Here in the Comic Box, we have been focusing primarily on exploring the history and storylines of Marvel characters. I personally have always been a fan of both companies, but when we are talking about confusing histories, DC characters win out over Marvel every time. We weren't quite sure where to start with DC until the recent events of Batman, Inc. #8 focused the world's attention on a key character who plays a huge part of the DCU's history, and the decision was pretty much made for us.
This week we start our look at the Rotating Roster of Robins, or the Bruce Wayne Home for the Endangerment of Boys and Girls. This fact has never been clearer as of recent events, but despite the sheer amount of children Bats has put in danger over the years, nothing will change how the fans feel about the decades long career of the greatest sidekick in comics.
Here’s what we pulled out of the Comic Box:
Origin: Born and raised in the circus along with his famous acrobat parents, Dick and the Flying Graysons arrived in Gotham for an extended performance of their world famous high flying trapeze act. C.C. Haly, owner of the circus, was approached by a couple of gangsters working for mob boss Tony Zucco, and offered protection for a cut of the profits. When Haly refused, Zucco and his team sabotaged the trapeze act which resulted in the deaths of both John and Mary Grayson as their son watched in horror. Witnessing the deaths from the audience, Bruce Wayne decided to take the grieving child in, feeling sympathy for the boy’s situation, that was so similar to his own. Eventually Dick would find out that Bruce was the Batman, and join his side as the brightly colored Robin.
Dick hung out in the role of Robin longer than anybody on the list, but there is only so long you can go wearing pixie boots before other heroes start making fun of you. he abandoned the role when he struck out on his own away from Batman, and soon became Nightwing, who traded the pixie boots in for a groovy ’70s collar with a before its time v-neck. Dick was never really a solo star, as he became a fixture of the Teen Titans for the next few years, but eventually he landed on his own in Bludhaven where he defended his own city much like the Batman did with Gotham. Dick eventually took over the big boy clothes as he replaced Burce Wayne as Batman for a short time, finalizing his growth from sidekick to hero.
Trial by Fire: His first big encounter with Two-Face, who had led the dynamic duo into a trap. Two-Face had rigged up both Batman and Judge Wilkins in a hangman’s noose, leaving Robin to choose who would be saved and who would be taking the long drop. He choose to save Wilkins, leaving Batman to save himself while Dick received a pretty thorough beating at the hands of Two-Face. This event almost led to Dick losing the role of Robin, but he kept the cape and created a legacy that would live on for years.
Current Role in the New 52: Nightwing. After Bruce returned Dick handed over the mantle of the bat and slid back into his role as Nightwing. Staying in Gotham City, Dick became an even more dedicated member of the Bat family. While he no longer has his connection to the Titans, his relationship with the Robins is closer than ever and a defining characteristic of his post-Flashpoint identity.
What He Wants To Be When he Grows Up: Batman… just not any time soon.
Origin: Jason Todd was an orphan and a street kid, whose mother had overdosed and father died as a result of his life of crime. Todd was caught stealing the tires off of the Batmobile, which was apparently the right kind of audition for the role of Robin. Todd eventually helped Batman take down a group of street toughs, which further encouraged Wayne that Todd just may be right for the role Grayson had recently grown out of. After around 6 months of training, Todd was allowed to wear the uniform and fight alongside Batman, which eventually turned out to be kind of a bad idea.
While his time as Robin was short, he does have a few milestones and funny moments in his career. For instance, Todd was originally a redhead, and Bruce insisted he dye his hair to match the previous Robin, Dick Grayson. And in his first appearances he was known as Jay, but after the Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted the DC history, he became known as Jason. In his adulthood he adopted the role of Red Hood, and fluctuated between villain and hero for a while.
Trial by Fire: Getting beaten to death by the Joker. Not really his best moment, but it defined his role as Robin for years to come, leaving a dark stain on the history of the Robins. His costume was retired and displayed in the Batcave as a constant reminder of the war Batman fought and the consequences that came with it. Jason`s death is monumental for a number of reasons, mainly the fact that the fans had to call a number and vote on the final fate of the new Robin. When the final count was in Jason Todd had been voted off the island, and thousands of fans became murderers with just one phone call.
Current Role in the New 52: Red Hood. Eventually Jason would come back to life as a result of lazy retconning and would adopt the first identity of the man who killed him. Becoming the Red Hood, he initially sought revenge on Joker and Batman both, even becoming a villain facing off against Dick Grayson (as Batman) and another Robin on the list that we will talk about later. He has traveled a long road back to the side of good, although he still has a streak of nastiness to him that sets him apart from the other Robins. He is currently filling the old role Grayson had among his own group of Titans, now known as the Outlaws.
What He Wants To Be When He Grows Up: Not Robin. Never again.
After the death of Jason Todd, Batman flew solo for a while. He firmly believed at that time that his mission was too dangerous to allow children in on the fight, and entered a new dark phase that was soon noticed by a keen youth who had been keeping tabs on Batman and Robin for years. That young boy was named Tim Drake, and we will talk a bit more about him next week.