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Red Robin

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

We've come a long way, baby - it's just that it's been in a big circle instead of a straight line.

From sidekick to superhero, Tim Drake fights crime in Gotham City alongside the rest of the Batman Family.

Thanks to the vagaries of the Old 52's sliding timescale, Batman had been Batman for about 15 years. Counting the amount of time he worked alone, it's difficult to fit five different Robins (Dick, Jason, Tim, Stephanie, and Damian) into the remainder, but that's just the sort of thing you have to suspend your disbelief for. It gets harder, however, when the New 52 compresses that time down even further; now, the math works out that nobody was Robin for more than about three months or so. And then on top of that we've got Rebirth, which is a semi-reset of the reboot, and... you know what, this is Tim Drake, and he's got a costume that's not ugly. Maybe he'll wear it for more than a week.

All the New 52 Robins had their own unique suits, rather than wearing the same thing (yes, before getting his familiar costume, Old 52 Tim briefly wore the pixie boots, too). In Tim's case, his first costume was this red one, and from the start he went by the name "Red Robin" in a bid to honor the memory of Jason Todd without trying to replace him. He then wore an overdesigned mess, but finally Rebirth gave him something good.

This costume looks like an evolution of Tim's Neal Adams-designed original, with hints of the Young Justice cartoon design. Keeping the traditional Robin colors, has a red shirt, yellow belt, and green sleeves, gloves, and boots - at least, at first glance. The green on the boots and gloves is actually armor over a black undersuit, and the green patterns on his short sleeves have matching patches on his hips. He's got black pants with no trunks at all, and the black elements on his top make it look like body armor instead of just cloth. He keeps the yellow-lined black cape, too. Really, the only bad thing about Eddy Barrows' design is that the symbol on the left breast is two R's, rather than just one - for Red Robin. If they'd just cheated that to a single R, this would be awesome.

Robin's articulation is better than average for a Mattel figure. He has a balljointed head, which can actually look up and down a little bit, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows(!), swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinged ankles. That's an adequate amount of movement for one of Batman's sidekicks! Remember when Mattel's first Robin didn't even have elbows? We really have come a long way! And it only took 16 real-world years.

Tim was much more of a gifted detective than either Dick or Jason, but he wasn't as much of an athlete - that's why he opted to use a bo staff when neither of them had done that. This figure comes with his staff, a new mold with sculpted hand grips near the ends. The set also includes an extra pair of fists, if you don't want him to hold the weapon and instead just punch people.

As part of the Killer Croc series, Robin comes with a part of said Build-A-Figure. The too-big left arm.

Our biggest complaint about this figure (other than the RR chest symbol) is that it makes Tim Drake look like an adult, rather than a teenager. Like he's the Robin of five, ten years from now. I guess we can lay that blame at the feet of designer/art director Jason Langston, but ultimately, this may be the best Robin Mattel released.

-- 05/13/20

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