DC Comics is releasing a special for Tim Drake this week that collects stories from Batman: Urban Legends and a brand new tale as well. It’s sort of like a reprint, but with the new story, and since Meghan Fitzmartin has neatly knit an arc for Tim throughout these tales, it’s an extra-sized issue well worth picking up.
If you missed it, this story reprints chapters from the anthology series Batman: Urban Legends #4-6 and 10. In it, Fitzmartin explores Drake’s unease about who he is with incredibly well-written captions. You’re right there with Tim in his head, who doesn’t quite know why he doesn’t feel himself. Eventually in this issue, he realizes what it is, that he’s bisexual, and that he feels better for realizing it.
Broken up into chapters, the first is titled “Sum of our Parts.” Tim Drake is on a solo mission and doesn’t want help from others. He’s very much stuck in his own head, which is captured well through captions. Soon he’s on a kind of date, although he might not call it that, with a boy named Bernard. That goes south quick when a supervillain shows up and Tim is hellbent on finding him.
Along the way, Fitzmartin introduces a new cop character, establishing Tim Drake can find happiness. It reads like a great start to a fantastic new series.
Belén Ortega is very good at superhero art with tons of detail, a bit of textured grit on things like gargoyles, and great perspective. Alejandro Sanchez colors this chapter, bringing the atmospheric lighting to another level. Seeing Tim Drake jump straight down from a tall building is epic thanks to the light on the building, the clock face, and the skyscraper beside it.
Next is “Happy Holidays” which has Tim Drake and Batman team up. This story is compelling as it reveals Tim doesn’t want to tell Batman everything about himself. Fitzmartin explores Batman through Tim and later Dick Grayson’s eyes. It’s an interesting angle on Batman, who obviously loves Tim and Dick, but he’s also emotionally absent and hard to connect with. There’s a complexity here, and an angle on Batman, that would be amazing to further explore since it’s logical and seems realistic.
This story is a nice continuation from the last chapter as Tim and Batman sort of have a talk about Tim being bisexual. It comes up, and Batman accepts him for who he is which is all that matters.
Art by Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque is a bit different from the previous story. It’s not quite the modern superhero art style we see all the time, but it’s great in its own way. It’s a bit cartoony and a little more angular. Nick Filardi colors the chapter well.
That’s followed up with “The Elephant in the Room” which is a new story never before printed. Taking things a bit further for Tim Drake being comfortable as himself, the elephant in the room revolves around his ex Spoiler. He hasn’t yet told her, which was established in the last chapter which gives this entire issue a further main through-line. Much like the previous chapters, Fitzmartin tackles Tim coming out in a realistic way.
Oh, there’s also a literal elephant in this issue that Tim, Superboy, and Impulse try to take down. This might be the weakest element of the story since it doesn’t really make sense by the end. There’s a full explanation, but there’s also little resolution beyond, “Well we stopped the elephant. Let’s go get milkshakes.”
Ultimately this final chapter is about Tim Drake being open with his friends and his ex. In order to be truly happy, he must be honest with those closest to them. That gives the final page a heartwarming feel.
The final chapter is drawn by Ortega with colors by Luis Guerrero. The art is a little less sharp and detailed than the first tale and leans a bit more on the cartoony side. The character’s eyes are a little larger, and the detail is cranked down a bit. The art is still good, but it’s interesting to see Ortega’s art here, and how it looked in the first tale.
Pat Brosseau letters all of these tales and does a great job with word balloons. One neat trick was how a balloon was too large for its panel yet cuts off at the gutter. You see it a few times and it creates a nice sharp border.
It’s not often a special issue like this one comes along and reads so well. From cover to cover, it’s as if Fitzmartin always planned to tell Tim Drake’s story over three chapters that’d eventually amount to DC Pride: Tim Drake Special. The episodic nature of comics works well with Tim coming out as he must first admit it to himself, open up to family, and then finally open up to his ex. In this way, the story feels natural and important.
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