I Won’t Follow You Into The Dark

June 10th, 2009 by | Tags: , ,

Once again – a cut up top for Red Robin #1 spoilers.

In Red Robin #1, Tim Drake is a much-afflicted young man.  After an angsty bat-break-up when he was kicked out of the Robin costume, he fled to Madrid to conduct a half-crazed search for his mentor.  Everyone knows how the air is circulated on planes, and it appears that Tim came down with Adult Onset Heroitis.  The main symptoms are extreme swelling, usually in the shoulders and on the bottoms of the feet, causing the victim to grow six inches in height and gain massive shoulders and upper-arms.

Timmy’s also come down with a bad case of the Millers, otherwise known as Film Noir Syndrome.  It’s an obsessive compulsive disorder that is characterized by Extreme Grim Monologue and repetition of certain phrases and concepts.

“The girl is alive.  She’s breathing.  She’s alive.”

The above phrase an others like it can be repeated many times per comic, leaving the speaker exhausted.  This leads to a heart-breaking state in which the speaker is too tired to form full sentences, resulting in monologues like this:

“Burned my hand.  Rookie mistake.  Stupid.  Too stupid.”

Obviously, this takes a toll on the patient’s mood.  The patient will spiral down into a depressive cycle that grows every grimmer, ever more despairing, and ever more laden with macho monologues.  Soon, the patient can become unrecognizable, even to those who have followed him through 20-plus years of adventures.

Which is to say – Remember when Tim Drake was a skinny little dork?  And Superboy was even skinnier and dorkier?  And Wonder Girl and Impulse were the skinniest and dorkiest of all?  And they hung out together having skinny, dorky adventures?  I looked Red Robin #1 over and honestly – who the hell is this guy and how soon can he go away?

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16 comments to “I Won’t Follow You Into The Dark”

  1. I hate M.B.I.M. (Miller-Brand Internal Monologue). Hate it.

    “Can’t let him get away. Too important. Gotta Punch. Run. Stay focused. Job to do. Need Water. Hate this. Not enough time. Love Pizza. Hungry. Should have got pizza. Can’t forget.”

    Something about it is really distracting. “Realistic”? Sure, I guess. Grating? Absolutely.

  2. Remember in Young Justice when they fought Darkseid, the raised dead, and an entire continent of supervillains? According to Teen Titans, they feel they ‘graduated’ from this when they joined the Titans and sat around talking about feelings for twenty pages before getting shafted by Deathstroke again – a man with a sword and one eye. Yup – totally a step up on the superheroing scale there.

    I don’t actually ‘hate’ what’s happening in DC these last few years as many seem to, even though I used to be a pretty big Superman and Batman fan – bought every Superman book, JLA, anything with Nightwing, Batgirl or Robin in it, and three out of the four monthly Bat-titles – but somewhere along the line, my enthusiasm was eroded by the reshuffles that – if I had to evaluate – I would describe as ‘redundant’ rather than anger-inducing. The books had identities before, a palpable sense that there was a direction and the writer knew where he was headed with storylines, even if they seemed open-ended. Not so these last few years, to the point that my only DC purchase at the moment is the new Batman and Robin.

  3. Meh, I always liked Tim for his wit and intelligence and if they’re going to turn him into some kind of Dark Squire, then I really can’t be arsed. Does the comic at least explain why he stepped aside and let Damien (heh, I typed “Jason” there at first!) take over the Red and Green?

  4. I’m all for character growth, as a rule it is something that superhero comics have too little of. Most of the time, a character experiences only superficial changes (if at all), and any real changes are usually forgotten/ignored when a new writer takes over.

    However, I also find it really annoying when a character experiences growth (as a rule in one huge go, it’s rarely a gradual thing) and becomes what is effectively an entirely new character. It happened with Impulse (in Johns’ Teen Titans), it happened with Lex Luthor (in the One Year Later period), and now it’s happened to Robin.

    Writing characters as they see fit is a writer’s prerogative, of course, that’s not the problem. The problem is that in most cases the stories in which the changes occur and the stories that follow aren’t very good, or something unique is lost with too little gained in return. The opposite cases are, for example, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, where character growth is done as it should be.

    By the way, I was wondering, is there any explantion given in Red Robin 1 as to why Tim believes Bruce to be alive? I’m curious how he came to that conclusion.

  5. Nice takedown, Esther. I agree, I liked Tim as a competent, dedicated and slightly nerdy kid rather than … whatever they need him to be this time. DC characters are becoming like character actors. When you hire Mickey Rourke to play an Iron Man villain, you don’t mind that last time you saw him he was a punch-drunk wrestler, and that long before that, he was tying Kim Basinger to things. In this issue of Red Robin: Tim Drake stars as the mannequin hitting the beats DC Editorial wants hit!

    This doesn’t sound as bad (for the long term) as what was done to Cassandra Cain, though. This could be, hey, Tim has some bad breaks, goes to a dark place and starts imitating his primary role model (when his primary role model is written badly). Eventually he’ll work through this and be himself again, we can hope.

  6. @Paul Wilson: Tim didn’t step aside. He was actually told to step aside by Dick, using the lines, “You’re not my sidekick, you’re my equal,” which translates to “It’s not you, it’s me,” and “Damien needs direction or he’ll be lost,” which translates to “I really need to focus on my career.” So Tim socked Damien and stormed off to Madrid.

    @Derk van Santvoort: I believe he sat pouting in his bathroom until he decided Bruce was alive. Yep. That’s it.

    @Guy Smiley: Here’s hoping.

  7. I have to say, even worse than the repetitive dialogue was the forced tough guy banter. “Get ready to BLEED” indeed, Tim.

  8. Since when is it “Tim Wayne” now? I looked through the issue out of slightly morbid curiosity, and I didn’t get where that came from.

  9. @Jason: Bruce adopted him at the end of the ‘Face the Face’ arc. Since then he’s been referred to as ‘Tim Wayne’ a few times in Robin.

  10. @Esther Inglis-Arkell: Finally read the issue in question. Hmmm… The grim and gritty monologue was truly execrable. Then again, if I squint real hard I can hope it’s a dorky kid’s idea of how to be a tough guy. He’s trying desperately to be some kind of idea of who he thinks Bruce would be in this situation. Maybe in 3-4 issues he’ll realize he’s being a dick and lighten up. A guy can dream, right?

    I have to say though, Tim would never work as Dick’s Robin. Artificially-created conflict aside, the two of them get on too damn well for there to be any tension. It would be the most boring comic ever!

  11. Taken out of context, Tim’s narration sounds a lot like a ripoff of Miller’s DKR Batman narration

  12. Huzzah.

  13. […] ponders Red Robin as compared to the days of Young Justice: “Remember when Tim Drake was a skinny little dork? […]

  14. I find the fact that Tim’s gone insane to be part of the fun.

    Anyways, knowing Yost, I’m sure that by issue #12 he’ll be snapped out of his crazy and we’ll get something similar to the old Tim.

  15. Having Tim be his chipper old-self at this point, would be highly uncharacteristic. The dude has lost basically everyone he knows in a ~2 year span, I guarantee you that if this happened to anyone else, that they would be insane with rage as well. You can bitch about that all you like, but it’s not something you can hold against the writing team, because that characterization does in fact make sense.

  16. Doesn’t mean it’s not crap, though.