Over the last few weeks we have taken a tour through the life of a sidekick, and what we saw wasn't always pretty.
The Robin legacy is a proud and honored tradition that spans across the decades of Batman history, but it seems to forever be stained with tragedy. This is quite appropriate, considering the legend of the Batman is wrought with the same grief and loss that many of the Robins have to deal with.
The ability to deal with and even move past these moments of tragedy are an endearing trait that is an integral part of the Robin legacy. With each character’s different reaction to their own tragic stories, we see an evolution to the character of Robin that fans either love or hate. Dick Grayson was met with much love and respect, yet Jason Todd was widely disliked and eventually ‘murdered’ by the fans. Each new member of the Robin legacy brings so much depth and variety to the role of Batman’s sidekick that it is no surprise the character has lasted in the DC Universe for over 70 years. This week we will take a look at the last in-continuity Robin, and some of the potential candidates for the recently vacated role.
Comic Box: The Rotating Roster of Robins, Part I
Comic Box: The Rotating Roster of Robins, Part II
Comic Box: The Rotating Roster of Robins, Part III
Here’s what we pulled out of the Comic Box:
Origin: The character of Helena Wayne was created in the ’70s as a part of Earth 2 (an alternate Earth set apart from the mainstream DC Universe but existing simultaneously alongside it) but never took the role of Robin, as Dick Grayson filled that spot for the entirety of his career. Helena was the daughter of Earth 2′s Batman and Catwoman, and eventually took on the costumed identity of the Huntress. After the Crisis on Infinite Earth’s, Helena Wayne was removed from continuity and a new character unrelated to Bruce Wayne was created to replace her. Helena Bertinelli had a different origin and adopted the role of Huntress in the mainstream DCU, and eventually a new Crisis brought the character of Helena Wayne back to Earth 2 for a short time, until Flashpoint and the New 52. Both versions of Helena were erased from continuity, and rebooted along with the New 52 version of Earth 2.
The New 52 version of Helena Wayne is the child of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, more commonly known as the Batman and Catwoman of Earth 2. On this Earth, Helena is born into the life of super-heroics under the tutelage of both her parents, and is trained in the role of Robin early on. She was the first and only person to serve as a Robin on Earth 2, and will more than likely be the last, as both her parents died tragic deaths during her career.
Trial by Fire: Helena’s trial is a tragic moment in her career as Robin. Responding to a rare call for help in the Batcave, Helena finds Batman wounded and crouched over deceased mother, Catwoman. Reacting without thinking, Helena rushes to take down her mother’s killers, soon realizing she is in over her head. Batman, who was too weak to help her, called in Superman to help. While he wasn’t available, Supergirl soon arrived and helped Helena take down her mother’s killers, which sparked a lifelong friendship that continues to define both characters in the New 52. As a result of this moment, Helena first experienced the grief and loss that so often haunts the Robin legacy, and ensured her place among the rest of her family.
Current Role in the New 52: Huntress. During her last moments on Earth 2 as Robin, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman sacrifice themselves to save Earth 2 from Darksied’s forces. During a last ditch effort by Helena and Kara (Supergirl), the two are transported from Earth 2 to the New 52 Earth, where they spend 5 years living on their new adopted world. After ‘borrowing’ some money from Wayne Enterprises, Helena outfits herself and adopts the identity of the Huntress. She continues to work with Kara, now known as Power Girl, as they attempt to find a way back to Earth 2 while dealing with a world so different from their own.
What She Wants To be When She Grows Up: Everything her parents wanted.
This brings us to the end of the characters who have called themselves Robin. While there have been a number of Elseworlds tales and alternate realities that feature a number of variations of the character, none of those takes are as big a part of the Robin legacy as those we have discussed here. Each character has brought unique additions to the role and made it their own while influencing the next iteration in some way. Now that Damian Wayne has died and left the role open, the position is dying (bad choice of words) to be filled. So who will be the next Robin? Considering the biggest rumor that has yet to disappear is the fact that Batman will partner with a female Robin, these are the most likely candidates:
Harper Row: Harper Row first appeared in the New 52 during Scott Snyder’s run on Batman, and she remains the most likely candidate to take over the role. She has helped Batman on numerous occasions, and has played a recurring role in Snyder’s ongoing story. While she might not have the necessary physical skills to take over the role immediately, her role in the Requiem issue of Batman that dealt with the death of Damian dropped more than a few hints that Harper would be the most logical choice.
Ellie: Ellie has been a recurring character from Grant Morrison’s run over the years, and featured quite heavily in the issues dealing with Damian’s death. She was one of the only characters to actually witness the death, and was established to be known by the other members of the Bat family (most notably Tim Drake, who has an eye for future superhero talent). If Morrison was remaining on the title chances are good that Ellie would take over the role of Robin, but as his run is almost over, Ellie probably won’t be sticking around for long.
Stephanie Brown: Fans have been waiting for the return of the one-time Robin since the beginning of the New 52, and this just may be the best time for DC to bring her back. While there hasn’t really been any clues or lead up to establish her return as much as Harper or Ellie, Steph’s return to the yellow and red might be the twist that no one is expecting.
Tim Drake: While this is the least likely possibility, there have always been sore feelings from Tim, who lost his role with the Dynamic Duo when Dick Grayson took over as Batman and promoted Damian Wayne to Robin. Recent developments with Tim seems to point to the fact that he wants his old job back, but as the new frontman for the next generation of meta-powered heroes, not to mention his potentially evil turn in recent issues of Teen Titans, he probably won’t have the time or inclination.
Who do you think the newest Robin will be? Should there even be a new Robin? Drop us a comment below!
Characters and Images: DC Comics