Monday, June 13, 2011

Lamenting Red Robin

This started originally as a celebration piece about the entire DCoU, but then when four out of ten of my points were about RR, this list happened.

A casualty of DC’s Relaunch, Red Robin was my favorite book in my sixteen years of collecting comics. In fact, it was so awesome, Mr. Nicieza, Mr. To, and Mr. McCarthy converted me from a die-hard Dick Grayson fan to a staunch Tim Drake one.

So what does one do when one’s favorite book is cancelled—Mr. N having an outline up to issue 50 and knowing where to go up to issue 100 and with jaw-dropping panels from second-to-not-even-Kyle Rayner artist Mr. To? Lament the top ten aspects that one will miss/never saw/will never see from RR.

10. “The Nest”—Red Robin’s base of operations in Crime Alley just outside where Bruce’s parents were murdered. This base has been in the works since issue 17 (well, technically issue 14 where Tim kicks Damian’s ass), and readers see it for the first time next issue—before the book ends two months from now. Tim, my advice? Don’t unpack.

9. Mia Dearden—A while back, rjpeters70 put a thread up on the DC Boards about Mia appearing in Tim’s book. He even asked Mr. N if Mia would pop up. After all, Mia is HIV-positive, and Tim’s not active (though that might not true after next issue). They’d make great roommates now that Mia’s not with G.A. anymore (or so it seems).  Mr. N said he’d put Mia on his list of people to show up. Too bad she wasn’t crossed-off before issue 26.

8. Tim’s education—Does an adopted son of Bruce Wayne need to get a bachelor’s degree in badassery? Nah, but Tim’s the cerebral one of the Back Alley Boys. I would have loved to see him finish his high school days and go to college, maybe even graduate. Is it necessary? No, but Mr. N said that Tim wouldn’t have to make the decision to apply to college for a few months/years (reality-wise), and education means something different to everyone. To a teenager who saves the planet, learning high school algebra just isn’t a priority. 

7. Danny Temple, the Heir of Kobra—Sorry, had to have at least one Robin reference in here.  You might remember Danny as one of Tim’s eccentric classmates at Brentwood with a barcode on his foot and Kobra breathing down his neck. Danny and Tim parted ways, knowing each other’s identity, and though I love Conner as Tim’s best friend, Danny could have been an awesome addition to Tim’s supporting cast like Piper was to Wally—a friend who knows the truth and with whom a hero can share the battlefield. Too bad Danny disappeared into Tim’s history.

6. The Teen Titans—Best friends should show up in each other’s comics. Simon Valentine was Conner’s best friend in the initial relaunch of the Superboy book, not Tim, and Wally West showed up in Dick’s Nightwing only three times in 153 issues.  But Mr. N and Mr. T thankfully kept Tim’s friends, y’know, Tim’s friends. They didn’t create a newbie to hang out with Tim—He had Ives and Tam, which is awesome, and I loved seeing TT like in Mr. Yost’s first run and Mr. N’s “Hit List.” Just the group hanging out in Tim’s brand-spanking new HQ would have been awesome.

5. The Pentagon of Potential Partners—For a guy who’s getting nothing, he sure has a lot of girls around him. We have Tam (“the good girl”); Lynx, Promise, and MHL (“the bad girls”); and Steph (“the grey girl”). Which girl would Tim eventually take for dinner and a movie? (If you’re into Internet screamers, then this might be a Hexagon of Hotties—adding Conner to that list) My vote—I really liked Tim and Lynx. Issue 23 was just…um…what word have I been using? Oh, yeah. AWESOME!

4. This picture by Marcus To—‘nuff said.

2. (We have a tie!) Tim and Jason—Red Robin and the Red Hood. Mr. N wrote in a line in Search for a Hero where Jason more or less asks Tim if he needs any help, and Tim tells him, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Actually, there wasn’t even a thanks. Jason could have turned his life around with Tim at his side—Tim being the light to Jason’s darkness. Like Dick and Damian are/were oil and water that works more like jelly and peanut butter, Tim could have helped Jason become a better person and Jason could have helped Tim become more of a bad ass. Mr. To drawing that crazy dude—man, I would have pinned that up on my wall.

2.  Marcus To and a Family Bat Portrait—I absolutely *loved* Graham Nolan’s picture in Detective Comics #600 with Batman, Nightwing, and Robin, and I wanted, so wanted to see Mr. T (um…okay, we’ll keep the references as ‘Mr. To’) do a picture like that with the Bat Family. Or maybe like in Aquaman #75 where Dan Jurgens did a family portrait. I’m crossing fingers that RR #26 will have something like that!

And the number one thing I will miss/never saw/never will see from RR—
1. Tim Drake’s eighteenth birthday—Mr. N said we’d see Tim become eighteen before issue 50, but we’ll never get to issue 50. Last time Tim celebrated a birthday, he was sixteen, living with his dad and Dana, celebrating it with Steph and Ives. His seventeenth birthday was off-panel as he, Bruce, and Dick traveled the world, and I would have loved to see how Tim reflects/deals/celebrates what has happened during his teenage life as Robin and now Red Robin. I can only imagine what kind of fun Mr. N and Mr. To would have told/drawn for us, but sadly, it is not to be.

Honorable Mention: Prom for Tim—probably too pedestrian, but still—would have been nice to see Tim in a tux again with one of his beauties; Dana, his stepmother who presumably was killed in the Bludhaven blast—Mr. N said he wasn’t going to address it. I agree with his choice since Bludhaven was bombed as a punishment for Nightwing, but I couldn’t NOT add her to the list; and Stephanie Brown’s baby—just where is she now?

Thanks for the awesome books, Mr. N, Mr. To, and Mr. McCarthy. Gonna miss this one.

Devin Leigh Michaels
June 11, 2011

Sources:, Marcus To's Tumblr site, and the DC Message Boards

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