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Thursday December 18, 2008 6:00 pm
The Evolution of Timothy Drake
I began collecting Batman comics shortly after the death of Jason Todd. I was a Marvel Zombie back then, but after seeing the first Tim Burton Batman movie I decided to give Batman comics a second look. The first issue I picked up was Batman #433 which was part one of the John Byrne storline the “Many Deaths of the Batman”. Following that storyline the “Batman” comic featured the storyline “Batman: Year Three”. This story gave an updated version of the year Dick Grayson’s parents were killed and his adoption by Bruce Wayne. In this updated version, not only was Bruce Wayne in the audience at the circus when Dick’s parents fell to their deaths, but so was a young couple with their son Timothy Drake.
After that came the storyline “A Lonely Place of Dying” which focused on a Batman enraged and out of control because of his anger and guilt over the death of the second Robin: Jason Todd. In this story a young boy enters into the life of Batman and reveals to him that he knows he is Bruce Wayne. The boy is the same boy from the circus: Timothy Drake.
In “A Lonely Place of Dying,” Batman and Nightwing are battling Two-Face and are eventually caught in a trap. Timothy (dressed as Robin) saves Batman and Nightwing. Timothy tells Bruce that Batman needs a Robin in his life to keep him grounded and sane. Bruce reluctantly begins training young Tim to become the next Robin.
Tim is very different from his predecessors. Tim is very well liked unlike his immediate predecessor, Jason who was hated by the comic book community - so much so that they voted for his death in the infamous telephone poll taken during the “Death in the Family” storyline. Tim is also not as well known by the general public as Dick Grayson is, but to many within the comic community he is more popular and interesting a character than Dick Grayson - to some he is the best of the Robins.
With the disappearance of Batman after “RIP,” there is talk of a new person to take over as Batman which we will see play out in next year’s “Battle for the Cowl.” All signs point to Nightwing becoming Batman - especially if you read the latest issue of “Detective Comics,” but after reading “Robin” #181 I’m not so sure.
Over the past few issues of “Robin” which have taken place after “RIP,” Tim has become a different person in my opinion. With the disappearance of Batman, he seems more dark and serious when it comes to the task of protecting Gotham - his personality seems much more like Bruce’s. Also in issue #181, as a result of the expolsion he was caught in at the end of issue #180, the entire back of Tim’s head is burned and disfigured. Is this a permanent thing with the character? I hope not. At the end of the issue, he finds a way to hid the scars by donning a new costume. I won’t spolit for you (it’s not a Batman costume).
Tim is my favorite supporting Batman character. I have literally witnessed his entire career and watched the character evolve from that little kid in awe of Batman, to his early solo adventures, to his evolution as a leader of the Teen Titans, to the current phase that he seems to be going through. With the death of his father and now the disappearance of his surrogate father Batman, Tim is more alone now than ever and he seems to be following in the footsteps of Bruce. Not sure if I want a brooding Tim Drake, but I’m interested in seeing where things go with him and the rest of the Bat-clan come 2009.
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