It’s almost an automatic response for everyone. Say “Batman and ….” out loud, and the immediate response will always be Robin. The Boy Wonder. The unfortunate circus boy who witnessed the death of his parents, and later trained by Batman to be his sidekick.
But are you aware that Dick Grayson, the aforementioned circus boy, is no longer prancing around as Batman’s colorful decoy for bullets? That’s right. It’s time to leave the 1980s. Since he left the role of Robin, there has been at least 3 other individuals who’ve donned the iconic green pixie boots.
Here’s a short bio for all the notable people who’ve donned the mantle of Robin.
Richard “Dick” Grayson
The original Robin. Arguably the Robin that most people are familiar with. A gifted young acrobat in Haley’s Circus, Dick and his parents, also talented acrobats, formed the Flying Graysons. His life was forever altered after his parent’s untimely deaths. He was taken in by Bruce Wayne as his ward and soon became The Dark Knight’s sidekick.
During his teenage years, he had a falling out of sorts with Bruce due to a number of issues. Forced to quit as Robin, Dick decided to continue his crime fighting career as Nightwing (props to Superman for giving him the idea). Eventually Dick and Bruce would mend their relationship. Dick even stepped in as Batman when Bruce was seemingly “killed” during the Final Crisis story arc.
The second Robin. Jason grew up in the mean streets of Gotham surviving on his own. He first encountered Batman when he was caught stealing the tires from the Batmobile. Admiring his spunk, and still reeling from the absence of Dick, Batman took Jason in and trained him as his new partner.
Jason did well for a time until his rage started causing problems, beating criminals with more force than was necessary. He was killed by the Joker during the Death in the Family story arc and was resurrected by a convoluted plot twist that I won’t go into details here. Jason eventually made his way back to Gotham assuming the persona of “Red Hood”, an old alias of the Joker, and resumed his vigilante activities as an anti-hero who doesn’t lose sleep killing criminals.
Timothy “Tim” Drake-Wayne
Tim got the job as the third Robin after figuring out Batman and Robin’s secret identities on his own, a feat only a handful of individuals have been able to achieve. During the events after Jason’s death, Batman was on a downward spiral and started to become a danger to himself. Tim sought him out and tried to convince him that Batman needed a Robin as his balance. Seeing the truth in Tim’s argument, Batman relented and began training him.
Like his mentor, Tim was a meticulous planner. His innate detective skills was so outstanding that Bruce surmised Tim would surpass him once he became an adult. When Tim’s father died unexpectedly, Bruce formally adopted him as his son. Tim assumed the moniker of Red Robin shortly after Bruce’s own “death”, when Dick, taking on the role of Batman, chose Damian Wayne (see below) as the new Robin. Surprised by the decision, Tim refused to hear Dick’s explanation that he sees Tim as his equal and not his protege, which was a typical position played by a Robin. Another issue that drove a wedge between them is the matter of Bruce’s death, which Tim refused to believe as true. With no obligations to tie him to Gotham, Tim searched around the world for clues to Bruce’s whereabouts under his new alias.
And finally, the current Robin. Damian is the supposed son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al-Ghul, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul. Grown from an artificial womb, Damian was trained by the League of Assassins to be an exceptional fighter. His existence, a secret kept by his mother, was revealed to Bruce during Damian’s preteen years. Rejecting his violent upbringing, Damian chose to join his father’s crusade against crime instead of following his mother’s path.
Headstrong, arrogant and prone to using his arsenal of lethal weapons, Dick chose Damian as the new Robin shortly after assuming the mantle of Batman. Dick was worried that Damian would wreck havoc on Gotham if left on his own, and would most likely end up like Jason without the proper guidance. Fortunately, under Dick’s tutelage, Damian began to curb his innate killer instincts, and even started to show signs of empathy and a conscience. When Bruce finally returned and resumed his Batman identity, Damian continued his role as Robin.
So if there’s only one thing you take from this article, remember that there’s been at least 4 guys who’ve donned the colorful tights of Robin. And for those who are about to spam the comment box complaining how I missed the other less known individuals, stick around since I plan on devoting an entire article about the girls.
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