Tim Drake: Robin #5 review

So we’re almost at the end of this mini-series! Tim Drake has to confront his biggest villain which sounds as anti-climactic as you should expect it to be based on a story that has as of yet failed to deliver on many fronts.

Because this comic has many people leaving thoughtful comments about this mini-series I hope you’ll appreciate that I share some of them in this part of the review. First of all we should talk about Bernard being drawn too effeminately. At first I was confused why people were complaining about this but I now understand that this depiction of Bernard is radically different from his previous incarnations but also removes his boisterous boyish character to make him submissive and constantly cradling Tim. If these traits were done for a woman then we could easily see how this kind of depiction plays into the infantilization of women once they are partnered up. Especially wierd because Bernard does not seem like the friend that Tim once had at all going from annoying and arrogant to a wet towel!

Another big complaint was about how sloppy Tim’s detective work has been so far. There have been at least three instances where someone has just held his hand through a problem when in many of his other stories Tim has shown incredible detective skills, with him in particular solving problems that other Batfamily members wouldn’t even think of.

Speaking of which, multiple people brought up the generic writing that accompanied the Batfamily scene and how any other character could’ve been present for that team up and it would’ve read exactly the same. Sadly there isn’t much of a difference on that front when it comes to this issue.

And there’s more but it’s time to start the actual review! If you have something you’d like to see me address in the next review, (gasp! The last one already!) then please share your opinion in the comments below!

One big reason I think this final fight is so anti-climatic stems simply from the fact that this is just boring to read. While we get plot twists and certain elements of the mystery explained there isn’t really much going on for me. The realization of how boring this was came from the fact that even though there was stuff that desperately made you think something was going on we still ended up exactly at the same spot as the last issue just, like, MORE EXTREME . What Meghan Fitzmartin explained stays somewhat cryptic and the plot twists are only taunts that are instantly reversed after the smallest amount of shock was had by Tim.

The floating voices are also incredibly damaging to the audio-visual cohesion of the comic. We see Tim run around fighting back with the villain asking these classic (cliche?) questions over and over again with no idea of who is able to hear it and where the characters are in relation to each other. I’ve also complained so many times about how Tim’s inner monologue almost always makes it look like he’s ignoring the people he’s around which kind of works here but even then Nightwing is one of the few people he should be most comfortable breaking the silence with!

I was raving about how good the previous issue’s art was and yet the combined work of Riley Rossmo and Ricardo López Ortiz really doesn’t gel with me this time. It’s another big reason this comic feels boring but in a more exhausting way. The fight scenes show a series of mini-bosses that Tim fights against at first one after another and then in groups all while being flung around various locations. The buildup of the fight already has me scratching my head because the artists show you a truly desperate Tim Drake, whose consciousness has basically left him, only to be able to take hit after hit like it’s barely a scratch. The fights are also so stuffy and jam packed which removes the ability to break down what’s going on in a pleasing way. With a lot more breathing room and a clear indication of how Tim is doing during the fight we could actually have a more intuitive read and be excited to follow what’s going on.

I do think that the art styles of both artists works well together and doesn’t actually break the aesthetic of the previous issues but it’s the final mixture that’s not wroking out. I actually like the character designs of the mini-bosses and the way that Tim looks in the rain or the backgrounds they fight in but just wished it was all glued together in a less frantic way. You can see some decent cohesion between Robin and Nightwing but it gets dropped so fast. The worst part being how the writing doesn’t take advantage of this chaos but actively aggravates it by not giving us anything to situate ourselves with.

Recommended if…

  • You like looking at pretty colors
  • You want to be a part of the discourse
  • There’s a new shredder in your office you’ve been dying to try out


The only things that seem to be building up for Tim Drake: Robin are its flaws. If you want to save yourself some time just imagine the ending of the previous issue but with slightly higher stakes. Maybe I’m the only one who thought this fight scene was poorly written and drawn but I had to go through it a lot in order to even talk about it. It’s a real shame because I actually bought the previous issue just to stare at certain double page spreads and now I’m too bored to care…

Score: 2/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.  

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