Tim's (non)growth in The New 52...

Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

Tim Drake hasn't been able to embrace a solo identity the way Dick did with Nightwing. Why? He was surely about to in the pre-Flashpoint Red Robin series, but the great majority of that book built upon the idea that Tim was Red Robin because he had to be in order to find Bruce, and it wasn't until the very last arc where we actually saw Tim getting comfortable with his new role. And, of course, the cancellation and rebooting didn't help matters; in the New 52, it seems Tim has remained a stagnant character, unable to really continue in his evolution to a solo hero.

When I originally heard that Tim would be in the Titans book, I knew that this would happen. However, I soon became hopeful that Tim's characterization would develop and he'd be allowed to mature within the Titans book, because, frankly, there's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. After reading the first few issues (full disclosure: I stopped reading the book at issue 6), it became clear that Tim's character was not going to receive any of the exploration that I think he deserves. The main reason for this is that, like many DC characters, he's been stripped of many of the things that made him unique and interesting.

The main thing lost in DCnU Titans is the camaraderie--the feeling that these characters (sidekicks most of them) have grown up together and are constantly trying to be these larger-than-life people while struggling with woes of being young. Making it so that the Titans were brought together for the first time in issue 1 strips them of their charm as a team. Conner and Tim's relationship is just a much-worse version of the same problem. These two characters had been through so much together and had such a strong friendship that it became part of who they were and was reflected well in solo titles (see Red Robin (pre-FP) and Adventure Comics).

Tim has also suffered from the ambiguity surrounding his relationship with Batman in the New 52. The connections that have been provided has been very superficial and, for the most part, felt cheap and poorly done. There's been very little attempt to lay out a specific timeline for the Bat-universe and to make it known where which characters fit in and how they got where they are today, but Tim has fared the worst out of the group because of this. He's the one that barely feels like he is, or ever was, a part of the Bat-family and the lack of a strong connection to Bruce renders his character generic and boring.

Like many characters in The New 52, Tim's history and characterization has been totally boiled down to the point of making the character seem unfamiliar and unremarkable. This is the result of a total lack of backstory, which in itself is a result of a destruction of the shared history of the DCU. To give credit where credit is due, I do feel like his personality traits have been preserved--certainly better than some other DC characters.

However, Tim is different from many others in that he was just coming into his own when the DCU was rebooted. We were in this period of immense growth and in the midst of watching Tim come into his own in the same way that we watched Dick become Nightwing, and the reboot seems to have totally stunted that growth and damaged the character. Before the reboot, Tim had a reason to strike out on his own. He had a motivation to out-grow the Robin identity that went well beyond Dick telling him he was taking on Damian. His search for Bruce molded him into a man and he came face-to-face with many of his 'demons' during the journey. For three years (2009-2011), readers watched as Tim was launched into a situation which he didn't know how to handle, and we watched him adapt, make the hard choices, and become a true hero in his own right, and--more importantly--he proved himself to be the heir to the throne of greatest detective. His role as Batman's apprentice had come full-circle, and instead of capitalizing on that, DC washed it all away, instead opting to make Tim into a generic 'smart kid' and leader of a team of youngsters. Its a total devolution of the character and real shame.

Will we ever see Tim grow into his role in The New 52 the way we did in the old DCU? Probably not, or at least not until (1) the universe is rebooted, or (2) a lot of time passes. My hope is that we'll see more of Tim in the Bat-books and get some decent character development there (Kyle Higgins will be writing him in Nightwing soon, so hopefully he'll do him justice), and maybe we'll get a solo title with a good writer to explore Tim's character, even if it has to be within the confines of the The New 52 universe.

#1 Posted by RainEffect (3240 posts) - - Show Bio

I just got home from work, t'is 10:33pm so forgive me for not reading your entire blog. I, however, did read the last paragraph, and that is enough to make me want to hug you.

So...

Come here, sir, let me love you.

#2 Posted by hectorsquall (1137 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow! Beautiful blog and I agree with everything you said

#3 Posted by josai21 (68 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll be completely honest, Scott Lobdell ruined Tim Drake for me. Not only that, he ruined the characters he is currently writing in the Teen Titans comic. It honestly feels like a form of character assassination.

Starting with Connor, did we really have to go the emo route? One of the things I always enjoyed about Connor was that he carried a joy about himself. He was a generally happy character. Heck, most of the Teen Titans before the reboot were in general happy characters. Sure you got the angst over Connor's death and such, but there was still this sense of purpose beyond themselves. Lobdell's titans have none of this.

Which brings me to Cass. Cass's character has gone from a Heroic Woman of virtue to a punk thief who is almost entirely self-absorbed. Very little altruism in the current rendition. This version of Cass is....crass.

Solstice, Bunker, and Kid Flash seem ok, but it seems it is only because Lobdell generally likes their characters.

And now for the reason for the blog. Tim Drake. Nicieza and Yost wrote Tim perfectly. He truly was coming into his own as Sesposito said. I am a younger comic book reader, only recently began getting into them 5 or so years ago. The Robin and Red Robin comics were what hooked me. I loved the story of Tim Drake and it was truly awesome the growth he experienced. Growth which has been destroyed by the New 52 and Scott Lobdell.

All in all, we can only hope that a Solo title will arise and restore Tim's character. Because under Lobdell, Tim is going to remain a stagnant and dull character.

#4 Posted by The_Tree (7477 posts) - - Show Bio

Spot on. Very well done, this blog conveys everything I feel about the character currently. And I too hope that Tim will be given another chance to flourish, and grow into his own like he was doing previously.

Online
#5 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

Sir I would like to shake your hand. Brilliant blog

#6 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

@RainEffect: @hectorsquall: @josai21: @BlackArmor: Thanks, guys, for reading and the kind words. Hopefully, DC will notice that Tim has a huge following that is not happy and get someone to take him in a better direction than he has since September.

#7 Posted by jrock85 (2874 posts) - - Show Bio

@sEsposito7: Well, getting him away from Scott Lobdell would be a step in the right direction.

#8 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

@jrock85 said:

@sEsposito7: Well, getting him away from Scott Lobdell would be a step in the right direction.

Agreed.

#9 Posted by Durakken (1593 posts) - - Show Bio

I disagree in one fundamental aspect... Tim hasn't just not grown. He regressed. Tim drake has ALWAYS been a solo character. When Batman and Robin are together it is not Hero and side kick. It was Mentor and Apprentice. Red Robin's final issue was in Batman's eyes Tim's final test to becoming a "knight" as it were. Some might contend with me on this point, but Tim is the only male Bat family member that has reached that level. Nightwing, while Bruce says he has nothing left to teach him, it doesn't mean there is nothing more for Dick to learn or in places he needs to grow and every test that Nightwing has been put through he has failed. Same with Jason and Damian. They've not graduated.

On the other side of the gender line, Barbara Gordon, also has been kicked down the latter as she also grew from "apprentice" to Master. This dynamic is fairly interesting as it seems that the ones who have "graduated" are the 2 who were those who chose the hero life instead of being raised in it.

But that's all lost in the "new 52" as their growth and such has been completely taken away so it's not as bad as you make it out to be. It is worse.

#10 Posted by josai21 (68 posts) - - Show Bio

@Durakken said:

I disagree in one fundamental aspect... Tim hasn't just not grown. He regressed. Tim drake has ALWAYS been a solo character. When Batman and Robin are together it is not Hero and side kick. It was Mentor and Apprentice. Red Robin's final issue was in Batman's eyes Tim's final test to becoming a "knight" as it were. Some might contend with me on this point, but Tim is the only male Bat family member that has reached that level. Nightwing, while Bruce says he has nothing left to teach him, it doesn't mean there is nothing more for Dick to learn or in places he needs to grow and every test that Nightwing has been put through he has failed. Same with Jason and Damian. They've not graduated.

On the other side of the gender line, Barbara Gordon, also has been kicked down the latter as she also grew from "apprentice" to Master. This dynamic is fairly interesting as it seems that the ones who have "graduated" are the 2 who were those who chose the hero life instead of being raised in it.

But that's all lost in the "new 52" as their growth and such has been completely taken away so it's not as bad as you make it out to be. It is worse.

I agree with this entirely.

#11 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@Durakken: Interesting, I never thought of it like that, I have to disagree about Tim being the only male bat sidekick to graduate but I am inclined to strongly agree that both he and Barbara have regressed

#12 Posted by Durakken (1593 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor said:

@Durakken: Interesting, I never thought of it like that, I have to disagree about Tim being the only male bat sidekick to graduate but I am inclined to strongly agree that both he and Barbara have regressed

I understand that people think that Dick has "graduated" because he left Bruce and yatta yatta yatta, but I would argue that Dick is still a Squire (where as Jason is no longer on the Knight hierarchy) but has failed at that proving himself worthy in the Dark Knighthood. Yes he has proven to be a valuable Squire, as many of Batman Inc Batmen have, but in the end they, and he, just don't have that certain something for that particular Knighthood. Tim on the other hand it could be said he has become a Dark Knight in the pages of Red Robin with his recognition from Ra's and that "test" in the final issue where he completely sets up every chance for him to take Boomerang out, but then doesn't. If one views this as the "dubbing" of Tim as a Dark Knight then we can look into the history of Dick, Jason, Barbara, Cassandra, and Stephanie and we can say Dick and Jason have failed this test not once but multiple times. While Cassandra and Stephanie aren't ready for that test and Barbara passed it with her becoming Oracle and having as much power as she has and being able to do what she was able to do, but not doing it.

So in terms of the Legacy of the Bat, the Dark knighthood, whatever you want to call it, it can easily be said that Tim and Barbara have surpassed the others and have become figures in their own right, as "Knights"

Dick and Jason on the other hand you'd have to say they are no longer on that path or have failed it. That doesn't mean they haven't "graduated" though if you mean into a Knight like figure. You could argue that, we the readers, writers, whatever have to decide collectively do they deserve their "own" Legacy, their own Knighthood. It could be said we dubbed the Dark Knight so shouldn't we also be able to dub others too.

#13 Posted by Funrush (1369 posts) - - Show Bio

@sEsposito7 said:

(Kyle Higgins will be writing him in Nightwing soon, so hopefully he'll do him justice),

Actually, according to solicits (I assume it's issue 12 you're referring to) it says that it's going to be Robin, as in Damian, not Tim.

#14 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@Durakken said:

I understand that people think that Dick has "graduated" because he left Bruce and yatta yatta yatta, but I would argue that Dick is still a Squire (where as Jason is no longer on the Knight hierarchy) but has failed at that proving himself worthy in the Dark Knighthood. Yes he has proven to be a valuable Squire, as many of Batman Inc Batmen have, but in the end they, and he, just don't have that certain something for that particular Knighthood. Tim on the other hand it could be said he has become a Dark Knight in the pages of Red Robin with his recognition from Ra's and that "test" in the final issue where he completely sets up every chance for him to take Boomerang out, but then doesn't. If one views this as the "dubbing" of Tim as a Dark Knight then we can look into the history of Dick, Jason, Barbara, Cassandra, and Stephanie and we can say Dick and Jason have failed this test not once but multiple times. While Cassandra and Stephanie aren't ready for that test and Barbara passed it with her becoming Oracle and having as much power as she has and being able to do what she was able to do, but not doing it.

So in terms of the Legacy of the Bat, the Dark knighthood, whatever you want to call it, it can easily be said that Tim and Barbara have surpassed the others and have become figures in their own right, as "Knights"

Dick and Jason on the other hand you'd have to say they are no longer on that path or have failed it. That doesn't mean they haven't "graduated" though if you mean into a Knight like figure. You could argue that, we the readers, writers, whatever have to decide collectively do they deserve their "own" Legacy, their own Knighthood. It could be said we dubbed the Dark Knight so shouldn't we also be able to dub others too.

I'm not the one to argue for Dick or Jason having graduated to knight status, somebody like Revamp could do a much better job of it but i do know that Dick at least has surpassed many of the test that have been presented to him and I think that successfully guarding a city solo for years, being Batman, leading 2 incarnations of the JL should definitely qualify him. You also have to remember that Bruce thinks Tim failed the test in the final issue of Red Robin even though I feel that he's qualified in other places

#15 Posted by The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere (33 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor: I don't know, I have to agree that Dick is the most qualified to be dubbed a Knight, by my standards anyway. But then again, I'm not sure what is the exact criteria for "graduating" to a Knight even is. But I'd definitely say the fact that he actually took on the mantle of Batman for a while should give him something. I do think that if (pre-boot) Tim hadn't graduated, he certainly deserved to. He is the closest in my eyes to being Bruce. He definitely has the detective skills and leadership ability. I think it should be noted that Dick isn't on the same path to Knighthood as the rest. Nightwing is a separate hero in his own right. Nightwing is a hero in ways that Bruce could never be, and although he didn't exactly succeed in "guarding" Bludhaven, wasn't it established that Haven was in an even worse state than Gotham?

#16 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@Funrush said:

@sEsposito7 said:

(Kyle Higgins will be writing him in Nightwing soon, so hopefully he'll do him justice),

Actually, according to solicits (I assume it's issue 12 you're referring to) it says that it's going to be Robin, as in Damian, not Tim.

I think he's referring to Higgins repeatedly stated interest in having Tim eventually guest star even if the crossover has yet to be officially announced

@The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere said:

@BlackArmor: I don't know, I have to agree that Dick is the most qualified to be dubbed a Knight, by my standards anyway. But then again, I'm not sure what is the exact criteria for "graduating" to a Knight even is. But I'd definitely say the fact that he actually took on the mantle of Batman for a while should give him something. I do think that if (pre-boot) Tim hadn't graduated, he certainly deserved to. He is the closest in my eyes to being Bruce. He definitely has the detective skills and leadership ability.

Agreed with all of this

I think it should be noted that Dick isn't on the same path to Knighthood as the rest. Nightwing is a separate hero in his own right. Nightwing is a hero in ways that Bruce could never be,

This is a little more debatable, Nightwing is certainly a different man than Bruce and I'd say all the Robins have lead different paths in recent years except Damian who is still the sidekick. But if path of Knighthood refers to how they go about heroing and stuff I'd say that despite their differences Dick is the one who sticks closest both to how Bruce operates and to his moral guide lines.

and although he didn't exactly succeed in "guarding" Bludhaven, wasn't it established that Haven was in an even worse state than Gotham?

I'd say he succeeded in guarding Bludhaven to a certain extent, sure it was blown up but if the same thing had been attempted on Gotham I don't think Batman could have stopped it, I think the disaster was out of Nightwing's hands and so I don't see it as his failure. Bludhaven both was and wasn't more dangerous than Gotham, it depends on the author, it's been stated time and time again that Gotham is the absolute most dangerous and it's also been stated once or twice that Bludhaven is more dangerous since these times were written by different writers and were all equally canon pre reboot it all depends on who you as a fan wants to believe.

#17 Posted by Durakken (1593 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor said:

I'm not the one to argue for Dick or Jason having graduated to knight status, somebody like Revamp could do a much better job of it but i do know that Dick at least has surpassed many of the test that have been presented to him and I think that successfully guarding a city solo for years, being Batman, leading 2 incarnations of the JL should definitely qualify him. You also have to remember that Bruce thinks Tim failed the test in the final issue of Red Robin even though I feel that he's qualified in other places

Dick didn't "successfully" guard Bludhaven lol. He was forced into being Batman, showing a weakness of character. I don't know about his time as leader of the JL, but I also think that Dick would never have been put in that position if other knew about how much and how often he crosses the line.

Bruce doesn't think Tim failed that test in my opinion as someone who has a vastly different view on the Bat characters due to reading modern canon in a much shorter time than most people which gives me a different view on its canon. In the pre-Flashpoint universe one of the more recent stories about what happened to the Murderer of his parents Bruce did the same thing Tim did (somewhere I think I remember it saying he went the step further) You view that scene as Bruce disappointed and angry with Tim. I see it as Bruce is proud of Tim, angry at himself a bit because he knows that what Tim did is what he did, and making it clear that you did it right today, but it's not about just today. It's about how you act today and tomorrow and the day after that.

Bruce makes it clear that killing is wrong all the time, but he does let it slip, because he can understand it, especially since he's come very close a couple times. I would say that having the opportunity for vengeance/revenge and passing it up for justice to take its course would be what Bruce would view as the ultimate test. Tim clearly passed it. Dick and Jason have both not. Both Dick and Jason have killed out of vengeance. In fact, now that I think about it, the only male Robin who isn't a murderer is Tim.

#18 Posted by The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere (33 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor: said

Nightwing is certainly a different man than Bruce and I'd say all the Robins have lead different paths in recent years except Damian who is still the sidekick. But if path of Knighthood refers to how they go about heroing and stuff I'd say that despite their differences Dick is the one who sticks closest both to how Bruce operates and to his moral guide lines.

I don't know, I think the title of the one closest to Bruce goes to Tim. His solo series as Red Robin I think was an attempt to show him as a clear parallel to Bruce. Dick's Batman was more about showing the differences between the way he and Bruce operate. Dick was never meant to be menacing. He might have a similar history and motivation to Bruce, but even his identity of Nightwing was actually taken from Superman. He was inspired by Bruce, but he has made it his mission to be different. Separate from his predecessor or any of the Robins that followed. I think Tim is the closest. I mean like Durakken said, both Dick and Jason have killed. Dick even killed the Joker (even if he was revived), something Batman never could.

#19 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@Durakken said:

Dick didn't "successfully" guard Bludhaven lol. He was forced into being Batman, showing a weakness of character. I don't know about his time as leader of the JL, but I also think that Dick would never have been put in that position if other knew about how much and how often he crosses the line.

I don't see Bludhaven as something he really could of prevented so I tend to not hold it against him as much as other people do. I also see his assumption of the Batman mantel as more of a rise to duty that only he could fulfill at the time, Tim was not ready to be Batman then and the only other real option was Jason and we all saw what he did with the cowl, sure he relented but only because Gotham needed a Batman. He's only crossed the line twice that I'm aware of once was indirectly and the other didn't stick there could be other instances but even if there are how many times has someone had to stop Bruce from crossing the line?

Bruce doesn't think Tim failed that test in my opinion as someone who has a vastly different view on the Bat characters due to reading modern canon in a much shorter time than most people which gives me a different view on its canon. In the pre-Flashpoint universe one of the more recent stories about what happened to the Murderer of his parents Bruce did the same thing Tim did (somewhere I think I remember it saying he went the step further) You view that scene as Bruce disappointed and angry with Tim. I see it as Bruce is proud of Tim, angry at himself a bit because he knows that what Tim did is what he did, and making it clear that you did it right today, but it's not about just today. It's about how you act today and tomorrow and the day after that.

I'm aware of Bruce tricking Joe Chill into shooting himself but I don't think the writer was thinking about this in #26. Bruce tells Tim that he "made all the wrong (decisions)" before doing the right thing. It's possible that your right about the entire confrontation but since we can't see inside Batman's head during it I have to go off of Batman's facial expression and words that all projected disappointment.

Bruce makes it clear that killing is wrong all the time, but he does let it slip, because he can understand it, especially since he's come very close a couple times. I would say that having the opportunity for vengeance/revenge and passing it up for justice to take its course would be what Bruce would view as the ultimate test. Tim clearly passed it. Dick and Jason have both not. Both Dick and Jason have killed out of vengeance. In fact, now that I think about it, the only male Robin who isn't a murderer is Tim.

I agree that Tim passed but I don't think Bruce viewed the experience as a test, at least not one that he would instigate. I think that idly for Bruce Tim wouldn't have gone that far in the first place. Once again I haven't heard of Dick killing anyone with his own hands who has stayed dead

#20 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere said:

I don't know, I think the title of the one closest to Bruce goes to Tim. His solo series as Red Robin I think was an attempt to show him as a clear parallel to Bruce.

Indeed it was, one of the writers said as much. However Tim himself pointed out multiple times that he did things during the series that Bruce wouldn't have, at another point Tim used martial arts to symbolize that what he learned from Batman was only a small part of who he is and that he has fused all of what he's experienced into being someone completely different a sentiment echoed by Ra's who stated that Tim was like no other member of the Bat family, At two other points Tim emphasized the fact that he was different than Bruce once when Ra's pushed him out of a window and he said "I'm not Batman, I have friends." and again on the last page at the last issue where he and Batman suffer a bit of a Schism.

Dick's Batman was more about showing the differences between the way he and Bruce operate. Dick was never meant to be menacing. He might have a similar history and motivation to Bruce, but even his identity of Nightwing was actually taken from Superman. He was inspired by Bruce, but he has made it his mission to be different. Separate from his predecessor or any of the Robins that followed. I think Tim is the closest. I mean like Durakken said, both Dick and Jason have killed. Dick even killed the Joker (even if he was revived), something Batman never could.

I was aware of both the Superman and Joker thing. Other than that I never read much of Nightwing's solo series but the guy pops up in allot of other books and in all of the ones I've seen he mostly comes of like a he always comes of as a happier more open Batman

#21 Posted by Funrush (1369 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor said:

@Funrush said:

@sEsposito7 said:

(Kyle Higgins will be writing him in Nightwing soon, so hopefully he'll do him justice),

Actually, according to solicits (I assume it's issue 12 you're referring to) it says that it's going to be Robin, as in Damian, not Tim.

I think he's referring to Higgins repeatedly stated interest in having Tim eventually guest star even if the crossover has yet to be officially announced

Any links? I'd love to read exactly what he said.

#22 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@Funrush said:

@BlackArmor said:

@Funrush said:

@sEsposito7 said:

(Kyle Higgins will be writing him in Nightwing soon, so hopefully he'll do him justice),

Actually, according to solicits (I assume it's issue 12 you're referring to) it says that it's going to be Robin, as in Damian, not Tim.

I think he's referring to Higgins repeatedly stated interest in having Tim eventually guest star even if the crossover has yet to be officially announced

Any links? I'd love to read exactly what he said.

"Higgins: I'm planning to have Tim in the book soon. And obviously, there will be constant interaction with Bruce, since they're both working in Gotham." http://www.newsarama.com/comics/kyle-higgins-nightwing-after-owls.html

This is at least the third time I've seen him say it the first time was on twitter (I think) before the new 52 even began

#23 Edited by Funrush (1369 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor said:

@Funrush said:

@BlackArmor said:

@Funrush said:

@sEsposito7 said:

(Kyle Higgins will be writing him in Nightwing soon, so hopefully he'll do him justice),

Actually, according to solicits (I assume it's issue 12 you're referring to) it says that it's going to be Robin, as in Damian, not Tim.

I think he's referring to Higgins repeatedly stated interest in having Tim eventually guest star even if the crossover has yet to be officially announced

Any links? I'd love to read exactly what he said.

"Higgins: I'm planning to have Tim in the book soon. And obviously, there will be constant interaction with Bruce, since they're both working in Gotham." http://www.newsarama.com/comics/kyle-higgins-nightwing-after-owls.html

This is at least the third time I've seen him say it the first time was on twitter (I think) before the new 52 even began

Okay, cool. Thanks!

I think it's safe to assume that it will likely be in the arc right after the zero issue.

#24 Posted by The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere (33 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor: Dick becoming Nightwing was founded on getting out of Bruce's shadow. His identity, He even states, is a homage to all the people who made him who he is. Tim, as Red Robin anyway, was reluctant and mostly anger due to not being able to actually be Robin anymore. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Dick may have a similar motivation as a hero (thus making him the next logical successor), but Tim was closer to Bruce as a person. I guess I might be a little confused on how we're judging them. I think Dick is fundamentally different in the way he uses his motivation. He has always had those connections, those ties that he holds on to. But unlike Bruce, as a hero, he doesn't use them as an excuse or to create a dark identity. Instead, Dick uses these memories to remind him what a true hero is. All of the stuff Tim did in his solo series, Dick did before him. He even states that he takes his inspiration from the different people that have helped mold him, not just Bruce. He relies on these people in turn they rely on him. He will never be well-adjusted maybe, but the way he motivates himself, is completely different than Bruce. Plus, Dick always enjoyed his role as a hero. Honestly, I think, he always wanted to be a more traditional hero. He's not trying to emulate anyone. He's trying to be himself. He was just inspired by Bruce, as well as several others. Dick never wanted that legacy, he doesn't want the cowl or the mantle or the shiny gadgets or the signal. Moving to Bludhaven was him turning all that down, while at the same time paying homage to his biggest inspiration.\. I think having Tim lose everyone close to him (Jack, Connor, Bart, Steph, then Bruce), kind of showed his darker, obsessive side, reminiscent of Bruce. However, I do agree that at the end of the Red Robin run, Tim was definitely shaping into becoming a hero in his own right, I think he was still, at that time, living in the Shadow of the Bat. Dick is currently the only one (I suppose besides Jason), that wasn't trying to live up to Bruce. When he succeeded as Batman, he did what Batman would, not Bruce. While Tim is not only Bruce's heir, but was chosen by Ra's as a suitable rival and successor in place of Bruce. Showing that both hero and villain alike consider him the closest to Bruce. Ra's was aware of Bruce being Batman and so judged Tim as the closest overall. Dick's way of operating isn't the same as Bruce's. It never was.

#25 Posted by htb106 (1641 posts) - - Show Bio

I expected DC to launch a Red Robin series in the third wave of the New 52 but no.

Maybe next time.

#26 Posted by BatWatch (2725 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not sure I've ever said this on comicvine before, but I agree with every single thing you just said. I've been thinking the exact same thing, but I didn't want to take the time to write it out for fear it would be left unread in the forums.

I've continued to read Teen Titans out of my loyalty to Tim as a character, but there has still been a general lack of intelligent story writing. Tim has certainly had zero development. The only good things I can say about the series is that there are occasional sparks of cleverness in the dialogue between characters, but that hardly makes up for the rushed nature of the story. We are getting close to a year into the DCNU, and I still no almost nothing about the characters in the Teen Titans. I'll probably stay with the series as long as Tim is there, but I fear I'm just encouraging Lodbell's bad writing. Perhaps I should start buying them on resale. I might get a better price anyway.

#27 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere said:

@BlackArmor: Dick becoming Nightwing was founded on getting out of Bruce's shadow. His identity, He even states, is a homage to all the people who made him who he is. Tim, as Red Robin anyway, was reluctant and mostly anger due to not being able to actually be Robin anymore. I guess it depends on how you look at it. Dick may have a similar motivation as a hero (thus making him the next logical successor), but Tim was closer to Bruce as a person.

That's not what I'm arguing, Dick is definitely his own man and his personality is less similar to Bruce than Tim's is. What I'm saying is that Dick's method of crime fighting and how he goes about it now that he's solo is more in tune with Batman than Tim's own crime fighting methods are. When Dick goes out to catch the bad guy he's doing it in the way Batman taught him with a few twist, when Tim turns his attention on a criminal whether or not his personality is like Bruce's the way he takes that criminal down when he has prep is usually allot more different

I guess I might be a little confused on how we're judging them. I think Dick is fundamentally different in the way he uses his motivation. He has always had those connections, those ties that he holds on to. But unlike Bruce, as a hero, he doesn't use them as an excuse or to create a dark identity. Instead, Dick uses these memories to remind him what a true hero is. All of the stuff Tim did in his solo series, Dick did before him. He even states that he takes his inspiration from the different people that have helped mold him, not just Bruce. He relies on these people in turn they rely on him. He will never be well-adjusted maybe, but the way he motivates himself, is completely different than Bruce. Plus, Dick always enjoyed his role as a hero. Honestly, I think, he always wanted to be a more traditional hero. He's not trying to emulate anyone. He's trying to be himself. He was just inspired by Bruce, as well as several others. Dick never wanted that legacy, he doesn't want the cowl or the mantle or the shiny gadgets or the signal. Moving to Bludhaven was him turning all that down, while at the same time paying homage to his biggest inspiration. I think having Tim lose everyone close to him (Jack, Connor, Bart, Steph, then Bruce), kind of showed his darker, obsessive side, reminiscent of Bruce. However, I do agree that at the end of the Red Robin run, Tim was definitely shaping into becoming a hero in his own right, I think he was still, at that time, living in the Shadow of the Bat. Dick is currently the only one (I suppose besides Jason), that wasn't trying to live up to Bruce. When he succeeded as Batman, he did what Batman would, not Bruce. While Tim is not only Bruce's heir, but was chosen by Ra's as a suitable rival and successor in place of Bruce. Showing that both hero and villain alike consider him the closest to Bruce. Ra's was aware of Bruce being Batman and so judged Tim as the closest overall. Dick's way of operating isn't the same as Bruce's. It never was.

I mostly agree with the rest.

#28 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Tim's character took a serious hit when his continuity was dropped in the revamp. Yes, technically we don't know how much of what went on was retained (maybe he was still trained by Shiva at some point, for example), but when you look at what's changed pre/post Flashpoint, he's pretty different both in personality (e.g., his methods, his relationships to others, his home life) and visually (e.g., costume, props).

I don't think Lobdell is a bad writer--I really like Superboy--but the nu52 Teen Titans is pretty sub-par. I haven't seen enough meaningful character development, something an ensemble book needs in order to be successful. Tim would, in my opinion, be better served as a character in a solo title, however, if he's going to stay as the "Teen Titans Robin", then the Teen Titans book needs to get going on developing friendships between the characters that mean more than just beating up the bad guys. They need a collective home life. They need to do more than just repeatedly declare their one-dimensional personalities while Tim barks orders and they beat stuff up. Because that's what I miss most from books like Young Justice and pre-Flashpoint versions of Teen Titans, the friendships.

I can live with the stupid name (which isn't really the nu52's fault), with the wings, with losing his staff, and all that superficial stuff if he just felt like the same character, but he doesn't. And that's a shame.

EDIT: I still dream of a YOUNG DETECTIVE COMICS title starring Tim as simply "The Detective" (or maybe taking up the "Gray Ghost" mantle). Mentored and funded by Ted Kord, partnered with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as Black Bat and Spoiler respectively. I would read the ever-loving crap outta that.

EDIT 2: And as long as I'm dreaming I want it penciled by Darwyn Cooke and written by Ed Brubaker.

#29 Posted by The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere (33 posts) - - Show Bio

@BlackArmor said:

Dick is definitely his own man and his personality is less similar to Bruce than Tim's is. What I'm saying is that Dick's method of crime fighting and how he goes about it now that he's solo is more in tune with Batman than Tim's own crime fighting methods are. When Dick goes out to catch the bad guy he's doing it in the way Batman taught him with a few twist, when Tim turns his attention on a criminal whether or not his personality is like Bruce's the way he takes that criminal down when he has prep is usually allot more different

I think I understand what you're saying, and I guess I can't exactly argue against that. Dick's methods as Nightwing are closer to Batman as a hero. I guess I just look at Batman and Bruce as distinct identities. And my only point was that Dick can't be ranked with the others in term of Knighthood, because Nightwing is a separate hero outside the Batman legacy. So I guess for the most part we can agree.

#30 Posted by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@The_Eurythmic_King_of_Nowhere: fair enough

#31 Posted by batmanary (798 posts) - - Show Bio

While Tim should be a solo hero, as he always was, I wouldn't agree that Nightwing isn't a "Knight". We've seen it. He's a born leader, while Tim isn't, and taking up the mantle of Batman twice should definitely count for something. As Nightwing was named JLA leader in the case of the team's absence should prove this point as well. But let me return to the subject. Lobdell has ultimately ruined a bunch of characters....Superboy, Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Starfire....they've all been regressed from their points of growth. And not even in a positive, "let's start fresh" way, but a clearly negative underscore. Which sucks, because Teen Titans was an awesome book. And now it isn't.

#32 Posted by Jawshco (243 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

EDIT: I still dream of a YOUNG DETECTIVE COMICS title starring Tim as simply "The Detective" (or maybe taking up the "Gray Ghost" mantle). Mentored and funded by Ted Kord, partnered with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as Black Bat and Spoiler respectively. I would read the ever-loving crap outta that.

Tim taking up the mantle of the Gray Ghost in his own way would be so much better than Red Robin, which makes me want to go to a loud restaurant and eat a overpriced 2K calorie burger! LOL!

#33 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

title starring Tim as simply "The Detective" (or maybe taking up the "Gray Ghost" mantle). Mentored and funded by Ted Kord, partnered with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as Black Bat and Spoiler respectively. I would read the ever-loving crap outta that.

EDIT 2: And as long as I'm dreaming I want it penciled by Darwyn Cooke and written by Ed Brubaker.

I would kill for this book.

Very cool discussion going on here on Tim, Dick and 'knighthood'. I'd like to weigh in and say that I think there's fundamental differences between Tim and Dick that make them incomparable, even in the way that they evolved--and are continuing to evolve--as heroes. It's for this reason that I disagree with using the 'knighthood' analogy for all members of the Bat-family.

Every Tim and Dick fan knows the differences between the two's personality, so I won't go into them here, but I do value those difference a great deal. Other differences are more subtle such as:

  1. Methodology: this has been brought up in the comments already, but I'd like to expand on it a bit because it's important. Dick, as we know, is very much still a student of The Bat. He fights crime in a manner very similar to how Bruce taught him to fight crime as Robin years ago and he has some degree of trouble grappling with this. Dick is smart, but he lacks the intellectual horsepower of Bruce, which makes his skills as a detective fall substantially below Batman's. He makes up for it, in spades, with his leadership abilities and the ability to think on his feet in a reactionary manner. By contrast, Tim was (before the New 52) fighting crime as Red Robin in ways that neither Dick nor Batman would or even could. When Tim put that cowl on, he became something that transcended his role as Robin and even a student and he really stepped into his own path. Tim is a genius in every sense of the word. He's got enough intellectual horsepower to be on par with Bruce and it's even been stated that he's basally smarter than Bruce. This is something that Tim is aware of and fully exploits; throughout the Red Robin series he laid out complex traps for villains and out-thought all of them.
  2. Origin: I'm not talking about Tim and Dick's origin as characters, I'm talking about their origins as solo heroes, and they're fundamentally different. Dick became Nightwing as an outgrowth of his other roles. To some extent, Dick was striking out on his own to prove himself as a hero. He went to Bludhaven to do just that (his success or failure there is a topic for another time, in my opinion). Tim was forced out of his role as Robin by the 'death' of Batman on two fronts: (1) Dick literally told him that his days were Robin were over, and (2) Tim was compelled to find Bruce--he was the only one who knew all along that Bruce was still alive and had the balls to find him. Most of the beginning of the Red Robin series deals with Tim basically showing that he's going to do things very differently from Dick and even Bruce, and he is going to find the latter, no matter what. This is something that Dick never did as Nightwing--in many ways, Dick focused on being a successful graduated student of Bruce, while Tim reinvented himself as a vigilante and hero.

Make note of something: I'm not trying to disparage Dick at all--I love the character, too!--even though it sounds as if I'm being pejorative. I'm simply arguing that he and Tim are not comparable in terms of being 'knighted' by Batman. Also, there's a difference between 'being like Bruce' and fighting crime like Bruce. It's been said that Tim is much more like Bruce than Dick, but he doesn't (at least pre-New 52) fight crime exactly like Bruce, while Dick pretty much does. It's my belief that this is one of the reasons Dick was the only logical successor to step into the cowl when Bruce was missing in the timestream.

#34 Posted by Durakken (1593 posts) - - Show Bio

@sEsposito7: There is one factor i disagree with you on and it is likely just because you are overlooking something...

Tim Drake went solo long long ago, before he became Red Robin.

The first time we're introduced to him it is him on his own adventure looking for Batman and Robin

The next time he strikes out is in asia where he is a solo hero who is on his own and when he isn't he is calling the shots.

When he gets back he is largely a desk jockey for Batman and when he does get out of the cave he is often on solo patrols. Yes he follows Batman's orders keeps to the routes Batman says to, but he is essentially working on his own most of the time.

in Robin II ad III we again see him solo

Up to this point Tim was more of a guest star in the Batman books than anything. When he showed up he'd be in the cave training or help Batman get something from the computers and then when they left the cave he was often, again, solo.

Knightfall occurred (which was the height of Batman pushing people away, thus again Tim working on his own) and this lead to Azrael taking over the mantle of Batman and Tim being locked out of the cave to star in his own solo title and this title held until the new 52 idiots rebooted the universe and destroyed it pretty much.

Tim has always been a Solo character right from the beginning so he never needed to get out of the shadow of anyone.

In all reality if you look at it Dick is the fore-runner that was "ok." This is in the fiction and how it has played out in the real world. The Robin bookb, Tim's title, was what made DC believe a Nightwing and Batgirl book could work. Nightwing's book had tons of problems while Batgirl's book only broke volume due to editorial mandates. Likewise on just about every series that has come along since Tim has been introduced Dick has taken on most of the characteristics of Tim. One could argue that Dick is not only still in the shadow of the Bat, but now also in the shadow of the Robin as it were. You could look at this and see that it would cause psychological problems for Dick, being the older, but inferior, to some degree, son. This could also explain why exactly he was so quick to ignore Tim's feelings as to the Robin identity because the idea of Batman & Robin in Dicks mind is Superior and Inferior in which case Tim, not Dick, in Dick's mind would have filled the Batman role and he simply could not work with that cognitively.

#35 Edited by BlackArmor (6141 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

EDIT: I still dream of a YOUNG DETECTIVE COMICS title starring Tim as simply "The Detective" (or maybe taking up the "Gray Ghost" mantle). Mentored and funded by Ted Kord, partnered with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as Black Bat and Spoiler respectively. I would read the ever-loving crap outta that.

EDIT 2: And as long as I'm dreaming I want it penciled by Darwyn Cooke and written by Ed Brubaker.

*wipes tear from my eye* Your dream is simply beautiful good sir

@sEsposito7: @Durakken: You guys make some really really good points I didn't even think of allot of this

#36 Posted by BatWatch (2725 posts) - - Show Bio

@josai21 said:

I'll be completely honest, Scott Lobdell ruined Tim Drake for me. Not only that, he ruined the characters he is currently writing in the Teen Titans comic. It honestly feels like a form of character assassination.

Starting with Connor, did we really have to go the emo route? One of the things I always enjoyed about Connor was that he carried a joy about himself. He was a generally happy character. Heck, most of the Teen Titans before the reboot were in general happy characters. Sure you got the angst over Connor's death and such, but there was still this sense of purpose beyond themselves. Lobdell's titans have none of this.

Which brings me to Cass. Cass's character has gone from a Heroic Woman of virtue to a punk thief who is almost entirely self-absorbed. Very little altruism in the current rendition. This version of Cass is....crass.

Solstice, Bunker, and Kid Flash seem ok, but it seems it is only because Lobdell generally likes their characters.

And now for the reason for the blog. Tim Drake. Nicieza and Yost wrote Tim perfectly. He truly was coming into his own as Sesposito said. I am a younger comic book reader, only recently began getting into them 5 or so years ago. The Robin and Red Robin comics were what hooked me. I loved the story of Tim Drake and it was truly awesome the growth he experienced. Growth which has been destroyed by the New 52 and Scott Lobdell.

All in all, we can only hope that a Solo title will arise and restore Tim's character. Because under Lobdell, Tim is going to remain a stagnant and dull character.

Yes to all this.

It kills me that DC claims they need this to go in a new direction, yet everything they are doing is just rehashing the same stories in a worse rendition. That which took nearly a decade to happen in comics, various sidekicks becoming experienced, gaining independence, forming friendships, and banding together as a team, has now been crammed into a poorly written four issue story arc. It's crap.

At least Lodbell's Superboy is not as emo as the Young Justice version. Still, I find Superboy to be a cold, insufferable tool (quite literally). I don't have a lot of experience with Cassie, but I concur that this is a crass Cass.

I do like Bunker, but the rest of the characters are throw away as Lodbell has written them.

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