You may know him as a founding member of Young Justice, or by his unofficial Major Spoilers designation of “The Greatest Robin of Them All,” but there is a lot more to him than you might remember. Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Tim Drakes!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and The Quadruple Somersault of Doom, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN TIM DRAKES!
The first Robin to actively seek out the role, Tim’s time as Boy Wonder was an eventful few years, involving earthquakes, plagues, the death of both parents, and of his girlfriend. (She got better, but still…) But it was the death of his best friend and comrade-in-arms, Superboy, that finally moved him to change his uniform. Eschewing the traditional red/green/yellow color scheme of Robins before and since, Tim upgraded to a darker color scheme using Superboy’s red/black colors, but also emulated Batman in the boots, gauntlets and cape. It’s one of the more grown-up looks sported by any of the Robins.
9) RED ROBIN
Sorry, I always have to get that out of my system. Originally worn by Dick Grayson in a future continuity, the Red Robin costume was later (but chronologically first) worn by Jason Todd while traveling the Multiverse with the Challengers of the Beyond. After Batman chose Damian to be Robin over him, an angry Tim took up the role and with it, Jason’s status as Batfam bad boy. After the Flashpoint retcon, DC editorial gave him a pair of wings and insisted that he’d ALWAYS been Red Robin, an assertion that didn’t last long in the face of Drake’s fans.
In a particularly convoluted and metatextual turn of events, the Tim Drake of the DC Universe Animated Original Movie continuity on an Earth as-yet undesignated ends up serving as Jason Todd’s sidekick. Though seemingly younger than the New Earth or Prime Earth Tims, Bat-Kid is not only Red Hood’s backup but also his conscience and moral compass, having kept Todd from murdering Two-Face in cold blood.
I’ve never been quite clear why they chose to give him Opie Taylor ears, though.
Thanks to #TimeTravelShenanigans surrounding a team-up with the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Teen Titans ended up landing ten years in their own future. There they found a team of Titans who ruthlessly applied their own fascist sense of justice, led by an older, angrier, and more jaded Tim Drake as Batman. In this future, Tim used the gun that killed Bruce Wayne’s parents as his primary weapon. after seeing Cassandra Cain, Bette Kane, and Alfred the butler murdered in cold blood. Though they worked to keep the Titans of Tomorrow’s future from coming to pass, Tim and his friends only made it more and more likely with every move they made. More on that front in a moment…
6) BATMAN (AGAIN)
In a different, but equally dystopian future, we see Tim Drake become a different, but equally dystopian Batman. The events of Future’s End were ostensibly just a few years hence, but involved Terry McGinnis, the Batman of Batman Beyond, traveling back to stave off the end of the world. Terry died during that mission, but the future version of Tim (hiding out under the alias of Cal Corcoran, mild-mannered bar owner) prevented the cataclysm. This did not, however, change the crapsack future Terry traveled from, leading Tim to return there and take up the role of Batman.
This change was also short-lived, as it mobilized not only Tim’s fans, but Terry’s as well, all complaining about the nonsensical nature of the plot.
So, hey, remember that Titans of Tomorrow thing? The power of bad decisions was such that, even after the Flashpoint retcon altered the majority of the DC Universe on fundamental levels, terrible fates awaited the heroes of the Teen Titans. After being seemingly wiped from existence, ToT-future Tim(e) Drake managed to return to reality through a Hypertime loophole, now with a new alias. Capturing Superman and Batman, Tim/Savior reveals that he’s out to kill Jon Kent to keep him from growing up to become some manner of future threat. It’s a theme that will come to define Jon, ending with future Tim coming to his senses and sacrificing himself to save the young Superboy.
4) THE SPECTACULAR SUNBIRD
While undercover outside of Gotham City, Tim adopts the role of Gary Glanz, a nobody from nowhere with a truly heinous mullet. When a quick change is needed, he changes into his Robin costume, but forgets to uninstall his Kentucky waterfall, leading Robin to think quickly. Since this is 2003, one of the periodic “Batman and Robin are urban legends” eras of the Bat-mythos, he dubs himself The Spectacular Sunbird, unraveling a gun-running ring in the wilds of Pennsylvania.
Sharp-eyed Spoilerites will note “Sunbird” is missing the “R” insignia that might throw off his bluff: While wearing his original ninja-style costume, Tim’s chest-symbol was actually a removable throwing star, which was at this moment wedged in the flesh of one of the criminals he has already vanquished.
3) BATMAN (AGAIN AGAIN)
The seeming death of Bruce Wayne during Final Crisis threw Gotham City into turmoil. The would-be replacements included a gun-wielding Jason Todd, original Robin Dick Grayson, and Tim himself, who believed that either he or Dick HAD to take on the role to stop another Jean-Paul Valley situation. (Sadly, as far as I can tell, the cool red/black checkerboard Bat-suit was only worn by Harvey Dent in a hallucination, but I would have enjoyed seeing what Two-Face made of the job of replacing his greatest foe.) Eventually, Dick took up the Batman mantle, with Tim Drake once again becoming Red Robin.
After the Flashpoint retcon made him first a winged goober, then an erased non-entity through a complex series of “We want Damian to be Robin now” events, Tim and long-time girlfriend Stephanie Brown set out to find their own corner of the sky. Consulting with Zatanna about the long-term effects of all the time-shifting on his brain, Tim uncovered his memories of Young Justice, sending him on a cross-dimensional adventure that brought the band back together and required him to take on a new (though not exactly creative) alias. After his Young Justice adventure ended, Tim returned to becoming Robin again.
In his defense, drake is the name of a fearsome dragon, but it’s also a boy duck. There’s also the chance he got a C&D from that guy from Degrassi: The Next Generation.
1) MISTER SARCASTIC
Speaking of Young Justice, that team once agreed to star in a reality show about their adventures, leading Robin (who, as you may recall, occasionally remembers that he’s “just an urban legend”) to have to quit the team. This inflamed the abandonment issues of teammate The Secret, so Tim crafted a new identity to allow him to stay with his friends and be on TV without giving away all the secrets of Gotham’s protectors. Since this adventure led to not only the apparent deaths of YJ members The Secret and Slobo but the intervention of Darkseid and the dissolution of Young Justice, the efficacy of his masquerade is a matter of some debate.
Once again, this week’s topic, Ten Tim Drakes, is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra to suggest your own! There’s always more Ten Things madness on my Twitter or you can check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because DC editorial has a history of spontaneously and repeatedly reversing itself when it comes to their legacy heroes. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!