Well since my very public relapse my comic consumption has redlined past what could even possibly be considered safe levels. You would think that there is an impending cataclysmic event that can only be prevented by my reading as many comics as humanly possible..or inhumanly possible, as at this point I would be willing to be cyberneticly enhanced to allow me to read even more comics, like some kind of 6 Million Dollar Nerd (patent and trademark pending).
In addition to the grotesque number of ongoing titles I am reading, I have been slowly putting together complete back issue runs of certain creators, you know for those cold lonely nights between the bottom of your pull list and new comic book day. So far I have acquired Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow, Grant Morrison’s complete bat titles work, two shy of Geoff Johns’ Flash run, and the complete Red Robin series, which I want to talk about today. As an aside I have found it hard to get my hands on older modern age back issues. A lot of the stores, aside from online, seemed to have either moved away from carrying any back issues to mostly dealing in higher grade gold, silver, and bronze age books.
I am about half way through the 26 issue Red Robin solo series and loving it. The book kicks up in the aftermath of “Blackest Night” and finds Tim Drake/Wayne dealing with the emotional repercussions of his parents being reanimated and trying to eat him, the apparent death of Batman and then getting pink slipped from the Robin gig. The fist 2 arcs focus mainly on his trying to prove that Batman’s not dead, just jizzed into the time stream by Darksied’s “mighty” ray gun (a metaphor for phallic aggression if I have ever seen one) while negotiating Ra’s Al Ghul and his league of assassins, all through the back drop of him working through a bit of an existential crisis.
I find the story and writing to be excellent, so much so that I immediately googled Yost to see what else I could read of his. It’s not dense, flows well, and is easy to read with witty and amusing dialogue, well at least to me. The art is pleasing and dynamic. My only gripe would be the design
of the Red Robin costume itself as his cowl makes it look like he just pulled a condom over his head and in certain poses he looks a little bit like a pigeon.
In a way Tim Drake is the most Batman of all the Robins and Yost beautifully puts this in the forefront as you get to see him flex that Sherlock Holmes style brain of his. What sets him apart from Batman and makes him an awesome character in his own right is his access to the full emotional spectrum. So you get Batman with a self-deprecating humor or a Batman that craves and seeks out interpersonal relationships, a more human Batman if you will. This is illustrated in a great scene in issue #12 during the climatic confrontation as Ra’s is perplexed at how Timothy has managed to foil several simultaneous assassination attempts. Tim flippantly responds “I am not Batman; I have friends…dumb ass (I added that last bit)”
DC’s New 52 hasn’t been all that kind to Mr. Drake. Gone is his solo title. He has essentially been regulated to the Teen Titans with occasional appearances in the Bat titles. All this I could live with (although I’d love an ongoing series again) but with the new Creative team of Scott Lobdell and Eddy Barrows, Tim’s personality has really taken a detour into Doucheville. He just comes off as mean, arrogant, and harsh. Even his getting some action with two of his female teammates in the same issue, although kind of pimp, is still a pretty dick move. I am just finding him hard to like lately and that kind of bums me out a little given the history of the character. If you have never read his solo series you should definitely pick up the trades or you can be an idiot like me and collect the floppies.