Any fan of Batman knows that he has a habit of taking in kids-in-need that remind him of his younger self after the loss of his parents and training them as his sidekicks. These sidekicks typically take on the mantle of Robin in the fight against crime and evil. There have been a surprising number of heroes who have adopted the Robin role over the years, so let’s take a look at how each of them stack up against each other.
10) Matt McGinnis
Matt McGinnis actually didn’t work alongside Bruce Wayne. Instead, he was Robin to his own older brother, Terry McGinnis, the futuristic Batman from Batman Beyond. He’s not as skilled or as smart as other Robins, but he is far from lacking when it comes to determination. He’s the only Robin who has more of a sibling relationship to Batman since he’s literally his brother, which does lead to an interesting dynamic. That being said, he still gives off annoying little brother vibes as Robin.
9) Drake Winston
Drake Winston only appears in a six-issue miniseries for Batman ‘89 in which he teams up with the comic book version of Michael Keaton’s Batman. He fights for what’s right and proves to be a helpful companion to Batman. He was even stopping criminals on his own before joining forces with Bruce. As a mechanic, he does have a specialized skill set that other Robins might not have. All that being said, he was never given enough time to be as fleshed out as the other Robins. Plus, the Burton/Schumacher universe already had its own Robin that could have been used for this short run.
8) Duke Thomas
Duke Thomas was always kindhearted, which immediately got Batman’s attention. Before he was ever he was ever a crimefighter, he and his family rescued Bruce Wayne from a hurricane. He became a Robin during the We Are Robin movement that saw many of Gotham’s youngsters joining forces to fight crime while Bruce Wayne had Amnesia. He’s a perfect fit for the Robin role, but he’s much better off as his other role. Batman offered Duke to become his new protégé. Duke agreed under the condition that he wasn’t just another Robin. He became a new Bat Family hero known as The Signal, Gotham’s daylight protector.
The most bizarre Robin has got to be Jarro. Jarro is a Star Conqueror who Batman grew from a surviving tissue sample from Starro and raised to assist the Justice League. He’s exceptionally loyal to Batman and even strives to be Batman’s favorite Robin. He’s even super adorable in the Robin outfit. What holds him back is that he’s more of a joke character (albeit a great one). He also once used his mind-control spores to hypnotize the Justice League against their will. It was to protect them from potentially losing a fight against the Legion of Doom, but still a bit of a betrayal.
6) Damian Wayne
Damian Wayne is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, which also makes him the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul. He’s one of the more violent Robins, and has been trained to kill by the League of Assassins. The father-son dynamic between him and Bruce does make for an interesting dynamic and some great storytelling, but the chosen family bonds that Bruce forms with the other Robins can be more compelling. It’s cool to have a darker take on Robin, but like Batman, it’s better when Robin isn’t a fan of killing. When Damian does follow Batman’s rules, he sometimes comes across as a whiny brat.
5) Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown is the missed-opportunity Robin. She’s the daughter of the supervillain known as Cluemaster, and seeing her fight on the good side leads to quite an interesting story. Her time as Robin was unfortunately much shorter than most. She’s fired from her role as Robin when she disobeys orders. Batman asked her to stay put, but she cared enough about him to rush into danger to help him regardless of what she was told. In any other instance, that would be a quality of a great sidekick. Stephanie definitely deserved more of a chance as Robin, but also served as a great Batgirl. However, she truly shines best as Spoiler.
4) Carrie Kelly
Carrie Kelly only exists in the universe of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight miniseries, but she leaves one heck of an impression. When an older, more jaded Batman needs a helping hand in a dystopian future, she purchases a knockoff Robin costume and fights by his side. In a darker world with a more brutal Batman, Carrie provides Bruce with a little bit of hope. She serves as the light in that dark world. Unlike other Robins, her weapon of choice is a slingshot loaded with firecrackers, which is a pretty fun idea. Her willingness to fight alongside Batman without ever being asked to says a lot about her character. She’d be even higher on the list if DC used her more frequently.
3) Jason Todd
Jason Todd was the second Robin. He was originally well-received until his origin story was revamped. His popularity with fans fell off after, causing them to vote via telephone poll to kill him off. Before his origin was changed, he was rather similar to Dick Grayson, the first Robin. Afterward, he was a more rageful Robin who Batman taught to channel his anger into crime fighting. Both versions do offer something interesting in terms of story and action. After Jason died, though, was when things got really interesting. The impact that Jason and his death had on Bruce for years going forward led to emotion-driven storytelling and showed how big his heart truly is. Jason is a much more entertaining character as Red Hood than he ever was as Robin, though.
2) Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson is probably the best character who has been Robin, but he’s not the best Robin. He’s much cooler and more interesting as Nightwing. Dick was the original Robin, setting the bar for everyone who came after. He’s also probably the most well-known as a result. There was a time when Batman and Robin were more famous than Batman was on his own, and that Robin was Dick. He’s the acrobat of the Bat Family and one of Batman’s closest allies. Bruce and Dick’s father-son type relationship has led to incredible storytelling over the years. The only reason he ever stopped being Robin was because he grew up.
1) Tim Drake
Tim Drake has the heart of a hero, as he sought Batman out to become Robin rather than Batman discovering him. He’s also the smartest Robin and is a detective by nature. He figured out who Batman and the original Robin were when he was just a child. Even Ra’s Al Ghul refers to him as “Detective.” Tim uses a bo staff as a weapon which allows him to stand out from the previous Robins. His Robin suit is also easily the coolest. He starred in his own standalone Robin comic for a while, which made Robin finally feel like his own character rather than an extension of Batman. When Dick grew up, he became Nightwing. Jason became Red Hood. Stephanie is best as Spoiler. When Tim gets older, he takes on the name of Red Robin. He’s always Robin in some form. He may not be the original Robin, but he is the quintessential Robin.