The Joker accidentally revealed how he felt about robin role when he first saw Tim Drake. The Clown Prince of Crime’s first words upon seeing Drake as Boy Wonder provided insight into the villain’s twisted worldview and how Robin fits into it.
When the Joker killed Jason Todd, there’s no doubt among all fans that he damaged Batman and his allies in ways no other villain had. For years, Batman gave up the role of Robin, refusing to take on another partner and endanger another young life. But no one wanted to wear the Robin costume more than Tim Drake, who fought and clawed to prove he was worthy, which he did. Despite knowing the danger he could possibly face, Tim remained strong in his mission as Batman’s new partner. But soon after beginning his career as the new Robin, the young hero came face to face with the man responsible for the murder of the former Boy Wonder.
In Robin II: Joker’s Wild #1 by Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle, Tim goes on his first solo patrol while Batman is on a business trip to Rio. Unfortunately for the new Robin, the Joker has once again escaped from Arkham Asylum and is heading to Gotham City. Robin discovers a clue in the Joker’s cell that leads her to think the Joker might be interested in a computer scientist named Dr. Osgood Pellinger. Tim watches the Pellinger house and follows him when the doctor leaves at an unusual time. Before Pellinger can get too far, the Joker arrives with a snow plow to pick up the doctor’s car, forcing Tim to intervene. The Joker has a pretty visceral reaction to seeing the new Boy Wonder.
It’s probably shocking to see a Robin alive. Although the Joker may have a mental illness, he doesn’t really feel like Jason Todd has actually come back to life. When he confronts Tim Drake later, he tells the sidekick that he knows he’s a new person under the domino mask. But the Joker’s reaction to Tim isn’t so much to think that Jason has returned, but that part of Batman’s legacy lives on.
When Joker killed Jason Todd, he damaged Batman in ways he never had before. Bruce isolated himself and was haunted by the situation he put Jason in. Batman considered Robin’s death his greatest failure for years, and twisted as it was, it was a victory for the Joker. The Joker sees Robin as an extension of Batman, and by killing Jason he actually hurt his nemesis. But by becoming the new Robin, Tim Drake revived a part of Batman long considered dormant and earned the Joker’s greatest “victory” over the Dark Knight. The Joker first words to Tim Drake were frustrated to realize that robin the legacy wasn’t something he could easily take away from Batman.
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