way, providing the salve for whatever character ills the Batman writers had gotten themselves into at the moment. Following the death of Robin #2 Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker, rumor has it that DC was unsure whether to have a third Robin at all. But then-editor Denny O’Neil wisely decided to shine a little light into the Bat Cave, and young Tim Drake was created. His Wikipedia character bio page is quite good, so if you don’t know how Tim worked his way into the Bat-Family, head over here.
In the past year, Dick has become more comfortable in Batman’s cowl and Damian is coming into his own as Robin #4. Batman and Robin continue and all is right with Gotham. But in Red Robin #12, we see that there is a greater plan. There was more to Batman’s work than nightly patrols around the city. Social maneuverings in Gotham through Wayne Enterprises and the Wayne Foundation, Dr. Thompkins’ clinic, agreements with different gangs, etc., are all part of what Bruce did daily. That’s complicated stuff. Dick is a great guy, a great team leader, and a great warrior. But he’s not bookish. That’s where Tim comes in. Tim is so bookish that he figured out Batman’s true identity at the age of nine. While Dick may be Batman’s heir in the cowl, Tim is his heir as the Detective. He proves that in Red Robin #12.
I am looking forward to reading how Tim will balance all of his own machinations – CEO of Wayne Enterprises, brokering deals with Gotham gangs, romantic tension with both Batgirl and Tam Fox, searching for Bruce – all while still being 16. Right now, he is focused and committed, but even he has seen that too much focus on this job can lead him down Bruce’s path to a sour and humorless life. This is a complicated and deep character worth following.