The 9 Greatest Robin Storylines in Batman Franchise History

The Sensational Character Find Of 1940… Robin, The Boy Wonder

Ever since he was first introduced to the DC Universe in 1940’s Detective Comics #38, Robin has grown to become one of the most significant characters in DC Comics’ huge library of superheroes and villains. Robin may have started out as a teenage sidekick to Batman, but over the years, his role has expanded to that of a solo superhero and the leader of the Teen Titans. There have been a total of five different characters who have, at one time or another, donned the yellow, green, and red to call themselves Robin!

Over the 80+ years he’s been swinging through the streets of Gotham City as Robin, the Boy Wonder, there have been tons of comic books, great stories, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, comic book issues, story arcs, storylines, and one-shot books about Robin, making it hard to determine which is the best of Robin’s greatest adventures. This list attempts the impossible by narrowing the best down to the top 9.

1. Who Is Donna Troy?

Who Is Donna Troy?

Story Found In: The New Teen Titans #38

Details: The title may suggest that this book is a character-building story for Donna Troy… and it is. That being said, it’s as much a developmental story for Robin (Dick Grayson) as it is for Wonder Girl. In the book, Robin’s detective skills are put to the test, and it’s Troy who is the subject of his query.

Robin sets out to piece together the rather complicated backstory of Troy, and it’s going to take all of his skills as a detective to do it. Fortunately, he learned from the best, and it seems Batman’s tutelage didn’t just create a superhero capable of kicking butt and taking names; he’s one heck of an impressive detective to boot!

2. Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet

Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet

Story Found In: Batman Chronicles: The Gauntlet

Details: While it’s titled “Batman Chronicles,” this book is much more of a Robin story than a Caped Crusader one. When Batman puts the Boy Wonder through a challenging test, Robin finds himself in a situation where he must avoid his mentor until the sun rises over Gotham. No easy task for anyone, especially when the man trailing him is the one who taught him everything he knows.

In his attempt to lose his boss and crimefighting companion, Robin winds up going up against a group of gangsters. It’s a great way to introduce the challenge Batman posed for his Boy Wonder in a way so as it seemed as if it was a retelling, while still being a completely original story. The book was put together by Bruce Canwell and Lee Weeks, with Matt Hollingsworth in 1997, and stands as one of the best Robin stories ever written.

3. Robin: Year One

Robin: Year One

Story Found In: Robin: Year One

Details: Over the years, Robin’s story has been told, retold, retooled, rebooted, and told again. Then, there’s the familiar “Year One” formate presented by Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Javier Pulido, and Robert Campanella, with Lee Loughridge from 2000-2001.

The book features the story of Dick Grayson’s career, as it occurred in the first 12 months, he wore the costume of Robin, the Boy Wonder. He had to contend with Alfred’s concerns about outfitting a teenage sidekick while having to keep up with the Dark Knight. More than that, he had to learn to hold back and not kill his enemies, which is something he almost failed at doing where Two-Face was concerned.

4. The New Teen Titans

The New Teen Titans

Story Found In: The New Teen Titans #1-8

Details: Though it lacks a title, the opening story of The New Teen Titans proved to be a smash-hit among fans, as it delivers a great story for the team and Robin. The establishment of this book took Robin from being a second-string sidekick to an A-list member of a team, and it all started here.

The story truly establishes Robin as a character worth remembering, and as he would eventually evolve away from the role of Robin into Nightwing, everything that happens in these books is important to the character’s development. He started a romantic relationship with Starfire and dropped the label of a teenager for the more appropriate one of young adult.

5. The Sensational Character Find Of 1940… Robin, The Boy Wonder

The Sensational Character Find Of 1940… Robin, The Boy Wonder

Story Found In: Detective Comics #38

Details: Back in the earliest days of Batman’s appearances in Detective Comics, the folks at the head of DC Comics wanted to get a younger audience into its books. To do this, they created Robin, the Boy Wonder, a teenage sidekick to the Dark Knight, who was introduced in this very book!

While it was intended to add a lighthearted and more kid-friendly aspect to the story, it’s surprisingly dark. Dick Grayson is introduced as the believed son of two parents killed by gangsters. He swears an oath to avenge their deaths, which is how he ended up on Batman’s doorstep as his new ward and sidekick.

6. A Death In The Family

A Death In The Family

Story Found In: Batman #426-429

Details: If you know anything about Robin, you knew this story was going to pop up somewhere on this list. Back in the late-1980s, DC Comics decided to offer an opportunity to its readers to determine whether or not Jason Todd would survive the end of “A Death in the Family.”

By the time the votes were tallied, Robin was marked for death, and that’s exactly what came to pass in this story. The death of Robin would have a significant impact on Batman’s life from that point forward, and it would change comics history as well, seeing as Jason Todd remained dead far longer than most comic book characters have before (or since).

7. The Diplomat’s Son And Consequences

The Diplomat’s Son And Consequences

Story Found In: Batman #424-425

Details: In the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths world, Jason Todd is the new Robin, but he’s on a road to his own downfall, and his rebellious and reckless streak may prove to be his undoing. In this book, his temper that takes him into a violent rage may make him unworthy of the role he’s taken on, and the consequences of his actions may be all it takes to lose the name of Robin, the Boy Wonder.

In the story, Robin is on the hunt of an ambassador’s son, who assualted a woman in Gotham City. Unfortunately, the young man is protected by diplomatic immunity, but that doesn’t mean a masked vigilante is going to respect that. When the man falls to his death, Robin is found at the scene, and Batman must contend with the possibility that his newest ward is responsible for the death.

8. Requiem For A Titan!

Requiem For A Titan!

Story Found In: Teen Titans #14

Details: When he was working alongside Batman exclusively, Robin wasn’t explored too dramatically as a character. In the Teen Titans, he stepped up his game and proved himself a compelling character, whether he was the leader of a team, a sidekick, or all on his own.

In “Requiem for a Titan,” Robin finds himself facing off against the Gargoyle, who managed to completely manipulate the young teen into almost giving up his role as Robin. More than that, he even gets him to unmask, which is no easy task for anyone. The story is a classic Robin tale, and it’s one that every fan must read at least once in their lives.

9. White Gold And Truth

White Gold And Truth

Story Found In: Batman #416

Details: Following the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event, there was a bit of confusion going around the DC Universe, and a lot of it centered around Robin. This book helps alleviate that confusion a little bit, as it’s the first time Dick Grayson (as Nightwing) meets up with his successor, Jason Todd, otherwise known as Robin, the Boy Wonder!

The story also helps to alleviate some of the continuity issues that arose when the New Teen Titans decided to reimagine Todd’s origin a little bit. The story worked well in establishing a great rapport between the two young crimefighters, but it wouldn’t last long, as “A Death in the Family” was just a few months away from the publication of this book.