Warning: Minor SPOILERS for Young Justice
Tim Drake's days as Batman's sidekick are long behind him, but he's still kept the connection alive with his Red Robin costume and codename. Both are finally about to change as Tim announces his new superhero identity--and fans now have their first look at his brand new costume.
It seems a rite of passage that every former sidekick of Batman's must inevitably pass through: accepting that 'Robin' is more of a role or official designation, and must be left behind when the experience forges them into their own kind of hero. Dick Grayson became Nightwing (eventually), Jason Todd became Red Hood, and Stephanie Brown became Spoiler. Now Tim Drake is taking a similar step in the pages of DC's New Young Justice series. And this time? The identity change is permanent. Like, probably.
Fans of Batman comics would assume that Robin taking a new name and costume would be a major event in DC Comics history, but the announcement was somewhat bungled by changing storylines and scheduling. As a result, Tim Drake's decision to take a new name was teased in April (scheduled to arrive in the Young Justice series this past July… which it didn't). Now it appears that Tim Drake SHOULD announce his identity change and the reasons behind it in Issue #8 coming to comic book shops on September 4th. The good news is that even if the explanation is still weeks away, the cover for Young Justice #10 has officially revealed Tim Drake's new costume. Have a look:
No, you're not seeing things--Tim Drake's new costume is finally ditching his signature cape (a controversial move among die-hard fans, but if Nightwing got away with such sacrilege, we suppose it's only fair). The new bodysuit isn't a massive shift away from the black and red one worn by Tim since the New 52, with the most obvious difference being his new brown and black color scheme. At a passing glance, the blend of brown, black, and gold accents bears a closer resemblance to the Batman villain Talon than any version of Robin (although we're not suggesting such a change in loyalty with Tim). The splash of red visible on his belt should probably be taken as a reminder that those judging the suit by first appearance may not even have the whole picture.
And as we noted above, the lack of a chest symbol or initial may change once the actual name of this new Tim Drake is similarly revealed to readers. Which, if fans remember, was actually the first part of Tim's transformation to get called out in the official solicit text:
Young Justice—lost in the Multiverse! After the explosive conclusion to their Gemworld adventure, the team is having a tough time finding their way back to their Earth. No, we can’t tell you where they end up, but rest assured, you will be surprised! But as exciting as all that is, we have bigger problems to deal with as Tim Drake is about to do something he has only done...lots of times before. He is about to announce his new alias...a new superhero name. A Young Justice name. And this time, it’s permanent. Like, forever.
This new change puts Tim Drake into truly rare company in the history of DC Comics superheroes. Most characters may change their identity, moniker, or basic costume a handful of times. But as fans of DC's Batman family know, Tim Drake has been searching for his own path for more than a decade. First, by graduating out of the Robin role when Batman was believed dead following the Final Crisis event. Refusing to believe Bruce was truly gone, Tim wound up taking a radically different costume as 'Red Robin.' He would eventually revert back to a variation of his original Robin look while keeping his new avian name, since… well, it was probably just easier to keep Tim as Red Robin once the New 52 relaunched the DC line.
That fact alone emphasizes why the time probably is right--if not overdue--for somebody to give Tim Drake a direction and identity all his own. Dick Grayson literally aged out of the part, and his various Nightwing costumes eventually settled on his now iconic design (we're overlooking his recent resurrection as amnesiac 'Ric' Grayson). Jason Todd was likewise, turning his villainous disguise into his own rebellious identity. And when Damian Wayne came along in need of a mission, Batman found the next Robin. But Tim? He's had one foot in and one foot out ever since: still bearing the 'Robin' title, but quickly becoming the same independent, free-thinking man Dick had been when he left the Batcave for good.
The options are slim: when Tim Drake became Batman in DC's Future "Titans Tomorrow" timeline, he grew too cold, too extreme. While his decision to take a new name and mission as Savior was misguided, old Tim Drake still had the right idea. He's not Bruce, nor Dick, nor Jason. If this is a sign that Brian Michael Bendis is finally taking it upon himself to plant Tim on his own, potentially divisive or controversial path forward… there will be plenty of fans willing to wait and see. Now that readers have seen the cover art, take a look at the rest of the solicitation details and plot synopsis below:
- YOUNG JUSTICE #10 (2019)
- Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
- Art by: John Timms, Nick Derington
- Cover by: John Timms
- Variant Cover by Nick Bradshaw
- Welcome, Naomi! Wonder Comics’ brightest shining star comes to Young Justice! She’s ready to join this team of young heroes who have seen it all—and you’ll want to be here to watch the sparks fly for the very first time. All this, plus the true story of Jinny Hex.
Young Justice #10 will be available at your local comic book shop on November 6th, 2019.