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Tim Drake: Robin #1, the comic review

Before I start, I have to say that TIM DRAKE is absolutely my favorite DC Comics character. I read the early adventures in Batman and eventually picked up the multiple mini-series that coincided with it. I've got everything since then including One Year Later, the Red Robin period, the New 52 reboot version and the most recent Rebirth era. I've long been critical of DC's handling of Tim, so I was excited when he appeared in live action (in the form of the wonderful Jay Lycurgo) and even took a sidekick spot on the most recent Batman run. Heck, I'll even take his starring role in the Young Justice runs. But none of that compares to having your own comic book and that came last week in the form of Tim Drake: Robin! This book is taking a beating online (admittedly largely from homophobic, middle-age comic book YouTubers), but it's not without it's issues. Here is my take:

The Story: Written By Meghan Fitzmartin, this sets out to be a mystery that lets Tim use his detective skills (right up their with Batman himself). However, the story spends a lot of time establishing Tim's relocation to the Gotham Marina and his new home, a house boat. Also, this seems to be an LGBTQ hotspot. Okay, but what about the mystery and the murders? It has something to do with a villain who can project holographic characters from some kind of disks or something. Tim's love interest Bernard makes an appearance, as does a hard-of-hearing We Are Robin team member (I did like the name Sparrow, though). The whole thing was paint by numbers with no real resolution and honestly pretty boring. Hopefully, this story is going somewhere, but it feels like a slice-of-life story set in Gotham Marina? Oh, and let's not 1) rename Tim to no longer be Robin or 2) give him another stupid suit. You finally got this right, DC!

The Art: The art was done by Riley Rossimo. As I write this, I'm trying to come up with a way of critiquing the art style without attacking the artist. Rossimo's work is very stylized and can, and has, worked for DC in some cases--but not here. It ruined this book. Tim Drake looks like a walking peanut most of the time. The art is horrible for a Batman book. How could DC possible select Rossimo for this tasks after the excellent work of Belen Ortega most recently or any of the great artists from the 90's Robin run? I assume they're trying to go for an all-ages, Scholastic paperback-style book with Robin: Tim Drake, as well as Batgirls, but it just doesn't work. And I'm concerned that sales will suffer because of this poor gamble. I believe the solicits for issue #4 have a new artists, so here's hoping we go in a new direction.

The Elephant: I'll reiterate my theory that DC is going to the Scholastic crowd here to bring in new readers. And gay readers, but I'll get into that in a second. Ultimately, I think they are missing the boat (or boat house, like Tim's) with readers like myself who love the Tim Drake character from pre-Flashpoint. And I clarify early on that doesn't mean any of the "new stuff" needs to be undone or retconned away. But that goes for the old stuff, too. The path that they have take Tim is extremely disappointing--but not in the way you might think I mean. To start off, I'll set aside Tim's age. I think he's supposed to be somewhere between 18-20-ish. New 52 and Rebirth have screwed with character's ages so much, I can't keep track and honestly it doesn't matter at this point. Since he's moving out, we'll go with 20. So why, does he look like he's 12? In some art, not Rossimo's cause here he looks like the son of Mr. Peanut, but in other recent books he looks younger than Damian. I'll note the current Batman run with Jorge Jimenez gets it right. Secondly, I think it's great that DC made him bi/gay. I'm lukewarm on Bernard (TimKon all the way) and I never cared for Spoiler at all. This new characteristic adds a layer of diversity to an already great character. However, the current writer seems to think that means the gay layer has to neutralize everything we've come to love about the third Boy Wonder! Are you kidding me? DC had an opportunity to show a Robin who was as skilled in detective work as Batman, has fighting skills that can take on the League of Shadows, is part of a super team when not fighting along Batman himself, is a tech genius, is stoic and analytical, pretty handsome, can be quirky/nerdy and, yes, just also happens to be gay. That is the Tim Drake I want to read. I'm grateful that DC even put out a Tim book, but they have to do better. All I can say is this is horrible. I'm trying to support it--I bought almost every variant, but DC has to meet me half way and give me something worthy of my money. A few great covers (I love that One Year Later red suit version!) doesn't cut it.

Now, here's a final thought. I've been looking at some of the art from the Bronze Age. Spider-Man, Batman, etc. My mind goes to Jose Lopez Garcia, but I know there are many others. That style is unique by today's standards and yes, sexy. Look at Dick Grayson's better side. You want gay readers, give me 22 pages of that! I give it two batarangs out of five.


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