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Inside Look: Red Robin #1

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Christopher Yost has started his run on Red Robin with a bang, revealing at the end of the first issue that Ra's Al Ghul will fill Tim Drake's life with a whole lot of peril. Let Yost take you behind the scenes in this Inside Look.

Red Robin is my first book at DC (The Battle for the Cowl ‘Underground’ one-shot was written after I’d started Red Robin), and like my first major series at Marvel, New X-Men, it comes at a time of massive transition.  Tim Drake’s entire world has been turned upside down.  Now, I see Tim as the most put-together teenager on the planet… but even he has his limits.  And you see it in issue one.  

From thereon out, my job is to make things worse for him.  So here’s some thoughts on issue one…

PAGES 3-4

The big introduction, brought to you by the incredibly talented Ramon Bachs.  Tim’s narrative here sums it up pretty well… he’s not Robin anymore.  That’s the whole point… who is Tim Drake now?  He’s defined himself for years as Robin, so what happens when that’s taken away from him?  And of course, we get a pretty sweet double page splash to say hello with.

Tim has spent the last few years, certainly since RIP, getting darker and darker.  And Tim knows it.  We’ll be addressing his actions in the last few issues of Robin soon… Tim’s in a dark place.  He’s out-grimming Batman.  But is that who Tim is?  And if not, once you’ve gone to that place, can you come back?

PAGE 8

Sure, it was random crime that Tim comes across in this issue, but it allowed me to demonstrate a few things.  Tim is a hero, no matter what.  He’s never going to ignore a situation because he’s focused on something else, in this case finding evidence that Bruce Wayne is alive.  But at the same time, it shows that he’s off his game.  He caught a punch from a guy with fire hands.  Tim Drake would know better. 

So, he recognizes he’s in rough shape, which means he’s not crazy.  He’s living in hotels, running around the world looking for clues… a quest that we’re going to see that NOBODY believes in.  He’s got to be doubting himself somewhat, because he IS a smart guy.  So we see him asking the right questions… what is he doing here?

PAGE 11

Ahh, Damien.  It’s easy to forget he’s 10 years old, but he deserves the punch he got next page.  Yes, Damien did save Tim’s life in BFTC, he that doesn’t make him less of a disrespectful jerk.  He also left Tim to die the day they met, in the Batcave.  Is Tim Drake going by Tim Wayne?  Not necessarily.  In this case, it really was mean to Tim to be reminding Damien that Bruce Wayne has more than one son, even if not biological – just as Damien was pushing the fact that Tim ISN’T a Wayne, and he is.

And If I were Dick Grayson, I’d be telling Damien to shut up all the time.

Was Dick too harsh with Tim?  Cold, even?  That conversation isn’t done with.  See issue 4.

PAGE 15

What the hell was that?  Something monstrous just tore some professional hitman in half.  Think that will be followed up on?  Like in issues 2-12?  Maybe.

PAGE 19

Poor Tim.  There’s two different thigns at work here.  Tim is a smart guy.  He’s well aware of the revolving door of death in the DC universe, a place where even Superman prays for a speedy resurrection at the Martian Manhunter’s funeral.  But he knows Batman.  Batman plans for EVERYTHING.  So he knows he’s alive.

But that’s radically different than KNOWING he’s alive.  That first one is more like HOPE.  But something changes here, and Tim puts it  together in his head.  Something sets him on this quest, and one day you might see what it is.

I always like it when characters THINK.  And in this case, it ate a page… but Tim is a thinker.

PAGE 22 

‘Oh, snap’ as the kids say.  I like it when my characters are in WAY over their heads.  Tim Drake is incredible.  He’s a great hero, who has done great things… alone, with Batman, with the Titans… but here we’re pulling him out of his element, taking everything away from him, all alone, doubting himself… and we’re putting him up against one of Batman’s greatest enemies.

I put together a year long proposal for the series, not because it was ending in a year, but because a year always feels clean to me.  Red Robin Volume 1.  It’s got a definite beginning, middle and end… and a back door for a sequel that’s going to have a lasting impact on the character.  Issue two showcases what Ra’s interest is in Tim, and 3 and 4 focus on the quest… but there’s three tracks at play here.

The flashback in issue one continue in 2-4, showing the days after 'Battle for the Cowl', and what happens when Tim leaves it all behind. You’ll see Tim’s supporting cast throughout.

The Grail, as I subtly title the first arc, is about the search for Bruce Wayne, sure… but more importantly it starts the search for Tim Drake.  Who he is.  Tim Drake is not Batman.  Or Robin for that matter.  But he’s one of the most formidable characters in the DC universe.  He’s a leader, a friend, respected and loved by all.  

He’s flat out great, but he’s lost sight of his self.  He’s had so much hurt, pain, and heartache… he’s lost so much, become so dark… as I asked before, can he find himself?  That kid who figured it all out, that realized that Batman needed a Robin?

That’s the story we’re telling.

Special thanks to Mike Marts, Janelle Siegel and Ramon Bachs for kicking ass and guiding me through both the Bat-universe and greater DC universe.  It’s pretty amazing to be part of a team like this as the Batman titles relaunch.  I give you my word, big things are coming.

Red Robin #3 goes on sale August 12, 2009.

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Comments

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 3, 2009 at 2:38pm

    And now I'm going to be trying to figure out just WHAT came to Tim on Page 19... I've been enjoying RED ROBIN so far. The jumping narrative timeframe has taken some concentration but there's been some intriguing developments, particularly the Ra's Al Ghul angle.

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Aug 4, 2009 at 3:09am

    Waiting for the TPB on this one, sorry but can't buy it all in singles. This preview has whetted my appetite!

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