By the time Infinite Crisis reached its conclusion in the spring of 2005 there were few characters in the DCU still standing that had endured more emotional, physical, and psychological trauma then Tim Drake had over the preceding two years.
For a generation of comic book readers – my generation – Tim Drake is Robin, simple as that. And, that isn’t just some old fanboy starting to get sassy (although, it is that a little), it’s also kind of a fact. Take me, as a case in point. Twelve years old I go into a comic book shop for the first time with a friend and I pick out some Superman and Batman books, because honestly I didn’t know there were so many characters and some many damn books to choose from. However, in one of those Batman books I was introduced to Tim Drake, Robin, the Boy Wonder.
These were my first comic books. I had no idea that Tim was the third Robin. I didn’t know that the first would become a the hero Nightwing, nor that the second was murdered by the Joker. Tim seemed just as capable as Batman as a crime fighter and as a detective he seemed to keep his own pretty well too. Twelve year old me found my first teen titan and kept buying Batman books to see more. When I found out, Batman had this other comic book called Detective Comics, or something, I started buying that too. When I was thirteen, Tim was given a self-titled solo-book (1993-2005), and of course, I bought that too.
So, by the time the end of Infinite Crisis, Tim Drake fans were almost in shock. In the last two years alone Tim endured the death of his girlfriend, Stephanie Brown – during 2004’s “War Crimes” arc that ran through all of the “Bat-titles” from summer until late fall of 2004. Stephanie had herself just served for a brief stint as Robin in an absence Tim took from the role. By late fall that summer’s company-wide event, Identity Crisis, was leaving readers reeling yet again as Tim’s father is murdered by Captain Boomerang. The art work by Rags Morales not only showed desperation, terror, helplessness, heartache, and every other emotion that you can wring through your heart. By the time the issue ends Robin weeps helplessly in Batman’s arms, as Bruce weeps over him.
All of this drama would spark a deep personal crisis in Tim and set him off on a journey to become independent of the Batman, as well as the Robin mantle itself. After Infinite Crisis, Tim begins to follow a similar path to that of Dick Grayson before him: he takes on his own persona – Red Robin – and centers his full attention on leading the Teen Titans.