Skip to main content

Batman's best Robins of all time

(Image credit: DC)

Tom and ..?

Bert and ..?

Batman and ..?

Pretty much anyone can fill in the blanks of these fictional pairings without so much as a thought. 




But here's the thing. Jerry is just one mouse. 

Ernie is just one … well, whatever Ernie is. 

But how many people around the world know there is more than one Robin? That DC's Robin is a mantle and that Batman's old chum Dick Grayson was just the first?

With a series set in Tim Burton's seminal Batman movie universe Batman '89 launching August 10 and with it a new version of the Boy Wonder, DC will be introducing the latest addition to the ranks of Robinhood (see what we did there?) that already includes Bruce Wayne's biological offspring (there are a few of those, actually), a hoodlum that tried to steal the Batmobiles hubcaps, a couple of capable young women, and a robot.

So pull up a Bat-chair while we rank the best characters that have donned the red, yellow, and green and served as one-half Gotham City's Dynamic Duo - Batman's best Robins of all time. 

10. Jason Todd

Jason Todd as Robin

(Image credit: DC)

Controversial, perhaps, but let's be honest: Jason was never a particularly good Robin, was he? 

In his pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths incarnation, he was essentially an over-eager, nervous clone of Dick Grayson, and in his post-Crisis incarnations, he was just a jerk with a temper.

We're not saying that the Joker was justified in murdering the dude, but at the same time, if there was ever a Robin who didn't seem to be worthy of the name, it was young Mr. Todd.

His current status quo as Red Hood has kept with the characterization that he just isn't made from the best stuff of Batman's sidekicks. 

9. Robin, the Toy Wonder

Best Robins: Robin, the Toy Wonder

(Image credit: DC Comics)

What's that, you say? You don't remember the cybernetic sidekick of the 853rd century from DC One Million?

Shame on you - not only does the character have a great pun for a name, but he's also had a pretty great origin story, being a robot programmed with the personality of the 853rd century Batman as a 10-year-old boy. 

If it wasn't for the fact that he only made a handful of appearances, this Robin would be far higher up this list.

8. Bruce Wayne, Jr.

Best Robins: Bruce Wayne Jr

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Decades before Damian Wayne was a glint in his mother's test tube, Batman's son was fighting crime as Robin in a series of 'imaginary stories' set in the future starting in Batman #131, back in 1960, where, yes, he teamed up with a Batman who was actually Dick Grayson, taking over for his own mentor.

After four years, the character disappeared only to reappear in 1997's JLA #9, resurrected by none other than Damian Wayne co-creator Grant Morrison, in a dream sequence. Damian's secret origin revealed!

7. Helena Wayne

Best Robins: Helena Wayne

(Image credit: DC Comics)

And speaking of Dark Knight offspring, in the 'New 52' universe, the Huntress started her career as the Robin of Earth-2. 

This was revealed in the early issues of both James Robinson and Nicola Scott's series of the same name as well as Paul Levitz, Kevin Maguire, and George Perez's Worlds' Finest, even though we didn't really get to see her in action as the Girl Wonder of an alternate world for too long before Darkseid's invasion brought her to our world. 

Now, a new version of Helena Wayne is part of DC's Batman/Catwoman limited series, as the Batwoman of the future.

6. Stephanie Brown

Best Robins: Stephanie Brown

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Yes, we know that Stephanie has a massive following online that, in large part, stems from her short tenure as Robin, but we think she made a much better Batgirl than she ever managed as a Robin.

The fault here was less the character than the creators, as Stephanie was pretty much given the role with the intent of setting up her eventual (and ultimately undone) death, necessitating that she was less than capable. 

Thankfully, the character was redeemed for a short while in Bryan Q. Miller's fondly remembered Batgirl series and she's taking up the Batgirl mantle again along with her friend Cassandra Cain and the original Batgirl Barbara Gordon. 

5. The Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Robin

Best Robins: Pre-Crisis Earth-2

(Image credit: DC Comics)

Although, yes, the Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Robin is essentially Dick Grayson and therefore the same character as the 'regular' Dick Grayson, the strange and wonderful late-career of the character merits his own entry in this particular top 10.

After all, while all other Robins have either given up their life or the identity at some point, Earth-2 Grayson kept being Robin well into adulthood, maintaining the identity even after the death of Batman himself, despite also becoming an international ambassador for the United States in his secret identity. 

Because, really, what else says political envoy if not a former sidekick who can't quite say goodbye to the past?

4. Carrie Kelley

Best Robins: Carrie Kelley

(Image credit: DC Comics)

The only reason that Carrie isn't higher in this list is that she abandoned the Robin identity pretty quickly in the grand scheme of things, having already ditched it in favor of becoming 'Catgirl' in Dark Knight Strikes Again.

Otherwise, Carrie is downright awesome, from her snarky can-do attitude down to the ridiculous goggles she wore when taking on the identity. Carrie made Robin her own in a way that few others have managed. Jason Todd, you should've taken some pointers.

She was seemingly primed to be used more with an appearance in the early days of the 'New 52,' but we've since learned those plans were aborted - but were the catalyst - for her return as part of Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

3. Tim Drake

Best Robins: Tim Drake

(Image credit: DC Comics)

What was that we were just saying about can-do attitudes? Tim Drake was a pretty great Robin, maybe a little too great, when you think about it.

Tim's early appeal was obvious. Here was a teenager that was a little nerdy and a little socially awkward, and a Batman fanboy to boot. Maybe we all saw a little bit of ourselves in Tim. And he actually parlayed all those qualities into getting to be one half of the dynamic duo for years. It was wish fulfillment that hit close to home.

But Tim's later evolution into a detective, athlete/fighter, and superhero to almost rival Batman himself seemed just a little too much, somehow.

In the 'New 52,' Tim's natural detective abilities were seemingly transferred onto Dick Grayson's revised origin, and despite some conflicting mentions in early issues, Tim is now officially said to have always called himself Red Robin, with the modifier, out of respect for his direct predecessor's (albeit temporary) death.

Tim was believed dead for a time before escaping the clutches of the villainous Mr. Oz - and he's now finally back to using the Robin moniker after a stint as 'Red Robin' and then simply 'Drake.'

2. Damian Wayne

Best Robins: Damian Wayne

(Image credit: DC Comics)

In many ways, the ultimate distillation of all previous Robins – the snark of Carrie Kelley, the bad attitude of Jason Todd, the smarts of Tim Drake, the actually-being-the-son-of-Batman of Bruce Wayne Jr., and the natural athleticism of Dick Grayson – Damian is a remarkably, unexpectedly fun Robin, with a lot of the comedy coming from his inability to conform to (and disinterest in) social norms.

In other words, he is a Robin who really acts like a little kid at times, as annoying and hilarious as that could be. 

Plus, by rejecting his mother's plans and choosing to become a superhero, Damian proved that, deep down, he was a good kid. That is what we want from our Robins, surely?

1. Dick Grayson

Best Robins: Dick Grayson

(Image credit: DC Comics)

The original, and still the best. Dick set the template for what it means to be Robin, thanks in large part to the fact that he assumed the role for so long.

We've seen Dick-as-Robin in so many different ways: excited and eager, surly and sullen, and almost everywhere in between. But Dick also knew when enough was enough, and didn't want to grow up to become Batman (ironically, considering his future), which allowed him to outgrow the identity in a way that none others have properly managed.

For setting the pace, and for knowing when to leave, Dick Grayson is the best Robin we've seen so far – and, just to be particularly controversial, some would argue that he's the best Batman we've had to date, as well.

—Similar articles of this ilk are archived on a crummy-looking blog. You can also follow @McLauchlin on Twitter