Among Chuck Dixon’s many Batman-related accomplishments in the 1990s was turning Robin the Boy Wonder into a viable solo character. Technically, he did this with two Robins if you count Nightwing. But he did it first with the then-current Robin, Tim Drake.
Robin #56 is a typically solid example from the middle of Dixon’s long run on the title. Yesterday, I raved about Ms. Marvel as a stellar example of a teen superhero book, and many of the same compliments hold true for 1990s Robin stories.
Tim’s heart is torn between two girls—his girlfriend Ari from his civilian life, and the Spoiler, whom Robin has been spending more crimefighting time with lately. Meanwhile, the Spoiler’s criminal father, the Cluemaster, is up to something (cue ominous music).
This Robin was such a great role model for kids. He was smart and resourceful, and though he’d make mistakes, he would always try to do the right thing (such as insisting that Spoiler pay for the soda she takes from the convenience store they save). Plus, Dixon took the time to develop Tim’s personal life, giving him school friends who had nothing to do with Batman’s world. For a Bat-character, Tim Drake was downright well-adjusted.
And the Spoiler was an excellent supporting character (a creation of Dixon’s, if I’m not mistaken; he at least wrote her debut). If you enjoyed her brief stint as Batgirl, as I did, these were her formative years.
Track down the back issues and grab them for your kids (or yourself!).
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Staz Johnson and Stan Woch
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology
Appropriate For: ages 9 and up