Batman / Batman Joker

Is Tim Drake the Joker in Batman Beyond?

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Tim Drake is one of the most complex characters in the Batman family. As the third person to take up the mantle of Robin, he has been a loyal ally to the Dark Knight for years, but also a formidable hero in his own right, with his own strengths and weaknesses.

However, some fans have speculated that Tim’s story may take a dark turn in the future, and that he may become not just a villain, but one of the most iconic ones in Batman’s rogues gallery: the Joker. In this article, we will explore this theory and examine its evidence and implications.

The clues

First of all, it’s worth noting that Tim Drake has never officially become the Joker in any comic book or animated series. Therefore, any evidence we gather is based on hints, allusions, and interpretations that may or may not be intentional or accurate. Nevertheless, some fans have pointed out several clues that suggest Tim could become the Clown Prince of Crime:

  • Symbols: The Joker is known for his love of symbols and motifs that reflect his twisted worldview. One of his most famous symbols is the playing card with a red smiley face. Tim Drake also has a connection to playing cards: he was introduced as “the boy wonder” on a trading card before his first appearance in Detective Comics #647 (1992). Later, during Grant Morrison’s run on Batman (2006-2013), Tim adopted a new identity as Red Robin and wore a costume with red wings that resembled bat ears or horns. Some readers saw this as an inversion of Batman’s own symbol; others saw it as similar to devilish imagery associated with demons or fallen angels.
  • Mental health: The Joker is often portrayed as insane or at least mentally unbalanced due to his traumatic past and his lack of empathy for others. Tim Drake has also suffered from psychological trauma throughout his career as a superhero, including being tortured by the Joker himself in “A Death in the Family” storyline (1988-1989), losing his father to a crime boss, and being mind-controlled by Ra’s al Ghul.

    Moreover, Tim has struggled with identity issues, anxiety, and depression, which have sometimes led him to make questionable choices or take extreme measures.

  • Social commentary: The Joker is not just a random killer or prankster; he is often used as a vehicle for social commentary and satire. His chaotic actions can reflect various themes such as nihilism, anarchy, fascism, capitalism, or terrorism. Tim Drake has also been involved in political or ethical debates during his tenure as Robin or Red Robin. For example, he once challenged Batman’s no-kill policy by using lethal force against a criminal who had killed Tim’s girlfriend (Robin #121-125). He also became a leader of the Teen Titans and fought against villains who exploited young people or oppressed minorities.

The speculations

Based on these clues and other factors such as the comic book industry’s tendency to reinvent characters or shock readers with unexpected twists, some fans have speculated that Tim Drake could become the Joker in the future. Here are some of their theories:

  • Tim is already the Joker: Some fans believe that Tim is already the Joker in disguise or under hypnosis. They point to several instances where Tim exhibits behavior that resembles the Joker’s: laughing maniacally (Detective Comics #1000), using puns or jokes (Robin #181), wearing clown makeup (Teen Titans #19), having scars on his face (Red Robin #10), or having red hair (Batman Beyond). However, most of these instances can be explained by other factors such as stress, humor, cosplay, or alternate realities. Moreover, the Joker’s origin and identity have been explored in-depth in several comics and movies, and none of them involve Tim Drake.
  • Tim will become the Joker: Some fans believe that Tim will become the Joker in a future storyline that explores his descent into madness and villainy.

    They speculate that this could happen due to various triggers such as losing his loved ones, discovering dark secrets about Batman or the Bat-family, being exposed to chemicals or toxins that alter his mind, or being manipulated by a new villain who wants to create chaos in Gotham City. This theory is supported by the fact that Tim has already undergone several transformations in his career as a superhero and has faced many challenges that have tested his morality and sanity.

  • Tim should not become the Joker: Some fans argue that Tim should not become the Joker because it would betray his character development and legacy as a hero. They point out that Tim has always been depicted as an intelligent, compassionate, and resourceful ally to Batman who values life and justice. They also note that Tim has already dealt with trauma and mental health issues without resorting to becoming a villain. Moreover, they argue that turning Tim into the Joker would be a cliché or lazy way of creating drama or shock value.

The conclusions

In conclusion, while it’s tempting to speculate about whether Tim Drake could become the Joker in Batman Beyond or any other medium, there is no conclusive evidence to support this theory at this point. It’s possible that some of the clues mentioned above are intentional nods or coincidences rather than foreshadowing. It’s also possible that DC Comics’ writers and artists have other plans for Tim’s future that don’t involve turning him into a villain.

Nevertheless, the idea of Tim becoming the Joker raises interesting questions about mental health, identity, and storytelling. If handled well, such a plot could explore the darker aspects of heroism and villainy and challenge readers’ expectations and assumptions. However, if handled poorly or gratuitously, it could undermine Tim’s legacy as a beloved character and alienate fans who value his integrity and humanity.