Robin #183 Review

Robin #183I’ve followed the adventures of the third Robin (Tim Drake) on and off over the last almost two decades, since Chuck Dixon and the late, great Mike Wieringo days. A relatable youth with real issues that come from school and family -and of course, crime fighting, Tim has always been one of DC’s great unsung heroes.

Not as good a martial artist as Dick Grayson, the first Robin (now known as Nightwing) or as driven by rage as former street kid turned Robin II turned corpse turned resurrected anti-hero Jason Todd, Tim made up for it in other areas. Discovering both Batman’s and Nightwing’s secret identities got the Dark Knight’s attention and after a gruelling world spanning time of training Tim became the latest aide to the Bat. He has a life outside of superheroics including high school, a few girlfriends over the years, and a healthy interest in life outside of spandex clad roof jumping combined with a wealth of tech knowledge. All these things set him apart from the other members of the growing Bat family. He’s never been as broody and always more friendly than his mentor.

And now, his adventures are over, at least in his current state. Issue #183 by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Freddie Williams III, the creative team for a while on this series give Tim a fitting swansong. It may tie up loose ends too neatly and quickly, such as his break up with Zoanne, but it gives the right focus on his fellow crime fighters. Tim meets Jason in the Batcave after letting him loose from prison, where Todd walks into an unearthed chamber left behind by the ‘dead’ Batman in the Cave to hear Bruce’s farewell (he also created similar goodbyes tailored for his other sidekicks). Tim then has a cool fight with the always scary Lady Shiva, which is cool because of its simplicity. There’s a few cameos such as both the old and new Anarky and Detective Harper, but this issue wisely sets its sights on Tim and his thoughts on his past and future as one of Gotham’s best protectors, without giving any real answers as to his next direction.

There are hints about Tim’s future – either as Batman, Robin or Red Robin, as to be decided by Tony Daniel’s upcoming Battle for the Cowl mini-series. Lines like “I said I’d never become like Batman. Obsessed. Closed off. But now…I don’t know if there’s any other way,” and Nightwing’s line to Tim – “Tim, you know we’re going to be okay, right?” seem to hint that Tim may very well become Robin to Dick’s Batman. Or will Tim become Batman with former flame Stephanie Brown AKA Spoiler a female Robin once more? We’ll soon find out. The issue ends with a 6 page Origins and Omens back-up tale by the same great creative team that doesn’t give us any clues to Tim’s future. It’s a short adventure with Tim facing his mother’s killer in Haiti and facing hallucinations caused by the Dhalsim lookalike bad guy.

Tim Drake is a character deserving of his own series. No doubt we haven’t seen the last of him (nor Nightwing or Birds of Prey, whose series also end this month) but when he does reappear he may not be in the familiar red, black and yellow costume.

Download a preview of this ish here.

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