In Praise of Red Robin
The last year of Red Robin has been a hell of a ride. And I think it's safe to say that in the smarts department Tim Drake is the one true successor to the Batman.
I've always liked Tim as a character; I thought he was a good fit as Robin and had a good synergy with Batman. But as time went on something seemed to change. Even though he was still Robin, Tim didn't really feel like Batman's sidekick anymore. Even when he was wearing the red and green (and later red and black) Tim felt like Batman's partner and even equal.
DC must have thought so too, considering the route they decided to go with him. It's true that Tim has had plenty of time solo. A hundred and eight plus issues of his own series was enough to tell us that. But the Red Robin experiment was a real departure from that. The "death" of Batman gave them the break they needed to make Tim his own man.
And I'd say it worked. I don't know how many people out there are reading Red Robin, but I can say that it is one of the books I enjoy the most every month. And it's funny, because I almost didn't end up reading it.
Like a lot of people I thought the whole "Red Robin" thing was kind of silly. Why would they drag out that old costume again? But a funny thing happened as the book went along. Christopher Yost's scripts were unconventional, but really exciting. There is so much action, so much planning, so much superheroing. It's been everything someone could want from a Bat-family book. And once Marcus To joined as the artist the book really began to sing. I'd never heard of the guy before, but his Tim Drake is perfect. Slim and and not overly muscular, he looks exactly as Tim should.
I can safely say that Red Robin really is one of my favorite books on the stands. I look forward to it every month. In some ways it hearkens back to another age of the Bat-books. A time before Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl. A time when Batman was Batman and Gotham City was the ultimate battleground.
We'll see those days again.