First, let me say this so there's no ambiguity: I'm grateful that Steph is back. I like the way she's being brought back: origin polished up a bit, still in keeping with the character we remember and with earnest promises that there are plans for her after Batman Eternal wraps. This is good, I'm glad to see it and very enthused for where its all going next, but...
My God, am I seeing great chemistry between Tim Drake and Harper Row!
It certainly helps that Eternal has taken the New 52 Tim and reverted him to type just a little. Tim is one of those characters to me, we all have them, who is so bound up in how I got into comics that I'm a bit precious about him. Chuck Dixon's Robin wasn't the first series I read but it was the first series I went looking for back issues and collections of, the first time I learned to look for a creator's name. I watched this character grow through Dixon's run, through Young Justice, through Bill Willingham's run (look, we all make mistakes) and then to become a truly spectacular solo act in the Red Robin ongoing.
Then it all got swept away. I'll say this straight: I am not a fan of the new origin Scott Lobdell set down in Teen Titans #0 or the whole attitude of trying to place Tim totally outside the Bat-family. What I like about Eternal's Tim is that he's back in Gotham yet retains the lone wolf vibe he developed coming out of Batman Reborn plus the one aspect of the New 52 version I liked: his focus on looking out for the young people who suffer when the adults fight.
Add to this mix young Harper Row, future Robin-esque Bat-sidekick (according to that Eternal teaser that interrupted Zero Year) who has enforced her help on Tim the way Tim did to Batman back in the day. Okay, that's not such a good description of Tim's new origin but the New 52 is more about cultural memory than a literal chain of events laid down by continuity. That's my theory and it helps to make the New 52 a bit more palatable and comprehensible. She's also as dedicated to her own area of social justice as he is, except her focus is the poor of Gotham rather than the young of the world.
Of course, their mutual arrogance has placed the two of them in conflict almost since the moment they met but Tim has something of a history with stubborn women. Almost exclusively with stubborn women, now I think about it, between Steph, Lynx, Wonder Girl and Tam Fox.
You know, listing it out like that it occurs to me just how celibate Tim's been since Flashpoint. I think the only time he's managed to get any in the last three years was when he got possessed by Trigon and fooled around with Solstice which... ugh, no.
What I'm basically saying is this: we have two alpha-type personalities who are techy, stubborn and arrogant and I really want to see the sparks fly.