Review: Red Robin #1

Red Robin 1

I have to admit, I thought this book was going to be awful.  But, I’m a Tim Drake fan.  So, when I realized it was Tim behind the mask, I figured I’d check it out anyway.  I’ll say right up front that I was pleasantly suprised.  But it took a little while for the book to win me over.

The issue starts with Tim Drake traveling Europe looking for some clue that Bruce is still alive.  Right off the bat, I’ve got two problems.  One, Tim is, by his own admission, crossing some lines he wouldn’t ordinarily cross.  And two, I can think of no good reason why Tim would wear the Red Robin costume.

Yost actually does a pretty good job of explaining what has pushed Tim Drake to this point.  The guy has been through a lot.  He’s lost his biological and adoptive parents.  His best friends have died.  And someone else has taken up the role of Robin.  To make matters worse, he is the only one who believes that Bruce may still be alive.  In fact, he’s desperate to believe it.

Given everything Tim has been through in the last few years, I was willing to believe that he would go to these lengths to hold on to the last remnants of the life he knew.  It’s a compelling premise and I look forward to seeing where the story goes.  I hope to see Tim redeemed when Bruce inevitably returns.

The question of the Red Robin identity is a stickier one.  Yost suggests that Tim picked this identity because it was already tarnished by Jason Todd.  Since he knew he was going to cross a few lines, he didn’t want to bring an shame to the identities of Batman or Robin.  But bringing shame to Red Robin is okay.

It’s about as good of an explanation as you’re going to get.  But it still doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.  To the best of my knowlegde, Jason Todd wore the Red Robin costume in a trip through the multiverse.  He ditched the costume as soon as he got back to the proper earth.  I’m not aware of anyone wearing it since.  So, Red Robin doesn’t really have any kind of history – much less a tarnished one.  If anything, it makes more sense for Tim just to create a new identity under which to investigate Bruce’s disappearance.

But, DC wanted to use the Red Robin identity.  So, you just have to accept this explanation or let it ruin the book for you.  I chose to let this one slide.

The art by Ramon Bachs wasn’t particularily to my liking.  Having said that, I think it could grow on me over time. 

I am looking forward to seeing where Tim’s quest takes him.  I hope Yost can keep this search fresh for as long as Bruce is off stage.  It seems like a daunting task, but this issue gets things off to a pretty good start.

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14 Responses to Review: Red Robin #1

  1. jb says:

    Well, late in the last Robin run, the villian also known as the General wore the Red Robin costume in attempt to screw with Tim and replace him. Tim got hold of the costume and wore it for a very short spell to cover his head, which was burned. Other than that no one has worn it. So it really does make little sense.

    • dclebeau says:

      I forgot about the General! I’m not sure I even finished reading that story. I kind of lost interest once the book was cancelled.

      Thanks for the correction!

  2. brucecastle says:

    Everyone was raving about this on the GL forum. From your review, it just seems like a heap of exposition.

    So, what’s so good?

    • dclebeau says:

      Well, it’s definitely set-up. But I wouldn’t say it was exposition. I guess I focused my review on the way in which Yost addressed two of my main concerns with Tim’s new status quo. But there’s some action scenes interspersed.

      For me, the best part of it was seeing Tim pushed to the limits. And it felt real. Not like Tim “cracking” and going crazy on Jason Todd in Battle for the Cowl. The emothional moments rang true.

      It was a good, solid comic.

  3. brucecastle says:

    Huh. Ok. I read your review and you explaiend how you liked the handling of certain things, which, to someone who hasn’t read the comic, sounds like exposition.

    Yost is a decent writer, but the best he can be is “good,” and I don’t have the money for that, only great.

    • dclebeau says:

      This was the first book by Yost I ever read. It was, as you say, good but not great. But I have the money for a good Tim Drake book.

  4. brucecastle says:

    You should save your money to read Morrison’s Animal Man instead.

    • dclebeau says:

      Money’s not the issue with Animal Man. It’s more a matter of taking the time to read old comics. It’s something I’ll get around to. But I’m not in any big hurry. It took me a decade to get around to reading Watchmen.

  5. brucecastle says:

    Well as long as you read it before you heard it was going to be a movie.

    And it’s been over 20 years since Animal Man came out.

    Chop Chop.

  6. [...] I still think it makes no sense whatsoever for Tim Drake to start calling himself Red Robin, the first issue was actually pretty damn good.  So, keep it [...]

  7. [...] (Morrison/Quitely) was a huge hit with us and many others, while Batman #687 (Winnick/Benes) and Red Robin #1 (Yost/Bachs) were a little more mixed, here and in other places.  Today saw the beginning of [...]

  8. [...] Gotham City.  Alongside the recent Batman & Robin #1, Detective Comics #854, Batman #687, and Red Robin #1 (and, of course, Dini’s other title, Streets), Sirens is also about the efforts of a [...]

  9. Jacob says:

    Red Robin is tarnished because of Jason Todd

  10. dclebeau says:

    But Jason Todd wore the outfit while he was dimensuion hopping. Few people in this reality would even know he wore it. He threw out the costume as soon as he got back home.

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