WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Young Justice #8 by Brian Michael Bendis, John Timms, Gabe Eltaeb and Wes Abbott, on sale now.
The day has finally come for DC to unveil the new superhero codename Tim Drake has chosen. We first caught wind of Tim’s status quo change in April, when DC released the solicitation for July’s Young Justice #7. “Tim Drake is about to do something he has only done … lots of times before,” the solicit reads. “He is about to announce his new alias … a new superhero name. A Young Justice name. And this time, it’s permanent. Like, forever.”
Of course, an official name change has to also include a change in costume, which was seen in July, in artist John Timm’s uncolored cover to Young Justice #10. Unfortunately, fans learned they’d have to wait an extra month to find out Tim’s new identity when writer Brian Michael Bendis confirmed the reveal would occur in Issue 8, with the time being filled by the full-color preview.
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But before we marvel at the questionable costume color choice, we need to put the focus back on this name. Young Justice #8 continues the “Lost in the Multiverse” story arc, which, as the title suggests, finds the reunited heroes lost in the multiverse after escaping Gemworld. After jumping among a few Earths, Young Justice lands on Earth-3, home of the Crime Syndicate of America.
The Crime Syndicate was last seen in 2013’s Forever Evil event, followed by brief appearance in 2015’s Convergence miniseries. As Batwoman (Stephanie Brown) tells the reader in Young Justice #8, the Crime Syndicate hasn’t returned to Earth-3, leaving Young Justice’s evil Earth-3 counterparts in charge. One by one, we’re introduced to these twisted teen heroes — Amaxon Thunder, Luthor-El and Speed Zone — before we meet Earth-3’s Tim Drake, who fights Good Guy Tim Drake to a standstill.
Next, they start to discuss their codenames. When Young Justice Tim Drake says he calls himself Red Robin, Earth-3 Tim Drake finds it humorous that he’s still using the name. After all, he has graduated to the name “Drake,” which he says is one of the most dangerous birds. “It’s who I am,” Earth-3 Tim declares.
You can almost see the lightbulb go off over our Tim’s head. The realization that his last name would make the perfect superhero moiker freezes him in place, allowing Drake from Earth-3 to get position behind him to fire off a pistol at point-blank range. Thankfully, Impulse is able to rush in and grab Tim for the save. Even Impulse is all for Tim calling himself Drake. “Ugh! It’s right there,” Impulse says. We even get a look at what the “Drake” logo looks like, taking visual cues from the Robin logo with an emphasis on the “D” and “R.”
Normally, it’s a bad idea to use your first or last name as a superhero alias, but it appears Tim is going to give it a shot. Most recently, Marvel moved on from the Spider-Gwen moniker for Gwen Stacy, choosing instead to call her Ghost-Spider. We can look at this change for Tim Drake in a similar fashion, but in reverse. It also brings to mind how Dick Grayson graduated from being Robin to Nightwing.
Tim never really got a chance to leave the Robin name behind, as all he did was add “Red.” By calling himself Red Robin, there is still the association of Robin being Batman’s kid sidekick. But as Drake, Tim can now forge his own heroic path while stepping out of the Dark Knight’s rather large shadow.
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