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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #0 Teen Titans #0

Teen Titans #0

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 26, 2012

Cover date: November 2012

"Red Robin"

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciller: Tyler Kirkham
Inker: Batt, Norm Rapmund, Jon Sibal

Reviewed by: Shawn Morrissey

Click to enlarge

Tim Drake is a talented young man. He excels at gymnastics. He's a computer whiz. He has scholarships pouring on his lap. What's more, he has proud, loving parents who support him in everything he does. He's in control of his life, and opportunity isn't knocking on his door, it's banging it down. Despite all this, Tim needs more. He needs to do more, be more. He needs to be Batman's partner, and he's made some stellar efforts in finding out just who the Dark Knight really is. Unfortunately for Tim, all the clues that bring him to the identity of the Batman were all planted - by Batman.

Batman is always ten steps ahead. That's how he stays on top of a very dangerous game, and he isn't about to let Tim play, not when the teenager has so much going for him; not when he has something a young Bruce Wayne didn't - parents. Batman lays his stamp on Tim's application for the job of Robin: denied.

Not easily dismayed, Tim takes to his own methods of crime fighting, mostly to get Batman's attention. However, his approach - steal from the rich, give to the poor - proves a tad dangerous when he steals from Oswald Chesterfield Copplepot, aka the Penguin. Privy to Tim's actions and the probable repercussions, Batman arrives at Tim's house just in time to save the would-be do-gooder and his parents from the Penguin's trigger happy goons.

When the dust settles, Tim's folks enter the witness relocation program to stay safe from the Penguin. They don't want the same life of anonymity for Tim, and so ask Batman to look after the young man. Painfully the Drake family parts, leaving Tim to a new life, full of opportunities that rival those he's had to leave behind. Enter, Red Robin.

3Story - 3: First off, I did mostly enjoy this story. It has far more je ne sais quoi than pretty much every Teen Titans issue to date, especially during the whole Culling nonsense. I like this Tim Drake, and I'm a bit bemused by some of the complaints of his current origin. I'm letting most complaints of the New 52 pass over me, though, since it almost seems like a thing of happy conformity to dislike it.

I think aspects of the new take on Tim's origin are a lot smoother than his first introduction more than twenty years ago. I've never been able to swallow that a nine-year-old could deduce the identity of Batman. In the New 52, Tim is still exceptionally bright, but it makes more sense that Batman would be able to keep tabs on the boy. That Batman plants clues that lead Tim to a meeting with the Dark Knight just feels much better.

Some changes in the origin are unique, but don't quite disrupt the storytelling. The fact that Tim was never "Robin" surely has some readers scratching out their hair and pulling out their eyes. I like that he goes by Red Robin right from the start. One thing I do miss is Dick Grayson's involvement in Tim's becoming Batman's partner. Of all this, though, the real trouble with the New 52 Robins is the timeline, but there's no room to go into that here.

What I found bothersome in the story was the apparent adoption of Tim by Batman. How could Batman, a vigilante with no public identity, adopt a child? Who let that happen? Did Gordon pull some strings? Did Jack and Janet Drake have some sort of sway over the adoption process? Surely people know that Batman has agreed to look after Tim, but what happens when they see Tim with Bruce Wayne? Isn't that a danger to Bruce's secret? Or does Bruce keep Tim tucked away in the Bat Cave? It's an abyss of a plot hole.

For us Super fans, there's no mention of Superboy. You'll have to get Superboy #0 for that tale.

All in all, #0 was a fairly decent outing, with only a little of Lobdell's knack for turning the reading of his dialogue into a chore.

3Art - 3: I missed Booth's pencils. It's no secret that I like the regular Teen Titans art team, but Kirkham does a good job. I particularly like his stout and agile Batman. Rapmund is still on board, but sharing inking duty.

2Cover Art - 2: The cover art itself is good, and it's the only hand Booth plays on this issue. I'm just not sure what to make of the zero issue covers. I understand that Zero Month was an event to celebrate the first anniversary of the new continuity, but having the characters pop out of, burn through, or just step out of the cover seems a little heavy handed. What's more, Skitter and Bunker aren't even in this issue, save a quick glance of each on Tim's computer, indicating an early interest in teenage metahumans.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2012

February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012

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