Having finished with Tim Drake’s path to becoming Robin, it’s time to get into his first solo adventure.

Robin (1991) #1

Written by Chuck Dixon
Pencils by Tom Lyle
Inks by Bob Smith
Lettering by Tim Harkins
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Edited by Dan Raspler & Denny O’Neil

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After seven issues of Tim Drake chomping at the bit to be Robin, and finally getting the costume, he now has cold feet. Oddly enough, it’s Bruce who now has more confidence in him and is trying to talk him into it.

Robin and Batman talk about taking on the mantle.
Character growth wise, this feels like a step back.

In Tokyo, Lady Shiva is talking to Koroshi. She’d been intending to challenge him, but he’s been left in a wheelchair after a fight with King Snake. He warns her that “The King Snake strikes from the dark.” and she leaves, walking past all the bodyguards she killed to get to him.

Koroshi is not happy about his bodyguards death.
Koroshi is not a nice man.

In Gotham, Tim is packing for a trip to Paris to get some life experience. Before leaving he pays his respects at his mother’s grave, and to his dad in the hospital. On the plane, Tim mentions that he’s going to study under a Tibetan Martial Arts master, who moved to Paris after the Chinese invasion. (I wonder if this will get this post blocked in China).

The master, Rahul Lama, is living in, well, the slums of Paris with no electricity. The Lama trains Tim in pressure point techniques, while his grandson, Shin, trains Tim in how to apply those techniques in combat.

Rahul Lama trains Robin.
This overlapping panels layout is used a lot in this comic.

That night, Tim gets taken to the club by Shin, where a local girl tries to pick him up, only for them to run into a local gang, the Ghost Dragons, who take exception to this. Tim tails them to their hangout – and returns as Robin.

Returning and sneaking inside to take a closer look, he sees some gang members beating up some guy, and leaps into action. The guy is an American – Clyde Rawlins – and Robin introduces himself, as the two fend off an army of foes… as Lady Shiva looks on.

Robin and Clyde meet for the first time.
I’d guess you’d call this a superhero meet-cute?

This is an… interesting start to the series. I don’t like the sudden character shift to Tim suddenly wanting to back out. It feels like an odd character choice, like Dixon and Grant weren’t communicating on where their stories were ending – that or Dixon decided to make a character adjustment.

I like this version of Lady Shiva a little bit more than “Lady Shiva, Leader of the League of Assassins” – just an incredibly skilled and also incredibly well off martial arts master, with the money to travel the world, find the best martial artists in their styles, and then kill them in a martial arts duel – like if you gender-swapped the villain of Kung Fu Jungle, got rid of the physical disability part, and gave them a giant pile of money.

Next time, Tim Drake jumps into trouble with both feet.