Red Robin #2 Review

The first issue of this new series starring Tim Drake/Wayne was not a strong start to the new status quo for the former Boy Wonder. The way the story was presented in the first issue the mission statement of this book is Tim’s journey to find Bruce. This mission seems to be a bit one dimensional. Still, Chris Yost did show he has a good understanding of Tim’s character in the first issue. On to the review for Red Robin #2.

Creative Team
Writer: Chris Yost
Artist: Ramon Bachs
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Guy Major

Story: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts 24 hours into the future were Tim is on a plane headed towards Berlin. Tim is staring at a Bluetooth contemplating what he should do. One of the stewardesses on the plane asks if Tim needs anything. Tim tells her he does not need anything. Tim thinks about how he needs to keep up his search for Bruce while ignoring the assassins out to get him.

We go back to the present were the three League of Assassins members working for Ra’s Al Ghul are watching Tim from the roof of a building across from Tim’s hotel room. The assassin with the sniper gun then fires a bullet into Tim’s hotel room that causes it to explode. As they start talking about how easy it was to kill him, Tim appears as Red Robin and attacks them.

Back in the past at an unknown time at Wayne Manner, Alfred is heading towards Tim’s room with a trey of food. Alfred says that he does not approve of the confrontation Tim had with Damien. As Alfred opens the door to Tim’s room he finds it empty.

Over at Wayne Enterprise, Lucius Fox tells his assistant to cancel the Board Meeting and to find Tim Wayne.

Over at Tim’s old high school, Zoe and Ives are sitting through class sending Tim text messages asking him where he is.

Later that night, Jason Bard and Officer Harper are trying to also reach Tim and they are having no success. Bard and Harper then talk to over the phone about Tim’s disappearance.

We then see Tim riding his motorcycle into an abandon warehouse building where he has built a new headquarters for himself. His computer tells Tim that he has some messages from Ives, (Jason) Bard, (Officer) Harper, Oracle, and Alfred. Tim tells the computer to delete the messages without even listing to them or reading. them. Tim then opens a case that contains his Red Robin costume.

Going back to the present, Tim as Red Robin continues to his fight with the three League of Assassins members that tried to kill him. Throughout the fight, Tim is analyzing the assassins’ moves and trying to figure out who they are.

The one with the sniper tells his partner that is fighting Red Robin, who he calls Z, to move out of the way so he can get a shot. Red Robin throws one of his discs to disrupt the shot.

The bald girl assassin takes out two guns and starts firing like crazy trying to get Red Robin. She almost hits one of her partners, who calls her Pru. Red Robin takes cover and Pru notices his cape and tries to seek up on him. As soon as she is about to shoot Red Robin, she notices it is only his cape. Pru is then attacked from behind by Red Robin. Red Robin breaks Pru’s nose in the process. Red Robin prepares to fight Z, who is talking to Ra’s. Z is told by Ra’s that Z and his partners need to “disappear.”

The scene transitions to Cape Town, South Africa where Tim continues his inner monologue. Tim informs us that the target was the Director of Public Prosecutions in Cape Town. We are told that this director runs a modern day slavery. The director got a note saying he was going to die on this date. Therefore, the director has two bodyguards with him. As the director waits in his room for the assassin, the director is shot through the head by a bullet that came through the steel plated door to the room.

The assassin is behind the door and is attacked by some mysterious clawed figure from the shadows. The mysterious figure kills the assassin using some weird red energy web. Tim then says that the assassin was the fifth member of the League of Assassins to be killed in the past few days.

The scene goes back to Paris were the assassins are preparing their escape. Red Robin tries to get to them before they can escape. However, the sniper, named Owens, uses a flash bomb and the three assassins make their escape.

After the smoke clears, Red Robin is left on the roof alone. Red Robin notices that the assassins left their communicator behind. Red Robin picks up the communicator. A voice starts talking calling him “Timothy.” The voice tells Tim that he had him in higher regard than what he showed. Tim picks up the communicator and says “Ra’s Al Ghul.”

Going back to the past, Tim, in his Red Robin costume sans mask, gets a call from Cassandra (Wonder Girl) but he tells his phone to “disconnect.” He then put on the mask when someone comes out of the shadows. Tim kicks the person in the stomach knocking them down.

We see that the person is Stephanie in her Spoiler costume. Tim asks her how she found his new hideout. Tim does not help Spoiler get up. She tells Tim that he forgot about how much she knows him and she figured that he would build himself a “Command Center”. (Power Rangers reference. Nice!)

Tim then says he doesn’t even want to know how she found him. Steph tells Tim that he should talk to someone. Tim refuses and tells her that her finding his hideout is another reason he can’t trust her especially with her wearing that costume. (Another clue Steph will be the new Batgirl?)

Steph tries to stop Tim from leaving. Steph says that everyone is worried about Tim. Tim asks her if Dick sent her. Tim says that if Steph really cared about him then she would have come to him and not Dick. Tim continues on to say that all he wanted was to help her but now he can’t even talk to her. Tim goes to leave and tells Spoiler not to follow him.

We cut to Tim sitting in a room somewhere in Berlin. Tim thinks about how he can trust Ra’s to help him. Tim then reasons to himself that Ra’s is the only one that believes Bruce is alive, just like him.

We then flashback one more time to Paris where Tim tells Ra’s “Okay Ra’s….start talking.” End of issue.

The Good: Red Robin #2 was a passable read. Chris Yost tells a disjointed story with how much he jumps from the future to the present to the past and back to the present. Still, there were a few things to like about this issue.

One of the things that Yost has shown over these first two issues is that he understands what kind of fighter Tim is. Tim has never been considered one of the best fighters in the DCU, in terms of raw fighting skills. But were Tim is able to beat most people, outside of Bruce, Dick, and Dinah, is his analytic mind. Tim is always analyzing his opponents and trying to outsmart them. Yost is able to capture this aspect of Tim perfectly with how he tried to figure out the assassins’ names he was fighting along with thinking why they are after him.

It was also good to see that these League of Assassins members were actually competent fighters as they hold their own against Tim. Over the past decade, the League of Assassins members, other than Ra’s, have been shown to be nothing more like the Putties from the Power Rangers as they have been easily beaten by everyone in the Batfamily. Hopefully, we see that the League of Assassins are portrayed as more of a threat then they have been in the past.

Also, I am interested to see what Ra’s has in store for Tim, and how it ties into him losing members of his League of Assassins. From the looks of it I’m guessing that, as always, Ra’s is looking for a new heir. Since Dick basically rejected Ra’s offer back in Nightwing #151 Ra’s may have moved on to Tim. If not that then Ra’s may need a new body. In any case, it will be interesting to see what Ra’s motivation is to help out Tim.

Ramon Bach provided some solid artwork. His artwork was at its best when had some action to draw. Still, Bach’s art did feel a bit inconsistent and rushed at times especially in some of the talking heads part of the issue.

The Bad: What really hurt this issue was the bad pacing of this issue. The continuous shifting between the past, present, and future made the issue hard to follow. It made it look like Yost had an extreme case of ADHD when he wrote this issue as he never gave adequate time to a scene before switching to a completely different scene. If Yost decides to do this with future issues of Red Robin then he will need to tone it down in order for the reader to really get into the storyline of the series.

Also, with the involvement of Ra’s, while interesting, it makes Tim’s journey to find Bruce a bit predictable with how it is going to go down. If anything, this journey only makes Tim look like he really does need psychiatric help. Even though we know that Bruce is alive in the past or in another dimension; we are never really given a reason for Tim’s mission other than Tim suddenly getting a feeling that Bruce is alive. Tim’s constantly saying that he hopes he is right and not just crazy makes the logic of the reasoning behind his journey very weak.

Also, the story of Tim falling into a depression like state after losing someone close to him feels like a rehash of a similar storyline that Tim went through after Connor’s death, as well as Bart’s to some extent, over on Teen Titans the past few years. Even though Tim is dealing with it in a different way the story still feels as though it is hitting a similar beat.

And it doesn’t help that both of Tim’s best friends are now back. Even though as a reader I can understand that it is hard for Tim to lose both his real and adopted fathers, but the fact that his two best friends just came back to life should offset Tim’s feelings of loss to an extant. Tim even makes a reference to Flash: Rebirth which means that he knows that Bart is back at the least if not Connor as well. So with both of his best friends back it does not feel like Tim would try and distance himself from his friends as he is being portrayed as doing.

Also, the reason for Tim adopting the Red Robin identity that it allows him to do things that he would not be able to do as Batman or Robin is weak logic. I would have preferred it if Yost used the logic that Nicieza used in the last issue of Robin, where Bruce was already dead at the time. Nicieza had Tim view Red Robin as an evolution of his former identity of Robin.

While this logic sounds similar to the reason that Dick adopted the identity of Nightwing this logic would have been much more believable than Tim viewing Red Robin as a way to cross the line. If anything, it makes Tim look like a copy of Jason Todd, which is something that we did not need.

The scene with Stephanie only helps to reinforce the fact that Tim is starting to become more like Jason. Having Tim act like a complete jerk to everyone around him only feels like a regression in his character; just like it has been for Jason after “Under the Hood.” Even though Tim is having a hard time with the death of Bruce, as I said before, he does actually have people like Dick, Alfred, and Barbara that he can turn to for help in getting over Bruce’s death. And with how Tim was portrayed after Bruce’s death before this series it feels like this new direction for Tim is something that was picked out of a hat and not from what has been previously been written.

Overall: Red Robin #2 was an average read at best. This issue felt too disjointed with all the jumping back and forth between time and it made it hard to read. Still, with Ra’s involvement in this series and the mystery of who or what is killing the League of Assassins members the story does show signs that it may improve after a rough start. Yost just needs to find a better focus with his story telling abilities in Red Robin.

5 thoughts on “Red Robin #2 Review

  1. Kevin, nice review. I started out with high hopes for this series, but am starting to be disappointed. This issue had too much filler and not enough plot progression. It seems that Yost is spinning his wheels a bit and not really pushing the story forward. You bring up a great point when you say that Tim's belief that Bruce is alive is nothing more than that: a belief or a hope. Tim's the best detective left of the bunch. He should have a reason for thinking that, rather than just "I know it", or "he has to be". I will stick with this series because I like Tim's character, but Yost's writing has got to pick up.

  2. Great review, I couldnt agree more with it or with Ryans comments here. We know Yost has it in him to be so much better. Come on Yost!

  3. I think this is going to be a rough ride for Tim Drake fans because he is basically being shoved out of the way for Morrison's grand plan for Damien Wayne. He's spinning his wheels as Red Robin at least until that is over with.

    The only bright spot is any chance at getting Tim away from the Batbooks. We can hope that DC will decide to do what it must to save Teen Titans. Also, Tim is on the cover for the third issue of Adventure Comics, so at least he may explain a little of what he's thinking to Conner while we get to listen in.

  4. I feel it's so sad that Tim has devolved so much. The very origin of the character was about the light to Batman's dark. He became Robin because Bruce Wayne needed one.

    Over the years, he's suffered heavy loss (though a lot of that has been rendered null with Bart and Connor coming back to life) but he overcame it by sharing his feelings and grief with his friends. He always stated how he didn't want to shy away from help like Batman.

    Now, the character's been completely bastardized. He's become everything he always said he wouldn't, which would normally be dramatic, but it didn't happen naturally, it just happened.

    That's the weakness of this book.

    Also, as a big Steph/Tim fan, I'm very upset that they've become so irreconcilable. I thought her coming back to life would be the best thing ever, now it just makes me sad…

  5. I have to admit I like this new twist of the original "Kingdom Come" character. Tim's progression into a rogue operative is logical and well-suited for his skills. I'm surprised, however, that nobody picked up on his comment when battling "Pru" that it was the second time he kicked a girl in three weeks… which given what happened between him and Damien would have been an EXCELLENT slam on the pompous brat that his "younger brother" has become. (Unfortunately we found out the first was really Steph.)

    I'm hoping future stories will spare us the numerous time shifts, and that Yost and company allow Tim to own the Red Robin persona. He certainly deserves it better than his predecessors.

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