ComplaintsI don't like the "[color] [established character name]" naming convention. I don't like "Red Hulk," or "Red She-Hulk," or "Dark Avengers" or any of that stuff. I make exceptions for characters who include a color as their full-and-unique name (e.g., Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Goldstar, Black Lightning, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary) and I can even stomach switching a color around for spinoff characters (e.g., White Canary, Red Arrow), but I hate just adding a color in front of it and acting like you're done. It seems lazy and it makes the character really seem like a second stringer. I much prefer giving them an original name (e.g., Arsenal, Oracle), letting them revive an old name from continuity (e.g., Nightwing), or letting them step fully into an established identity (e.g., Steph and Cass as Batgirl; Jason, Tim, and Damian as Robin; Wally and Bart as Flash).
I also don't like how the Red Robin mantle has been passed around from each Robin, starting as Dick's future costume in Kingdom Come, then becoming Jason's in Countdown, and then finally coming down to Tim's after he basically gets fired to make room for Damian. Now, I know it's not like Tim Drake has ever had a unique identity for himself to begin with—he's the third and arguably the fifth Robin if you count his "retirement" when Steph took over—but I feel like if you're going to "graduate" him, give him his own thing.
Finally—and this might be a local issue for me—I can't hear the name and not think of the chain of burger joints. I mean, not that I eat regularly at Red Robin, but come on now. When I see them all over the place reading it in the book is just jarring.
In the revamp, we have an opportunity that is being missed to ditch the Red Robin thing. In fact, he seems to be embracing it full-bore by busting out the Falcon wings. Well, why not just call himself "Falcon?" Why not just call himself any number of "bird" names? But alas, they want the word "Robin" in there to keep it selling. Is this how they're handling the "lost" Bat-Family members now? Red Robin? Black Bat? Pink Oracle? Ocher Alfred? I just do not like it. So what are some other options?
OptionsI think there are a couple ways DC could handle this:
- Stay with Red Robin: The "Red Robin" series was pretty well received, people are kind of used to the character name, and it has "Robin" in the title so people will know what to expect. Why rock the boat? I might be the only one who has a problem with this after all.
- Reintroduce an old moniker: AKA, the Nightwing solution. Flamebird would work, wouldn't it? Well, maybe not, but there has to be other old superhero names that Drake could pick up for himself. All the writers are into continuity porn so they might actually like the idea.
- Go name-less: The "Dr Hank Pym"-slash-"Jean Grey" solution, could Tim Drake support a book without being in costume? Probably not—even Oracle had a cool name and symbol—but it's a question worth asking.
- Swipe another franchise's moniker: The best example I can think of here is, well, Nightwing again because that was originally a Superman-franchise deal, but also I think of Renee Montoya as the new Question. Montoya was definitely a "Bat" supporting character, and still moves closely in those circles, hanging out with Batwoman and Huntress. But it worked, and worked really well. Tim Drake as "Richard Dragon?" Okay, bad example, but you get what I mean.
- Totally new name: Then my personal favorite, let him spread his wings (Note: I do not like the wings) and be his own unique character. This can be riskier, of course, but without a solo title anyway, you'd have time to introduce his new moniker in a team book and have it picked up later.
What does everyone else think? Am I the only one who dislikes "Red Robin?" What are some alternatives he could try? I'd love to see him mentoring under Ted Kord with an all-new persona. Let me know what you think!