The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years #4
DC Comics (April, 1998)
“As The Twig Is Bent”
WRITER: Hilary Bader
PENCILER: Bo Hampton
INKER: Terry Beatty
COLORIST: Lee Loughridge
LETTERER: Tim Harkins
EDITORS: Darren Vincenzo & Scott Peterson
Back in the second issue we saw a boy watching the fight between the Terrific Trio and the Joker. That boy is Tim Drake, whose father is a henchman of Two-Face. While his father insists Tim will be a crook just like him, Tim would rather do something good, like Batman, and wishes his father would give up crime. It comes too late as “Shifty” learns of a plot by Two-Face to threaten to blackmail Gotham City with a poison gas. He’s killed while Two-Face comes after Tim hoping to learn where his father hid something the madman needs to create his gas. Batman comes to his rescue but is hurt, forcing Tim to accompany him to the Batcave. When Two-Face announces his plan Batman and Batgirl go out to stop him, but Tim wants to help, being rather proficient with a Batarang he found after the aforementioned fight. Batman refuses, but (with some subtle nudging from Alfred) Tim takes the Robin costume and helps defeat Two-Face. However, Batman refuses to let Tim become Robin again….until he’s had some training.
What they got right: The Batarang means more to Tim than just something to throw around, which leads to a nice moment at the end. (Which is comic exclusive as the episode it was connected to had a different ending.) It’s a symbol of defying his father’s path in favor of becoming a better person, a hero. We see this in yesterday’s Friday Night Fight when he takes down a couple of punk kids. This version of Tim Drake is a really good character and a good addition to the show.
What they got wrong: That doesn’t mean I don’t have a problem with him, mind you. Tim in the regular DCU is my favorite Robin of all of them, including the current one, Damien Wayne. He’s smart, a great detective in his own right, and I love his Robin costume. Even the Red Robin costume (before the New 52 goofy one with the wings) wasn’t as good to me as his regular Robin costume and I rather liked his Red Robin costume. None of Tim’s backstory (including actually having at least one living parent until Identity Crisis, another of that miniseries’ many failures) makes it here. If anything he’s a better version of the post-Crisis On Infinite Earths Jason Todd, and probably what Jason should have been. Tim does show up again during the Invasion season of Young Justice but it’s not the same and this is the version non-comic fans got the most exposure of. It’s a shame they never got to see Tim at his best.
Recommendation: A good story, and it was the pilot episode for the Batman segment of The New Batman/Superman Adventures, the actual final scene of which we’ll see in the final issue the next time we get to this series. It’s worth picking up and I do like this version of Tim, but he’s not the same character and that’s a shame.