Tim Drake
Robin (Tim Drake- circa 2020 special).png
Tim Drake in Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 (March 2020).
Art by Jim Cheung.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceAs Tim Drake:
Batman #436 (August 1989)[1]
As Robin:
Batman #457
(December 1990)[2]
As Red Robin:
(cameo appearance)
Robin #181 (February 2009)
(full appearance)
Red Robin #1 (August 2009)
Created byMarv Wolfman (writer)
Pat Broderick (artist)
In-story information
Full nameTimothy Jackson Drake[3][4][5]
Team affiliationsBatman family
Teen Titans
Young Justice
Wayne Enterprises
Batman Inc.
Outsiders
Justice League
PartnershipsBatfamily partners:
Batman
Dick Grayson
Stephanie Brown
Jason Todd
Cassandra Cain
Helena Bertinelli
Jean-Paul Valley
Damian Wayne
Harper Row
Other hero partners:
Conner Kent
Bart Allen
Cassie Sandsmark
Amethyst
Arrowette
Notable aliasesRobin
Red Robin
Batman
Drake
Abilities
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Expert martial artist and hand-to-hand combatant
  • Highly skilled acrobat and gymnast
  • Master detective
  • Utilizing high-tech equipment and weapons

Timothy Jackson Drake is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. Created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick, he first appeared in Batman #436 (August 1989) as the third character to assume the role of Batman's crime-fighting partner Robin. Following the events of Batman: Battle for the Cowl in 2009, Drake adopted the identity of Red Robin. In 2019, Tim returned to his original Robin persona and had a brief stint in which he used the mononym "Drake".

As a young boy, Tim was in the audience the night Dick Grayson's parents were murdered and later managed to discover the identities of Batman and the original Robin through their exploits. After the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and witnessing Batman spiral into darkness, Tim attempted to convince Dick to resume the role of Robin, stating that "Batman needs a Robin". However, Dick refused to return to being Batman's sidekick, and instead, Tim was appointed as the third Robin. Neal Adams redesigned the entire Robin costume specifically for Tim Drake's character, with the sole exception of the redesigned "R" logo by the late Norm Breyfogle.

Subsequent stories emphasize Tim's superior detective skills compared to the previous two Robins, which make him more similar to Batman. He succeeded Dick as the leader of the Teen Titans, and later led his superhero team, Young Justice. He was briefly followed in the role of Robin by Stephanie Brown, and later for a longer period by Batman's biological son, Damian Wayne, during the time Tim operated as Red Robin. Tim has been shown to have a close friendship with Superboy (Conner Kent). He has had romantic relationships with superheroes Stephanie Brown and Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), and more recently his former schoolfriend Bernard Dowd, as part of a high-profile coming out storyline.

In 2011, Tim Drake was ranked 32nd in IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes. The character has been featured in various adaptations, including several animated television series set in the DCAU beginning with The New Batman Adventures (1997–99) and also in Young Justice (2010–present), and the video game series Batman: Arkham. In 2021, Tim made his live-action debut in the third season of the HBO Max series Titans, portrayed by Jay Lycurgo.

Publication history

Tim Drake was named after Tim Burton, director of the then-upcoming 1989 film. The character first appeared in 1989's Batman: Year Three by writer Marv Wolfman and interior penciler Pat Broderick, before having his origin detailed in Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying, a crossover story between the ongoing series Batman and New Titans, written by Wolfman and penciled by George Pérez and Jim Aparo (the latter with inks by Mike DeCarlo), in which he first introduced himself to Dick Grayson and impressed the former Robin with his skills. This led Grayson and later Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler, to support Tim's request to be Batman's new partner. Not wanting to make the same mistake as he did with Jason Todd, Batman had Tim endure an intensive period of training that was never given to his predecessors. As such, Tim remained a non-superhero supporting character for the first year of his regular appearances in the Batman title, mainly operating in the Batcave.[6]

The ensuing Tim Drake storylines, authored by Alan Grant and penciled by Norm Breyfogle, coupled with the 1989 release of Burton's Batman, spurred sales of both Batman and Detective Comics. For the latter title, Grant attested in 2007 that "when the Batman movie came out, the sales went up, if I recall correctly, from around 75,000 to about 675,000." 1989-90 was indeed the "Year of the Bat:" Capital and Diamond City Distributors reported that the Year One-inspired Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight dominated four out of the five spots for preorders (not total sales and second printings). The only exception was the third preorder spot, snagged by Batman #442, the conclusion to Tim Drake's "A Lonely Place of Dying" storyline.[7] The "Year of the Bat" continued into the first half of 1990. Preorders for Batman and Detective Comics issues featuring a revived Joker and Penguin began to compete with, and even edged out, the last three parts of Grant Morrison's and Klaus Janson's Gothic storyline in Legends. Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man arrived in the second half of 1990, inaugurating six months of Spidermania (or Mcfarlamania, depending on the reader).[8] DC closed out 1990 with vendors under-ordering issues, prompting the publisher to push Batman #457 and the first part of the Robin mini-series into second and then third printings. The next year, 1991, witnessed the ascension of Chris Claremont's, Jim Lee's, and Scott Williams's X-Men against Magneto, as well as Fabian Nicieza's and Rob Liefeld's X-Force, into the top of the preorder rankings. The only exception to this X-mania was, again, Tim Drake and the sequel to the Robin miniseries, the first variant issue of which garnered the third spot, firmly wedged between variant issues of X-Force and X-Men. The mini-series pitted solo Robin against the Joker, in response to fan demands for a matchup since "A Death in the Family." The 1990s comics booming bust had begun.[9] In a supplemental interview with Daniel Best, Alan Grant added that "every issue from about that time [after the 'Year of the Bat'] that featured Robin sales went up because Robin did have his fans." Although both Grant and Breyfogle initially believed that their Anarky character could potentially become the third version of Robin, they were quick to support the editorial decision to focus on Drake. The social anarchist duo adopted the character as their own in the early 1990s, during Grant's shift to libertarian socialism but before his late 1990s emphasis on Neo Tech. Breyfogle agreed that "it was a big thing to bring in the new Robin, yes. I know my fans often point specifically to that double page splash where his costume first appears as a big event for them as fans and I usually have to point out to them that Neal Adams was the one who designed the costume. The 'R' symbol and the staff were all that was really mine." In the "Rite of Passage" storyline for Detective Comics, Grant and Breyfogle intertwined 1) Drake matching wits with Anarky; 2) a criminal and anthropological investigation into an apocryphal Haitian Vodou cult (revealed by Batman, asserting anthropological and investigative authority, as a front for extortion and crony capitalism); 3) the murder of Drake's mother by vilified cult leaders; 4) the beginning of Drake's recurrent nightmares and trauma; as well as 5) the perspective of a child of one of the cult's Haitian followers, unknowingly and inadvertently orphaned by Batman at the end of the four-issue arc.[10]

Tim Drake eventually transitioned from preadolescence to adolescence, becoming the third Robin throughout the storylines "Rite of Passage"[11] and "Identity Crisis,"[12] with all issues scripted by Alan Grant and penciled by Norm Breyfogle. Story arcs that included Drake only in subplots or featured his training in criminal investigation, such as "Crimesmith"[13] and "The Penguin Affair,"[14] were either written or co-written by Grant and Wolfman, with pencils by Breyfogle, Aparo, and M. D. Bright. Immediately afterwards, the character starred in the five-issue miniseries Robin,[15] written by Chuck Dixon, with interior pencils by Tom Lyle and cover art by Brian Bolland. The new Batman and Robin team went on their first official mission together in the story "Debut,"[16] again written by Grant and penciled by Breyfogle. Lauren R. O'Connor contends that, in early Tim Drake appearances, writers such as Grant and Chuck Dixon "had a lexicon of teenage behavior from which to draw, unlike when Dick Grayson was introduced and the concept of the teenager was still nascent. They wisely mobilized the expected adolescent behaviors of parental conflict, hormonal urges, and identity formation to give Tim emotional depth and complexity, making him a relatable character with boundaries between his two selves." In the Robin ongoing series, when Drake had fully transitioned into an adolescent character, Chuck Dixon depicted him as engaging in adolescent intimacy, yet still stopped short at overt heterosexual consummation. This narrative benchmark maintained Robin's "estrangement from sex" that began in the Grayson years.[17] Erica McCrystal likewise observes that Alan Grant, prior to Dixon's series, connected Drake to Batman's philosophy of heroic or anti-heroic "vigilantism" as "therapeutic for children of trauma. But this kind of therapy has a delicate integration process." The overcoming of trauma entailed distinct identity intersections and emotional restraint, as well as a "complete understanding" of symbol and self. Bruce Wayne, a former child of trauma and survivor guilt, guided "other trauma victims down a path of righteousness." Tim Drake, for example, endured trauma and "emotional duress" as a result of the death of his mother (his father was in a coma and on a ventilator). Drake contemplated the idea of fear, and overcoming it, in both the "Rite of Passage" and "Identity Crisis" storylines. Grant and Breyfogle subjected Drake to recurrent nightmares, from hauntings by a ghoulish Batman to the disquieting lullaby (or informal nursery rhyme), "My Mummy's dead...My Mummy's Dead...I can't get it through my head," echoing across a cemetery for deceased parents. Drake ultimately defeated his preadolescent fears "somewhat distant from Bruce Wayne" and "not as an orphan." By the end of "Identity Crisis," an adolescent Drake had "proven himself as capable of being a vigilante" by deducing the role of fear in instigating a series of violent crimes.[18]

As the character continued to appear in the main Batman titles, the original Robin miniseries was followed by the four-issue miniseries Robin II: The Joker's Wild![19] and the six-issue miniseries Robin III: Cry of the Huntress,[20] both also written by Dixon. Due to the success of these miniseries, DC launched the first ongoing monthly Robin series in its history, once again written by Dixon, with Tim Drake as its main adolescent character.[21] The ongoing series continued for over 15 years, ending with issue #183.[22] Mike Mullins on Newsarama has stated:

Throughout [the entire Robin series], the character of Robin has been captured consistently, showing him to step up to greater and greater challenges. Robin is a character who shows initiative and is driven to do what he views as right. He knows he is living up to a legacy left by Dick Grayson and strives to not disappoint Bruce Wayne, Batman. Tim is a more natural detective than previous Robins and is talented with computers, which allows him to stand in his own unique spotlight. Unlike his predecessors, Tim is not the most proficient combatant and has had to really work on his fighting technique, taking up the bo staff to give him an edge that Batman does not need. Tim almost always seeks to analyze a problem and to outthink his opponent but has shown the ability to win a fight when necessary.[23]

During this period, the character also featured prominently in the comic series Young Justice, written by Peter David, as a core team member from 1998 to 2003. Subsequently, Tim Drake also became a prominent team member in the new incarnation of Teen Titans written by Geoff Johns, from 2003 to 2011.

The ongoing series Robin (vol. 4) was written by Chuck Dixon until issue #100,[24] in which the series was handed off to Jon Lewis. Lewis's run as a writer concluded with issue #120.[25] Bill Willingham wrote the series for issues #121-147.[26] As part of DC Comics' "One Year Later" relaunch initiative, in which the events of all ongoing titles skipped forward one year, Adam Beechen took over as writer on Robin with issue #148.[27] Later, a return to the title by Chuck Dixon was aborted abruptly[28] upon his departure from DC again. The final nine issues of the series were written by Fabian Nicieza,[29] tying into the then-ongoing "Batman R.I.P." storyline.

Following the miniseries Batman: Battle For the Cowl, Tim Drake took on the new identity of the Red Robin as the character Damian Wayne was made the new Robin. The character began starring in a new Red Robin ongoing series, written for its first twelve issues by Christopher Yost[30] and thereafter by Fabian Nicieza.[31] The series was canceled along with the rest of DC's publishing line for The New 52 reboot.

In The New 52 period, Tim Drake primarily appeared as a main character in the Teen Titans series, with some guest appearances in the Batman titles, under the superhero name Red Robin. Tim was also a main character in the 26-issue weekly series Batman and Robin Eternal alongside the other former Robins. Meanwhile, a version of Tim from five years into the future was also a main character in the weekly series The New 52: Futures End; this alternate-future version of Tim would become the title character in the subsequent Batman Beyond series up until its relaunch with DC Rebirth.

As of the DC Rebirth relaunch, Tim Drake became a main character in the series Detective Comics written by James Tynion IV where it was reinvented as a team book.[32] The character featured in issues #934-940 and #965-981, with some flashback appearances in the interim.

The character has subsequently become a main character in the relaunched Young Justice series written by Brian Michael Bendis.

The character received widespread media attention when it was revealed that he was bisexual in DC's relaunch initiative Infinite Frontier through Batman: Urban Legends #6 (August 2021), and is notable for being one of the most prominent LGBT characters in comic books.[33] He subsequently received a story in DC Pride 2022 and his own Tim Drake: Pride Special before DC announced a new ongoing solo series written by Meghan Fitzmartin that will launch on Setember 27, 2022.[34]

Fictional character biography

Introduction

Tim Drake is the son of Jack Drake and Janet Drake, coming from the same social class as Bruce Wayne.[35] When he was a young child, he visited the circus for the first time with his parents. The Drakes asked the Flying Graysons for a photo together, resulting in a momentary bond between Tim and Dick Grayson as they met for the first time.[36] Dick Grayson's parents were murdered that night, as witnessed by Tim from the audience.

Growing up, Tim's parents were frequently absent for months at a time as they traveled around the world on archaeological digs and thus he was left in a boarding school with relatively little adult supervision. By the age of nine, Tim, who had a very sharp intellect, had deduced the identities of Batman and Robin as Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, after witnessing a gymnastic maneuver by Robin that he previously saw Grayson display in the Haly Circus. Inspired by the heroes' exploits, Tim trained himself in martial arts, acrobatics, detective skills, and scholastics to better himself both physically and intellectually. When Tim reached the age of thirteen, he saw that Batman had grown reckless and violent following the second Robin (Jason Todd)'s murder by the Joker. Reasoning that "Batman needs a Robin," Tim at first approached Dick Grayson – who had since become Nightwing – to ask him to become Robin again. Dick refused, but Tim's actions in an encounter with Two-Face prompted him and Alfred Pennyworth to see Tim as a potential third Robin. Batman agreed to mentor Tim, train him, and use his assistance in the Batcave, but at first refused to involve Tim in the field out of concern for the boy's safety, not wanting a repeat of Jason's fate. After a series of events involving Tim's mother's death and his father's paralysis, and Tim rescuing Batman in an encounter with the Scarecrow, Batman eventually enlisted him as the third Robin at the age of fourteen.

Robin (vol. 4) (1989–2009)

Before joining Batman as the third Robin, Tim Drake was given a modern redesign of the Robin costume and sent to train abroad with numerous experts to refine his martial arts.[37] When Bruce Wayne retires after Knightfall, Robin goes solo to defend Gotham City. Robin would eventually go on to co-star with other teenaged superheroes in Young Justice and Teen Titans. He also made guest appearances in other DC comic books such as Nightwing and Azrael.

Robin would also become increasingly closer to fellow teen vigilante Stephanie Brown, also known as the Spoiler. Although at first, he regarded her as reckless in operating without Batman's guidance, the two would eventually become romantically involved. For a brief period when Tim's father found out about him being Robin and he retired from the role, Stephanie temporarily replaced him as the new Robin.

Following the death of his father in Identity Crisis (2004) and the presumed death of his girlfriend Stephanie Brown in Batman: War Games (2004–2005), Tim relocated to Blüdhaven, the city where Nightwing fights crime, for a period of time in order to escape the "ghosts" of Gotham City and to stay close to his stepmother Dana Winters who was admitted into a Blüdhaven clinic after going into psychological shock over Jack Drake's murder at the hands of Captain Boomerang.[38][39]

Tim Drake was then given another redesign of the Robin costume with a red and black color scheme. The colors are those of Superboy's costume, in tribute to his best friend Superboy after he also died in battle in Infinite Crisis (2005–2006).[40][41]

Once Dick takes over the role of Batman after Bruce's apparent death in Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis, he fires Tim from the Robin mantle and gives it to Damian Wayne, due to Dick believing he and Tim are equals. Tim, believing that Bruce is still alive, assumes the identity of Red Robin and leaves Gotham City to go on a worldwide search for Wayne.[4][42][43]

Red Robin (2009–2011)

Red Robin, which was launched in late 2009, depicted Tim Drake's search to find evidence that Bruce Wayne was still alive after cutting himself off from the rest of the Bat-family. He was approached by Ra's al Ghul's assassins, who were also interested in finding out what happened to Batman. At the same time, Tamara "Tam" Fox, Lucius Fox's daughter, has been sent to find Tim Drake to bring him back to Gotham. Tim goes to Iraq and manages to discover definitive proof that Bruce was alive and lost in time, but was ambushed by an assassin from the Council of Spiders. He manages to drive himself and Pru (one of the assassins working for Ra's al Ghul, who had become an ally of Tim's) to Tam's hotel room, and they are promptly abducted by the League of Assassins.

Although initially reluctant, Tim Drake allied with Ra's before nearly bleeding to death due to their encounter with the Council of Spiders. He was put in charge of the League of Assassins by Ra's and used the time to simultaneously plan how to stop the Council of Spiders and destroy the League of Assassins. After failing to foil all but one of the Council's assassination attempts, Tim realizes that the Council will be attacking the League's base, and realizes that he left Tam in danger at the base. Rushing back to base, he simultaneously manages to delay the Council of Spiders, blow up the League's base, and escape with Tam.

After crippling Ra's' League of Assassins, Drake returns to Gotham City to overthrow Ra's' plans to use Hush (surgically altered to resemble Bruce Wayne) to gain control of the Wayne family resources and destroy all that Batman held dear by directing his assassins to target all of the Batman's associates. Realizing that these attacks are a smokescreen and that the real target is coercing Hush to sign away Wayne Enterprises, Red Robin decides to confront Ra's head-on. He calls upon all of his friends to protect the various targets. Drake has since moved back to Gotham City and reestablished ties with his family and friends.

After Bruce Wayne's return, Tim begins to aid his plans for expanding their mission globally with Batman, Inc.[44] Tim is eventually appointed as the head of the newest incarnation of the Outsiders that now serve as Batman Inc.'s black-ops wing.[45] Red Robin eventually rejoins the Teen Titans and takes over leadership from Wonder Girl. He remains the team's leader during their climactic battle against Superboy-Prime and the new Legion of Doom.[46]

Following an adventure with the Black Bat where he faces Ra's al Ghul's sister,[47] Tim stalks and attempts to kill a revived Captain Boomerang during the Brightest Day. Though Tim ultimately stops himself from killing Boomerang, he is chastised by Batman for his actions.[48]

The New 52 (2011–2016)

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Teen Titans #0 revealed Tim Drake's new origin, showing a large departure from his original origin, removing his connections to Dick Grayson's origin story. In The New 52, Tim is a talented athlete and computer genius who comes close to discovering Batman's identity, but never totally figures it out. When Tim finds the Batman and gets rejected for the role of sidekick, he decides to bring the Batman to him, by hacking the Penguin's bank account and donating millions of dollars, thus putting his family in danger. The Penguin's goons come after Tim and his family, but Batman saves them. Tim's parents are forced to go into witness protection, but they believe Tim deserves better and ask Bruce to take care of him for them. The Witness Protection Program renames him "Tim Drake," and he takes on the identity of the "Red Robin", rather than that of "Robin", out of respect to Jason Todd. In recent issues, he is shown to be a founding member of the Teen Titans as well as their leader and he shows feelings for Wonder Girl which are reciprocated.

Tim was unwilling to meet with the rest of the Bat family at the Batcave after he was infected with the Joker's new compound "HA". He was present when Damian was killed by the Heretic and admitted to Bruce that even though he had a dysfunctional relationship with Damian that he did grieve for him. He was also at the final battle between Batman and the Heretic when Talia killed her son's clone and blew up Wayne Tower.

Tim was also part of the Bat-family's assembled team which went to Apokolips to retrieve Damian's body. As their mission focused on retrieving Robin, Tim, Jason, and Barbara wore costumes that resembled Damian's colors and each wore a Robin symbol. Following the completion of their mission and the revival of Damian, he handed him the Robin symbol on his suit to welcome Damian back to life and the role of Robin.

In the Pre-Convergence timeline of Futures End, refugees from Earth-2 are given a signal from Brother Eye, which allows them into the Earth-0 Universe, but start a war when Darkseid follows them, leading to the deaths of the Teen Titans, except for Drake. Tim abandons his Red Robin mantle and becomes a bartender until an attack by Brainiac, where changes to the timeline are made. Brainiac is captured, and Terry McGinnis dies at the hands of Brother Eye's Batman-Joker hybrid. Tim dons the Batman Beyond suit and goes back in time and prevents Brother Eye from sending the signal to Earth-2, creating a new future where there is less destruction, and the events of Convergence and everything afterward takes place. Tim is launched into the new future, 35 years later, where he becomes the new Batman and destroys a weakened Brother Eye.

DC Rebirth (2016–present)

In DC Rebirth, Tim Drake still operates under the Red Robin alias. He gains a new and third overall Red Robin suit similar to his first Robin suit except with two "R"s as his logo instead of one. It is revealed later on in Detective Comics #965 that Tim Drake's origin story has reverted to that of the original universe, where he discovers Batman and Robin's identities after Jason Todd's death and became Robin before adopting the Red Robin persona.

Tim is primarily featured in Detective Comics as part of Batman and Batwoman's new team in Gotham, along with Orphan, Spoiler, and Clayface.[49] Batman and Batwoman were preparing this group to combat enemies known as the Colonists,[49] later revealed to be a military group under the command of Batwoman's father, Jake Kane, who have modeled themselves after Batman in a more violent matter. After the team rescues Batman and Tim hacks their database to discover their plans, Jake sends two waves of Bat-Drones to take down the "League of Shadows," which will kill hundreds of innocents in the process.[50] As his teammates evacuate the locations the drones were sent to, Tim hacks the drone's mission directive to make himself the sole target, knowing that the drones will stop once the target is eliminated.[51]

While Tim manages to take down the first wave of drones, he is killed apparently by the second wave, devastating the Bat-family and his former Teen Titans teammates.[52] However, just before Tim was blasted by the second wave, he is teleported to an unknown place by Mister Oz and kept prisoner. Tim swore that his friends will find him.[53]

Later, Batman learns from Ascalon, a robotic entity created by the Order of St. Dumas, that Tim is still alive, with Batman resolving to find Tim.[54]

In Mr. Oz's prison, Tim is forced to relive his memories of the past by Mr. Oz. Realizing that Mr. Oz is using Kryptonian technology, Tim easily hacks into it and frees himself as Mr. Oz reveals his identity as Jor-El and disappears. As he tries to find a way out, Tim finds Batman but discovers this version of Batman is Tim Drake from the Titans Tomorrow future. Unable to accept a future where he decides to become Batman, Tim is forced to aid his older self in evading and containing a freed Doomsday. Tim learns from his future self that Dick, Jason, and Damian all tried to be Batman, but either retired or were forced to be put down by Tim (in the case of Damian). After Doomsday is lured back to his cell, both Tims teleport out of Mr. Oz's prison and arrive in Gotham in the Titans Tomorrow future. Before being sent back, Tim is asked by his future self to apologize to Conner, but the younger Tim has no idea who Conner is, although he later admits that the name is tugging at his heart, though he does not know why. Tim is incapacitated by his future self, as the latter decides to go back in time to kill Batwoman, the apparent cause of Tim becoming Batman.[55] Tim returns to Gotham and is reunited with the Bat family, but warns them about Future Tim.

After a battle with Ulysses Armstrong and Brother Eye, Tim leaves Gotham to investigate the alternate timelines, and Tim's restored memories of his past friends from Young Justice. This leads him to Metropolis, where he is reunited with Wonder Girl and Impulse, and meets Teen Lantern and Ginny Hex. The five young heroes later travel to Gemworld, where they are also reunited with Superboy and meet Princess Amethyst. Soon lost in the Multiverse, Young Justice struggles to return home, with Tim taking on the new identity of Drake during an attack by his Earth-3 counterpart. However, this identity was retired shortly after returning to his universe, and Tim returned to being Robin.

Following Infinite Frontier, Tim's history is smoothed over again, restoring his pre-New 52 history as Batman's third apprentice and re-establishing him as having been Robin since that time. In Batman: Urban Legends, it is revealed that he and Stephanie Brown broke up off-panel and he reconnected with a friend from earlier volumes, Bernard Dowd. Bernard is kidnapped,[56] sending Tim on a rescue mission while still trying to understand what he truly desires from life.[57] During the rescue, Bernard tells Robin that his friend Tim helped him come out and understand himself, prompting Robin/Tim to have the same realization for himself. Afterward, out of costume, Bernard asks Tim on a date, which Tim accepts.[58]

Skills and abilities

Combat skills

Before becoming Robin, Tim Drake had trained in martial arts and was a capable, if inexperienced, combatant. Bruce Wayne built upon this foundation by initially replicating the training he used for both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, formally training in several fighting styles, such as Aikido, Kung Fu, Jeet Kune Do, Escrima, Krav Maga, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Wing Chun, Hapkido, Karate, Savate, Kendo, Ninjitsu, Tai Chi, Leopard Kung Fu and Ba Gua. Tim also trained in non-combat skills, such as gymnastics and free climbing to further develop his athleticism. While this echoed the training of previous Robins, Bruce slanted the training with a greater emphasis on stealth tactics, ranged combat, and better defense. In his early exploits, Tim frequently demonstrated this training by attacking from the shadows, using a sling for extra distance, and relying more heavily on throwing shuriken.

After becoming Robin, Tim honed his fighting skills through encounters with several mentors who further refined his technical ability, use of aggression, and weapons training; for the latter, he received weapons training in using a Bo staff from Lady Shiva, a key rival and erstwhile enemy of the Batman, which became a visual hallmark of the character.[59]

During training and various adventures, Tim has engaged each of the other Robins in combat, including Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Damian Wayne, all of whom had similar training under Batman's tutelage. In these contests, Tim's combat strengths contrasted with the other Robins; in general, Tim is recognized as the most calculating and cunning combatant of the group as opposed to Dick's physicality, Jason's aggressiveness, and Damian's focus. In his two notable defeats, Todd was able to exploit Tim's usual fighting style through relentless attack and physical power, while Damian initially defeated Tim with an unexpected attack (a 'sucker punch'). Regarding the latter, for a time, Tim had a habit of holding back when facing off against Damian. When Tim finally decided not to hold back, he easily beat Damian with impunity.

Based on his combat record and exploits, Tim is considered one of the world's elite martial artists. After watching Tim simultaneously fend off several assassins from the Council of Spiders, Ra's al Ghul commended him for his skill, noting Tim's battlefield awareness.[60]

As a precaution, Bruce inoculated Tim, as well as his other close allies, against several toxins the Batman family has encountered, including Joker venom, the Scarecrow's fear toxin, and some of Poison Ivy's pheromones. While this does not create a full immunity, it does give them a strong resistance, allowing them to continue fighting or escape when exposed to the substances.

Other skills

Idolizing Batman and Robin, Drake trained from a young age in fields such as acrobatics, forensics, detective work and criminology. The most intellectually gifted of the Robins, Drake has deduced a majority of other heroes' identities, including the Flash and Superman. In addition, after foiling Ra's al Ghul's master plan to assassinate everyone Bruce Wayne cared about and ruining the Wayne Family fortune, Ra's has addressed Tim as "Detective," a title the villain once only reserved for Bruce Wayne.[61] His intellect has enabled him to excel in computer science and a grasp of assorted scientific techniques, including biology, engineering, and genetics, which he has been shown to use in his attempts at re-cloning Superboy.[62] Tim also speaks several languages beyond his native English, including Cantonese,[63] Russian,[64] Spanish[4] and German.[65] Even Nightwing is proud of his skills, saying that Tim was a better Robin than he ever was.

Due to his tactical ability, rationality, and willingness to use influence and persuasion rather than force, Tim has established himself as a leader even among other vigilantes and superheroes. Similar to other Robins, he has served as a leader to the Teen Titans, as well as Young Justice, and was even placed in charge of the rescue efforts of Blüdhaven by Superman, following the attack made by Deathstroke and his fellow villains.

Costumes

Tim Drake's original Robin costume had a red torso, yellow stitching and belt, black boots, green short sleeves, gloves, and pants. He wore a cape that was black on the outside and yellow on the inside. This costume was different from that of his predecessors in that it provided increased protection with an armored tunic and gorget, long boots, an emergency "R" shuriken on his chest in addition to the traditional batarangs and a collapsible bo staff as the character's primary weapon.

Following Infinite Crisis and 52, Tim Drake modified his costume to favor a mostly red and black color scheme in tribute to his best friend, Superboy (Kon-El), who died fighting Earth-Prime's Superboy. This Robin costume had a red torso, long sleeves, and pants, with a cape that was black on the outside and yellow on the inside. It also had yellow stitching and a matching belt, a black domino mask, gloves, and boots.

Tim Drake resumed the motif of a red and black costume when he took on the identity of the Red Robin. The Red Robin costume consisted of a long-sleeved red tunic, along with black boots, tights, gloves, cape, and cowl. It also included a black-and-gold utility belt that carries Drake's weaponry, such as his bo staff and throwing discs. After Drake's confrontation with Ra's al Ghul in Red Robin #12, the costume was slightly altered with spiked gauntlets, a cropped tunic, and a new utility belt.

The theme of a red and black costume continued in 2011 with Tim Drake's New 52 Red Robin outfit. The costume was altered considerably, as it was a single-piece red and black costume, with assorted belts on his waist and legs. The full cowl was replaced with a black domino mask, similar to his previous two Robin costume designs. His chest harness was attached to a set of rocket-powered wings, designed by Virgil Hawkins a.k.a. Static, that allow the Red Robin the ability to fly. He continued to use his bo staff and other assorted equipment.

In the 2016 DC Rebirth relaunch, Tim Drake maintains the role of the Red Robin. This Red Robin costume serves as a homage to his first Robin costume. His costume is returned to a similar look as his original Robin costume consisting of a red torso, yellow utility belt, black pants, green short sleeves, gloves, and boots. He also has a new cape that is black on the outside and yellow on the inside, similar to the Robin cape. While his Red Robin suit is similar to his first Robin suit, it has two "R"s as his logo instead of one, to show that he is no longer Robin and now the Red Robin. The mask is similar to his New 52 domino mask. His bo staff remains his primary weapon.

With the revived Young Justice series, Tim has returned to the identity of Robin. His new costume shares similarities with his DC Rebirth suit; however, it has various adjustments and revisions. His suit still has the red torso, black pants, and armored sleeves; however, his pants now merge into split-toed boots with green highlights, losing the green leg guards. He has replaced the bulkier arm guards with smaller arm guards with blades similar to Damian Wayne's Robin suit. His cape, while still black and gold, is now scalloped to look similar to his later OYL cape. Tim's double-R logo has been replaced with his original single "R" logo. He continues to use a bo-staff as his primary weapon.

For a brief period in Young Justice, Tim adopted the Drake identity, wielding a bo staff and wearing a capeless brown suit with black on the arms and boots and gold accents, before returning to his original Robin costume in Young Justice #19.

Alternate versions

Further information: Alternate versions of Robin

Batman Beyond

Set after the events of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Tim Drake serves as a supporting character in the ongoing Batman Beyond comic book series. It is suggested that, after a series of examinations, he is freed from the Joker's control although the experience has left him with doubts and he continues to struggle to keep his sanity intact. His wife is revealed to have been aware of her husband's heroic and tortured past and implied to have met Tim and his former mentor at some point before he retires as Robin.

Bruce offered Tim a job in his company, which he accepted after he merged it with Lucius Fox Jr.'s company Foxteca and renamed the company Wayne Incorporated. The condition was that Tim would not get himself involved with the superheroic activities of Bruce, Terry, or the JLU, and Bruce would pay for his children's college tuition.[66] He is currently working as a communications expert, handling satellites and other associated technology.

Titans Tomorrow

Main article: Titans Tomorrow

In the "Titans Tomorrow" story arc during writer Geoff Johns' run on Teen Titans, Robin and the rest of the team encounter future versions of themselves from a time after all of their mentors have been killed. As a brutal new Batman, Tim Drake personally hunted down every member of his mentor's Rogues Gallery, turning Arkham Asylum into a cemetery filled with the graves of the original Batman's enemies, whom Tim killed using the same pistol that Joe Chill used to murder Thomas and Martha Wayne when Bruce was a child. Tim had difficulty accepting that he could ever adopt such brutal methods as the direct successor to Batman, who always maintained a strict policy against murder. In a final battle culminating in both present and future Titans colliding, the battle ends in a stalemate. Using a Cosmic Treadmill in the adult Tim's Batcave, Robin and his team return home to contemplate the future they have seen.[67]

Following the reboot of the DC Universe during the Flashpoint storyline (also by Johns), resulting in The New 52, a new timeline with new history, this future was replaced by a war-torn dystopian one overrun by Brother Eye, taking place in the future of Prime Earth. Brother Eye murders the Justice League, mechanizing their corpses into horrific cyborg operatives and taking over their Watchtower. With most of all the superheroes dead, new heroes have taken up their mantles, with Terry McGinnis becoming Batman.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

In this reality, based on the video game of the same name, Tim Drake was a new member of the Teen Titans as the Red Robin at the time the Joker's nuclear explosion went off in Metropolis. The Titans tracked down Superman to the Fortress of Solitude, where he attempted to stop Superman. Tim tries lifting the Phantom Zone projector, but cannot because Superman placed a safety cap that weighs 100 tons. When Superboy is mortally wounded, Tim and the other Titans are sent by Superman to the Phantom Zone.

In the prequel to Injustice 2, Tim and the Titans (minus Superboy) are finally rescued by the remaining heroes. But just as he is reuniting with Batman, General Zod escapes the Phantom Zone and kills Tim by piercing Tim's heart with his heat vision.

DC Bombshells

Tim Drake appears in the DC Bombshells continuity as a former prisoner of Katherine-Webb Kane's orphanage, where he and the others were forced to build robots for Axis supporters. He is eventually rescued by the Batgirls, whom he joins afterward, wearing a baseball costume similar to his Robin costume on the mainstream Earth-0. He appears close to Alysia Yeoh.[68]

The New 52: Futures End and Batman Beyond

In the Futures End series, an older Tim Drake takes the role of Batman after Terry McGinnis dies. In 2015, Drake stars in the new Batman Beyond series. In the series, Tim Drake faked his death during the war between Prime-Earth and Earth-2 and became a bar owner by the name of Cal Corcoran. He assisted Terry McGinnis, who had come back through time to prevent the creation of Brother Eye. After Terry was killed in action defending Drake from Brother Eye's Batman/Joker hybrid (a Brother Eye-controlled fusion of Batman and the Joker from Terry's timeline), he passed on his futuristic Batsuit to Tim and, in his dying words, asked him to become the new Batman and go back through time to prevent the war between Prime Earth and Earth 2, which he believed will prevent the creation of Brother Eye.

He successfully travels back through time five years using a time band and convinces Brother Eye to not send a beacon to attract the surviving heroes of Earth-2, thus preventing the war with Earth 2. Following the completion of his mission, Brother Eye sends Tim back to Terry's timeline, hoping to find Terry alive so he can return the Batsuit to him. However, what he finds is still the same future Terry came from; realizing that Terrifitech is a constant and Brother Eye cannot be defeated in the past, Tim declares that Brother Eye has not won yet.

A few days later, Tim stops a break-in at a Wayne-Powers facility by Jokerz who is attempting to steal a critical component that keeps Brother Eye from detecting Gotham City. He later meets up with Terry's brother Matt, who is angry at Tim for wearing his brother's costume and, in private, declares that he should have been the one who succeeded Terry as Batman.

Following the meeting, Tim heads outside Gotham City to an internment camp that is holding all people captured by Brother Eye. Before he can break into the facility, he is attacked by a Brother Eye-converted Superman, who attempts to kill him. Knowing he cannot kill Superman, A.L.F.R.E.D overloads the Batsuits power reserves, temporally injuring Superman. As a result, the Batsuit deactivates itself, leaving Tim in his civilian attire and defenseless against Brother Eye's army. He is then captured and placed in a detention center, where he meets Terry's friend Max Gibson and, to his surprise, Barbara Gordon.

However, following the return of the original Wally West from the Pre-Flashpoint timeline, during DC Rebirth, the present resets to accommodate his existence, and ripples across reality end up bring Terry McGinnis back to life, allowing him to resume his role as the Future Batman. The future New 52 Tim has been erased due to the timeline change; however, the Titans Tomorrow version of Tim returns in his place, who goes on to become an anti-hero against the Teen Titans.

Nightwing: The New Order

In this alternate reality, Nightwing ends an ongoing feud between superpowered beings by activating a device that depowers 90% of the superpowered population. This builds to a future where superpowers are outlawed and any superpowered being must take inhibitor medications or be contained and studied should the medications not work on them. In 2040, Tim retired from his Red Robin days and is now raising his three children. When Dick becomes a fugitive after it is discovered his son Jake had superpowers, Tim uses his computer skills to help Dick locate Jake. Tim believes that Dick made the right choice in depowering the population.[69]

"DCEASED"

Drake, along with Dick Grayson, is among the first superheroes to be infected by the Anti-Life Equation. Batman attempts to talk to them, only to be infected by both of them. Tim is killed off-panel, with his corpse left in the Batcave, and is later found and buried by Jason Todd.

In other media

See also: Robin in other media

Television

Live Action

Animation

Film

Video games

Lego

Batman: Arkham

Further information: Batman: Arkham

The Tim Drake version of Robin is a supporting character in Rocksteady Studios' Batman: Arkham series. This version is grittier and darker than his depiction in the comics, which the producers found to be fitting with the overall tone of the series. His costume incorporates the traditional red and yellow colors, but he sports a more muscled appearance with a short buzz-cut (similar to Dick Grayson's hairstyle in Batman & Robin). He is also shown to be dating Barbara Gordon, whom he eventually marries.

Injustice

Collected editions

Tim Drake's earliest appearances as Robin were reprinted in trade paperback form shortly after their original publication. However, the ongoing series Robin was not regularly reprinted in trade paperbacks until the beginning of Bill Willingham's run as a writer with issue #121. The entire series was reprinted from that point onwards, as was its successor ongoing series Red Robin. All trade paperbacks from this period have since gone out of print.

Beginning in 2015, DC began publishing new editions of trade paperbacks collecting Robin-centric stories starring Tim Drake. These collections began with the story arcs "Rite of Passage" and "Identity Crisis", and continued onward to include the three Robin miniseries and begin collecting the Robin ongoing series. Publication of these trade paperbacks stopped after five volumes.

Title Material collected Release date ISBN
Original trade paperback collections
Robin: A Hero Reborn Batman #455-457, Robin #1-5 June 1991 978-1-5638-9029-1
Robin: Tragedy and Triumph Detective Comics #618-621, Robin II: The Joker's Wild! #1-4 November 1993 978-1-5638-9078-9
Robin: Flying Solo Robin (vol. 4) #1-4, material from Showcase '94 #5-6 July 2000 978-1-5638-9609-5
Robin: Unmasked! Robin (vol. 4) #121–125 September 2004 978-1-4012-0235-4
Robin/Batgirl: Fresh Blood Robin (vol. 4) #132–133; Batgirl (vol. 2) #58–59 September 2005 978-1-4012-0433-4
Robin: To Kill a Bird Robin (vol. 4) #134–139 April 2006 978-1-4012-0909-4
Robin: Days of Fire and Madness Robin (vol. 4) #140–145 August 2006 978-1-4012-0911-7
Robin: Wanted Robin (vol. 4) #148–153 March 2007 978-1-4012-1225-4
Robin: Teenage Wasteland Robin (vol. 4) #154–162 November 2007 978-1-4012-1480-7
Robin: The Big Leagues Robin (vol. 4) #163–167 March 2008 978-1-4012-1673-3
Robin: Violent Tendencies Robin (vol. 4) #170–174; Robin/Spoiler Special #1 December 2008 978-1-4012-1988-8
Robin: Search for a Hero Robin (vol. 4) #175–183 August 2009 978-1-4012-2310-6
Red Robin: The Grail Red Robin #1–5 April 2010 978-1-4012-2619-0
Red Robin: Collision Red Robin #6–12, Batgirl (vol. 3) #8 September 2010 978-1-4012-2883-5
Red Robin: The Hit List Red Robin #13–17 June 2011 978-1-4012-3165-1
Red Robin: 7 Days of Death Red Robin #18–21, 23–26, Teen Titans (vol. 3) #92 March 2012 978-1-4012-3364-8
New edition trade paperback collections
Robin Vol. 1: Reborn Batman #455–457, Detective Comics #618–621 and Robin #1–5 November 2015 978-1-4012-5857-3
Robin Vol. 2: Triumphant Batman #465, 467–469, Robin II: The Joker's Wild! #1–4 and Robin III: Cry of the Huntress #1–6 March 2016 978-1-4012-6089-7
Robin Vol. 3: Solo Robin (vol. 4) #1–5, Robin Annual #1–2 and material from Showcase '93 #5–6, 11–12 December 2016 978-1-4012-6362-1
Robin Vol. 4: Turning Point Robin (vol. 4) #6–13, #0 and material from Showcase '94 #5–6 July 2017 978-1-4012-6587-8
Robin Vol. 5: War of the Dragons Robin (vol. 4) #14–22, Robin Annual #3 and Detective Comics #685–686 January 2018 978-1-4012-7512-9

Other collected editions

See also

References

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