Super Types

July 7, 2013

Character Spotlight: Tim Drake Part 1

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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Tim Drake

What kind of person puts together who Batman and Robin are when they are 9 years old? Tim (I took out so many swears in this article) Drake. The third Robin to the Bat, the best Robin, heir to the mantle of Red Robin (the hero not the restaurant). The boy detective who lived the dream of many a fan of Batman and Robin many only can imagine. Who is this child prodigy? This young detective? Let’s find out.

Born of wealth that put him in the same social circles as that of Bruce Wayne, Timothy Jackson Drake was only a toddler when his parents took him to the circus to watch the amazing Flying Grayson’s perform. He’d get his photo taken with the family, being held by young Dick Grayson. Tim would watch marvels of acrobatics not performed by any other acrobat in the world that night. This was also the tragic night in which the Flying Graysons became only one, when young Tim saw, Dick’s parents fall to their deaths due to foul play.

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Tim, his costume, and the tools of the trade.

Years later, while watching the death defying dynamic duo of Batman and Robin, Tim would notice something that could not be coincidence. Robin, the Boy Wonder, performed an aerial manuever that Tim had seen only once before and knew that only one person could do, Dick Grayson’s skills had revealed his identity to Tim. Able to piece together that if Dick Grayson was Robin then his adoptive father, Bruce Wayne had to be Batman. Tim was only 9 when he did this bit of detective work, remember something from when he was maybe 3-4 years old. What were you doing at 9? Learning basic math? Get out of here. To give you some perspective, Bruce Wayne was 8 when his parents died in front of his eyes. He was just getting into a year of study on his path when Tim was already doing major detective work.

As time went on Tim would notice that after the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, that Batman was acting erratic and came to the realization that Batman needs a Robin. Tim found Dick Grayson in Gotham’s neighbor city of Blüdhaven, having set up shop there as Nightwing. The two were able to solve a mystery together, impressing Dick in the process. When Tim requested Dick return to being Robin, Grayson refused since he’d grown beyond being Robin and had already established a life in Blüdhaven. Grayson believed that he could help Batman as Nightwing and when the two returned both Batman and Nightwing were trapped by Two-Face.

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Donning an old Robin costume, Tim would go and try and rescue Batman and Nightwing. Alfred’s assistance enabled 13 year-old Tim to save the duo and impress Batman. Impressed or not, Batman was hesitant to allow another young person to get involved in his war on crime since one casualty was one too many. He saw the potential in the boy and decided he would require plenty of training. During his the tail-end of his training, Tim’s mother was murdered and his father left in a coma and paralyzed by the villain Obeah Man. Instead of being enraged into revenge, Tim rededicated himself to doing what was right. He showed this by saving Batman and Vicki Vale while stopping the Scarecrow, I think we can all agree that one of the best ways is to grieve is to save Batman’s life and defeating one of his rogues.

To further Tim’s training and help him with his confidence, Batman sent him abroad to learn from other great masters. In Paris, Tim would team up with Lady Shiva (Cassandra Cain’s mom!) to take down King Snake (Bane’s dad!) gaining his collapsible staff during this adventure. (Tim had an adventure I like to call “Parents’ Night!”) After defeating King Snake, Shiva told Tim to kill but he refused and returned to Gotham knowing that he’d done the right thing.

Tim was in the video game Arkham City and playable in DLC.

Tim was in the video game Arkham City and playable in DLC.

Having killed the last Robin, Joker wanted to keep the rhythm going so he attempted to kill Tim. Joker didn’t plan on Tim being so smart (he’s used to the more physically adept Robins) and Tim was able to outsmart the Joker. Evenutally, Tim’s dad would awaken from his coma, instead of his normal life of being work oriented all this tragedy caused him to re-evaluate his focus onto his son. When you’ve just become the sidekick to one of the biggest superheroes in the world, having your dad want to spend time with you is a real mixed blessing. Tim would have a tough balancing act that would often make him a great Robin but negligent son.

Tim would begin dating a girl named Ariana right around the time that the Cluemaster began a new wave of crime. As Tim investigated Cluemaster, he noticed someone dressed in all purple that was following the criminal. What was originally thought to be an accomplice, Tim would learn was Spoiler, aka Stephanie Brown, the daughter of Cluemaster who was dedicated to ruining her father’s plans. This was just the beginning of these two working together.

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When Bane broke everyone out of Arkham to begin his plan of breaking the Bat, Tim was busy getting rid of villains like the Mad Hatter and Riddler. When Batman had his spine broken, Tim was quick to fake a car accident for Bruce Wayne so there was an explanation to the man’s need for a wheelchair. Even though Tim thought Dick Grayson should be Batman while Bruce recuperated, he was voted down and Jean-Paul Valley, the vigilante Azrael, would be chosen to take the mantle.

Tim would do his best to try and get Azrael acclimated as Batman but that was an uphill battle that no one could win (Especially writers, hey oh! I’m sorry.) Tim not only had the mess of helping Azrael but he now had two father figures who were bound in wheelchairs due to super-villains. Worse yet, with Bane having figured out who Batman was meant he knew who Robin was, by the time they were able to get to Tim’s house his father was gone and the house ransacked. Bruce and Alfred went to find Tim’s father and help Bruce recover, leaving Tim with Azrael trying to be Batman.

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Azrael was pushing Tim away and he did not fight back for long, taking out on his own and having his own mini-cave with his own vehicles and gadgets ready to fight crime similar to Batman’s methods instead of Azrael. While working on his own Tim was still trying to date the girl Ariana while Spoiler would flirt with him as Robin, it was very similar to Spider-Man with Mary-Jane and Black Cat. That may be one of the fun parts of Tim Drake as Robin, he was effectively Spider-Man but in the Bat-family and wanted into this life so he wasn’t reluctant to the difficulties. Once Batman returned no longer needing a wheelchair and having Tim’s dad with him, life got a bit less solo for the Boy Wonder.

Tim not only had his father figures back but due to some bizarre events, young Dick Grayson had arrived through time when he was still Robin. The two would work together and Tim had to be careful not to effect Dick’s knowledge of future events. Though Batman had come back fully able, Bruce stepped down shortly and Dick did take over so Tim and Dick had a short but enjoyable period as Batman and Robin. By the time Bruce took over the mantle again, Tim had noticed that Dick and Bruce had a much better friendship than they had when he’d started as Robin.

Tim Drake bruce-timm

Due to her family moving away, Ariana would come to live in secret with Tim. This would all come out when Tim would also learn that his father had been dating his physical therapist. Tim would use his crime fighting as a way to handle the stress back home, he’d team up with the likes of Green Arrow (Oliver Queen’s son at the time) and Wildcat while facing off against folks like Catwoman, Firefly, and Maxie Zeus.

When Gotham City was declared a No Man’s Land by the U.S. government, Tim’s dad moved the family to Keystone City (home of the Flash) to keep them safe. This long distance, plus his growing feelings for Stephanie Brown, would have Tim and Ariana realize they should end their relationship. Just as soon as Tim had started hanging out with Stephanie in any capacity as a sort of boyfriend, Stephanie had announced she was pregnant from a prior boyfriend. Tim handled this whole situation like a boss, helping Stephanie out whenever she needed him, they’d go to Lamaze classes with Tim in his Alvin Draper (like Batman’s Matches Malone identity). Tim would work with The Flash in Keystone and the two would take down Riddler and Captain Boomerang. As a favor, The Flash was able to bring Tim to be there for Stephanie as she gave birth, LIKE A BOSS.

Tim would found the team, Young Justice alongside Impulse (a future descendent of Barry Allen, the second Flash) and Superboy (the clone that was half-Superman/half-Lex Luthor, way ahead of you Tumblr) Tim would be chosen as leader. Finishing out No Man’s Land, Tim would make allies with Harvey Bullock of the Gotham  Police force and the new Batgirl, Cassandra Cain.

One time, Batman became a kid and Robin became an adult and they had to switch costumes.

One time, Batman became a kid and Robin became an adult and they had to switch costumes.

Alright folks, here’s the deal, Tim Drake is pretty great and we’re only about half way through his story. So I think we take a break here, and meet back in a few weeks to finish this guy’s story off. I don’t want to rush this and Tim deserves his story told in full. Until then, remember Tim Drake is amazing and we’d all be lucky to be half as good as him.

Suggested Reading

Robin

Batman #436

Young Justice

Alexander Bustos

drbustos@comicattack.net

 

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5 Comments


  1. Leo

    I checked out the moment you referred to Tim as “the best Robin”.


    • Adan Rodriguez

      Tim was the best Robin. You just aren’t familar with the previous Robin handlings.

      The modern template for Robins you see NOW (Batman the Animated Series, Teen Titans cartoon especially comes off like Tim Drake more than Dick Greyson, Young Justice, and etc.) are modeled after what was done on Tim Drake’s solo book series. For instance, Young Justice the TV show that aired shows a competent extremely smart Robin. Dick Greyson and Jason Todd Robins were NOT handled like this back before the 90’s when Tim Drake debuted. It was Tim’s book series that showed that a solo acting Robin can work alone without the need for Batman to be around all the time.

      He set the mold for modern Robins (Except Stephanie and Damien which are both very different). Even Terry McGinnus in Batman Beyond is in a LOT of ways resemblance of Tim Drake with the way he juggles civilian life and love (like Tim and Ariana) with being the Batman (Tim as Robin). Terry in no way acts like Dick Greyson even though he does get help from Bruce.

      With Dick, Batman was always around. It was Batman and Robin the dynamic duo. Dick became a great character and solo hero AFTER he left the Robin character and became Nightwing.

      Jason Todd would solo but would not be very competent without help as shown when he first met Nightwing and botched a bust of a crime lab.



  2. Dude isn’t allowed to have an opinion about who he thinks the best Robin is? lol



  3. Awesome spotlight for an awesome character! AND YES, TIM DRAKE IS THE BEST ROBIN! (sorry all you fans of Dick)


  4. Eli

    Yep, Tim is the best. Dick is almost as cool, but he’s still second to me. Tim’s series, Red Robin, developed his character pretty well.

    However, as Dick reminded Tim, he has dated Starfire. We can’t ever forget that.



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