While Future State has been fun in places, it has fallen far short of being future minded in any way. The stories that have done the future well have been the ones as far from the Magistrate as possible. How does the second half of Robin & friends’ run-in with the Magistrate shape up?
Angry and losing his mind, Tim Drake fights through an army of soldiers and a miniboss before jumping off a convoy headed for the river, saving his friends, family, and city, maybe sacrificing himself in the process.
The only time the ’90s were more alive in comics was in the actual ’90s. Speculators run rampant, Liefeld is somehow topical, Marvel is publishing Heroes Reborn. The ’90s are here, somehow, for some reason, and Tim Drake is a little ’90s baby boy. He is the Robin of that decade. Even if he’s had great stories since then, he will always be defined by those early stories, and as a result, I feel like he’s trapped by them.
Beyond that, though, we don’t need any more Tim Drake Robin stories. He had his time, and we have plenty of orphans running around Gotham that can have the mantle. Tim Drake’s time as Robin needs to come to an end. Robin Eternal maybe sort of touches on that idea in the most confusing way, and maybe I love it? Or maybe not???
At the start of this issue, Tim is resurrected by “Lazarus Resin” and for the rest of the issue he’s a shambling mess, thinking about his place in the family, not really coming to an answer, and eventually deciding to drown himself. In other words, a perfect Tim Drake story for 2021.
Really, is Tim Drake the character that should be Robin in Gotham’s bad future? Couldn’t it instead be, uh I dunno, Steph? Or maybe any one of the characters in We Are Robin? Or maybe even a character made up specifically for Future State? No, we need the character so wayward that one of his recent code names was literally just ‘Drake’. That’s who gets to be Robin eternally. Maybe, I didn’t really know if he’s sinking or floating at the end.
In other ways, maybe it doesn’t make any sense? The way the comic talks about Tim not being good enough confuses the overall message to me. This isn’t delivered as a last Tim Drake story, nor does it feel like a story arguing that Tim is essential. It’s mostly just a story where Tim gets some super drugs and beats up bad guys. Maybe he dies at the end? He sort of proves himself to his inner Batman? In another weird way, the indirectness of the issue is itself some kind of meta-commentary on Tim’s aimlessness of late.
Obviously this lack of clarity is a huge failure of this Future State mini. This could have served any purpose, from being the last Tim Drake story, to just being a good one, and it doesn’t quite hit the mark on either of those things. Even still, in its failure it accidentally hit on an important point: Tim Drake being eternally Robin is hell. That goes for himself, and for his fans.
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