Most people will always remember their first. No, not THAT first you perverts, although there is always that too, but let’s focus on the task at hand shall we? Just about every one of us grew up on one central character from the comic book world that we chose as our own personal childhood keepsake. You know the one. The character whose monthly antics captured our imaginations and drove us to pester our parents for all their action figures, and influenced us to go out in the backyard and act like we were something more than we really are. For most that character is one of the big guns such as Spiderman, Superman, or Batman. For me however that character was none of the above. Admittedly, I was a fan of my fair share of the mainstream, but none of them were THE hero in my world. No, in fact my favorite character was but a lowly sidekick, and the butt of a bad joke that was played on the world by Joel Schumacher in the 90s. That character was Robin, but more accurately, the Robin known as Tim Drake. Read on for the skinny…
To survive the Assassination Tournament, Red Robin must survive an attack from Scarab’s Covenant of Ka, make it to Russia in time to rescue a critically injured oligarch, track the mercenary Promise and come to an unexpected confrontation with the mysterious sister of Ra’s al Ghul!”
The word “whirlwind” is one of the first things that comes to mind when you begin to think about the past couple of years in the life of DC Comics’ Tim Drake, AKA “RED ROBIN”. Life hasn’t been easy for the adolescent as he has had to save Gotham City from an all out Gang War, juggle high school drama, and single handedly take down the League of Assassins in the process. The coming of age tale for Batman’s third Boy Wonder has been rife with trials and tribulations. A literal kitchen sink’s worth of obstacles have been tossed at him, and surprisingly he has yet to fall on his face. But then again there is a reason that Bruce Wayne has always said that he has the potential to be an even better detective than the World’s Greatest himself. With all of these things (and more) thrown at Tim it would be hard to believe that it could get worse. Sadly, it is about to.
For the past few months there has been a carefully built house of cards by series scribe Fabian Nicieza, and the entire thing spells nothing but trouble for our young hero. With Ra’s Al Ghul’s eyes set upon the young Tim Drake as an adequate father to his heir (A plot-point that is still yet to be picked back up on), the Assassination Tournament in full swing, and the affection of the mysterious gang leader “LYNX” getting more hot and heavy by the issue, it is obvious that something big is on the horizon. Perhaps even more eerie is the looming return of Captain Boomerang, the murderer or Tim’s family, to the streets of Gotham City in August. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, because as we speak the character is embroiled in a fight to the death with Scarab’s Covenant of Ka, and the odds as of the end of the series’ last issue are anything but in his favor. It is going to take more than some quick thinking and a well timed throwing disc to save our hero this time, and if we have learned anything in the past few months it is that Scarab is not an enemy to be taken lightly. Especially when she is on her home turf.
The biggest draw to “RED ROBIN”, and Tim Drake in particular, is that he is the most accessible character in the Bat-Family from a personality standpoint. While he has his own fair share of baggage, Tim Drake has always seemed to be the “PETER PARKER” of the group. Charismatic, funny, smart, and full of wit – Fabian Nicieza has done an outstanding job of following in the footsteps of those who came before him and create a story within the world of “RED ROBIN” that all of its fans can enjoy. The pace is fast, the stakes are always high, and the one-liners are in appropriate abundance with every issue, making the story a steal each month at its $2.99 price-tag.
“RED ROBIN” is far from shabby on the artwork side of things as well as it enlists the talents of Marcus To and Ray McCarthy. The tandem compliment each-other’s work seamlessly, and every page (preview below) looks crisp, clean, and detailed. In fact, while most illustrators will bombard you with pretty line-work and meticulously fine tuned colors, To and McCarthy stick to the basics and deliver the goods in a much more scaled back approach to the art-form. While this isn’t to say that they are the best at what they do, there is a certain draw to being able to just pick up a title and be able to relax the eyes for a change. Most people will tell you that I am an art snob, and they would be telling you the truth, but even I can appreciate a “less is more” approach every now and then.
When all is done and read, “RED ROBIN” is a series that is brimming with entertainment value and a protagonist that deserves your attention. Tim Drake is now one of the most storied characters in the Bat-Family, and for good reason. The past few years have brought a new and more energized appeal from readers toward the character, and the credit for that must go directly to the writers who have slowly but surely built the series to the point it is at today. “RED ROBIN” is a series that you should not deprive yourself the pleasure of reading, and if you are then you are missing out on one of the most underrated gems in the entire DC catalogue.
“RED ROBIN” Issue #24 Drops June 8th From DC Comics! (MSRP – $2.99)