Writer: Meghan Fitzgmartin
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Cover: Ricardo López Ortiz
Variant Covers: Jorge Jimenez; Sweeney Boo; Dan Mora; Jamal Campbell; David Baldeón & Arif Prianto
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Tim has his own place, new neighbors…and maybe a boyfriend. But before he can figure that out, he has to stop a glowing, murderous orangutan.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Tim Drake: Robin #1 Review.
Tim Drake’s secret identity often feels like it has no identity. Unlike Dick and Jason he never permanently moved beyond Robin and stepped out from Batman’s shadow. But since Damian entered the picture he often feels superfluous. It’s not Batman and Robin and Robin, after all. The most noteworthy thing that’s happened to Tim since James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics run is his coming out as bisexual in URBAN LEGENDS, a choice that felt more about wanting to distinguish Tim from all the other Robins than about anything else. So my biggest question going into TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 was whether Tim Drake would be interesting when he isn’t wearing Robin’s mask.
Meghan Fitzmartin has emerged as the primary Tim Drake writer of recent memory. She wrote the arc in URBAN LEGENDS that brought Bernard back and ultimately saw Tim come out (at least to readers) as well as two short stories that appeared in the TIM DRAKE PRIDE SPECIAL that touches on him coming out to his friends. She is also the writer for DARK CRISIS: YOUNG JUSTICE which tracks Tim and others during the major event in progress in the DC universe. FItzmartin handles the writing duties on TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 and not surprisingly pulls in threads from all her other Tim Drake work. The result is a more fully realized character than I was expecting.
TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 centers on a mystery that follows up on the plot from the TIM DRAKE PRIDE SPECIAL and reveals that story’s elephant apparition to be more than a one-off, random occurrence. Tim gets to show off some of his fighting skills but most of his work as Robin is investigative, which is a nice reminder that of the various Robins, Tim was always most like Bruce in this way.
Fitzmartin spends more than a few pages introducing characters who are almost certainly going to round out TIM DRAKE: ROBIN’s supporting cast. Bernard factors in, obviously–the issue’s first scene is Tim and Bernard on a date. This leads to an opportunity for Tim to point out to Bernard his colorful new neighbors. Later on, Tim is met by Darcy, a We Are Robin initiate who also became his friend. In the course of Tim’s investigation as Robin, we also meet Detective Williams who has appeared in past Fitzmartin Tim Drake stories.
TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 also sees Tim moving out on his own to a rather surprising locale. This is justified by the somewhat cliche notion of him having to find himself away from his family.
I didn’t find this particularly compelling. Tim has generally been displayed as a fairly self-aware character. Even his decision to start dating Bernard came about with little angst and (at least so far) Fitzmartin has given no indication of second thoughts on Tim’s part. He came out to the other Bat-family characters in relatively short order. In fact, it was interactions with Batman at a Christmas-themed party that reinforced Tim’s desire to pursue his own happiness. And in the Pride Special when Tim came out to Stephanie, he ended up being conciliatory and not at all bothered by Stephanie being mad at him for not thinking of her when he was busy trying to sort out his own feelings.
In short, none of what Fitzmartin has written about Tim’s journey of self-discovery makes this story arc believable.
TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 is going to be divisive when it comes to the art. Rossmo’s art is heavily stylized, and this book feels like a radical departure in mood from anything and everything Batman. That in and of itself isn’t necessarily a drawback. Every series should have its own identity. Unfortunately, Tim isn’t just off-model here–he’s unrecognizable. Bernard isn’t any better, but we have a short history with him, so it’s less of an issue. But seeing Tim look like this in TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 at the same time he’s appearing in BATMAN (with both series occurring roughly simultaneously) is jarring, to say the least. And had I not known it was Tim, I would have identified him as a woman several times.
Loughridge’s colors, while also quite stylized, feel a little more at home in the Batman corner of the universe. With the exception of Robin’s costume, there is very little brightness in TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1. It’s a nice visual reminder of Tim’s presence and strength as Robin.
Fitzmartin does a good job weaving together Tim’s personal life and his life as Robin in a way that assuages my worries over whether the character would have any real identity. That said, the overall character arc of self-discovery seems out of place. Even so, the writing is the strong point of TIM DRAKE: ROBIN #1 thanks to Rossmo’s style ultimately proving distracting.