Tim Drake Officially Becomes Robin Again

Tim Drake, the third Robin and the only character to headline a solo title under that name for more than 150 issues, has left the codename "Drake" behind him and stepped back into the Robin mantle, effective this week's issue of Young Justice. The change comes on the heels of Damian Wayne seemingly leaving the Robin identity behind in last week's Teen Titans annual, stepping away from the team at the end of a story in what at first seemed like a probable misdirect but now appears more likely to be the result of larger forces at play. While fans like Damian, after all, he has minimal presence in TV and film.

Tim Drake became Robin in 1991, following the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd. Tim would remain in the role until 2009, when he became Red Robin, taking on the name and costume that an older version of Dick Grayson had worn in the 1997 Elseworlds story Kingdom Come.

With Tim as Red Robin and Damian as Robin, a new status quo emerged that remained in place until The New 52's launch in 2011. After that line-wide change, the timeline of the DC Universe (and Batman in particular) was always a constant question mark. Eventually Tim disappeared from the pages of the comics, and reappeared wearing a version fo his earlier Robin costume and being held in the custody of Jor-El, going by the name Mr. Oz. After that, he returned to a major role in Detective Comics when it was written by James Tynion IV -- the same writer now handling the Batman chores.

Tim is widely known for his appearances in Batman: The Animated Series and its spinoffs; he also appeared in the Injustice and Batman: Arkham video game universes. Damian Wayne, originally created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Andy Kubert for what was intended to be a specific set of stories ending with his death, was popular enough to cheat that death when it finally came (although his resurrection came under a different writer, and Morrison's story really did end the way it was planned). He appeared in a number of DC Universe animated feature films, although that universe was recently rebooted and there is no way of knowing what Robin will exist in the new universe yet.

Less than a year ago, Brian Michael Bendis and artist Nick Derington introduced Tim Drake's "Drake" codename, complete with a new costume, with the rationale being that "Drake" was, like Robin, a bird-themed moniker. The change lasted eight issues before, in this week's Young Justice #18, the rest of the team is surprised to see Tim is back in his Robin costume and back to his old name. Whether this is part of a long-term design, or just in response to how much fans hated "Drake," is not clear.