Red Robin has been a mix bag for thus far. In the past few issues Chris Yost has done a nice job capturing Tim’s voice after a rough start. The big problem with this series is that Yost continues to allude to the fact that Tim knows Bruce is alive but never showing us any information why Tim believes this. It is just something that has bringing the series down as Red Robin has not done what Yost or DC has advertised this series to do when it launched. Still, since I enjoyed the last issue of Red Robin I expect Red Robin #9 to be a good read as Tim returns to Gotham City.
Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Marcus To
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colorist: Guy Major
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue begins with some internal monologue by Tim where he talks about how much he missed Gotham City as he still considers it his home.
As he returns to the city the first thing he comes across is Killer Moth about to kill some guy but he stops him before Killer Moth kills the guy. Killer Moth tries to shoot Red Robin but he evades all of Killer Moth’s attacks. Killer Moth tries to escape by flying off but Red Robin uses his grapple gun to bring Killer Moth to the ground. Tim thinks he needs to do something about not being able to fly as Detective Bullock and the cops arrive on the scene. Bullock confuses Red Robin for Dr. Mid-Nite as Red Robin rides off on his bike. (Wow, finally someone points out how the Red Robin costume looks identical to Dr. Mid-Nite.)
Tim rides into his secret warehouse thinking that he could take Dr. Mid-Nite. Tam greets Tim looking mad at him. Tim says that he is sorry for everything that happened to Tam but Tam says she is okay as all she wanted to do was give him a hard time. He tells her that he went to Wayne Enterprise to check the place out snipers. Tam then starts to flirt with him. (It looks like little Tim is growing up and becoming a playboy just like Bruce and Dick. Man what is in the water of Wayne Manor?)
Over at Wayne Tower Tam enters her father’s office apologizing for being late. Lucius asks his daughter where Tim is. Tam turns around and sees that Tim is not behind her anymore.
Tim in his Red Robin gear is swinging across Gotham City thinking to himself that he trusts Tam to handle everything. He also thinks that Tam already knows that he was Robin and that Bruce is Batman. He then thinks of how gorgeous Tam is. As he lands on a roof he says he needs someone with a time machine like Booster Gold or Rip Hunter since Bruce is lost in time. (See Yost your writing was good until this point. How the hell does Tim know Bruce is alive? You have yet to show us proof for why Tim thinks this way.) As he smiles because he knows Bruce is alive Conner, along with Krypto, arrives and greats his friend.
The scene shifts at some restaurant where “Bruce” and Vicky Vale are having a date. Vicky tries to ask “Bruce” about all the charitable business he has been conducting as of late as well as to where Tim currently is. “Bruce” asks Vicky for a dance with continuing to side step all of her questions and answering the question about Tim by saying “boys will be boys.”
Outside of Wayne Enterprise Tam cannot believe that Tim ditched her and that she has to begin searching for him again. As she gets into a Taxi the driver asks her where she wants to go and she says to the Four Season’s and then Wayne Manor while thinking how cute Tim is.
Back on the roof tops Connor asks Tim what he is doing back in Gotham but Tim is so happy to see his friend again that he hugs Connor. Tim says it is just hitting him that Connor, as well as Bart, is alive. Connor sees that Tim is smiling and asks if Tim found something. Tim says he has but he can’t tell Connor right now. Connor says that it is fine and flies off with Krypto saying he is there if Tim needs him.
As Tim tries to relish in the good mood he is in Ra’s calls him saying that he is only contacting Tim to tell him that his punishment is coming. He says that because Tim tried to destroy his legacy that now he (Ra’s) will destroy Batman’s legacy. He then wishes Tim luck in trying to stop him.
Tim gets on his bike and rides back to the Batcave saying that this is no time for his ego to get in the way as he has to warn Dick about what is going on. As he calls out Dick, Damian, and Alfred’s name he is greeted by Stephanie in her Batgirl costume. Tim can’t believe it and Stephanie just says “Tim? Uh, hi. Hey, Good News. I’m not wearing the Spoiler costume anymore. Just like you asked.” End of issue.
The Good: Red Robin #9 was another good read. This is the second straight solid issue that Chris Yost has written. There is still the one big problem that this series has had since issue #1 that continues to show up in every issue but I have to admit these last two issues have easily been the best of the series.
What worked really well in this issue, as well in the last issue, is that Yost is finally writing Tim Drake. The first seven issues of this series felt like we were reading stories with some crazy guy running around saying he is Tim. Yost had a few instances where he wrote the character well but for the most part it never seemed that Tim was acting in character. It almost felt as though I was reading a title with Jason Todd as the star and not Tim Drake.
I understand that Tim was sad because of Bruce’s death but everyone in the Batfamily was sad as well. With his two best friends back, Connor and Bart, Tim should have been able to coop much better than he did. And honestly, this whole thing of Tim feeling sad about the deaths of those around him has been shown since back in War Games and Identity Crisis when Stephanie and his dad died.
It was just getting old reading Tim act like this. Because of this it made that moment where Tim saw Connor and hugged his returned from the dead best friend great. Tim has had very few things go right for him over the past few decade, our time, and it is good to have Tim finally act happy again. At a certain point you get tired of seeing a character continuously have his family and friends dying around them.
As a fan of Young Justice and Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans it is always cool to see some of the members of those teams together and especially Tim and Connor. After trying to bring back Connor for so long after Infinite Crisis it was good to see Tim being able to talk to his best friends again. And it was good that Yost brought up the fact that Tim and Connor meet back in Paris and that at the time Tim was not all there to let Connor’s return sink in. Connor’s appearance kept the tone of Tim actually acting much happier throughout the issue.
Also it was funny that Tim asked himself if Dr. Mid-Nite would come after him because he is wearing a costume that is identical to Dr. Mid-Nite and thinking he can take him. It was a funny scene and nice that it was addressed that the Red Robin costume looks identical to Dr. Mid-Nite’s costume.
I am enjoying how Yost has built up the relationship between Tim and Tam. It has been building nicely and I like Tam’s frustration of Tim continuing to disappear on her while also still crushing on him. It will be interested to see how this relationship goes especially now that Stephanie is back in the picture.
And speaking of Stephanie, Yost did nice job with the cliffhanger to build as start up the crossover between Red Robin and Batgirl as this issue starts off that crossover. It will be interesting to see how these two interact with how things left off with them last time they interacted.
I also liked the banter between Tim and Ra’s. The interaction between the two in this issue was the best dialogue between the two that really not only highlights the difference between Tim and Ra’s as well as Tim and Bruce. Even though Tim is just has become a great detective because of his time as Robin Tim will always be a much more light hearted person than either Ra’s or Bruce. And it is a good thing because if Tim continued to act all dark and moody we would just have another Jason Todd which we do not need.
The interaction between Hush Bruce and Vicky Vale did a nice job continuing the sub-plot of Vicky’s continued investigation into Bruce’s, the real Bruce’s, life as well as his family. This sub-plot has been moving at a slow pace, starting back after Batman RIP ended, and I wonder where Yost and the Batman writers are going to take Vicky’s investigation.
Marcus To continues to deliver some solid artwork on this series. His artwork is nothing spectacular but it does get the job done. To’s artwork does a nice job with both the action and talking head scenes as his scenes have a nice transition between panels and pages.
The Bad: As has been the case since issue #1 what is killing this series from me really enjoying it is the fact that Yost continues to go in circles telling us Tim knows Bruce is alive but never providing us solid evidence to why Tim believes it. I hate that every time I review Red Robin that I have to continue to bring this fact up but Yost just puts it in every issue that Tim knows Bruce is alive but never showing us why. With Yost continuing to go around in circles with this major plot thread it is just hurting the rest of the story he is trying to tell. He should just stick to Tim’s battle with Ra’s and the League of Assassin’s.
Also another thing about this plot thread is that even when Yost does show us why Tim believes Bruce is alive it doesn’t feel like it will matter other than Tim telling Dick and the rest of the Batfamily he knew Bruce was alive the whole time. And this is not the fault of Yost but it is just that because Grant Morrison is the one writing Bruce’s return story and Morrison’s tendency to not care about any continuity he does not write himself that hurts this plot thread. Morrison has always been a writer that does his own thing not caring how other writers write characters, as shown by Batman and Robin #7. So even when Yost shows us the evidence for Tim believing Bruce is alive there is no reason for me or anyone to think it will play an important part in Bruce’s return story until “The Return of Bruce Wayne” mini-series is over.
Overall: Red Robin #9 was a second straight solid issue by Yost and To. Though there is still the lingering problem of Yost dodging the answer to why Tim believes Bruce is alive this was still a fun issue when that plot thread isn’t brought up. With this issue being part one of the four part crossover between Red Robin and Batgirl I recommend anyone that is picking up Batgirl but not Red Robin pick this issue up as it is the starting point of the crossover, and vice versa. For those that have been enjoying Red Robin thus far will enjoy this issue.