Review: Tim Drake: Robin #10 – Final Issue

“Tim Drake: Robin” – Part Ten
Writer: Meghan Fitzmartin
Artist: Nikola Čižmešija
Color Artist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Review by Steven Lee Sharpe

Tim Drake: Robin #10 wraps up the series in an understandably hurried fashion, dovetailing the return of the Chaos Monsters with Tim’s journey of acceptance of his place in the world.

A Victim Of Circumstance

The previous issue had the benefits and disadvantages of being the penultimate issue to a series that has been cancelled, rather than a scheduled mini-series. This has meant that this second story arc about the return of the Chaos Monsters has whipped along at a serious pace.

Within the space of two issues, we’ve had an amnesiac Batwoman drop out of the sky with blood on her hands, a riot in Gotham, accusations that she’s a child killer, which has led her to go rogue, Sparrow’s life-threatening injury, and Bernard’s resurfaced post-traumatic stress, from when Robin saved him from the Chaos Monster cult in a story way back in Batman: Urban Legends (2021). To cap it all off, Tim Drake: Robin #9 ended with Tim being engulfed by Chaos Monster foot-soldiers.

Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Tim waking up in the middle of a maze at the start of this final issue. As Robin, he’s found himself at the heart of a mystery with only a handful of clues, and no idea what he’s facing. As Tim Drake, he’s barely getting a handle on his new life away from Wayne Manor, and, just as he feels like he’s getting settled in his relationship with his new, and, more importantly, first boyfriend, Bernard has withdrawn due to unresolved issues in his past. Yup, this maze filled with deadly traps is both literal and metaphorical.

Clearly, character development and plots are having to be hurried along (with no return to the major subplot planted about Bernard’s parents in Tim Drake: Robin #7), and writer Meghan Fitzmartin manages to pack it all in, including some guest appearances. The sacrifice, of course, is not having the space and time to build a more nuanced story for Tim to dismantle, a proper puzzle for him to solve.

Rather than being a proactive protagonist, events happen to him, and it never really feels like he’s in control. Fitzmartin makes it all feel progressive towards his character growth, but it’s all a little unsatisfying if you’re tuning in to your favorite character hoping to see him rising to the challenge of beating insurmountable odds.

Illustrator Nikola Čižmešija does a sterling job of heightening the drama in each scene, ranging from emotional confrontations from the past to the action sequences. His layouts are clear and kinetic, conveying a rollercoaster range of emotions. It’s a real shame that the series has come to such a premature end because Čižmešija has very quickly found the right style for both the character and the tone, and he could have been a defining artist for this era of the character.

Conclusion

Tim Drake: Robin #10 feels like we’re watching a trailer for the issue with all the important beats to the story, but without the nuances that really qualify them. The rush to tie up loose ends was inevitable, given the sudden cancellation, so it’s with a heavy heart that we wave goodbye to Tim Drake’s solo title.

This is a series that was arguably always finding its feet but, to be fair had a whole new environment to establish – the harbor community – as well as an important romantic relationship that was integral to the character, plus a unique “youthful detective superhero” tone to find. It was a tall order, but there’s enough there to suggest that it’s worth persisting with. Hopefully, Tim wil stay in his new community, even if it’s just his base of operation while he features in other titles.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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