Choosing your favorite Robin is the nerds version of Sophie’s Choice. It’s nearly impossible. All five main stream Robin’s have extremely strong camps of fans and fan girls, thus the war of Robin’s is constantly being waged across the internet. Even Carrie Kelly from Frank Miller’s seminal The Dark Knight Returns has a strong group of fans, but I won’t focus on her today.
I will discuss all 5 Robin’s and attempt the impossible task of ranking them in some form of order. When thinking about how one would possibly rank a Robin, one has to look at them being Robin, and nothing else. While this eliminates the best part of many of them it’s the only way to ground it in some sense of reality. I will let you all know that this isn’t my list of favorite Robin’s. This is me systematically attempting to analyze the success of each of each of the Robin’s.
5. If we are judging the 5 contestants based on their time as Robin, then Jason Todd obviously had the worst time of it. Jason was created with very little personality in the beginning, just being a mandated replacement for Dick. As the character grew he was given the role of a rough street boy who lost his parents (you may notice a theme). As he grew, he became more and more of a rebel. This ended up in his murder. That is the story of Jason Todd as Robin. Since his resurrection, he has walked a thin line between good and evil, and even now is only ambiguously good. He is easily one of the most fun characters in the Bat universe today, but looking only as his stint as Robin, he was the most ill-fated and least successful of the Robin’s.
I love Stephanie Brown, she is one of the greatest characters to appear in comics. While my love of Steph has led me to many arguments on Twitter resulting in the loss of multiple followers (good riddance), Steph has the shortest history as Robin. Not only that, Stephanie’s brilliance is only really observed when looking at her entire character. If you look at her stint as Robin, it was Stephanie trying to get the approval of the Bat, whom never accepted at her. She stole the Robin costume, and was the only Robin not officially sanctioned by Bat’s. Steph still couldn’t quite catch a break, so she faked her own death in order to allow her to train and to try to get some respect from Batman. Instead she ignited one of the biggest mob wars in Gotham, and made Bat’s a little crazier than usual.
Though my respect for him has grown tremendously now that he’s an adult, Dick Grayson is not the best of Robin’s. Though he is the most successful and positive of the Robin’s (always was) ultimately it was his inability to be Robin that led him to grow up into the character we know and love today. Dick is the original, he always served as the lighter side to Batman’s darkness, and even now in Scott Snyder’s epic Court of Owls plot line, he is still Batman’s biggest source of light. Despite this, as a child Batman’s darkness wore off on Dick. This lead him to make some mistakes on his run in Teen Titans, and ultimately drove him away from his mentor and friend. Yes Dick’s time as Robin is marred by his struggle to keep Batman positive while struggling to remain positive himself. Ultimately Dick failed to hit the mark as Robin, but because of this grew into Batman’s most positive and important of allies.
Though young and inexperience, Damian Wayne has grown into a fan favorite character. Damian falls so high on the list because we haven’t seen the end of his story. We don’t know what will happen to Damian nor what he will be once he is done with his role as Robin. This being said, Damian has given Batman the one real gift that none of the other Robin’s could. The chance for Batman to be a father. While he served as a father for all of them (except Steph, he never gave a shit about her) Damian not only is his biological son, but he actually wants Batman to be a father to him. While being the scariest and most screwed up little boy in comics, he is in a way, more human than any of the other Robins. At the end of the day, he’s a kid who wants a father to love and respect him.
Because you totally didn’t use logic to know who topped the list, I’ll still bold it. Tim Drake proved that Robin was necessary not only to Batman, but to readers. Tim is the only one of the Robin’s to have a Robin solo title. In fact, he’s had two different solo titles (Robin and Red Robin). This is because he was a powerful character. While he has his own brand of problems, has none of the problems that the other Robin’s has. He is positive and serious at the same time, being all the good that Dick offered Batman while not becoming angsty and self-destructive. He always sought to prove himself, and was able too without faking his own death. Tim is often most successful rebelling and acting on his own, this resulted in awesome story telling. Not death. Tim’s only real problem is that he loved Batman like a father. A type of love that Batman could never really provide for him. If you think of it, it’s probably the saddest twist in all of the Robin’s characters. Despite this Tim still became one of the DCU’s greatest heroes, and Batman’s ultimate supporter.
So did I piss anyone off? Let me know!