When Tim Drake went back to simply being known as Robin it was only a matter of time before he got a new superhero name. Afterall, Damian Wayne has been active as Robin for a decade now and is the leader of the current incarnation of Teen Titans. Now after the Young Justice team have been back for a few months Brian Bendis has finally answered what Tim Drake’s new superhero identity is going to be. Unfortunately, that reveal left a lot to be desired.
For those who did not read Young Justice #8 you can read what happens in Rokk’s full spoiler review here. In summary for Tim’s portion of the issue, we saw Tim faceoff against an evil alternate universe version of himself. Rather than go by the name of Robin this evil version of Tim Drake went by the superhero name ‘Drake.’ Initially this name raises an eyebrow from our Tim Drake. But once his evil alternate universe version says “It’s one of the most dangerous birds. It’s who I am.” Tim is shown to take a liking to the name. For the rest of the issue, once he also hears the name, Bart Allen tells Tim that he should adopt the ‘Drake’ name on as his superhero identity as well.
While Brian Bendis does his best with Young Justice #8 to sell the name ‘Drake’ as a great new superhero name that Tim Drake is thinking of adopting it is a poor fit. The biggest reason for this is the origin that Bendis gives the name ‘Drake.’ The way it happens is completely through a random adventure in the DC Multiverse. On top of that its origins are established to com from a villainous version of Tim Drake. This makes the potential new superhero name lack meaning.
Especially when you consider the other Robins who have “graduated” to take on their own identities Tim’s new superhero name does not work. Because with Batman’s former Robins, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and, in the Dark Knight Universe, Carrie Kelley, they all took on names that were deeply personal. Their superhero names when they “graduated” had extra meaning that spoke to their specific characters.
With Dick Grayson the reason that Nightwing is such an impactful superhero name is because how it connects to both Batman and Superman. Nightwing comes from a Batman-esque Krypton superhero that Superman. That story stuck with the young Dick Grayson and he adopted the name to honor Superman. Not only that but he has shaped his Nightwing identity around his training with Batman, which keeps the bird theme from his Robin days.
Similarly, when it comes to Jason Todd we have seen that his adoption of the Red Hood identity speaks to the story that defines him, “Death In The Family.” That storyline forever tied Jason to Joker as much as he is tied to Batman. With that it has become appropriate that he has taken on the Red Hood name, one of which Joker first used, and has turned it into one that is viewed as someone who is an anti-hero rather than a villain. Like Dick Grayson, Jason has morphed the Red Hood costume to adopt a more Batman-aesthetic than when he first appeared.
And just this past Friday we saw that Carrie Kelley debut her new Batwoman identity in the upcoming The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child. Like Dick and Jason, Carrie becoming Batwoman is the natural progression of her character. It represents how she has evolved over her lifetime to be the person most suited to take on the Batwoman identity. Now in that universe she is Batman in her own style.
Unfortunately for the ‘Drake’ name it does not have an origin that relates to Tim or his upbringing as Robin. Instead Bendis has made it come from an evil alternate universe of Tim Drake that he happened to run across. The randomness with that now the ‘Drake’ name originates from makes it lack the impact that Nightwing, Red Hood and Batwoman have with Tim’s predecessors.
This is not to say that I’m against Tim adopting a new superhero name. Especially with Damian firmly established as Robin now Tim should adopt a name that shows he has “graduated” from being Robin. Which is why I liked that not long after Damian became Robin we saw Tim Red Robin. The identity spoke to how Tim elevated the Robin identity to what it is now. At the same time, it honored Dick Grayson, who is his inspiration for becoming Batman’s sidekick.
If Bendis had the ‘Drake’ name somehow be inspired by his relationship with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson it would’ve instantly gotten the name over as meaning something. As it stands now it is name that an evil version of himself made sound cool during Young Justice #8. That is extremely lame way to introduce the potential ‘Drake’ superhero identity for Tim Drake.
There is time for Bendis to make ‘Drake’ or whatever new superhero name Tim Drake takes on to be as memorable as Nightwing or Red Hood. We have just been introduced to the ‘Drake’ name in one issue. It just not off to a great start to make it a name that immediately stands out as being a great evolution of Tim Drake’s character.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content, visit our Facebook page, our Twitter feed, our Instagram feed. Catch up with all of Kevin’s other musings about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter.