Robin

ROBIN 80TH ANNIVERSARY SPECTACULAR (REVIEW)


Dick Grayson in ” A Little Nudge” by Marv Wolfman, Tom Grummett, Scott Hanna, Adriano Lucas, and Tom Napolitano.

We are starting the 80th-anniversary celebration of Robin off right, with the 1st Robin Dick Grayson. For years the question has been asked why did Dick give up on being Robin, he was one half of the “Dynamic Duo” and Batman’s partner why would he quit? Well, this is the story that puts it all into perspective.

This story is an expanded walkthrough of the end of the mentorship and friendship of Batman and Robin. For so long we’ve lived with the thought that Robin wanted out from Batman’s shadow and that is partially true but we never got the opportunity to see Batman’s point of view in the final moments.

Dick Grayson Robin was always seen as the guy who was keeping Batman from crossing the line, the line that would make him just as bad as the criminals he was warring against. It turns out that Bruce saw the same thing and he couldn’t keep holding his young protege back from his true potential. Unfortunately, Batman isn’t the “pat on the back” type of guy so instead, he makes life difficult for Robin and eventually pushes him to the point of quitting the mantle of Robin and moving on.

On the surface, this is a story of a man who lacks emotion and the ability to have a 2-way conversation but beneath the surface, it turns out this is a beautiful story about a mentor who sees a bigger and brighter future for his adoptive son and pushes him out of the house to fulfill his destiny.

The Artwork in this particular story made it feel very 1980’s which is on par for the character arc. This issue really captures the essence of the Robin Mantle, Robin really is meant to counterbalance the dark and broodiness of Batman and that was felt in this issue in both the story and the Artwork. – MIGUEL

Dick Grayson, Nightwing in “Aftershocks” by Chuck Dixon, Scott McDaniel, Rob Hunter, Protobunker and Carlos M. Mangul

Robin’s 80th Anniversary isn’t about the Robin Mantle as much as it is about the people who’ve worn that Mantle and here we have Dick Grayson as Nightwing showing what he does best acrobatics and positivity. Those qualities are his superpowers, his ability to be positive in a crappy situation.

In this story Gotham has been ravaged by an earthquake… a 9.2 earthquake which is basically the mac daddy of quakes, everyone is freaking out and scared but in true form Nightwing fights that fear off with jokes and quips. No matter the difficulty of the situation Dick has learned to look at the good instead of focusing on the negative and in doing so inspires others to do the same while helping others. In the end, Nightwing defeats the bad guys with guns but the real story is in a cab where a Gotham City paramedic risked her life to deliver a baby aptly named Robin after the caped crusader.

Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel did a really great job of portraying Nightwing and how he would seemingly react in a crisis situation, he takes the bad guys down quick and still has time to help name a baby. Definitely a great illustration of the Dick Grayson Nightwing Character. – MIGUEL

Nightwing and the Titans in “Team Building” by Devin Grayson, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Hi-Fi, and Troy Peteri.

This story was written by Devin Grayson, no relation lol… yea I had to… This story brilliantly showcases the strategic mind of Dick Grayson as the leader of the Titans. The Titans team is going up against H.I.V.E. (Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination) a villain group working for Damien Dahrk. Early on in this story you see the teamwork exhibited by the Titans and in comparison to HIVE the Titans look like the 96 Bulls…. (I miss sports right now guys…. give me this one reference lol) anyway the Titans look like a well-oiled machine.

Team building… sounds like something you hear about at the corporate retreat but in reality, it’s the unsung hero of every type of relationship. Knowing your team will allow you or the leader the ability to put the right people in the right circumstances for success and we see this all the way through this story. It’s even mentioned out loud for us, the audience, in a panel where a masked HIVE member mentions that Damien doesn’t know his guys as well as he knows the titans. In the end, the unknown member of HIVE turns out to be Dick Grayson in disguise infiltrating HIVE to take them down from the inside.

This was a really fun story that, as I mentioned earlier, showcased the Leadership of Dick Grayson but also the trust and bond that he and his team share. Seems like Damien Dahrk could use some tips on the subject of team-building….. maybe they will have the Pizza Party Dick mentioned. This story deserves a read – MIGUEL

Dick Grayson, Agent 37 in “The Lesson Plan” by Tim Seely & Tom King

It was a sorrowful evening the moment Dick Grayson was revealed to the world as the vigilante Nightwing by the Crime Syndicate of Earth 3. Everyone knew his identity forevermore, but they also knew he was dead just moments later. But that was what the cameras showed on the broadcast during the events of “Forever Evil”. We all know that with his identity no longer secret he would no longer be able to assist anyone as Nightwing. And so Agent 37 was born!

With the collaboration of Tim Seely and Tom King, Dick Grayson soon became a secret agent extraordinaire AGENT 37 of SPYRAL. This chapter of the Dick Grayson mythos proved to be his most challenging and most rewarding. Can he still be who he was and succeed at saving the helpless?… Well yes, and it was with the lesson from his mentor that helped him along the way. 

This beautifully crafted short story shows that Dick Grayson has always been at his best when he is true to himself. As you might have read already he was tasked as the liaison to an upcoming student within the SPYRAL ranks. Expectedly nervous she begins to ask him for tips to get through the mission successfully. He begins to recall many of the lessons Batman had taught him through his time as Robin and though each moment he remembered he did the complete opposite, they showed how he learned but created his own path. Batman says stick to the shadows, Dick Grayson made sure he was seen in the light, And this is what made him special.

Dick Grayson knew his strengths to the minute detail. He was not the Dark Knight, he was something else entirely, and Batman knew this as well. The story is everything from action-packed to comical. Each lesson showed us why we fell in love with This character for all these years. It’s what you expect from the first protege of Batman. And we tie it all together perfectly by the final lesson, “Ignore your Mentor. Do what you do Best, Be you ROBIN!”  – ED

Jason Todd, The Red Hood in “More Time” by Judd Winick, Dustin Nguyen (Art)

We can say many things about Jason Todd. Punk kid from the slums of Gotham, The black sheep of the Bat-family, Killed by the Joker, became the Red Hood, and just the second Robin. But these are just moments that he was given within his mythos. Some could say he wasn’t given a fair chance in the beginning but these moments gave us a character that has now resonated with many of us. Someone who only ever knew the pain and suffering of life. Though for a short time he gained a purpose, he gained a family. 

Truly in love with this story more now that I was able to digest it. I immediately fell in love the moment I saw Dustin Nguyen’s art on the page too. (Love his work)  I digress, “More tIme” shows us the softer side of Jason Todd that we only see glimpses of in continuity. A young Jason Todd gave a gift to his mentor Bruce Wayne, the watch that belongs to Thomas Wayne. The watch needed to be repaired, and as Alfred mentioned he worked on it for already 5 months.

He was delighted to give Bruce the watch but it wasn’t entirely complete, it needed the right parts and care for it to be at its best. OMG, that just made me tear. This symbolizes everything that Jason Todd is. He was never perfect, or already skilled/gifted like Dick Grayson was.

He was a kid that had potential but needed the right pieces and care to make him the best version of himself. Sure was he rough around the edges, of course! But he grew and tried to be better. He has always been a constant reminder to Bruce’s greatest failure and upon his return still one of his greatest challenges. Red Hood does things his way and though Batman doesn’t fully agree he is willing to give him the time and care to get him to a place where they can all be proud. And I’m sure we will get to see more of this for a long time to come. – ED

Tim Drake, Robin III in “Extra Credit” by Adam Beechen

First and foremost Tim Drake is my FAVORITE ROBIN! IMO The one most deserving to succeed the mantle of Batman! Though that is a conversation for another night. BUT this short story just adds to my resolve of why he is worthy. If you don’t know about Tim Drake, know that he is The 3rd to take the mantle of Robin, Lead the Teen Titans, and eventually become Red Robin.

He was not created through tragedy or revenge. Tim Drake chose this life on his own, while he figured out the identity of Batman & Robin himself! A natural-born intellect, with an innate sense of right and wrong. Tim exudes great qualities, to begin with, which only amplified with the mentoring of Batman.

“Extra Credit” lists the amazing achievements and talent the third Boy Wonder possessed. At the time he looked into law enforcement for his future career though we all know he could easily do the work outside the law. His detective skills through science are as far along as Batman himself. With determination, he becomes as physically capable as any of the other Robins. He’s capable of gaining the respect of superhuman teens as the leader of the Teen Titans.

Tim has worked harder than any Robin, he had to he wasn’t bred for jumping off of rooftops and punching bad guys. He is someone that knew what needed to be done and will do everything in his power to help.  – ED

Tim Drake, Red Robin in “Boy Wonders” by James Tynion IV

I’m not the only one who loves Tim Drake Red Robin. James Tynion IV has also expressed it, trust me we talked about it once lol I enjoyed the heck out of this short story because Tynion tied it into his Detective Comics run. But to keep this short Were not the only ones who respect the heck out of Tim.

Tim returns to Gotham to discuss his return to assisting Batman on a new mission task for Gotham, we all know it as the Gotham Knights Protocol. Before Red Robin made his decision to stay in Gotham he visited his family to seek some brotherly advice. Each of the Robin’s reassures Tim whatever he chooses will be the best decision because he will make it that way.

Nightwing reminded Tim that he is one of the smartest people he knows, and he would even find it a challenge to defeat him in hand to hand, but his greatest strength was his ability to be the person the younger generation needed to look up to. Red Hood kept it practical, he has nothing to prove. His job should be to take what he learned and do better than their mentor; it’s his responsibility to BE BETTER.

Damian the new Robin only solidified his choice. Tim could do whatever he chose and flourish, it was and always will be his choice. The Robin who stepped up to the job created his own path. And for it has become one of the most notable characters in the DC mythos.  – ED

Stephanie Brown, Robin IV in “Fitting In” by Amy Wolfram

The child of the villain Cluemaster did not choose to follow in the steps of her father. Instead, she chose a path of good. Becoming the fourth ROBIN. The quick history as she begins her crime-fighting under the disguise of Spoiler and after some time, Batman gives the ultimatum she trains under him as Robin to be allowed to continue her spree of vigilantism. It was one or the other and she chose to become a part of a legacy.

Besides the Elseworlds tale by Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns Carrie Kelly. Stephanie Brown is continuities first female Robin. But regardless of all that she earned the right to helm the mantle for some time. This short story shows that the one aspect about Robin isn’t that they’re the sidekick to Batman, but an extension to him. They are not like him, no one will ever be like Batman but they make him better from their individual personalities. Stephanie Brown proves this fact by sticking to her own instincts. She was caught but never captured by the Firefly.

She was capable of freeing herself and completing the mission. Regardless of Batman’s feelings, he cannot argue with the results. Stephanie understands this and will show she only improves her skills in the future. Batman is Batman, but he only thrives when he’s with a Robin! And the fourth of the mantle only solidifies this more! – ED 

Super Sons in “My Best Friend” by Peter J. Tomasi, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, and Rob Leigh.

Peter J. Tomasi teams up with his former Super Sons duo of Jorge Jimenez (artist) and Alejandro Sanchez (colorist) to bring forth a short but wholesome story from the perspective of Superman’s son, Jon Kent aka Superboy. And how Jon Kent perceives his friendship with Batman’s son, Damian Wayne aka Robin.

While the story itself is nothing super grandiose, it’s a reflective piece that does have a lot of heart and emotional weight and exemplifies how Jon views the world and those around him in the same light as his father Clark Kent. Albeit this is done if the form of a school paper but it still drives the point home.

This story also serves as a small deep dive into Damian Wayne as both a friend and a superhero. Just like Jon mentions, “no matter what, when the chips are down, he always has my back”. Despite Damian’s broodiness and smart mouth, deep down he cares for those around him and is willing to lay it all on the line to protect those he cares for.

Robin

It teaches us that despite how many friends we’ll make throughout what seems like an eternity of a childhood. At the end of it all, you will always have that one friend who exceeds normal friendship. Someone who becomes not just a best friend but also a dependable partner. It’s truly heartwarming and special.

As a reading suggestion, if you haven’t already, go ahead and read Peter J. Tomasi’s Super Sons run. It’s a great series that fully displays the meaning of polar opposites. Full with relatable themes and of course the charm of Jon Kent and expected broodiness of Damian Wayne. It’s a match made in heaven! – Osvaldo

Make sure to let us know your thoughts and feelings about this spectacular dedicated story to all of the Robins throughout the years. Feel free to send us a DM on Instagram or Facebook, or send us a tweet or two on Twitter!

Editor-in-Chief at The Nerdy Basement | Website

Founder/Editor-in-Chief of The Nerdy Basement.

Love Comics, love being a nerd!

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