Tim Drake was something of an anomaly among the many people who came to work alongside The Batman in protecting Gotham City. Unlike Dick Grayson and Duke Thomas, he was not chosen as a protege because of a tragedy. Unlike Barbara Gordon and Stephanie Brown, he did not choose to don a costume because of some desperate desire to help while rebelling against a parent. He had not been trained from birth to be a living weapon like Jean-Paul Valley or Cassandra Cain. In the end, Tim became a superhero because he realized the truth that no one else had – that Batman needs a Robin to keep from giving into the darkness completely – and in the absence of any other candidates, Tim had to become Red Robin to save his city and The Batman’s soul.
Had it not been for that fact, Tim would never have chosen the vigilante’s life. Indeed, he planned to leave it, thinking he could do more to help the world by going to college. Yet when a madman’s plan to kill millions of people almost came to pass, Tim Drake chose to make the ultimate sacrifice without complaint. Unable to shut down the killer’s lethal drones, Tim hacked them and sent them after a single target – himself!
That should have been the end of Tim Drake. Everyone, even Batman, thought it was. The truth was far more shocking. Tim had been pulled from reality just seconds before his certain death, imprisoned by Mr. Oz – a mysterious figure with an interest in Superman, who had been interfering with the lives of The Man of Steel and everyone around him. Mr. Oz explained that Tim was far too close to connecting threads that must remain severed and had to be taken off the board.
Who is Mr. Oz? What secret was Tim Drake about to uncover that Mr. Oz had to act to cover up? Why did Mr. Oz bother to save Tim Drake at all, when Tim’s death should have ensured his silence? All these questions and more will be addressed, as the tale is told of a boy who solved the mystery that defied Gotham City’s greatest criminal minds and became the hero his city deserved in the bargain.
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When DC Comics rebooted their universe in 2011, creating what became known as The New 52 Reality, there were several oddities as various creators began to pick and choose which parts of the old universe would remain as a new five-year timeline was created. One of the bigger incongruities was the fact that Batman had acquired four Robins in this five-year span. It was unclear, given the origin stories unique to each Robin, how this was possible. As a result, the story of just how Tim Drake had become Robin in the new reality was completely ignored… until now.
James Tynion IV’s script for Detective Comics #965 draws deeply on the original Tim Drake origin story by Chuck Dixon, updating the details sparingly while keeping the focus firmly on Tim’s character and unique personality. Those unfamiliar with Tim’s backstory can relax, however, as this story is as friendly to new readers as it is conscientious in acknowledging what came before. The details of the events leading to Tim’s “death” are also explained with a minimum of exposition, so those who haven’t been reading Detective Comics can easily jump into the action with this issue. Like, say, those Action Comics readers anxious to learn the identity of Mr. Oz?
Regarding that mystery; the reveal is well-handled and a bit of a stunner that truly will change things in the Superman books. The revelation is largely meaningless within the context of the on-going story of Detective Comics, however, but does hint at big things to come regarding the DC Rebirth story-line as a whole.
Detective Comics has some of the best artists in the business working on it and the team of Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas continue to impress with every passing issue. Barrows’ pencil-work is crisp and clean. Ferreira goes beyond merely outlining Barrow’s pencils, crafting stunning shadows around the original art without drowning the page in ink. Lucas’ colors showing amazing variety, using different tints to subtly note the switch between flashbacks and the present.
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.