This trade collects Batman #455-457, Detective Comics #618-621, and Robin (first mini-series) #1-5.
As Nightwing, Dick Grayson is perhaps my favorite character in the DC Universe (or at least tied with Batman). But surprisingly enough he’s not actually my favorite Robin. By a small margin, that honor goes to Tim Drake. A detective in his own right, a proficient computer hacker, and level headed enough to be aware of the weight of the legacy he wishes to have passed to him, Drake was embraced as a successor to Grayson by fans in a way Jason Todd never was.
This collection contains three multi-part stories that cover his training pre-Robin and his first steps once he’s become the new boy wonder.
Rite of Passage is a four-issue story that ran in Detective Comics and was done by one of my favorite creative teams, Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. Grant is a fantastic writer that wrote dark stories, sometimes with mystical elements, that still felt grounded, always had a point to them, and were appropriate additions to the Batman mythos. Breyfolge’s art was always dynamic and captivating.
Here they present an important chapter in Tim’s journey to becoming Robin. He’s already being trained by Batman and Nightwing, having previously proved his potential by deducing their identities. But after what happened with Jason Todd Batman is taking it slow, trying to be sure Tim is ready before allowing him in the field. Fate has an even tougher trial in mind however, as Tim’s parents are abducted. Powerful story with themes of voodoo, fate, and responsibility.
Batman #455-457 is another arc by the same creative duo, seeing Batman investigating a string of odd murders committed by civilians in masks. Meanwhile the weight of being the next Robin hangs heavily over Tim’s shoulders. These stories are wonderfully character driven, with a Batman who’s not infallible and tough events and decisions for our heroes to contend with.
Finally we have the five issues first Robin mini-series. Tim has become Robin, but has some soul searching to do as to what that really means for him. Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle provide this nice globe spanning tale that sees Tim trying to continue his training only to be swept up in dangerous schemes that will cross his path with an old Batman foe as well as a dangerous new villain. Like the previous two arcs this focuses on character development and what makes Tim unique, to great effect.
I’m thrilled they rereleased these early stories of Tim’s career. Hope to see more.