PART 2 ROBIN: Who Was Meant to Wear the Red, Yellow & Green?

In this excerpt from the second and final installment of his look at the different Robins who have teamed up with Batman, writer Vic Frederick focuses on the evolution of Jason Todd and Tim Drake, and the introduction of Damian Wayne.

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By EdGross - 2/16/2013
For Part One of this article, please click HERE.

Looking at each Robin’s career, it’s interesting to consider how they work as a “family,” since by law they are indeed brothers. The eldest son didn’t want to live in his father’s shadow his whole life and moved out in a fit of defiance. The middle child was reckless and desperate to be unique from his big brother, which led to his ultimate failure. The youngest is set apart from the other two enough to learn from their mistakes and succeed where the others failed. This is not unlike a typical household, but which is was the “best” Robin? At first glance, it may seem obvious, but the analogy becomes even more interesting when considering their careers after losing the golden “R.”

Jason Todd was killed, but did have a post-mortem career. Through a series of events that has been retold a few times in DC canon, Jason was resurrected. A common story is that Talia al Ghul and her father Ra’s used the mystical Lazarus Pit to restore his body to life. After reentering the world, Jason learned that Batman had not only failed to avenge his death (by killing the Joker), but has replaced him with a new young ward. Torn up inside by grief and anger, Jason receives even more training in the arts of marksmanship, combat, and assassination, and decides that Batman is not the hero Jason once believed him to be. Jason sets out to become Gotham’s true reckoning as The Red Hood.

Robin Part 2 1

Jason failed his mission and became somewhat of a lost soul in the DC Universe, while Nightwing was a huge success in his newfound home Blüdhaven as was Tim as Robin. In a short matter of time, this all changed. A terrible villain, Deathstroke, instigated a terroristic attack on Blüdhaven that led to its complete annihilation, leaving a devastated Nightwing without a city to protect and nowhere to go but back home. Then, after the cataclysmic events of Final Crisis, the unimaginable happened: Batman was killed in action. With the Caped Crusader gone, Gotham City was left to whatever heroes remained loyal to the Bat Family. There was no shortage, but it wasn’t long before the Wayne sons had to make a drastic adjustment.

Robin Part 2 2

In the events of Battle for the Cowl, Jason Todd took this opportunity to do what he always wanted to do: take Batman’s place. Dick was advised by Batman never to take up the cape and cowl after his eventual death, making this possible for Jason. Dick and Tim fought this new, brutal, and deadly Batman as Nightwing and Robin, but Tim saw a need for change. He insisted that one of them take up the mantle and that Dick should be the one to do it. In the end, Jason was defeated by Nightwing, who then realized that if he didn’t take up the mantle, people like Jason would. The shocking detail of this outcome, however, was who he chose to be his Robin.

The Spawn of Satan

Robin Part 2 3

In the not-so-distant past leading up to this time in Batman’s history, a new character entered Wayne Manor. Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul had a child, but Talia kept this from Bruce until the boy was ten years old. Raised as a master assassin by the League of Shadows, the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul, Damian Wayne, came into the life of Bruce and his sons. Wanting to become like his father someday, Damian is anxious to learn about this Bat Family, but the family learns in a short time how much guidance this boy will need. He was raised by killers and therefore believed that killing was the best solution to wrongdoing - obviously a huge problem, as any Batman fan knows. So, he was put on the bench until he learned the right path and could perhaps one day follow in his father’s footsteps.
Once Bruce was gone, Damian became a responsibility that fell upon the shoulders of the oldest son, Dick Grayson. If Bruce wouldn’t be there to teach him the ways of truth and justice, Dick would have to do so himself. In order to do this, Dick saw the most proper solution to be a bestowal of the red, green, and yellow. As much of a chore as he knew it would be, Dick decided to take on the responsibility of raising Damian and showing him how to follow in their father’s footsteps. Dick Grayson was Batman now, and Damian Wayne was Robin. Thus the fourth official Robin came into being.

Robin Part 2 4

In a world where the dynamic duo must go on no matter what, it is fascinating to consider the relationship of these two; the original Robin as Batman and Batman’s son as Robin. The result was a witty, upbeat, and graceful Batman working with a dark, brooding, and brutal Robin. The reversal sounds uncomfortable, but worked in a big way, to the surprise of not only the fans, but the whole universe of characters. Even those who were skeptical toward this new team would soon look up to see them tumbling through the air and feel foolish for doubting them. They impressed almost everyone with their presence and efficiency.

One character still saw this as bastardization, however. Tim Drake never did anything to deserve being fired. He was Batman’s most loyal soldier; his closest ally. He wouldn’t even accept the fact that Batman was dead and insisted that his allies continue to investigate, which only led to him being cast out and thought to be crazy. His ties to his family were severed after seeing his beloved colors worn by the “demon child” of the League of Shadows. He went off on his own and became his own vigilante, although it was the last thing on Earth he wanted to do. He didn’t even bother to name himself. The common name that people came to use for him was Red Robin.

For the rest of this article, please click HERE.
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16 Comments
Superior - 2/16/2013, 9:14 AM
So this is basically an overview of the origins and character of each Robin, it's a great read.
thorhulk77 - 2/16/2013, 9:14 AM
Tim is the best, but Im starting to like Damian now,
WakeMan - 2/16/2013, 9:31 AM
I've always despised the character Robin. I think it is such an unnatural character to be in Batman's life. You mean to tell me a dark brooding loner wants to hang about with a teenager? Lame. Robin only exists because of DC Comics need to make young kids think Batman is more accessible.
Robin, go away.
EdGross - 2/16/2013, 9:49 AM
Thanks, IM53, but all credit for it has to go to writer Vic Frederick. I'm only the messenger in this case.
Super12 - 2/16/2013, 9:56 AM
These are fantastic articles. Finally something on main that's a good long read and explores characters in depth! Keep em coming
Cyclops84 - 2/16/2013, 10:29 AM
Anyone who thinks Robin is an unnatural character and doesn't get why Batman NEEDS Robin should read a book titled "Batman and Psychology" by Travis Langley. It's a really good book that examines all of the heavy hitters in the Batman mythos in a psychological context. It shows why a lot of the things that happen in the comics happen (such as why Batman has Robin).
shadearts - 2/16/2013, 10:57 AM
Good read I needed to catch up if you don't understand why Robin is essential to Batman or why batman would take a teenager as his sidekick then you don't truly understand the Character Batman meaning its about a person who has lost his family in tragic way and has devoted his life to insure it doesn't happen to someone else and when it does happen he takes up the mentorship so these children don't become exactly like him but better cause he nows he can't be the Batman forever and the Robins keep him from stepping to far into his darkside ...Batman and the Robin are been family b
storyteller - 2/16/2013, 11:21 AM
The article looks at what happened to Tim from Tim's perspective. In reality Dick and Bruce saw the truth. Tim Drake had outgrown Robin. He did what Dick Grayson did and no longer needed Batman there to hold him hand. Tim was the one who chose to get up and go on his loner crusade. He didn't understand that he was a graduate who was angry eh wasn't still in HS.

The new52
Bludhaven hasn't been destroyed, Dick never went there in the first place. Bruce I think realized that he needed to be with his son. Now more then ever Damien was in danger not from just himself but from his mother. Also they have made it clear that the relationship began rocky.

Now Tim Drake is a damn conundrum. They dismantled his character(I think they destroyed him). Again he hasn't been cast out. He has chosen to go solo. he could have stayed at Batmans side or hung out with Dick.

Whatever happened to Jason transferred to Tim because Tim is an embarrassing shell.
musashi - 2/16/2013, 11:34 AM
Why doesn't batman just have two robins? Or a flock of robins? Lol Seems more efficient.
TheFox - 2/16/2013, 1:33 PM
Well, those were two big, long articles that didn't have a point...

Seriously, what was the thesis of this? "There are Robins"? He goes over the Robins' origins and their familial relationships with each other and Batman, but he doesn't actually SAY anything conclusive about Robin or why he's important-- he just regurgitates history and outlines basic character relationships.

Why was this written? Why did I need to read this? What was the point?!?

Wait... Vick Fredrick... isn't this the same guy who wrote those absurd "did Chris Nolan get it right" articles?

Well, I guess that explains it, then.

Z

(Also, I'm pretty pissed off with what they've done to Tim Drake. He was the perfect Robin: an everyman character that the audience could instantly relate to, yet one with enough personality [and a sense of humor] to keep us engaged. Robin, after all, is SUPPOSED to be an audience identification character, right? So replacing him with that little brat Damian just made the character of Robin infinitely more inaccessible, defeating the entire PURPOSE of Robin, and left Tim Drake in an awkward limbo of uselessness-- the same one Kyle Rayner's been stuck in since Hal Jordan came back. It's a damn shame, I tell ya...)
MagnusRex22 - 2/16/2013, 3:38 PM
Besides the last paragraph, the first two installations of whatever this article is supposed to be have just been a summary of the robins wikipedia pages. Is this supposed to be making a point? Everyone knows Tim Drake has been screwed over in favor of Damian. Damian is cool but he was Robin for longer than anyone besides Dick, and in my opinion the best Robin.
chris043 - 2/16/2013, 5:47 PM
@The Fox- you are 100% correctomundo.
arashini - 2/16/2013, 7:53 PM
@WakeMan

you don't sound like a batman fan... you sound like someone who's familiarity with the character is kinda-sorta-but-not-really. i.e, surface level.

Batman isn't just "a dark brooding loner", there's a lot more beneath the surface. And it is beneath that surface that you will find the ultimate purpose of Robin.



And no don't give me the bullshit about "well, he was created with the intentions of making accessible a dark character like Batman". That was 1940. This is 2013. A lot has happened in between.
xNightwingBeyondx - 2/17/2013, 9:22 AM
Dick Grayson all the way
SentinelofLiberty - 2/17/2013, 8:05 PM
@the Fox....the point of the article is to determine who is the best Robin. While maybe handled a touch clumsily, the "point," ironically enough, is basically exactly the same as your parenthetical.
TheFox - 2/18/2013, 7:23 PM
@SentinelofLiberty: No, that isn't the point, because the author NEVER REACHES A CONCLUSION ON THE SUBJECT. He starts off in that general direction, but the concluding paragraphs meander off in the direction of justifying Robin's existence instead, and the author never comes to a clear point regarding ANY of the Robins. As MagnusRex22 pointed out, all the author seems to have done was summarize the contents of their Wikipedia pages.

The title asks, "who was meant to [be Robin]?", but the article never actually comes anywhere NEAR that question. He doesn't tell us who was meant to be Robin, he just tells us who has been. Basically, this reads like the stream-of-consciousness ramblings of someone who REALLY LIKES Robin, but has nothing particularly interesting to say about him.

Z

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