Being a masked crime fighter has its advantages; your anonymity makes you somewhat terrifying, while protecting those closest to you. On the other hand, once your secret is out, the criminal element can pass and share that information faster than a wild rumor that Bruce Willis is in the next Batman movie. For Tim Drake Wayne, the return to Gotham has not only given him a new mission, it’s given those who want to reveal secret identities a renewed reason to break the big story.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Marcus To
Inks: Ray McCarthy
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover: To, McCarthy, and Brian Buccellato
Editor: Mike Marts and Sean Ryan
Publisher: DC Comics

Previously in Red Robin: Robin has a plan – take out all his enemies before they can take down him. It’s a big plan, but one that he has put a lot of time, effort, and energy into. He can’t let anything go wrong, or let anyone stand in his way if he hope to succeed. If he has to take down Damian, no problem, but when reporter Vicky Vale starts snooping around, the Wayne paranoia begins to show.

Tim Drake or Tim Wayne

Regardless of what Matthew may say, Tim Drake was adopted by Bruce Wayne several years ago, and legally his name is Tim Wayne. Nicieza takes that confusion among readers and fans, and plays around with it quite a bit in this issue, jumping back and forth from Wayne, to Drake, and back again, before clearing up any lingering confusion – his name is legally Tim Wayne, but when he looks in the mirror, he’s always Tim Drake. As fun as the banter may be, the bigger problem is that of his Red Robin secret identity. With more non-heroes figuring out what he does for fun, Tim needs to give everyone a swerve worthy of the Silver Age.

Back in the long, long ago, whenever Lois Lane came close to discovering Superman’s secret identity, he would always figure out a way for Clark Kent and Superman to be in the same location at the same time. It’s a gimmick that has worked for nearly every superhero throughout time, and Tim wants to employ the same tactic. Knowing that an assassin is targeting Tim, he plans an elaborate press conference to out the two police officers that have been giving him grief these last couple of months. He knows the assassin Scarab won’t pass up the opportunity to take a shot, and he knows Vicky Vale won’t pass up a chance to cover the Wayne family.

The plan works perfectly, with Tim getting shot in the gut, while Red Robin captures Scarab in the process. What readers learn behind the scenes is that former Teen Titan M’gann M’orzz was in on the big switch-a-roo, and Tim is willing to play up the serious spine injury gag for the next year to really throw Vale off the trail.

While other writers are literally bringing back the Silver Age in their books, Nicieza takes a trope of the period and works it into his tale, without the need to turn the universe back 50 years. At the same time, he does introduce a story twist that will force him and other writers to work creatively to keep Tim in leg bracers for the next 12 months, or three issues, depending on what Batman editors decide to allow.


As an “all ages” book, Red Robin contains about as much violence as one might see in a Tarantino film. Fortunately, Tim getting a through and through to the gut, and the shocking way Red Robin brings down the Scarab are handled tastefully by Marcus To.

To is also able to create large crowds of people and scenery while keeping vanishing points and rendering correct. I also like that To spends some time giving everyone a unique outfit to wear. I’ve grown weary of characters all wearing the same cut suit with a different color, or the same style of pants on every single character. To takes the time to give everyone a unique look, and ensures that the outfit doesn’t change from panel to panel, shows he’s willing to spend the extra time to make the universe seem real.


There is nothing out right outstanding or unique in this story – it’s a bridge story that further develops Tim’s personality and planning techniques, while giving readers a chance to figure out how he is going to pull off the big con. The writing and art are solid for the third chapter stretch, and is worth checking out. Red Robin #15 is one of the better Bat Family books out there, earning 3 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Ray
    August 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm — Reply

    I would never have thought that a book about a sidekick would be a book i look forward to, but I really like this book. I wish DC owned Invincible because I would like to see a World’s Finest with Red Robin and Invincible.

    I know tim’s not technically a sidekick.

  2. Rome
    August 8, 2010 at 8:22 pm — Reply

    This is one of the few DC books I read (and only since Fabian Nicieza starting writing it) and I too look forward to it every month. The art is playful and clear. Nicieza lets me in on the whole “bat-scene” without overdoing it. This is really nice as I know little to nothing about the DC universe and the Wayne family in particular, (things that make Batman & Robin really annoying for me.)

    I’m glad I decided to follow Nicieza and give a Red Robin a chance.

  3. Armaan
    August 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm — Reply

    I would just like to say. Tim Drake is one of my favorite DC characters, amongst Kyle Rayner and Plastic Man.
    It occurs to me that they have a younger, more relatable version for every superhero there is now. We’ve got a younger green lantern, a younger superman, a younger flash, a younger batman… well, two younger batmen. A younger wonder woman… er, make that two, too. Two younger superpersons, a younger green arrow… who’m I missing?
    Younger Shazam! Or Black Adam.

    And they’re more than just the sidekicks. They’ve grown up. Some more than others, admittedly.
    Which reminds me…. when do we see Plastic Man’s son in action? A kid who has more control over his powers than Eel himself! Probably less wacky, though.

  4. Obsidian
    August 9, 2010 at 10:16 am — Reply

    I am really loving The Prestige direction that Nicieza is taking. While not entirely original, it does offer something new to the playboy con that Bruce pulled. I wonder what will happen when he’s revealed to be a fraud…

  5. Damascus
    September 14, 2010 at 12:37 am — Reply

    I’ll never be able to call him Tim Wayne, it just doesn’t sound right. I understand that he’s been adopted, but my parents adopted my younger brother when he was 15 or 16 but they’ve had him since he was 11 and he kept his previous last name. He’s just legally considered my parents child now. I know that Tim could have elected to turn his back on his previous father and adopted Bruce’s last name, and I haven’t read the book so I don’t know if they flat out say that he’s a Wayne. It just sounds weird to me. We need to get the rest of the Bat characters to be Waynes as well then, Stephanie Wayne, Barbara Wayne, Alfred Wayne, John Wayne, Wayne Newton, Wayne’s World…

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