Update: DC is showing off four new, fully-lettered preview pages from Meghan Fitzmartin, Alberto Albuquerque Jimenez, and Nick Filardi's full-length 'A Carol of Bats,' a holiday-themed story from December 14's Batman: Urban Legends #10.
The story is the follow-up to the three-part storyline 'The Sum of Our Parts' that concluded in Batman: Urban Legends #6 earlier this year.
In the new story set during the December holidays (but before Batman exits Gotham City), Tim is troubled by Batman's state of mind, which is impacting his newfound happiness and his new dating relationship with his friend Bernard.
In the finale of 'The Sum of Our Parts' (see below), Batman's Robin no. 3 realizes he has romantic feelings for his friend and that he's romantically attracted to boys for the first time. The last page depicts Tim stopping by Bernard's house to enthusiastically accept an invitation for a date from him.
In 'A Carol of Bats,' the Dynamic Duo tries to solve a case together but whether it eases the tension or adds to the sudden rift between Bruce and Tim readers will find out on December 14.
Keep in mind, however, it's a holiday story.
Artist Belen Ortega, who drew the 'The Sum of Our Parts' provides the issue's main cover.
"The response to Tim's story has been more than I could have hoped," Fitzmartin said earlier this year. "It's always exciting to share Tim's journey with fans, and close 2021 with this special holiday story in Batman: Urban Legends #10."
You can check out the cover to your right and five pages (including four newly-lettered new pages) by Albuquerque and Filardi below and two variant covers.
Original story follows...
Tim Drake likes boys.
It may have taken him over 30 years to realize it (but only a handful of years in comic book time) but Batman's third Robin and arguably the best detective in the Batman family this side of the Dark Knight himself, has finally put the clues together to figure out who he is and what he wants.
In August 10's Batman: Urban Legends #6, Tim discovers he has romantic feelings for his male friend Bernard, and that single moment of realization is depicted not as a moment of turmoil or doubt, but quite that opposite - as a moment that makes immediate sense to Tim and has a calming influence over him.
In part three of 'The Sum of Our Parts' that began in Batman: Urban Legends #4 by writer Meghan Fitzmartin and artist Belen Ortega, Tim has been working tirelessly to rescue his high school classmate who has been abducted by a "pain cult" that preys on Gotham City teens.
While working the case obsessively, Tim's inner monologue depicts a young man of self-doubt, or at least unanswered questions, who's trying to figure out his place in the world and explain recent actions that don't even make sense to him, like breaking up with his long-time love interest Stephanie Brown, the former Spoiler who now goes by Batgirl.
In July's Batman: Urban Legends #5, Tim asks himself why he is so fixated on the case and why he isn't asking Stephanie or his best friend Connor Kent for help. He digs even deeper in an extended inner monologue by asking himself who he is if he's not Robin and while he doesn't have that answer he realizes he needs to figure out what it is he wants.
In Urban Legends #6. He finds his answers when he locates Bernard, who's been training and helps fight the cult in his own rescue, perhaps foreshadowing a potential new crime-fighting partner for Robin. Leading up to the pivotal moment, Fitzmartin makes it clear Tim's interactions with Bernard feel right to him, and as previously noted, even calming him.
During the course of their escape, Bernard asks Robin to do him a favor if he doesn't make it out of the fight alive, to tell Tim Drake that Tim helped him realize his "true self" and to tell Tim he wished they could have finished their date.
(Bernard apparently doesn't know Robin is Tim but believes Robin knows Tim).
Fitzmartin describes what happens next as a "lightbulb" moment for Tim, and that Bernard's request suddenly put all the puzzle pieces together for him.
"It's like something changed in … in a program I didn't even know I was running," reads Tim's inner monologue. "Or maybe it didn't change. Maybe it was always there. Waiting for someone to start the program."
Whatever unanswered questions Tim has about himself, he seems to have little doubts about what he wants after the proverbial lightbulb goes on. Fitzmartin makes it clear Tim realizing he has feelings for Bernard makes immediate and perfect sense to him and that he now understands why he broke up with Stephanie, who he also acknowledges he genuinely loves.
In the story's final scene, Tim goes to Bernard's house and lets him know he wants to figure out what the night of their first date means to him and enthusiastically accepts Bernard's invitation for another date.
Fitzmartin and DC don't go any further in labeling Tim's sexual identity, just that he has romantic feelings for Bernard, but Tim and Bernard's story promises to continue in Batman: Urban Legends #10, which if the series maintains its monthly schedule, would be in December.
Tim Drake's sexuality has been a topic for debate for years, especially after a scene in 2003's Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #2 where he and Conner/Kon-El (Superboy) share a moment in a supply closet. While not immediately sexual, some readers read that as a hint to something more.
In 2018, Winick seemingly confirmed that subtextual reading in a response to a fan about the scene, tweeting "I saw this as an opportunity for them to both come out of the closet. #liveyourbestlife"
In 2020, DC columnist Alex Jaffe wrote an article for the company's DCUniverseInfinite.com website titled 'Robin & Superboy: The Greatest Teen Romance That Never Was' that touches on this moment, as well as several others.
DC seems ready to fully embrace it in the coming months.
Tim of course ranks highly on Newsarama's list of the Batman's best Robins of all time.