It’s Time to Retire TIM DRAKE and JASON TODD and …

You kids get outta my Gotham!

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UPDATED 9/3/16: There’s been a lot of speculation the last couple of weeks about the fate of Tim Drake, which evidently will be at least partially revealed 9/14 in Detective Comics #940. A lot of the buzz has been coming from, as it often does, Bleeding Cool, and you can check out what Rich Johnston has been up to, here.

Compare the rendering on the left with the one on the right. Where's Tim? In that suit...?

Compare the rendering on the left with the one on the right. Where’s Tim? In that suit…?

I’m of the mind that Tim will not be killed but will be the new Oracle. And, my lord, I am totally down with that. I have been saying over and over that Batman’s got too many costumed buddies running around, especially former Robins.

I also still think there’s room to cut even more from the roster, but that seems unlikely.

Nevertheless, check out what I recently wrote on that subject below, and you’ll see what I mean …

From 6/21/16:

Of all the big Rebirth developments, I’ve been especially excited about the return of the original Wally West and Donna Troy. They were two characters who never should have been cut from the DC Universe when the New 52 hit almost five years ago.

On the other hand, I find myself increasingly irritated by what’s been going on in Gotham City for some time now: A slavish devotion to legacy characters.

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The way I see it, Batman has a sidekick problem and it’s only getting worse.

Here’s the scorecard: Nightwing, Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl, Batwoman, Orphan, Spoiler, Bluebird and the Huntress. Plus, whatever guise Duke Thomas will adopt. And there’s still a bunch of Robin wannabes lurking out there. And a dormant Batwing. And now even Clayface.  (And yes, I know they’re not all “sidekicks,” but you know what I mean.)

It’s too much. It waters down what makes Batman — and, just as significantly, the ideas of Robin and Batgirl — so interesting. It also makes it that much harder to suspend your disbelief, which is a crucial part of reading superhero comics.

What to do? Start pruning, even if it flies in the face of DC’s suddenly reawakened love for every legacy character or protegé ever to put on tights.

Seriously, why can’t characters who have become redundant be put on a shelf for good? We don’t even need a bloodbath to do it.

This is not what I mean.

This is not what I mean.

Why not just have Tim Drake come along and say, “Y’know what, guys? This costume thing has been great, but I think I could do better by going to law school.”

And Jason Todd’s been put through enough, wouldn’t you say? How about: “Bruce, you owe me. Would you do me a solid and buy me a nice island somewhere?”

Bluebird was far more interesting as plain ol’ Harper Row. Spoiler was far more interesting as Stephanie Brown trying to be Batgirl. I couldn’t tell you if Cassie Cain was ever interesting because I barely read her stories. But she certainly wasn’t all that interesting in Batman and Robin Eternal.

I’d much rather Batman have a tight circle of costumed allies — and a network of cops, lawyers, bartenders and average civilians. Characters like that have come and gone. But the rule seems to be if you put on a mask YOU NEVER LEAVE.

 

OK, I kid. But only a little.

Regular readers here know that while I love old-school Batman, I enjoy modern Batman too. I’m not some curmudgeon who rants: “In my day, we had Batman and Robin — and I didn’t even want Robin around!”

And I understand why Gotham has become so expansive. DC needs Bat-related characters to keep all those Batbooks — i.e., the wheels of commerce — turning.

Which brings us to the new iteration of Detective Comics, which is now a team book featuring many of these same characters. I’m obviously apprehensive about what might be coming.

On the other hand, I’ve long said that I will accept just about any ludicrous idea if the story is well told. I was a little leery of Batman Incorporated too and look at how great that turned out.

So I suppose that Detective Comics #935 is something of a counterintuitive Batbook of the Week selection. I’m giving the title a long leash and may very well change my mind about all of this.

I’m even rooting for that.

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ALSO ON THE BATSHELVES THIS WEEK

Speaking of sidekicks, Robin: Son of Batman wraps it up with Issue #13. I’m gonna miss Damian’s solo adventures. I love that kid. So I’m looking forward to Teen Titans and Super Sons when they launch.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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14 Comments

  1. Hard to take you seriously when it’s Damian, the worst of the bunch, that you love.

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  2. Dick Grayson is thy Robin. Thou shalt have no other Robins before (or after) him!

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  3. When the New 52 was announced, I assumed that one of the changes would be pruning the Robins (as well as the Earth-borne Green Lanterns)–I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about it, though I’ve only felt “connected” to Dick Grayson, but I understood the reasoning. I turned out to be wrong anyway, since the second and third page of Batman #1 is a showcase of every Robin ever. Since then, I’ve seen so many people write about how they love Damien, or how Tim Drake is “their Robin,” and I’ve even watched the Red Hood go from a groan-worthy embarrassment to a pretty entertaining action hero in his own right.

    I think that Red Hood, Damien, Dick Grayson…not so much Tim Drake as he stands, but technically he could work outside of Gotham City, away from Batman, along with the rest of the Robins. You saw a little of this during the New 52 for some of them, but invariably some or all of them would get dragged into some crossover or abominable weekly book that just derailed their own stories and was less than satisfactory to the reader. Give them their own adventures and leave them there! If you want to have Drake phone Bruce for money every sixth issue, I suppose I can abide by that.

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  4. Bringing back Jason was a mistake.

    I love Cassandra Cain. I bought her Batgirl run and loved it

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  5. Congratulations. This is the stupidest article I’ve read in a while.

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  6. Hard to listen to someone who’s idea of good writing is these people who have spent their whole lives fighting crime, will just retire and stop caring. Jason and Tim would have zero motivation to leave as long as Bruce is still capable of fighting. This whole article stinks of poor thought and mindless ranting.

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  7. I think Tim should stick around, but become the new Oracle. He was the best computer hacker Bruce had. It takes one of the Robin’s off the table but keeps him around in a supportive role.

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  8. I agree about there being too many. I’ve also long-subscribed to your thoughts on picking personal canon. Robin, for me, is\are Dick Grayson and Carrie Kelley. A perfect original and successor. The others are just too convoluted to follow.

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  9. I’d rather Damien become the new Oracle, personally, even if it’s just temporarily. I would just love to see him bristle under the fact that everyone out there that he’s deemed ‘lesser’ do the job he’s always thought was rightfully his only by way of birth.

    This would thrill me beyond tears, I would love this so much.

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