The story goes something like "Tim Drake never was Robin. He went directly to being Red Robin and had, seemingly, much more operational independence from the Dark Knight." This was, at least on the surface, a tactic designed to give DC some breathing room on the number of Robins that Batman could have had in the extremely nebulous five year period that precedes Batman issue 1, particularly as it comes to Bruce's mourning time for Jason Todd.
We've never been shy about our thoughts on the paradox-inducing nature of this five-year limit, and books like GREEN LANTERN CORPS issue 0 ,which take place in the much more sliding-timeline friendly era of "Before," are giving creative teams some breathing room, but it now seems like DC is rewriting their already young history in order to accommodate it with edits and full-on excisions happening in the trade paperback of TEEN TITANS. There was a very simple, elegant solution to this problem: have a looser idea of what you wanted to do with the relaunch. Which is what DC seems to have realized and seems to be the direction they're going in
I'm not going to bury DC's decision under a pile of derisiveness and cries of creator oppression because, frankly, I think a little wiggle room is exactly what they've needed since JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 introduced the whole 5 years ago notion. What I am going to do is point out that in order to avoid what they believed to be a massively alienating move, they claimed that was always was and is a reboot/relaunch/retcon...wasn't.
As a result, fans were left with nothing to believe but that 10-20 years of continuity were being flushed and many were...vocal about their dislike of it, to say the least. Those same fans, by and large, accepted the New 52 with open arms, making the first several issues the highest selling single books in the industry. I’m also not going to argue that DC was in any way openly deceptive when they inserted references to Tim Drake being Robin or founding an incarnation of the Teen Titans, I’m going to say that they honestly hadn’t considered the ramifications of their plan.
While editing a book to fit a new narrative may seem duplicitous, even despicable, the first thing to keep in mind is that this is a “for hire” project, and the owning company can legally make any changes they deem necessary, particularly if it serves their new narrative. Fortunately, the book’s own writer appears to, at the very least, be on-board with the changes as he’s still writing TEEN TITANS (and is filling the writer’s role on SUPERMAN) as well as promoting DC’s narrative that Drake was always Red Robin, going into details on this very site as to how Tim Drake’s role would shake out in DC’s relaunched product.
There's been much made of the role of editors in comics over the last month or so, with some high-profile resignations causing a stir in a group of people who may not have even known precisely how much power editorial wielded over the creative teams whose names appear on the covers of the books, and the editors are assuming the roles, at least in the court of public opinion, of the ever-loathed "studio executives" who focus-group and edit movies from artistic works of unbridled brilliance into an inoffensive gray sludge. But ironically, studio heads have also intervened and saved movies that are considered classics, most notably the original Alien, which not only starred an impossible giant worm as the titular beast, but lacked the character Ellen Ripley, instead casting a male lead. That's right: one of the most powerful female characters in the male-dominated sci-fi realm as well as an enduring feminist symbol, almost wasn't even in the movie but for the studio demanding it. So too can "The Editor" bring a sometimes-much-needed outside perspective on what isn't working in a title.
Again: I'm not thrilled with the practice of changing dialog from issue to trade, though this is nothing new for the industry, but if DC had been a little looser with the timeline in the first place, it wouldn't have been necessary, so the notion that they somehow need a plan and must stick to it regardless of external or internal motivating factors has already proven to be a ruinously poor idea. The appearance of Pandora, the mysterious woman-in-red, would seem to imply that DC had given themselves an out if the whole New 52 hadn't taken off, but now that it has, she's getting more involved with proper storylines. It never hurts to give your creative teams an out should they find themselves painted into a corner, whether through their own negligence or, much more likely, happenstance and unfortunate timing.