DC Cancels Tim Drake: Robin - DC, This is On You!
To no one's surprise, DC Comics has cancelled the first Tim Drake series in close to twenty years, Tim Drake: Robin. The series, which lasted for ten whole issues, was tanked by poor art, a confusing story and little resemblance to the classic Tim Drake we've known for years.
It's no conspiracy, DC has had no idea what to do with Tim since they created Damian Wayne and grossly gave him the Robin mantle over the Boy Wonder who actually earned it. After years of trying to make the Red Robin identity work, in recent years DC has relented and just called Tim "Robin". And it works--if you look not at his titular series, but instead at Batman (as in his own namesake title). In the Chip Zdarsky penned series, Tim is an actual sidekick and when trouble arises comes to the aid of the Caped Crusader. And not with the Bat family in tow, either--just Batman and Robin. Then, with this template, let alone the old Robin and Red Robin series from before Flashpoint, surely DC should be able to craft a great, ongoing series. No. Not even close.
The art was horrible. Why on Earth would you ever hire Riley Rossmo to do a Bat Family comic? His style just doesn't lend itself to that world. I don't know what his figures look like, but they sure as hell don't resemble humans.
Now, I've seen quite a bit of criticism of Meghan Fitzmartin, but I think she's a capable writer. This story just wasn't good. Kicking Tim to the Gotham marina with his own supporting cast of boilerplate, diverse characters didn't work. It could've been EARNED, but it feels like this was shoved down our throats. Maybe it would've been better if the art was better, but I think a more traditional storyline would have been a success. The character of Tim Drake can sell comics--if today. DC just doesn't know how anymore. (Sorry, but this could be said for a lot of their characters who are not Batman)
The bisexual storyline is fine for an attention-grabbing move. I'm fully on board. But DC screwed it up, as usual, by having Jon Kent also be bi at the same time. Then, they give them both boyfriends who are not at all interesting. If they wanted it to work, they should've given in to the internet fanboys and hooked Tim up with Connor Kent. There was certainly history between the two characters, or at least as much as there ever was that indicated Tim was anything but straight. Don't get me wrong, I would've went gay and not danced around it like they seem to want to do, but DC should've tried to match the vigilante couple vibe that Tim had with Stephanie Brown. They were equals in some ways. With Bernard, it feels like he's in the way most of the time. Connor (or gag, even Jon) would put DC's two most popular franchises together and maybe had a Wiccan/Hulking juggernaut to match Marvel. But no, like always, DC has to half-ass it.
The covers for this series were EXCELLENT. I bought almost every variant. The "A" cover usually sucked, but the variants, as I've commented previously, were above board. Look at the recent Dan Mora 90's style cover or the upcoming Serg Acuna shirtless variant. They know how do to this part of the book, you'd think they could figure out the inside parts.
In interviews, Fitzmartin teased a potential new superhero identity for Tim, but now that the series is canceled, it doesn't appear to be in the cards. He's likely destined to fall to the wayside again. For years, the Bat Family was Dick, Jason, Barbara and Damian. Tim was a maybe in some stories but absent in most. And this will, unfortunately, align with the James Gunn vision of DC as he crafts the TV and movie future for these characters. Tim will likely be seen as a redundant character and never be seen or heard of again (just like the DC Animated features). Connor Kent and Kyle Rayner are going to be right there alongside the third Boy Wonder. And that's a huge disappointment. I can't say there's anything other than Creature Commandos that at all interests me about Gunn's plans so far anyway.
But the problem of today is solely on the comics line and the poor management of the Tim Drake: Robin series. The failure is not on the fans, readers or comic shops. This sits at the doorstep of DC, who has no vision and little know-how to present Tim Drake. This wasn't hard. Getting a Robin book to sell may not be the shoe-in that it was in the 90's, but its not a character with no name recognition. Look at Tom Taylor's Nightwing. Oh, wait, that has great art--currently one of my favorite artists, Travis Moore. This failure is their fault and the sooner they figure that out, the better off all of their comic series will be.