Review: Tim Drake: Robin #4

by Steven Lee Sharpe
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“Tim Drake: Robin” – Part Four 
Writer: Meghan Fitzmartin
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Color Artist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Tom Napolitano 
Reviewer: Steven Lee Sharpe

Tim Drake: Robin #4 is a curious beast. After two issues of feeling its way around Tim Drake’s new environment and new supporting characters whilst introducing a murder-mystery plot, the third issue was more direct, featuring a long battle, an interesting conversation between Tim in his Robin guise, and his boyfriend Bernard, and ending on an intriguing last page revealing “the boss” behind villainous doings.

In this fourth issue, while the plot still retains a similar momentum from the previous issue, the storytelling feels a little muddled.

It’s good to see the issue opening with Tim assessing the clues to the case, as it shows that detective work is the priority here. It’s interrupted by the arrival of a character that Tim knows but we haven’t met before. James, the landlord barges in, picks up one of the clues – an old-style computer printout – frets about the dangerous situations that have been occurring, and then wonders idly what the cipher on the printout could be. This inspires Tim to look at the numbers on the document as a code that needs deciphering. It’s an odd scene. Does Tim Drake really need reminding that a list of numbers may be a cipher? I can’t help thinking Batman would be raising an eyebrow at his protégé.

The issue has a handful of similar moments where I couldn’t help feeling that, while the plot is moving along adequately, its execution was a bit clumsy. Another example comes when, in conversation, Tim refers to his book collection. This makes him realize that he should check his collection to see if any are missing. It’s possible of course, but it felt a little tenuous – especially as we later discover that he’d left his conversation with Bernard without explanation in order to get home and check.

One moment, in particular, had me a little uncertain. Tim appears to make an important realization about something, but it comes just as a moment of action crashes into the scene. The way it was executed left me wondering if a joke had been made or whether I’d missed something important.

There are still aspects to enjoy, though. It’s great to see the Batgirls who are proving to be an entertaining pairing over in their own title.

Riley Rossmo’s art thrives on movement and that’s generally when it’s at its best, but there’s also an attractive double-page spread of Robin solving a puzzle, which could’ve looked dull in a lesser illustrator’s hands. Also nice is the following page which features a cool layout to show how, even when he is hanging out with Bernard, Tim’s mind is occupied by the case. The one minor quibble I have is that the interior of Tim’s boat still doesn’t have a distinct, instantly recognizable look to it either in the design or the coloring.

It was also during this issue that I realized that one or two panels have something going on in the background which undoubtedly serves as clues for what’s to come in future issues. It’s a nice device even if you don’t notice them because it will be rewarding to reread the series when the overall story arc comes to an end.


It may sound contradictory, but while the story’s developing at a pleasing pace, there’s a rushed feel to its execution meaning that some moments are either a little muddled or don’t quite ring true. Given the amount of character and story drama going on, it strangely gives Tim Drake: Robin #4 a lightweight feel, although the series is still managing to maintain its charming Young Adult tone.

6 out of 10

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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