A Beginner’s Guide to the Robins of Batman

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Despite that Batman claims to work alone, he arguably has had the most sidekicks/partners in DC comics, with all of the sidekicks constantly changing names and outfits. It can get a little confusing to remember who is who and when they came along (a lot of people don’t even realize there was more than one Robin). So here’s a quick guide to the different Robins of Batman.

This blog will be focusing specifically on the Robins of Batman. I will do another blog on the Batgirls and other sidekicks Batman has had.

These Robins will be in the order that they appeared (Tentatively, timelines can get a little wonky).

Robin #1: Dick Grayson

Dick grew up in a circus as an acrobat until he was about 8 or 9. After his parents were murdered in front of him, Dick was taken in by Bruce Wayne. He quickly figured out Bruce was Batman, and became determined to join Batman as a vigilante. And the first Robin was born!

Dick remained Robin up until he was a teenager, where, after having a falling out with Batman, he was dismissed as Robin. He then went to Bludhaven and became Nightwing. Since then, Dick has alternated between the title of NightWing and occasionally taking on the role of Batman.

Personality: Dick is the most friendly and outgoing of the Robins. His upbeat personality often helped balance out Batman’s darker, brooding nature.

Where to start: If you want to look at where Dick Grayson as Robin first appears, check out the Detective Comics #38. The episode “Robin’s Reckoning” from Batman the Animated Series also does a great job of telling Dick’s origin story.

Robin #2: Jason Todd

During the time that Dick Grayson was at odds with Bruce, Jason came along. Batman found him after he was caught trying to steal the Batmobile’s tires. Batman decided to take him in and train him as the next Robin. His relationship with Batman was tenuous at best.

Jason was eventually captured by the Joker, where he was beaten nearly to death and then killed in an explosion. Sometime later, Ras Al Ghul brought Jason back to life through the Lazarus Pits, which caused him to go temporarily insane. Jason developed a hatred for Batman and the new Robin, and went off on his own. He became Red Hood, a sort of anti-hero, but he helped regulate the criminal underworld.

Personality: Jason is rough around the edges, violent, stubborn, independent, and tends to carry a grudge. He’s got quite the temper, but he’s also loyal and has his soft side.

Where to start: Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357.  Death in the Family is a good story that show’s Jason’s legacy and death. The movie Under the Red Hood also does a great job of showing his transition from Robin to Red Hood.

Robin #3: Tim Drake

While Jason was dead (there’s a weird phrase), Tim Drake came along. Tim saw Dick at the circus, and witnessed Dick’s parents’ murders. Tim figured out Batman was Bruce Wayne early on, even before he was taken in by Bruce.

After his mother was killed and his father fell into a coma, Tim was taken in by Bruce and became the 3rd Robin.  Eventually, Tim joined up with the Teen Titans and became Red Robin.

Personality: Tim is the calmest and the most analytical of the Robins. His tactical genius rivals Bruce’s. He’s also very snarky and sarcastic, often getting exasperated by the other Robins.  

Where to start:  Tim Drake first appears in Batman #436. Another good place to start is the graphic novel This Time of Dying. It gives a good look at Tim’s origin story and at his character.

Robin #4: Stephanie Brown

Stephanie initially showed up as the vigilante Spoiler. She eventually became the 4th Robin after Tim Drake was forced to hang up the cowl, and she ended up dating Tim on and off for a while.

Unfortunately, Stephanie was kicked out as Robin after disobeying Batman’s orders and then took up the mantle of Spoiler again. After causing a city-wide gang war, she was captured, tortured, and nearly killed, where she was then exiled to Africa with Leslie Thompkins to recover. When she returned, she was given the mantle of Batgirl by Cassandra.

Personality: Stephanie is quite mature for her age, due to having to be on her own a lot. She has a bit of a temper on her, and she isn’t afraid of a fight.

Where to start: Stephanie first appears in the three-part story arc in Detective Comics #647-649, which is a good place to start. If you want to start with her time as Batgirl, check out her own series starting with Batgirl #1 (2009).

Robin #5: Damian Wayne

Damian Wayne is Bruce’s biological son, and was raised by his mother Talia Al Ghul to be a trained assassin. After seeking out Bruce, Damian decided to stay with Bruce and work with him. After Bruce “died,” and Dick became  Batman, Damian took up the mantle of Robin. He was eventually killed by a clone of himself, but then was brought back to life.

Personality: Damian is very much like his father in that he’s proud, stubborn, and very smart. He’s also a very capable and deadly fighter. But underneath all of his blustering arrogance is a child that just wants to be heard and accepted.

Where to start: The movie Son of Batman is a good introduction to Damian and shows his first interactions with Batman. Grant Morrison’s story, Batman and Son (2006) would be another great place to start.

Robin: Carrie Kelley

Carrie Kelley appeared as Robin in the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, where Bruce came out of retirement and donned the cape and cowl once again. Carrie saved Batman from being killed by the Mutant Leader and Batman then took her on as Robin. She helped Batman defeat the Joker and fake his death. Later Carrie started going as Catgirl.

Carrie is unique since she doesn’t really appear in continuity of the other Robins. Her main appearances are restricted to the Dark Knight Returns and the Dark Knight Strikes Again, although she has appeared briefly in other versions of Batman.

Personality: Carrie is independent and idealistic, believing that things can change for the better. She’s idolized Batman ever since he saved her from gang members, and she isn’t afraid to go up against some of the worst criminals of Gotham to protect others.

Where to start: Carrie first appears in The Dark Knight Returns, which is a great place to start with her. You can then continue on to The Dark Knight Strikes Again, where she starts going as Catgirl.

The thing to remember is while Batman initially preferred to work alone, he ended up having several team members. These Robins help balance out Batman’s stand-offish personality; whether they complement him, contrast him, or help him become better, they provide an interesting look into his world.