Dick Grayson, the original Robin the Boy Wonder-turned-Nightwing, Batman's first ever sidekick, is well-known to fans of comic books, TV, games, movies, and more. But that's just the mainstream DC Universe Earth-One version of Dick Grayson.
For decades, there was another Dick Grayson in DC, who never became Nightwing or Batman, and whose adventures stretch back almost to WWII: the Robin of Earth-Two, who now appears to be coming back to comics as part of DC's upcoming Justice Society of America relaunch.
What the hell is Earth-Two, and how does the Robin of that reality differ from the one we know? We'll break it all down right now.
Who is Earth-Two Robin?
First off, we'll give you the TL:DR on Earth-Two itself. In the DC Omniverse, there are infinite versions of Earth. The one most DC comics follow is Earth-One, while its closest neighbor is Earth-Two (now Earth-1 or Earth-Prime, and Earth-2 in contemporary vernacular), a world with a similar but alternate history and 'Variant' versions (to borrow a Marvel term) of heroes and villains we know from their mainstream Earth-One counterparts - many of whom have different histories and twists on their expected roles.
Earth-Two has traditionally centered on the very first mainstream superhero team, not just from DC but in all superhero comics, the Justice Society of America, whose membership includes heroes such as Alan Scott Green Lantern, Jay Garrick Flash, and other alt-versions of known heroes including Superman, Wonder Woman, and of course, Batman.
One of the biggest differences between the core DC Universe, Earth-One, and Earth-Two is that Earth-Two's JSA continuity has usually continued chronologically from the time of the characters' real-world debuts, with no sliding scale to keep the history current and contemporary with the real world - and there has never been a Justice League on Earth-Two, with the JSA remaining intact through the present day.
Just like on Earth-One, Batman/Bruce Wayne takes a young sidekick early in his career (which, on Earth-Two took place in the '40s during WWII). And just like on Earth-One, that sidekick is Dick Grayson, who takes on the mantle of Robin. However, the history of Earth-Two Dick Grayson continues on a very different trajectory from that point.
And just like on Earth-One, after spending years as Batman's sidekick, the Earth-Two Dick Grayson moves on from his mentor's shadow - but rather than becoming Nightwing, Grayson eventually temporarily retires as Robin altogether, going on to law school to become an attorney and helping found his own law firm.
Also unlike Earth-One, no other heroes take Earth-Two Grayson's place as Robin after his retirement. And when Grayson comes out of retirement later, following Bruce Wayne's death, he returns to the mantle of Robin, though with a costume that incorporates aspects of Batman's traditional look alongside traditional elements of the Earth-Two Robin costume, taking Batman's place as a member of the Justice Society of America.
The history of Earth-Two Robin
Weirdly enough, Earth-Two Dick Grayson's post-Robin career included not just a stint as an attorney, but as the United States ambassador to the Apartheid government of the country of South Africa during the '70s (something that we're guessing will be retconned in the modern era).
It was during his time in that job that Dick Grayson had to step back into the role of Robin, thanks to a scheme by the time-traveling villain Per Degaton, who became something of a nemesis for him.
Later, Degaton executed a scheme in which he tried to trick the world into believing that the JSA had not been part of the Allied Forces, but were secretly Nazi agents in disguise - right down to planting false info in Bruce Wayne's diaries. As part of the plan, Dick was ordered to prosecute the JSA for supposed war crimes.
Though this initially shook Dick Grayson, with the help of Bruce and Selina Kyle's daughter Helena Wayne, the Huntress, Dick was able to disprove the claims and defeat Per Degaton alongside the JSA.
And in a bizarre real-world coincidence, a mid-'70s adventure featured Dick helping save Gotham City's Twin Trade Towers from the Multiversal villain the Psycho-Pirate, who has recently played a key role in several Batman stories as well as the current Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
Earth-Two Dick Grayson even once loaned his unique Robin costume to Earth-One Dick Grayson during a Multiversal team-up, as seen here in the image placing both costumes side-by-side - leading DC's editors to ask fans to write in if they wanted Earth-One Robin to take on the costume full time (we're guessing readers of the time said no thanks).
Earth-Two Dick Grayson/Robin was last seen in the original 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which he died fighting the forces of the Anti-Monitor.
But the good news is, he appears to be coming back alongside the Justice Society in a newly launching title, placing the Earth-Two Robin alongside heroes such as the aforementioned Green Lantern, Flash, and more including Hawkman, Wildcat, and Power Girl - all classic members of the original Earth-Two JSA, who were lost to the winds of the changing Multiverse back in '85's Crisis, before finally being restored in the current Omniverse era.
Dick Grayson - the Earth-One version - is one of the best Robins of all time.