DCAU #292: Dagger's Secret

IN THIS ONE... Tattooed Dagger Dixon returns and he knows Robin's secret identity!

CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty.

REVIEW: Dagger Dixon was the star of a previous issue, and a good one at that, where we eavesdropped as he told the story of why he got a Batman tattoo. It's a story that seems to be about obsession and revenge, but turns out to be about humility. It's called "Dagger's Tale" and is available in Batman & Robin Adventures #14.

He's out of prison, and trying to stick to the straight and narrow. Batman and the new Robin cross his path and, whoops, he recognizes Tim Drake, having been friends with his dad. Down on his luck, though he's promised to stay out of trouble, he feels forced to try and extort some money from Tim lest he tell the world his secret. It's not clear that he figures out Bruce Wayne is Batman, but it's entirely possible he does. Tim can't help him under those circumstances, but also doesn't tell Bruce what's happening. Dagger tries to get advice from the Penguin for a fee, but Cobblepot is too greedy and wants to know what information is worth handing out 30% of the blackmail money. Dagger escapes after a severe beating and runs to Wayne Manor where of course Penguin follows him. And bam, we're in a classic secret identity dilemma.

The twist here is that it's Tim who gets them out of this fix, to the end not showing his cards to Bruce. It's Tim who gets Nightwing to intervene so the Dynamic Duo need not change into costume. It's Tim who slips Dagger the "secret" he was hiding from Penguin. And it's Tim who gives Dagger a new lease on life. Bruce is left thinking that Dagger was just sort of stupid after all. There, some readers make take issue. Batman is normally so infallible, right? But this is Tim's story, or rather the story of his impact on Dagger Dixon, and it's only fitting that it ends with the latter getting a Robin tattoo (as per the cover), one that comes with its own life lesson. This turned out to be a nice little diptych about an everyday Gotham City crook.
REREADABILITY: Medium-High - A good use of Tim's criminal past, and a worthy return for a memorable character from the previous series.

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