Bruce Wayne is lost in time. He is using every bit of his strength, wits and training to get back to the present. If anyone can do it he can. But Gotham City hasn’t shut down while he is away. Criminals have seen that the Batman is gone and have tried to strike while Gotham’s protector is gone. Fortunately, Bruce Wayne has a family that has stepped up to pick up the slack while Bruce is gone. Each member of the Bat-Family has evolved to be better than they were. Absence in the Family will detail that evolution. Next up Red Robin.
Dick Grayson and Jason Todd became Robin through sheer luck. Tim Drake decided to be a little more proactive than his predecessors. Drake figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman’s secret identity, found him, and told him that he wanted to become Robin. Bruce was hesitant to the idea at first but Drake impressed him enough to earn the job.
Before Bruce got thrown into the past,Tim Drake was the latest person to hold the mantel of Robin. He was living his dream of being Batman’s partner and growing closer and closer to taking on the mantel “Greatest Detective on Earth.” Bruce himself said that Tim was the most deserving of one day being the next Batman. He had cemented himself as perhaps the greatest Boy Wonder yet and was getting better every day.
There is a new Batman and Robin in Gotham, and Tim Drake is neither. Drake needed to find his own identity and separate himself from the Bat Family after Bruce’s death. Taking the name Red Robin, a name tarnished by Jason Todd, Tim Drake has had a rebirth in his crime fighting career. Even though Bruce’s disappearance was incredibly hard for him, Tim Drake has excelled since going out on his own.
Now back in Gotham after proving that Bruce was still alive, Red Robin is taking on Gotham’s criminals in a way that even Batman never has. Red Robin has a hit list of villains he is going to take down. What makes his plan ingenious is that each villain he captures will directly lead to the next person on his list. Taking down one criminal will force another to make a move that Red Robin can capitalize on. Taking down that criminal will force another and so on. Tim Drake is showing that his mind is a better weapon that any of the gadgets Batman uses.
Red Robin also uses weapons Batman never has. Tim Drake uses the media and his own secret identity to further his war on crime. Tim is using the Wayne fortune to get kids off the streets and into after school programs. He also got many of Gotham’s gangs to sign a truce between each other. He has even gone as far as to set up his own attempted assassination and walk with crutches for an entire year in order to throw a reporter off the trail of his secret identity.
Although Red Robin is moving beyond what Batman has done, Bruce’s influence can still be seen. Tim Drake has a list of criminals he wants to take down, but he also has a list of heroes. That list is just in case one of those heroes turns evil and Drake has to take them down. Bruce Wayne’s paranoia was a huge part of his life and he had planned a way to take down every one of his fellow heroes in case he had to. Tim isn’t as paranoid as Bruce was, but he still knows that anyone could become a threat.
Red Robin is one of my favorite comics coming from DC right now. It is without a doubt my favorite Bat book even over Batman and Robin. Tim Drake has become an immensely interesting and impressive character. I hope that Bruce’s coming return doesn’t throw Red Robin off his game and he continues to follow his own path.