Robin’s adoption and the uncle situationPosted: 08/31/2014
Tim Drake came from a rare origin story in which both his parents were alive when he took over the Robin identity. And then they weren’t. So newly orphaned, the teenager can’t just be swinging across the rooftops before returning to his box under the bridge overpass in the morning. Apparently, things like “laws” prevent minors from doing whatever they please however they want and whenever they want to do it. But Batman has an idea. A very heart-felt idea. Let’s explore Tim Drake’s future/living situation today in the following issues:
Robin #134, written by Bill Willingham and drawn by Damion Scott
Robin #136, written by Willingham and drawn by Pop Mhan
Robin #138, written by Willingham and drawn by Scott
Robin #139, written by Willingham and drawn by Scott McDaniel
Batman #654, written by James Robinson and Don Kramer
First up, Batman’s plan (and part of today’s article title).
I’m no expert on adoptions, and I’m sure the state wouldn’t be pleased by a man in a bat costume raising Drake, but random men can only claim kids as their own as long as no other possible options exist (I assume). I mean, surely Robin can take care of himself — he’s had a solo series for since the early ’90s after all, but when it comes to laws Batman’ll break (like trespassing, assault, illegal wiretapping, etc.), he follows adoption procedures to the letter.
Well, no more Tim Wayne for Tim Drake. Bring the world adventuring uncle back home and Tim’ll get a proper house and other problems he’ll have to lie about to his new family member. Look, it’s not as if this is anything new to poor Robin. All he wants is the freedom to not attend school, patrol by himself, and do all those great adult things Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, and the others get to do. Even Batman would make Robin sit through classes and complete his homework before giving permission to jump kick bad guys. Such is the life of a 15 (or 16?) year-old kid.
How sweet, right? Edward Drake looks like a cool dude, like that uncle who lets you smoke a cigarette once in a while as long as you bring your female friends around for him casually leer at. Maybe he won’t mind his nephew fighting crime. Maybe he’ll use his doctoring skills to aid Robin. Maybe he leaves loving hand-written notes in Robin’s lunch bag every morning. Or maybe he’s a great big fraud. Probably the last one.
It’s not bad that Robin lied to Batman. It’s bad that he lied to the person with the most powerful, comprehensive computer in the entire world along with the single greatest problem-solving mind hidden behind any mask in the DC universe. Batman makes up for his lack of super strength by being superhuman at everything else. Like being super scary.
Drake even gets a half-smile from Batman, the largest grin possible from his brooding mentor. As for dear Uncle Eddie, he appears in one more scene after this and then never again. He doesn’t die or anything — a girl shows up at the apartment, Robin asks for some alone time, Eddie leaves, and we never see or hear from him again. Much like the parents of many other superheroes. It’s simply an unsolved plot line dangling eternally in the bowels of comic book history.
A year later (in both comic book time and real life time), Batman asks Drake once more if he’d do the honor of being adopted. It goes exactly as you expect: heart-warmingly.