Gotham Knights Can Put a Hood on the New Batman


Gotham Knights’ story has the potential to choose a new Batman, and of the four leading heroes included, it should be Tim Drake’s Robin to pick up the cowl. With the story Gotham Knights wants to tell – that of the Bat Family coping with and filling the role of a recently dead Batman – there are many directions the story could go into. One of those directions is granting the cowl to one of the former Robins, and if it goes in that direction, the only logical choice is Tim Drake, the current Robin in Gotham Knights.

Tim Drake is the third canon character to hold the mantle of Robin, being introduced in 1989 and taking up the mantle in 1990. There have since been other characters to inherit the role of Robin, such as Stephanie Brown and Damian Wayne, but developer WB Games Montréal believes that Gotham Knights’ Robin had to be Tim Drake in order to reinforce the theme of the game’s narrative: if Batman needs Robin, what is Robin without Batman? Tim Drake, being a character that applied for the job of Robin because he knew that Batman needs a sidekick to keep him grounded, was the logical choice to have in the red and green.

Related: More Is Riding On Gotham Knights Than You Think

While the game doesn’t need to end with the mantle of Batman going to anyone, let alone one of the four playable characters, if it does go that route, Tim Drake is the best choice for the role – especially since this version will be sticking closer to the comics, unlike the overthought version of Robin from Batman: Arkham. If Gotham Knights’ version of Tim really is more like the comics, then he is the most qualified for the role as the new Batman.

Tim Drake’s Deductive Prowess Makes Him Gotham Knights’ Perfect Batman Replacement

A comic accurate Tim Drake should – above all else – be a genius. This is something that adaptations of Tim have struggled with  (the Batman: Arkham series being the worst offender), but Batman: The Animated Series also failed to zero in on this cornerstone of his character, blending his personality with Jason Todd’s. Tim approached Batman and asked for the job of being Robin because he found out who Batman really was all on his own. Tim, in short, is a detective, and it’s something that’s reflected in Gotham Knights’ gameplay.

Gotham Knights has a lot of plates it’s going to try and keep spinning at once, and in the case of Mr. Freeze and the Court of Owls, that can end up being a problem. However, trying to stick close to the Bat Family’s comics version at least gives WB Montréal a solid foundation to work from. It certainly circumvents the issue the Batman: Arkham games ran into with trying to balance adapting the comics and putting its own spin on the material. So, operating under the assumption that Tim’s character is being completely adapted from the comics into Gotham Knights, then he will be the most qualified of the four to take up the mantle of Batman due to his intellect and deductive prowess.

Gotham Knights – Nightwing, Red Hood, & Batgirl Are The Wrong Fit For Batman

In the comics, particularly during Tim’s solo book, Batman has stated that Tim will be the next Dark Knight. While solid evidence of Tim’s potential rise in WB Games Montréal’s new title, there is the matter of there being three other heroes patrolling Gotham Knights’ gigantic rendition of Gotham City, all of whom have qualities some would argue makes them just as worthy. Dick has even been Batman at one point in the comics, but even so, there are things that hold him and the rest of the Bat Family back from being the ideal Batman replacement.

Related: Gotham Knights Trailer Shows Nightwing In Action

Tim’s intellect runs circles around Jason and Dick, to begin with. Neither hero is dumb, but Tim thinks on another level from both of them. The biggest reason Jason doesn’t measure up is obvious – his penchant for lethal solutions to the problems of being a superhero is something that just cannot coexist with being Batman. Dick, meanwhile, loves his adopted father, but also loves the freedom being Nightwing gives him from Bruce’s shadow. Plus, as shown in the Grant Morrison run of Batman and Robin, Dick’s more acrobatic, trapeze artist style – a style responsible for Nightwing’s butt, which WB refuses to make bigger – is hard to translate into the bulky, cape-burdened batsuit.

This, of course, leaves Batgirl, who is the closest contender for the cowl, especially if Gotham Knights remembers her time as Oracle, and the intellect and leadership skills that came with it. However, Barbara likely wouldn’t want it even it was offered to her. Like Dick, she values the increased mobility that not being at the top of the hierarchy gives her. One thing Tim has in common with Damian Wayne, who doesn’t appear in Gotham Knights, is that he has all the qualities needed to be Batman, and he likely wants it most – at least when compared to the other three.

Gotham Knights May Not Have A Batman Replacement, But It Should

It’s important to remember that this might not happen. WB Games Montréal, for all that it’s shown off of the game, including a trailer for Robin that teases his superiority to Batman, has said and shown very little about what actually goes on in the story of Gotham Knights. There is a solid chance that this is all completely off-base, and the cowl will go to no one by the end. However, if that is the road ultimately taken, it would be a mistake.

One of the key themes of Batman fiction, especially stories that go into his relationship with the Bat Family, is that Batman is an eternal presence. Alfred in Grant Morrison’s run compared the mantle to characters that actors like to put their own spins on, like Willie Lohman and James Bond. The Earth-One series has Bruce’s daughter become Batman instead of Batwoman, because she interprets the mantle not as a name, but as a birthright. Even though Gotham Knights isn’t part of Batman: Arkham’s universe, the shadow of Batman looms over its narrative. Gotham City needs a Batman.

It’s easy to interpret that as a franchise always returning to some form of the status quo, but in truth, having Tim become Batman would be the perfect cap to Gotham Knights’ story. The central question at the heart of Tim’s character in this game is “what is Robin without Batman?” With that in mind, the cowl needs to go to Tim in order to give Gotham Knights the perfect answer to that question. What is Robin without Batman? The next Batman.