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So Scott Lobdell Went and Changed Tim Drake’s Origin a Bit More, and Nobody Noticed or Cared

Three years later, I’m comfortable in saying I don’t care for the New 52 at DC Comics. There are a few good comics at the company – though only Wonder Woman really springs to mind – but for the most part, everything is kind of crummy, and there is no indication that DC has any long term plans. They’re just throwing whatever they can at any walls they can find. But I’m not here to mock DC Comics. I’m here to pound more nails into the coffin of Tim Drake, one of my most favorite comic book characters of all time.

Suffice to say, Tim Drake, otherwise known as Red Robin, is a character who suffered a great deal in the New 52 change. Before the reboot, Tim was Robin was nearly 20 years (in real time). He was great in the role, and quite honestly, he was the greatest Robin of all time. Hands down.

But DC isn’t done screwing with or retconning his origin, apparently.

Never is not enough!

In the New 52, DC and writer Scott Lobdell rewrote Tim’s origin story and they altered his entire history as Batman’s partner. No longer was Tim ever ‘Robin’, instead calling himself ‘Red Robin’ from the very beginning. And he was only Batman’s partner for a short while, seeing it more as a stepping stone in his career than anything permanent or worthwhile. Tim suddenly became a gymnastics prodigy. And instead of having a long, complex story involving his parents, particularly his dad, Lobdell shuffled them off into ‘Witness Protection’ before Tim ever even became Red Robin.

Also, New 52 Tim Drake is kind of an asshole, especially to Batman.

Most of these changes were laid out in Teen Titans #0, the flashback issue that first told us the new origin of Tim Drake. Among the changes, we learned that Lobdell also took away the fact that pre-reboot Tim Drake had figured out Batman’s secret identity all on his own. That was Tim’s thing. That’s one of the things that made him so special.

Batman has a bunch of creepy old man masks at the ready

That was nearly two years ago, after which Teen Titans became a terrible wreck that nobody read, prompting cancellation.

Well it seems DC wasn’t done letting Lobdell mess around with Tim Drake. Apparently everyone involved wanted to re-retcon a few things, so they put out Secret Origins #3 this week. I didn’t even know Tim Drake was going to be part of the issue until I saw a brief mention of it online. And further searching the web, I couldn’t find anyone who seemed to care about any of the new changes made to Tim’s origin. So perhaps it falls to me, of all people, to at least document that these changes have happened.

For example, guess who really did figure out Batman’s secret identity?

Fixed a mistake?

And Lobdell tried to fix that weird, unexplained part where his name wasn’t really Tim Drake.

Because this makes it better, I guess?

I dunno. I guess I just wanted to write this article for posterity. Somebody has to pretend to still care about Tim Drake, right? He still has fans somewhere…right?

———————

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About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on June 30, 2014, in Comics, DC, Robin and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I heard tim was going to be in batman eternal and was excited. I want the old tim back. Teen Titans was an abomination and it ruined the awesome tim Yost had beating Ra’s Al Ghul. Tim Drake is the detective and my favprite character of all time. HE NEEDS HIS OWN SERIES. Hire Yost or To to fix this mess. I honestly am only have Batman Eternal and Batman in my weekly for DC. Marvel is just better now. DC doesn’t care what fans want anymore

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, my friend. I started reading Batman Eternal for Tim Drake as well, but so far he’s little more than a cameo. It’s nice to see him interacting in Gotham, free of the accursed Teen Titans, but he’s still a huge asshole towards Batman. I can’t stand that part of the New 52 Tim.

  2. This was a public service, dude. Well done. But, how does Lobdell actually play it, though? Is Lobdell saying that Tim just didn’t mention to Bruce that he knew his identity? That he let him think that he didn’t know? Of course, that seems like the type of thing that Lobdell would do. I guess it’s something. Too bad, as you said, that there isn’t apparently a cure for him being an asshole…

  3. I CARE! I CARE! YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

    Two “minor” changes in the grand scheme of things that really make all the difference in the world to me. Tim Drake is my favorite character (tied with Jay Garrick), and all the changes he’d suffered — especially in his personality — really pissed me off. Then Teen Titans #0 came along and made it even worse.

    So I’ll happily take these fixes. I just wish somebody would fix — ie, fire — Lobdell (and Bob Harras, too).

  4. I care!
    I care so much it hurts.
    They have taken away everything that made Tim Drake a great character!
    In my opinion the best of all modern dc heroes. His struggles. His relationships. His frigging name.
    Lobdell should be ashamed.

    • The fact that DC let Lobdell write this segment for Secret Origins – despite Teen Titans already being cancelled – leads me to believe that DC is perfectly happy with the work he’s done for them, especially on Tim.

  5. Good article, Sean, and I also agree with Michael. Here are the thoughts I posted when I saw people praising Secret Origins #3 on the Red Robin Comic Book Page on Facebook:

    What’s so “Secret” about this retread of Lobdell’s Teen Titan’s #0? Don’t be so quick to praise the small Pyrrhic victory of Tim fully solving the mystery. There’s almost nothing new or good in this Origin, but plenty still horribly wrong.

    1. Making Tim Drake an olympic-level athlete (Grayson clone) robs his journey of its struggle. And struggle is the essense of Drama and the cornerstone of storytelling. If it’s too easy for him then there is no conflict. In other words, dull. A 14 year old with almost no training thrown into martial combat against King Snake is not dull.

    2. Lobdell’s writing is as ham-handed as an obese child with a learning disability. A post-it on the screen that says “gotcha”. Holding up a sign that says “proud parents”. I guess I need these things spoon fed to me because i’mma stoopid, durrr.

    3. Why is Tim so dumb that he steals millions (endangering his innocent family, basically becoming a criminal himself) and doesn’t cover his tracks well enough to fool the Penguin?

    4. Why make Tim’s parents alive again if you’re just putting them in witness protection, completely throwing away the unique opportunity of a superhero with a regular family? BTW, I love how they wave a magic wand to explain away why Tim himself isn’t in witness protection AND somehow gets fostered with a random billionaire.

    5. It’s bad enough that they say Tim was never Robin, supposedly to honor Jason?, but when they say his name isn’t even Tim Drake it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Really it should be Tim Wayne, and to retcon such a beautiful story as that is a sin.

    6. Why does Lobdell write Tim as such an arrogant prick? The reason fans embraced Tim but had a hard time with Jason and Damian is because they were overconfident douchebagels but Tim was humble to the point of being unsure. He did NOT track down Bruce (or endanger his family) to apply for a job. He was not in trouble. He knew that Batman needed help and tried to talk Dick into being Robin again. It was everyone’s reluctance about Tim that made it work so beautifully.

    7. Finally, there was like a year’s worth of comics after Tim was introduced but before he became Robin where he was just hanging out, helping and learning. A costume wasn’t thrown at him when he walked in the door, he EARNED it.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go take a rape shower.

    • #4 is the one thing I will never understand. How does the world let that happen? That Tim doesn’t join his family in witness protection and instead gets ‘adopted’ by Batman? It doesn’t make any sense under any possible circumstance!

      • Michael A. Morgan

        Lobdell is the king of “that makes no f-ing sense” storytelling. He had conjoined twins of different sexes and one a vampire in Buffy, then he had Colossus kill himself to create a virus. So when I saw parents letting their 15yo son go train with vigilante, I knee was all him and not an editor.

    • Michael A. Morgan

      Thank you! I have yet to see a better encapsulation of what is wrong with my all time favorite DC character. It makes me so mad that after ruining other great books like X-Men and the Darkness, Lobdell comes in with his ego and no talent and rapes yet another part of my childhood.
      At this point anything less than Chuck Dixon himself coming back to fix poor Tim is not going to show me that DC cares about restoring him to greatness.

      • DC hasn’t known what to do with Tim since Damian became Robin. Obviously Grant Morrison was pushing for Damian to become Robin, but DC hadn’t really done any prep on where they could take Tim. Obviously the smooth transition of Dick to Nightwing wasn’t happening. DC is too ‘small picture’ oriented these days. So they couldn’t kill Tim, because that would be a mess, and there were legions of fans who loved Tim as Robin. So they panicked and tried to use the good will of Kingdom Come to make Tim into something else. But he’s been the red-headed step-child of the Bat-family ever since.

  6. Azrael's Lament

    Sean, I can second your cries for our Tim Drake’s passing. Because that’s what they’ve done, in essence. They’ve placed Tim in a shallow grave and allowed someone else to masquerade in his stead.
    Everything the real Tim Drake went through…from discovering Bruce’s identity to his time on YJ & TT, to the trials and training that he undertook to become the TRUE Red Robin…was wiped away and replaced by someone I’d consider to have a lot more in common with Damian than Dick. No matter what gymnastic spins you put on it.
    Good job speaking for the dead…

  7. This pains me so much.
    What’s with all of my favorite characters getting their attitudes flipped 180? Supergirl was abhorrently racist, Connor is gone AGAIN and replaced by Jon (gag), and now Tim is an arrogant prick who’s name isn’t really “Tim Drake”.
    I am so tired of this continuity, it’s not even funny. I seriously wish there could be a reboot back to pre-Flashpoint. Or have some weird mix of pre and post-Flashpoint. Anything that doesn’t include Scott Lobdell would be nice.

  8. Thank you for writing this. I didn’t become a Tim Drake fan until the last 10 or so issues of Robin in 2008-09 and through his run as Red Robin prior to the his “death” in August 2011. I gave the New 52 two years but dropped it because it was awful. Teen Titans was just terrible and Tim was pretty non-existent in the Bat books. Tim was written as a jerk and almost the polar opposite of his prior characterization. Then I went and collected all the issues of Robin and became a much bigger Tim Drake fan and a big Stephanie Brown fan as well, which makes this New 52 travesty all the worse.

    And I totally agree with you re: Damian. DC had no clue what to do with TIm Drake once Damian became Robin. I really expected DC to kill Tim off, put him in an asylum or make him a villain once Damian took over as Robin. And I absolutely loathe Damian Wayne. He’s an arrogant, overconfident jerk. To me, Batman having an actual biological son somehow diminishes Dick, Jason and Tim. If anyone should be retconned out of existence, it should be Damian.

    I would love for DC to go back to the pre-New 52 universe but I doubt that is going to happen. I’d say the best we can hope for is that DC hires some good, or at least competent, writers to make Tim more like he was in the old universe in the years to come. Then maybe I will pick up a DC book.

  9. I care about Tim as he was before the reboot. Unfortunately I discovered the Red Robin book too late and the reboot was already in progress

  10. A little late to the party here. But i wholeheartedly agree. Spent the whole yesterday reading batman and robin eternal and i found the new drake to be uninteresting. Its a completely new character that has no personality, just cocky attitude.
    For some reason grayson is the leader of the team, when drake is the smartest guy in the room and should be easily outsmarting every single obstacle they run into. His over-reliance on gadgets is annoying. His obsession with technology is frankly boring. These are not the things drake was about, he was always a thinker, he was resourceful. While the rest of the world was playing checkers, he was playing chess. He was a master profiler, he learned on the fly and used his enemies strengths against them. It was fun to read because he was always outgunned but never outmatched.

  1. Pingback: Good News, Everybody! Tim Drake Was Robin Again! | Henchman-4-Hire

  2. Pingback: Good News, Everybody! Tim Drake Is Robin Again! | Henchman-4-Hire

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