Dark and grim Tim!Robin may have been inevitable
Poor Timmy never had much of a chance.
I meant to put this up a while back. In the final issues of Robin, we saw Tim acknowledging to himself that if he wanted to fight crime the way that's needed, or the way that Batman did, he will have to become obsessive and closed-off. And that's pretty much what he always used to swear he didn't want to do, and that he didn't want to be like Batman.
Now, these pages are from Detective Comics #621, which finishes up the story with Obeah Man, who kills Janet Drake and leaves Jack Drake paralyzed. This is right at the end of that story, where Tim and Bruce are at the hospital. Bruce asks the doctor if there's any chance of Jack getting better, but the doctor says there's too much nerve damage, so it's unlikely.
(Bat-hugs can be traumatizing.)
While I would like to see Tim happy again at some point, after looking at these pages again, I have to give Fabian Nicieza credit for connecting the last issue of Robin with this story. Not only did he have Tim facing and taking down Obeah Man, but he wrote Tim be consciously aware of choosing to take on the same darker personality traits that Bruce did.
Looking at these pages, it was clearly something that both Tim and Bruce were aware of right from the beginning, that Tim was susceptible to becoming the kind of darker, closed-off, cold and calculating kind of person that Batman sometimes chooses to be. (I say "sometimes", because obviously Batman is not consistently cold and calculating, but in some ways the Batman that Tim has known, perhaps that was more often his default state.)
Mind you, perhaps the problem is Tim choosing to be like Batman in the first place, rather than how he chose it. However, if that choice was editorially mandated, then I'm glad it was written in a way that is believable for the character. Tim may be dark and grim (if not gritty), but at least he admits it to himself.
I can't tell if I'm making sense now, so judge for yourselves.
Oh, and there's some more Red Robin art over at The Source now, including a final coloured version of the cover for the second issue.