DC’s Caped Crusader, Gotham City’s Dark Knight. Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman is arguably one the most loved, idolized and debated among the heroes of the DC Universe. Both his movies and comics have sold millions worldwide and ranked among the best! Even his video games carried a lot of critical acclaims (Especially the Arkham series.)
But guess what?
What doesn’t get enough recognition is the existence of his trusty sidekick, Robin. Don’t get me wrong, I, along with many DC fans LOVE Robin, especially when so many can relate to him when he first appeared in the comics (Which is exactly the reason Robin is there.)
It could very well be the addition of Robin to the mix that helped multiply Batman’s popularity. When the concept of a young sidekick was introduced to the mix of the adult billionaire fighting crime, sales rocketed sky high. It wasn’t just Batman anymore, it was DC’s Batman and Robin.
The Dynamic Duo. Ah, my years of growing up watching weekend morning cartoons on television.
Robin was always an interesting character for me, and I’m sure he also sparked interest for many. Even the younger generation knows him now, but sadly, he is made only a shadow of his mentor – most notably his exclusion as a key character in many of Batman’s newest films, specifically Christopher Nolan’s adaptations.
Robin reference in Batman v Superman
There are only very few hints of him present, even in Batman v Superman, and we don’t see any sign of him being in the coming film, Justice League. He does have his fair share of animated films, and the animated series Teen Titans feature him as their leader. (Teen Titans do him justice, Teen Titans Go on the other hand, ugh.)
With that being said, because I thought Robin deserved so much more than just being in Batman’s shadow, so as a fan, I wanted to learn more (and know how many Robins are there)- from there I’ve actually discovered that what I knew about him was just the tip of the iceberg. And that DC actually had five (yes, FIVE) Robins each with their own backstories and character development.
Now, I know DC has its wide multiverse, and to be clear – the info I have will be from a combination of the comics, series, animated movies, and games that all feature Robin in DC’s “Prime Earth,” The new 52 versions are not that far away either to the original backstories, too.
Here’s my answer to how many Robins are there – officially, five. And these are:
1 The Boy Wonder / Nightwing: Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson was the very first Robin. His role is iconic and led to the creation one of the most famous crime-fighting duos of all time; Batman and Robin. He's the Robin whose backstory almost everyone knows, and whose growth and development led him to serve as a role model to the other Robins that followed.
Dick Grayson was the only son of a family of acrobats, the Flying Graysons. On a tragic performance where Bruce Wayne was part of the audience, a mafia murdered Dick's parents through sabotaging the wires of their trapeze. Both his parents fell to their deaths. Bruce then takes Dick under his wing, trained him and eventually had him fighting crime by his side as Robin, the boy wonder.
His costume was the titular red and green themed garb with a yellow cape. Fashioned much like an acrobat's costume, he wore a red top with green sleeves and green shorts. His shoes were a nod to Robin Hood and Peter Pan, and as Batman wore what symbolized a bat, Robin's costume was indeed based off of a red-breasted American robin.
Dick is armed with a utility belt that has almost the same tech that Batman has, like a grappling hook and boomerangs - but instead of the famous "Batarang", he has his own uniquely shaped boomerang matching his red theme. His weapon of choice is a metal bo staff, which later transitioned into escrima sticks when he adopted the role of Nightwing.
He has amazing acrobatic skills, rivaling and sometimes surpassing those of Batman. An expert in martial arts, Dick usually favors hand to hand combat over using weapons.
After a while fighting crime with Bruce, who then later had the Justice League, Dick decided to lead a team of his own peers to fight crime, the Teen Titans, where he took the role as leader. Later on, he changed his image from Robin to Nightwing.
In the comics, there was a time that Dick Grayson took the role of Batman in the absence of Bruce Wayne.
2 The Red Hood: Jason Todd
Jason Todd was the second Robin. What made Jason popular was his controversial death in the hands of the Joker. Jason resembled a Robin that was rebellious, untamed, and immature despite having the talent and training. He was actually killed off in the comics after a poll was conducted whether or not to kill off his character - who because of his nature proved to be hated by many fans.
Jason Todd was an orphan child who Bruce Wayne met as Batman trying to steal the rims of the Batmobile while it was in Crime Alley (Where Bruce's parents were killed) Batman put Jason in a school for troubled youth, as he was labeled a delinquent. But actually led Jason into Ma Gunn's School for Crime. After helping Batman catch a gang of thieves, he is taken under Batman's guidance and trained for six months, when he finally fought in the guise of the second Robin.
His costume is actually the same original outfit worn by the first Robin, Dick Grayson.
He carries around much the same equipment and gadgets Batman also has, similar to the first Robin.
Batman admitted that Jason was not Dick Grayson. He lacked the acrobatics that Grayson mastered in his youth. However, because of his training, Jason was exceptionally well in martial arts and had powerful near-lethal blows when fighting hand to hand. He also is a master tactician and carries out planned attacks, sometimes on his own and against Batman's orders.
As Red Hood, he is an expert marksman and uses all kinds of firearms (in contrast with Batman's principles) and explosives.
Jason Todd was killed by Joker and later resurrected using the Lazarus Pit. (Because, convenience) He then dons the costume of Red Hood, a crime fighter whose principles sometimes directly contradicts Batman's,
Jason Todd smokes, and swears a lot, too. He and Batman argue a lot. The way his character was written and portrayed was hated by a good number of fans.
3 The Red Robin: Tim Drake
Tim Drake is the third Robin. And what makes him stand out over the others is the noticeable change in the original Robin costume. Most of what he achieved was self-taught, and he actually discovered Batman and Robin's identities through his innate detective skills alone.
Tim Drake's parents were rich. Like Bruce Wayne, they were well off, and Tim had a natural talent in deduction and detective work. Tim Drake knew the Grayson family, especially Dick Grayson, the first Robin. Through his skills, he discovered Batman and Robin's identities when he was just nine years old. (He noticed Robin perform a move that only Dick Grayson could perform) He trained overseas and honed both his mental and physical self.
After the death of Jason Todd, a devastated Batman refused to take a new Robin, and at the same time became violently reckless. It took Tim Drake, now thirteen years of age, to put Batman back to his senses. He then inherited the title of the third Robin.
Tim's new Robin costume carries the same red and green theme as the previous Robin's. However, he now wears green tights instead of shorts, and his cape is jet black like Batman's on the outside but still yellow on the inside.
Tim Drake carries around gadgets that are modified to suit him much like Batman's gadgets in his utility belt. He also uses a boomerang shaped like a red robin. His weapon of choice is a metal Bo staff, which he always carries around with him which he can retract to store in his belt.
He is a naturally gifted detective and is deemed smarter in terms of solving crimes and unexplained occurrences than the other Robins. He also trained well in martial arts, making him reach peak mental and physical form at an early age.
When Batman was presumed dead and Dick Grayson took his place, Tim Drake was removed from his role as Robin. Refusing to believe Batman was dead, he donned a new identity as the Red Robin, setting out on his own and eventually finding out the mystery behind what happened to Batman.
In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Tim transformed into a new Joker after being exposed to the Joker's formula.
4 The first female Robin / Batgirl: Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown served as Batman's fourth Robin. It was a new phase and somewhat unexpected change to see the fourth Robin be a woman this time. Even when her time as Robin was short, the story took an interesting flow that was deemed controversial and had mixed reviews from fans.
Tim Drake, the third Robin had a relationship with Stephanie Brown. When Tim's father discovered his alter-ego, he demanded that Tim Drake quit fighting crime as Robin and live a normal life. Stephanie attempted to cheer Tim up and lift his spirits, but a misunderstanding led her to believe that she was being cheated on, and after breaking up with him, she decided to become the next Robin. She demanded Batman to train her, to which the latter did after some hesitation. A few months later she then fought crime with Batman as the fourth Robin.
Stephanie Brown's costume was made to resemble Tim Drake's, only slightly modified to suit her figure as a girl. It was basically the same thing only with a red skirt.
Stephanie carries a utility belt equipped with tracking devices and grappling hooks. She also has some of the same gadgets Batman has, like smoke bombs and thrown projectiles.
Her forte is her tracking abilities, and she is also an excellent acrobat. Like all the other Robins before her, she also excels in hand to hand combat and martial arts. Though Batman admits that she rushed training and inexperience sometimes pull him down.
During the time that Batman allegedly died, the then Batgirl Cassandra Cain wasn't her normal self and was unable to fight crime with a straight mind. It was at this time that Cassandra gave Stephanie her costume and the latter continued to fight crime under the cowl of the new Batgirl.
Stephanie's story as Robin was quite short. Her story (The one written with her tragic death) received a lot of controversies. The other woman that served as Robin was Carrie Kelly, but that was after Batman already retired.
5 The Son of Batman: Damian Wayne
Damian Wayne is our fifth Robin. Who better play the role of Batman's sidekick? No other than his own son. Damian. The fans were ecstatic after finding out Bruce Wayne had a son. And his antics and quarrels with the first Robin Dick Grayson are all too good and understandable. An enemy at first, Damian eventually turned to the good side and now fights alongside his father, Batman.
Damian Wayne was grown inside an artificial womb in a laboratory. Bruce Wayne was his father, and Talia al Ghul, his mother. Damian was made out and genetically enhanced, trained and taught how to be the perfect fighter by the League of Assasins. At the age of 10, he went out with his mother to confront Bruce Wayne, Batman. What was supposed to be a spy mission led to Batman discovering his son - who was then left in his care.
Damian was talented and possessed skills outmatching any other fighter, he then decided he wanted to replace Tim Drake (Whom Bruce has adopted) and serve his father as the new Robin. After a brawl with Tim, Damian took Jason Todd's old Robin costume, modified it, and went out on his own to prove his worth, going against his father's will and principles of not killing.
Batman then discovers what Damian did, reluctantly agreeing to have him by his side as they fight Talia al Ghul's plan together.
Damian's costume was Jason Todd's (the second Robin) old costume which he altered to create his new look - an assassin-themed Robin was then created. His cape resembled Tim Drake's cape, only that it now had a hood to cover Damian's head. His tights were now black and covered his arms and feet, and he had green boots and gloves.
Damian has a utility belt that contains high tech gear optimized for stealth and assassination, though he rarely uses these and much rather prefers to only rely on bladed weapons.
Aside from being a martial arts expert and an excellent hand to hand fighter, Damian is also well trained in all kinds of weapons making him both an exceptional armed and unarmed combat specialist. His speed also is the fastest compared to the other Robins, and his strength, though not as strong as Batman's, are still above average considering his enhanced genetics.
Damian quite simply was a genetically enhanced human that was trained to be an assassin, and later retrained to be a crime fighter.
When Batman allegedly died, and Dick Grayson took the cowl of Batman, Damian was chosen to be his Robin. This was the first Robin, fighting alongside the fifth Robin.