Brian Michael Bendis promised a new code name for Tim Drake in Young Justice #8, and it looks like the former Robin will now be called Drake.
No, Tim isn’t paying homage to the rapper. Instead, “Drake” takes advantage of Tim’s own surname while also referring to the male duck, called a drake.
DC has already revealed a new costume for Tim Drake on the cover of Young Justice #10 — a less colorful look that streamlines his costume significantly, including the elimination of both his cape and the familiar “R” on his chest.
When Tim Drake’s new name was revealed in this week’s Young Justice #8, Tim Drake didn’t officially start using the the moniker (nor the new costume). But according to Bendis, the “Drake” name is going to stick. (Or at least, as DC’s promotional copy announced, “it’s permanent … like, forever.”)
Young Justice #8 introduced the name change during the team’s mistaken visit to Earth-3, the alternate Earth that was once ruled by the Crime Syndicate. Although the Crime Syndicate isn’t there anymore, the Young Justice team encounters evil versions of themselves.
When Tim meets Earth-3’s version of himself, the alternate-Tim says his codename is “Drake” - just Drake - and he explains that the drake is “one of the most dangerous birds.”
Later in the issue, Tim mentions his doppelgänger’s “Drake” codename to Bart Allen.
And Bart likes it.
“That’s what your name should be! Drake!” Bart says, and he begins referring to Tim as “Drake” from that moment forward.
In Young Justice #8, Tim also runs into an alternate version of Stephanie Brown, the character he’s been dating in current DC continuity. This alternate version of Stephanie also calls Tim by the name “Drake.”
The different codename and costume change will give Tim Drake more distance from his former role in the Batman family, but it will still tie him to Batman’s allies. Most Batman family characters (who don’t wear a “Bat” name) have adopted names referring to birds of some kind, from Robin to Bluebird to Talon to Nightwing.
This isn’t the first time Tim Drake has undergone a name change. The character was Batman’s third Robin and kept that name and position (for the most part) until Batman’s son Damian Wayne showed up in 2006.
Eventually, after Damian became Robin, Tim Drake started calling himself “Red Robin,” a name that harkened back to the Kingdom Come limited series where a future version of Dick Grayson called himself Red Robin.
After Tim officially adopted the Red Robin moniker in 2009, he kept that name through DC’s "New 52" reboot and into the current “Rebirth” continuity. But with the launch of Young Justice earlier this year, he began just going by “Robin” again - although he admitted in Young Justice #1 that he was “one of” the Robins.
Now, Tim will apparently wear the Drake name going forward in Young Justice, although Batman and friends won’t learn of the change right away, since Tim and other team members are lost in the DC Multiverse for the next couple issues.
Tim and the rest of the Young Justice characters are expected to be home to their own Earth by Young Justice #10 (when Naomi joins the team) —and that is the first issue where Tim is shown on the cover with his new costume.
This story continues October 2 with Young Justice #10.