Arguably, no member of the Bat Family sustained greater damage from the New 52 than Tim Drake. Granted, that is a very arguable proposition, since Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain disappeared for a time, Damian Wayne died temporarily, and Dick Grayson underwent a trial by retcon and de-retcon (or would that be re-retcon?).  Still, none of the troubled Bat Folk evinced as much permanent harm as Tim.  The third Robin had his history as Robin erased, his fundamental relationships rewritten, and his very personal identity transformed into a witness protection alias.  To make matters worse, as the other members of the Bat Family regained stability over the last few years, Tim faded deeper into irrelevance.  He seemed to fill no useful or obvious niche in Batman’s circle, and the Teen Titans book he headlined stumbled from one catastrophe to another.  Even the attempt to transport a version of Tim into the future and make him the new Batman Beyond ran into a morass of plot problems and a tornado of unpopularity.

Thus Rebirth held greater promise for few characters, and the reborn Detective Comics written by James Tynion IV seemed a perfect opportunity to recapture some of the old greatness.  The Rebirth titles, at least those based in Gotham, have set themselves the task of rediscovering Batman as a social being, and except for Dick Grayson the Bat Family has no more personable a member than Tim Drake (especially if one discounts his more unfortunate characterization from the period immediately before Flashpoint).  The introduction of a Bat boot camp starring the younger generation of the Bat sidekicks, or the next-youngest generation counting Damian and Duke Thomas, seemed a perfect vehicle for Tim.  And Tynion has fulfilled the possibilities handsomely by killing Tim off.

Oh, Tim isn’t really dead, even as comic books understand that term.  While holding off the Colony’s drones, he ends up kidnapped by Mr. Oz, the villain who may be Ozymandias from Watchmen and who previously has captured Doomsday.  It seems Tim was just loved too much, and this love, and the connections forged around it, promise to upset Oz’ plans.

Now, if you wonder where we ever saw evidence of this love in the New 52 I certainly understand, but it is the pattern of Rebirth to present major story concepts with little explanation.  They get away with it because the concepts tend to be popular ones.  The theme of a Tim as the focus of such intense love is certainly fitting for Tynion, a self-proclaimed great fan if the character.  And it has the advantage of elevating Tim into the center of the major mystery unfolding in the DC Universe.




The apparent death of Tim also has the effect of highlighting other relationships in Gotham, such as between Kate Kane and her father or a Batman and Spoiler. It likewise clears the deck for Damian's iteration of the Teen Titans. I would have bet good money that DC was not that serious about continuity, and very good money that the Bats of Gotham would play little role in the greater REBIRTH saga. It's a good thing for my billfold that I am not a betting man.