Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Comparing the DC Universe with the New 52: The Robin saga

With the history of the DC Universe getting wiped clean and rebooted, things were bound to change. Some characters changed in minor ways, and some were greatly altered. One of the the greatest changes was the history of Batman's sidekick Robin.
In the original history, Dick Grayson was an 8-year old circus acrobat who first became Robin after his parents were killed and he was adopted by Batman. Patterning his costume after the red-and-green costume he wore in the circus, and using his mother's nickname for him as a codename, Robin took flight in the well-known shorts and pixie boots along side his mentor Batman, until he outgrew the role and left Batman's shadow as Nightwing. In the new 52 Dick was a teenaged parkour runner and the son of trapeze artists. In addition to Dick already being in his teens, another change to the history was that the family circus costumes were blue with a bird design, not red-and-green. Dick's parents were killed and he was sent to an orphanage (not adopted by Batman as in previous history) where he did computer searches on Batman and Bruce Wayne and deduced that Bruce was Batman. Wanting to become a hero to avenge his parents he tracked down Batman and was reluctantly made Bruce's sidekick. He took scraps of old Batman armor to make his costume (no pixie boots or shorts), and chose the name Robin in honor of the robin bracelet he had given his mother before she died. Where Dick was Robin for nearly 10 years before becoming Nightwing, in the new history Dick assumed his role as Nightwing only a year or two after being Robin.
When Dick became Nightwing, a young thug was selected to be the new Robin for Batman when he tried to steal the hubcaps off the Batmobile. Brash and cocky, Jason was a much different Robin than Dick, and he often was at odds with Batman over his anger and violent tendencies. He was seemingly killed by Joker only to be resurrected by a time-shift and became the Red Hood. In the new 52 history, Jason had a similar back story of being a streetwise orphan with criminal tendencies and a bad attitude that was taken in by Batman after a run-in with the Dark Knight as a replacement Robin. Jason was not given Dick's costume as he was in previous history, but was given his own armored costume when he became Robin. Not long after he was killed by the Joker but brought back to life by a coven of witches called the  Caste and became Red Hood.
The biggest change occurred to the third Robin, Tim Drake. In previous history, Tim was a child prodigy who idolized Batman and used his detective skills to uncover Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne. Seeing that Batman was out of balance after the death of his Robin, Jason Todd, Tim took it upon himself to become the new Robin. He earned Batmans' respect and designed an armored Robin costume for himself, finding the costumes worn by Dick and Jason too impractical for his tastes. Later, when Batman learned he had a son named Damian and made him Robin, Tim created anew identity for himself as Red Robin. In new 52 continuity, Tim's last name was not Drake, and he was a gymnast and a  genius who devoted his time to pushing himself to new challenges. Attempting to discover the identity of Batman, he was unknowingly being watched by Batman as a potential Robin after the death of Jason Todd. When Tim computer hacked the bank accounts of a criminal, he put his family in danger and they were placed in witness relocation. Tim's parents asked Batman to take him in, and Batman gave the boy the identity of Tim Drake. Tim was made Batman's sidekick but Tim felt he shouldn't be Robin and did not want to replace the memory of Jason Todd. Instead he designed an armored costume (similar to his second Robin costume in the previous history) and jumped straight to being Red Robin.

Little to no change happened to the fourth Robin Damian Wayne. In both previous and new 52 history he was the son of Batman and the villianess Talia, who was reunited with his father and made Robin. Being the child of a known villain made Damian a sociopath who cared little for others and he believed he was the only son of Batman and the only true Robin. When Batman was thought to be dead was he taken in and trained by Dick Grayson who was posing as Batman until Bruce's return. Damian was friendly with Dick but harbored deep resentments towards Tim Drake. The only changes were in previous history Damian had the original Dick Grayson Robin costume and a yellow cloak over a dark green-light-green bodysuit, but in new 52 he wears a red vest over a black suit with green gloves and boots and a black-and-yellow cape.
In previous history, young vigilante Stephanie Brown was made the first female Robin when Tim Drake briefly quit being a hero, and when he returned she became the new Batgirl. In new 52 history, Helana Wayne was the daughter of a parallel universe's Batman and Catwoman as well as the first female Robin before she was transported into the new 52 timeline and became Huntress.

In a dark dystopian future, Carrie Kelley became the Robin for a much older, darker Batman, and wore Dick Grayson's original Robin costume. In the new 52, Carrie Kelley was a friend of Damian Wayne, teaching the young hero how to act like a normal child. When he disappeared, Carrie went to Bruce Wayne for answers and became part of the Bat-family. Carrie wore modified version of the original Robin costume.

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