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Teen Titans #0 - Red Robin Review

4

Tim Drake gets a "New 52" retelling of his origin. The name change will be the last thing you'll be talking about now.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

The Verdict

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.

22 Comments
Posted by darth_jones

While I'm glad to see that Tim was at least interested in Batman ahead of time, I still don't like the idea that Bruce was recruiting him. That i feel like changes a lot. It lessens the impact of Jason Todd's death and it takes away Tim's detective skills and the fact that he saved Bruce from a dark path.

I think what it boils down to most is that we feel lied to. Batman was supposed to be mostly unscathed by the New 52. I think the 5 year gap has become a large source of confusion in the new universe instead of making anything simpler.

Posted by danhimself

we should have realized that the whole thing with them telling us that Green Lantern and Batman's continuity were untouched was false from the get go...there's no way that they could make so many huge changes to the characters around them and not affect GL and Bat continuity....there are characters that have played huge parts in the stories that have been erased from continuity all together...like Jade, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown...Superman, Green Arrow, Donna Troy, and other's continuity being changed has guaranteed that Blackest Night didn't happen anything like the original at all...if Final Crisis never happened then how did Bruce get stranded in time? unchanged...pffft

Posted by Outside_85

Sounds like he's been very watered down to me. First theres there name change that makes it sound like he's Secondhand Robin...the Guy Gardener of the Robins. Then theres adding gymnastics to his pre-Robin existing skills that makes him even less distinct from all the others. Then theres the bit that he's recruited for the job rather than applying for it. And finally theres the added insult to injury that Dick also ran off with Tim's claim to fame that he (as the first) linked Bruce and Batman.

So what is it that makes Tim unique now? The wings?

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

, Tim always being Red Robin is crap because it negates the very thing that made the Red Robin persona special. It was To Tim what Nightwing is to Dick and what Red Hood is to Jason. It was Tim ultimate expression, him finally utilizing his full potential following a path that walked the thin line between hero and anti-hero. With Tim immediately taking that mantle, it removes most if not all the gravity behind it. The explanation of Tim taking it to "set himself apart" is crap because Tim was always light years apart from them. He was the smart one with a non tragic past who became Robin not because someone killed his mommy and daddy but because it was the right thing to do, because Batman needed him but didn't want to admit it. He also had way more leeway than the other Robin's, taking on his own missions he had his own Rogues gallery!?! Something Dick didn't gain until After he became Nightwing and something Jason has NEVER had. But now Lobdell reasoning is "well, he's different because he was always Red now!!! A-hyuck, a-hyuck, a-hyuck"

Posted by darth_jones

@Outside_85 said:

Sounds like he's been very watered down to me. First theres there name change that makes it sound like he's Secondhand Robin...the Guy Gardener of the Robins. Then theres adding gymnastics to his pre-Robin existing skills that makes him even less distinct from all the others. Then theres the bit that he's recruited for the job rather than applying for it. And finally theres the added insult to injury that Dick also ran off with Tim's claim to fame that he (as the first) linked Bruce and Batman.

So what is it that makes Tim unique now? The wings?

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

, Tim always being Red Robin is crap because it negates the very thing that made the Red Robin persona special. It was To Tim what Nightwing is to Dick and what Red Hood is to Jason. It was Tim ultimate expression, him finally utilizing his full potential following a path that walked the thin line between hero and anti-hero. With Tim immediately taking that mantle, it removes most if not all the gravity behind it. The explanation of Tim taking it to "set himself apart" is crap because Tim was always light years apart from them. He was the smart one with a non tragic past who became Robin not because someone killed his mommy and daddy but because it was the right thing to do, because Batman needed him but didn't want to admit it. He also had way more leeway than the other Robin's, taking on his own missions he had his own Rogues gallery!?! Something Dick didn't gain until After he became Nightwing and something Jason has NEVER had. But now Lobdell reasoning is "well, he's different because he was always Red now!!! A-hyuck, a-hyuck, a-hyuck"

These.

Posted by fodigg

I like the solution that the various Robins ('red' or otherwise) were basically already primed for crime fighting. It makes them less dependent on Batman and more serendipity that he stepped in to help train them on the path they were already following, so he wasn't thrusting them into the life. Kind of like a precursor to Batman Inc.

Except for Jason. With Jason, we get the complete opposite. He's an untrained street thug manipulated into the role by the Joker, Batman offers the role to Jason without Jason even knowing he was Batman two seconds prior, and he doesn't get more than 6 months training before he's out there cracking skulls. It really lowers his connection to the Bat Family. He's got more connection to Ducra and the All Caste than to Bruce. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Posted by pspin

At least the Red Robin thing makes sense now even if people don't like it.

Posted by theTimeStreamer

pure garbage

Posted by Duo_forbidden

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

, Tim always being Red Robin is crap because it negates the very thing that made the Red Robin persona special. It was To Tim what Nightwing is to Dick and what Red Hood is to Jason. It was Tim ultimate expression, him finally utilizing his full potential following a path that walked the thin line between hero and anti-hero. With Tim immediately taking that mantle, it removes most if not all the gravity behind it. The explanation of Tim taking it to "set himself apart" is crap because Tim was always light years apart from them. He was the smart one with a non tragic past who became Robin not because someone killed his mommy and daddy but because it was the right thing to do, because Batman needed him but didn't want to admit it. He also had way more leeway than the other Robin's, taking on his own missions he had his own Rogues gallery!?! Something Dick didn't gain until After he became Nightwing and something Jason has NEVER had. But now Lobdell reasoning is "well, he's different because he was always Red now!!! A-hyuck, a-hyuck, a-hyuck"

That's how I feel as well. I don't like the fact that Tim in the New 52 is somewhat "perfect" already before he put the costume on.

Posted by timdrakerules
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.

The problem with this sentence is assuming that Lobdell--or anyone else with a hand in Tim Drake's story--HAS a plan. I submit to you that the real reason we can't be sure why Tim stopped being Batman's partner is that they haven't made it up yet.

And for the record, I don't like what they've done with Tim.

Posted by kingmiked

F*#@ Lobdell. Seriously. I have never hated a writer like I hate this man. DC Comics has lost their freaking minds by giving him so many books with characters fans love. Ridiculous.

Posted by Say_DaySawn

I know nothing of Tim Drake's original origin and I don't really have to know anymore, but I want to know so I know what's been altered.

Posted by Imagine_Man15

Honestly? I didn't think it was that bad. I prefer Tim's old origin, but I don't mind this one.

Posted by Jawshco

Tim had always been an independent and free thinking character and his previous Robin title was known for pushing the limits and discussing topics that are unusual for comic books. So the fact that, Tim CHOSE a unique name in the very beginning does fit his character and is a nice touch given what happened to Jason.

That does mean he wasn't a Robin. He still filled that same role, and wore the R on his chest and sported the cape. Tim was and is "a Robin," he just did it his own way and on his own terms. I'm okay with that - because that's who Tim is, a unique individual.

I don't see that it was Batman who recruited Tim. To me, it looked more like Tim's investigation of Batman and his training regime attracted Bruce and Alfred's attention. Alfred is the only one pushing to have Tim as the new Robin. Bruce seems opposed to it until once again Tim forces him to come to him. So if anything you could say it was a mutual interest.

I didn't like them giving the discovery of Batman's identity to Dick instead of Tim, but to be fair it Tim didn't figure out Batman's identity by watching Bruce- he figured it out by watching Dick. So if Tim wasn't at the Circus to see Dick this time around this makes a little more sense- not to.mention that this Dick spent a lot less time as Robin in nu52.

Edited by neiliusprime

I like his character in the New 52. I am even ok with him being Red Robin from the start. I just don't like how he is too perfect, with no flaws. Its annoying. Also I wish they went with Tim stating that Batman needs a "Robin" sidekick because he is still emotionally distraught from Jason's death. In this issue it makes it seems like Batman isn't that deranged from Jason's death or at least it made it seemed he was sort of over it.

Posted by BlackArmor

@Avenging-X-Bolt said:

, Tim always being Red Robin is crap because it negates the very thing that made the Red Robin persona special. It was To Tim what Nightwing is to Dick and what Red Hood is to Jason. It was Tim ultimate expression, him finally utilizing his full potential following a path that walked the thin line between hero and anti-hero. With Tim immediately taking that mantle, it removes most if not all the gravity behind it. The explanation of Tim taking it to "set himself apart" is crap because Tim was always light years apart from them. He was the smart one with a non tragic past who became Robin not because someone killed his mommy and daddy but because it was the right thing to do, because Batman needed him but didn't want to admit it. He also had way more leeway than the other Robin's, taking on his own missions he had his own Rogues gallery!?! Something Dick didn't gain until After he became Nightwing and something Jason has NEVER had. But now Lobdell reasoning is "well, he's different because he was always Red now!!! A-hyuck, a-hyuck, a-hyuck"

Well said

Posted by Booster_Bronze

I'm not sure if I read the same comic as some of the commentors. I totally read it as Batman's hand being forced into taking Tim under his wing because he had no other choice due to Tim's actions when originally spurned. Also, do we honestly NEED Tim's parents dead? I'm sorry, but the whole "They killed my (mom/dad/parents/wife/husband/brother/sister/Brother-in-Law/college roommate's second cousin twice-removed/insert slain loved one here), and I'm going to get revenge or fight the good fight because of it!" is a tad overplayed and having a family doesn't mean that the story gets held back. Hell, look at Animal Man; If anything it could enhance the story and we don't have to invent long-lost moms/dads/siblings/etc. down the road to make an avenging character seem more "human."

I don't really have a problem with this story, but to be fair, my point of view is biased because I'm not all that familiar with Tim pre-New 52 and his Red Robin series, so maybe I am missing some of the outrage here.

Posted by sethysquare

@kingmiked said:

F*#@ Lobdell. Seriously. I have never hated a writer like I hate this man. DC Comics has lost their freaking minds by giving him so many books with characters fans love. Ridiculous.

I love Scott Lobdell so much, he is the best thing that happened to dc together with Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemiere.

Posted by Suprman

The feeling I get from reading Lobdell's writing on Teen Titans and somewhat on Superboy, is that he's just writing what comes into his head and doesn't have much of a plan. And to be fair that could be DC editorial. we were told Batman's characters would remain for the most part unchanged and now we find out that's not the case. It's frustrating DC. Lobdell, the editors or both need to decide what has stayed the same from the old DCU and the DCnU and stick with it. Making changes is fine but they need to be good and well thought out, and they need to make sense. I don't like Lobdell's work and that probably won't be changing anytime soon. No offense to anyone who likes him.

Posted by BatWatch

Wow, G-Man, I think you are waaay off.

As a standalone story, your rating is perfect, but if you care at all about continuity, this issue will melt your brain.

I am a huge Tim Drake fan, and I've talked to a lot of others. Does it annoy us that Tim became "Red Robin" instead of "Robin." Sure, a little bit. It's unnecessary, but it is not a huge deal.

On the other hand, making Tim someone who is willing to risk his parents lives for the chance of becoming a partner of Batman, that is a huge change.

Here is my review: http://www.comicvine.com/teen-titans-red-robin/37-358827/user-reviews/?review_id=32144

Posted by feargalr

Pretty good, but Batman deciding to take Tim on as another Robin felt a bit forced...

Posted by tim_mik

I was angrier that they changed the story of his parents. His Dad's death was so vital to Tim's story and now it's in the witness protection program.