Robin vs. Red Robin! J.T. Krul breaks down Damian Wayne and Tim Drake
They both carry the Robin namesake, but Damian Wayne and Tim Drake have very different ways of doing things. So different, that when they cross paths in the upcoming RED ROBIN / TEEN TITANS crossover, things are sure to get interesting.
Here’s the first page of TEEN TITANS #92, on sale now, where we get to see how the two Robins think of each other a la Batman and Superman.
It’s a pretty… complicated relationship, so we asked TEEN TITANS writer J.T. Krul to elaborate on the Robin dynamic:
"Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"
by J.T. Krul
"For some reason, when I think of Red Robin (Tim Drake) and Robin (Damian Wayne), I can't help but recall that great scene in City Slickers (am I dating myself?) where Daniel Stern and his wife are fighting at a party. 'I hate you,' she screams. To which Daniel replies, with every fiber of his being:
"'I hate you more! If hate were people, I'd be China!'
"On a very primal, visceral level that's how Tim and Damian feel towards one another. They loathe one another's existence. Yet as with any great sibling rivalry, there are layers upon layers of feelings and attitudes that ebb and flow over time.
"Obviously, Tim is not thrilled about Damian taking on the role of Robin in Gotham, and he's even less thrilled about him joining the rest of the gang at Titans Tower. Tim sees Damian as damaged goods, as a potential risk to those around him. Naturally, he would not want to see those closest to him harmed because of the little runt's impulsive and aggressive nature. But let's be honest, Damian came out of nowhere as the literal son Bruce never had. Tim could not help feeling somewhat brushed aside as Bruce adapted to his arrival. In a way, he was replaced. The last thing Tim would want to see is the same thing with the Titans. This is his family. At least, he was here first.
"As for Damian, he's gone to great lengths to express his low opinion of most everyone he comes into contact with (who knew arrogance could be such a virtue), and Tim tops the list. Again, it's sibling rivalry played out to the Nth degree. To Damian, he's the true son of Batman. He's better than the others in every way - at least every way that matters. However, something I keep coming back to when it comes to Damian is that he accepted the role of Robin. If he truly felt Dick and Tim (and Jason for that matter) were nothing but poor substitutes, if he truly felt he deserved a different standing for being Bruce's flesh and blood, then why would he take that costume? Why would accept what could be called hand-me-downs? Sure, he got rid of the booties and the green underwear, but he's still Robin. He can say what he wants, but at the end of the day - Damian is trying to emulate the others to a certain extent. In the grand scheme of things, they are all the sons of Batman, and Damian cannot help but identify some worthwhile traits in those that came before him.
"In the pages of the TEEN TITANS crossover with RED ROBIN, we get to catch a glimpse of their team dynamic as both Tim and Damian bury their attitude to focus on the task at hand. From a practical standpoint, they each want the same thing - to save the day and make sure their issues do not interfere with that goal. They want to be professional, so to speak. Red Robin wants to show that he can treat Robin just like any other member of the team - bringing the tactical leadership and detachment that Batman seems to master so easily. But more importantly, or rather more personally, Tim wants to show (and perhaps even convince himself) that he doesn't feel threatened by Damian - that he doesn't fear being replaced in the eyes of the titans. As for Robin, he wants Tim to see that he can do just as good of a job as he ever did - that he can be a team player when needed. In other words, he wants to show his big brother that he's no child.
"On the surface, both Tim and Damian are seeking to convey the same notion - that they don't care what the other one thinks about them - When the opposite is actually closer to the truth.
"Ah, sibling rivalry."