Over the years, six adventurous teens have taken up the cape and domino mask alongside the Dark Knight: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Damien Wayne, Stephanie Brown, and Carrie Kelly. Today, I'm going to talk about the first four. Let's get this article started with the very first Robin: Dick Grayson.
Dick Grayson (Nightwing)
The first Robin, Richard Grayson first appeared in Detective Comics #38 way back in 1940. Born into a family of acrobats, Dick was adopted by Bruce Wayne after the boy's parents were murdered. Dick soon became Batman's sidekick and fought alongside the Dark Knight for years, before finally branching off on his own as Nightwing.
In many respects, Dick is a copy of Batman. Everything that Bruce learned he taught his ward. Thanks to this tutelage, Grayson is one of the greatest hand-to-hand fighters in the world, as well as a strategist on-par with his mentor. Abin-Sur considered the boy to become the Green Lantern, and Scarecrow has admitted that the Boy Wonder has a will second only to Batman. Nightwing often uses eskrima sticks and his own fighting style which makes him a dangerous opponent for the worst of the worst.
Dick is probably the closest Robin to being Bruce's own son, and it was his heart and courage that often kept Batman sane. And even though he aged, Dick never lost his optomistic attitude. He served as the big brother to all the other Robins and Batgirls, and at several points filled in for Bruce as Batman. That's not to say that he was all heart and no fight. Dick is one of the few to defeat the likes of Deathstroke and Ra's al Ghul.
Jason Todd (Red Hood)
Things are about to get really sad. Son of a petty thief, Jason was picked up by Batman after trying to steal the Batmobile's tires. Bruce began to train Jason to be Robin after Dick left to start the Teen Titans. In an extreme act of reckless stupidity, Jason was captured by the Joker, who proceeded to beat Robin to death with a crowbar. Somehow, Ra's al Ghul revived him with the Lazarus Pits, but being brought back to life only messed up Todd even further. He became the villainous Red Hood and began a killing spree on Gotham's underworld.
Jason possesses all the training of a Robin, but thanks to his connections with the League of Shadows, was able to study combat around the world. Unlike Batman, Todd stuck to more lethal forms of fighting, and this makes him perhaps the most lethal human in the DCCU. According to Supergirl, he also has limited magic ability, such as materializing swords and enhanced speed.
Jason is a villain, though you can't blame him. He was butchered by the Joker, and tortured by the Demon's Head. Even with the awful life he has led, deep down Todd is not an evil man. He wouldn't kill the Joker, and he still wishes to see justice brought to Gotham. Still, he's quite the opponent for both Batman and his wards, as well as the scum of Gotham City.
Tim Drake (Red Robin)
The night that Dick's parents died, Tim saw their act at the circus. Several years later he saw Robin perform a move he had seen that night, and determined that Robin was Grayson. It was not too long before Bruce was determined to be Batman. After Jason 'died', Tim asked Bruce to take him on as a new Robin.
I'm starting to repeat myself, but Tim has all the skills of the other Robins...with one exception. He was able to master a technique called the Leopard Bow, only done by Batman and Lady Shiva. His style is not as flamboyant as Dick's but is more random and smooth than Bruce's. While Dick has the eskrima sticks, Tim has the bo staff, and uses it to devastating effect.
Tim Drake endures. He has survived Knightfall, the Night of Owls, Under the Red Hood, and some of the worst events in the Batman mythos. He has proven himself to be one of the most faithful of Batman's compatriots. He even created a bond with Damian when Bruce was thought to be dead. Something else to note about Tim is his discerning mind, which Bruce admitted was probably sharper than his own. This makes Tim, not the Batman, the greatest detective in the world.
Damian Wayne (Robin)
Born to Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, Damian was born and raised to defeat Batman forever. In a plan to defeat Bruce, Talia dumps the boy in Gotham. Batman takes the responsibility of raising a child, and trains the grandson of Ra's al Ghul to be Robin.
Not even a teen, Damian still is one of the best fighters to ever wear a cape. His training with the League makes him almost as powerful a combatant as Batman himself. This teaching also gave him incredible impersonation and stealth skills, making him the sneakiest of the Robins. If you bring the New 52 into consideration, then Damian died and was resurrected. This return to life granted him strength equal to Kalibak (the son of Darkseid), and apparently flight. He is a bird, after all.
The young Wayne is often considered a jerk, and that's not inaccurate. He's haughty and vain, thanks to both sides of his family. And though he has killed without just reason, the current Boy Wonder is still one of the greatest Robins ever. In The Night of Owls, he commanded an army with absolute certainty, and even brought down one of the undead Talons.
A lot of people find Robin to be a useless, annoying sidekick. I find this to be uninformed. Batman would not be able to hold onto reality without someone to care for, and someone who could encourage him in return. That's why Batman, against his own words, never works alone. These young men are all fully capable superheroes in their own rights, and one of the few things that keeps the Dark Knight tied to humanity.
Did I miss something awesome about these characters? Do you still think that the Robins are dumb? I know that I left out the two girls, but since Carrie Kelly isn't canon and Stephanie Brown is Batgirl, I'll save them for a sequel to this article. Whatever your opinion is, be sure to let me know in the comments!