Royal Nonesuch reviews Red Robin #12 from DC Comics!
Credits & Solicit Info:
RED ROBIN #12
On sale MAY 5
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by CHRISTOPHER YOST
Art and cover by MARCUS TO & RAY MCCARTHY
Every single moment of the last year has led to this fight between Red Robin and Ra’s al Ghul. Who has Ra’s been talking to all this time in the shadows? Why was Lucius Fox so desperate to find Tim Drake? And why was Tim so certain that Bruce Wayne is alive in issue #1? All questions are answered.
"I don't know where things go from here, but this is me now, no matter what I'm wearing. I'm my own man. I'm Red Robin."
Family has turned out to be an important thing in superhero comics. Certainly, one of the most important reasons for the existence of the masks and costumes is that the hero in question fears that their loved ones will suffer any reprisals at the hands of vengeful criminals.
Family is important, even to a grim, solitary figure like Batman. For a guy who is thought of as a complete loner, The Caped Crusader has a tendency to surround himself with a veritable army of supporters and allies. Two of those allies, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake, have learned a lot at Batman's knee, but they've also broken out from his mold where necessary.
That's really what RED ROBIN #12 is all about. When Ra's al Ghul expects Tim Drake to handle him the exacty same way that Bruce Wayne would, Tim zags by embracing his teammates and support system in a way that the original Batman never could. "I'm not Batman," he explains. "I have friends." Those friends come through for him here, in a master plan that short circuits Ra's and establishes Tim as a hero in his own right in the DC Comics pantheon.
It's a premise that's written with great insight by Christopher Yost, who made all the pieces of twelve issues of comics fit together and culminate in a rousing denoument. The exciting action of the beginning of the issue comes to a halt for some exposition. It's interesting that Yost turns the tables on the "villain explains everything just before getting defeated" trope by having Tim lay out exactly how he was able to defeat Ra's al Ghul. It works, but it may fall flat to readers who aren't all that interested in corporate maneuvering and boardroom politics. Still, it gives Marcus To a lot to do. After rendering a great fight scene starring a defiant Tim Drake, To ably illustrates this exposition by incorporating flashbacks into his layout.
From there, the issue pauses for some time for Tim and his family (Dick Grayson, Damien, Alfred, and Batgirl); enough time for him to give them the proof he needs that Bruce Wayne is alive and stuck in time. The issue's structure takes a weird turn here, as it leads to not one but two cliffhangers, and ends with the retelling of a scene from issue #1, from a different angle. The ending sets the stage not only for the future of this title, but for the upcoming RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE as well.
Ultimately, RED ROBIN #12 is a worthy conclusion to Yost's wonderful storyline. It reaffirms everything readers love about Tim Drake while preparing him for his future. Tim is at the age where he has to carve out his own identity as an individual while understanding that the people around him are important to him. With this issue, Tim Drake has finally grown up.