Elsewhere in the Bat-universe, Bryan Q. Miller chronicles the adventures of the new Batgirl in Batgirl Rising -- the word "rising" indicating the newest rebirth of the character. Red Robin: Collision goes about it a bit more subtly, but indeed by the end of the book this is essentially "Tim Drake: Rebirth." Chris Yost's second Red Robin volume is even stronger than the first, and it's been a long time since the Tim Drake was this compelling.[Contains spoilers]
By the end of Collision, Red Robin has saved the life of almost every single member of the Bat-family, and also held his own in hand-to-hand combat with Ra's al Ghul. Maybe a tad far-fetched for Batman purists, but Yost's point comes through -- Tim Drake has arrived. There is an especially effective final sequence in which Tim reveals his understanding of Ra's master plan and also how Tim has been combatting that plan almost from Red Robin's first issue; Yost rightly remembers that Tim's greatest strength has always been as a sleuth, and Ra's naming Tim "Detective" -- formerly Ra's name for Batman -- is one of the best endorsements Tim could get.
Ra's subsequently kicks Tim through a skyscraper window, and Tim is rescued by Batman Dick Grayson, lest any of us forget the pecking order. But the story's second biggest "arrival" moment is a rooftop meeting between Dick and Tim where Tim acknowledges Dick as Batman, and Dick -- rather than demanding that Tim explain his scheme against Ra's -- trusts Red Robin's orders on faith. Dick's progression to the Batman role was natural, but Tim has had to essentially promote himself, and Dick's deference in essence makes that promotion official.
Another character getting her due comeuppance in this book is the aforementioned Batgirl. In a crossover penned mostly by Yost with an issue by Miller, Tim encounters new-Batgirl Stephanie Brown after the umpteenth time he's told her to quite the superhero game -- and finds himself impressed. In a great melainge of teen superhero tropes, Tim and Stephanie fight, team-up, and then have to attend a formal party together undercover. Anyone who smacked their forehead the last three times Tim self-righteously lectured Stephanie will enjoy the moments she renders Tim speechless with her upgraded martial arts prowess; hopefully the fact that both Dick and Tim now accept Stephanie will be enough for Bruce Wayne to do the same when he returns.
Yost leaves the relationship between Batgirl and Red Robin romantic but unresolved, which is about where this should be -- similar, in essence, to that between Batman Bruce Wayne and Catwoman. Trying to continue a relationship between two characters in separate titles would only end in disaster (this means you, Green Arrow and Black Canary), but similarly a platonic relationship between the former Robin and Spoiler would be a great disappointment to long-time fans. Yost puts his encyclopedic knowledge of Tim Drake to good use here, especially, as he references the first time Tim and Stephanie met and she hit him with a brick (and also in shout-outs to the first Robin miniseries and other bits of trivia).
Tim gets a slightly modified Red Robin costume at the end of the book, and it's the culmination of a gradual shift by artist Marcus To toward youthening Tim's look over the course of the book. Ramon Bachs did a nice job in Red Robin: The Grail, but his Red Robin was rather boxy and angular; To softens the lines especially around Red Robin's head to make the hero look thinner and younger. It's a look that's exponentially better, far more the kind of costume that would look right amidst the Teen Titans as well as the Bat-family. Writer Chris Yost leaves after this volume, but I'm glad to see Marcus To sticking around for a while.
[Contains full covers, printed on glossy paper]