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Sibling Rivalry

July 18, 2010

In Red Robin #14, while Red Robin’s off busy with his hit list, Damian Wayne, the current Robin, decides to take a look see.  However, he notices something hidden behind the hit list that makes up upset.  Tim Drake faces off against Brutale, some assassin, along with his partner, who seem to be working for the Penguin.  He beats Brutale, but his partner escapes, seemingly because a scaffolding was cut deliberately.  Later, Damian, playing coy, wants to join Tim, but Tim says he’s busy and that it’ll have to be tomorrow.  He then goes and harrases Roman Cavallo and Marcus Wise, the two corrupt cops, then has Tiffany Fox go public with the fact that members of the Gotham City Police Department (though she doesn’t say who) are corrupt and hampering his gang efforts.  Vicki Vale comes up after the press conference to him and Tam and indicates that she knows what the members of the Wayne family are really doing at night while pestering them about their “engagement.”  That night, Tim goes out with Damian, as Damian wanted, but Damian cuts Tim’s line while they’re swinging from building to building.  He starts attacking Tim, furious, and their target, Brutale’s partner, starts to escape.  Tim ends up taking both of them on at once (since the partner was drunk), but the fight spills into Crime Alley.  There, Batman chastises them both for fighting each other and for fighting there.  When they all go back to the Bat-Bunker, Damian makes Tim show Dick the truth about his hit list, that behind the villain hit list is a list of potentially dangerous superheroes to watch.  And Damian’s on that list.  Dick makes Tim change the password while they talk about how similar this is to Bruce.  Then, Tim tells Dick about how all of this is putting pressure on Cavallo and Wise, who at the same time, are hiring some mysterious assassin named Scarab who happens to be on Tim’s list.

So, just as with the last issue, this still wasn’t quite the big shot in the arm that I had hoped from Fabian Nicieza taking over.  It is still significantly better than Chris Yost’s run.  Alright, so we do understand that Tim is darker than Dick Grayson.  He’s always been darker, but that’s what makes him a more interesting character.  Yet, in Yost’s run, he was only brooding, and now he’s more balanced.  And this issue really brings on the parallels with Bruce with his contingency plans for potentially dangerous superheroes.  Considering that Wonder Woman killed Maxwell Lord a while ago and that no one is supposed to remember that she did that anymore, that Green Lantern’s been good again and without white hair for a while), that Red Tornado, Captain Marvel, and Atom haven’t done anything wrong, and that Superman and Supergirl can only be considered potentially dangerous for their involvement with General Zod and the people of New Krypton, I’m a tad confused at some of those choices.  Whatever.  But I liked the conflict between Tim and Damian, which is one that’s been simmering every since Damian first showed up.  Unfortunately, the main plot of this arc hasn’t really hit home for me yet.  The villains that Tim has encountered thus far aren’t exactly big, nor do they have long histories with him, so it doesn’t feel that important.  Plus, it would be nice to see more of what Tim has done with all of the gangs and what Cavallo and Wise are doing in a more up-close-and-personal way.  I think that would be more interesting than Tim fighting a bunch of nobody bad guys.  Marcus To’s pencils are the same as ever; solid, but bland.  So that’s nothing shocking.  This book, again, is still better than it used to be.  But Tim Drake deserves better, and I hope that Nicieza ups his game a bit before this inaugural arc is over.

Plot: 8.4      Art: 7.8      Dialogue: 8.6      Overall: 8.2

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