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Teen Titans #0 - Red Robin Review4
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
Tim Drake gets a "New 52" retelling of his origin. The name change will be the last thing you'll be talking about now.
There's been a lot of rumbling over changes for Tim Drake in the New 52. Despite having a year's worth of stories in TEEN TITANS, this is where we find out what his backstory is. What it comes down to is while there are some changes occurring, they aren't anything drastic that will forever change who is was or will be.
Scott Lobdell sets the stage in showing how Tim could have the acrobatic skills and agility to become a Robin…or perhaps we should say RED Robin. Many have been focusing on the five year time limit that JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 has put in place. Comic book time does pass by at a slower rate but by having this firm time frame, most readers will continue to dwell on it. The minor changes to Tim's story does make the shorter passage of time more believable. Because Tim was highly skilled in gymnastics, it makes sense that he could fall into whatever training Batman would eventually set up for him.
An overall theme we get is Tim wants something more in life. With this story taking place after the death of Jason Todd, we still have the same scenario where Tim is determined to uncover who Batman is and wants to apply for the job. Having Bruce be aware that this is going on also makes it more credible on his part so that he isn't simply caught off guard when a random kid shows up on his doorstep. The way it all plays out is almost like a bigger game and establishes the fact that Tim is also extremely talented when it comes to his detective skills.
The change in Tim going directly to being called RED Robin rather than just Robin is minor in comparison to the other major change in Tim's past. This, we can only assume, will come into play in future issues.
There is a big feeling that some of the changes we're seeing are recent ones. With the New 52 having been in place for thirteen months now, we shouldn't be seeing changes in continuity already. Originally, Tim was called "Robin" in the New 52. Now it's changed. It's not a gigantic change but still bothersome. It was Tim that made the decision here. It makes sense with the way the narration is setting up who Tim is and will be. I would have preferred more on Bruce's part over simply replacing Jason so quickly after his death. That would have been more convincing that Batman wouldn't just get another "Robin" in what we have to assume was a short time given the months Dick and Jason spent in their training during this five year period.
The other major change is definitely interesting but feels odd because we were unofficially told that pretty much all the previous Batman continuity was still in place (as was basically the case with Green Lantern). The New 52 is about making changes but it feels like some are being made randomly now after the original groundwork was laid out.
There's also the matter of how Tim first discovers who Batman is. It is mentioned here and there is some doubt. If it is more how it's spelled out to be, it's an unfortunate change but perhaps slightly more believable as well. Perhaps the change was made because it's not something that has been given to Dick Grayson instead.
Tim Drake was never called ROBIN. So what. Let's move on. We now see how Tim is worthy of being one of Batman's best partners. The focus on his skills as a gymnast and with computers makes the way Tim becomes Batman's partner easier to swallow. Because of the dreaded five year time period in the New 52, the way Tim becomes Robin/Red Robin and the amount of training he'd need is shortened, especially with it already established that Dick and Jason spent several months out of those five years as well. Tim was always meant to go on to bigger things. We are seeing some changes in Batman continuity now so we can't be sure why exactly he stopped being Batman's partner. We'll have to wait and see what Lobdell has planned in the telling of Tim's story in future issues.