Robin (Earth-Two)

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Robin
All-Star Comics #58. Art by Wally Wood.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Justice League of America #55 (1967) (historical)
Detective Comics #38 (1940) (retcon)
Created by Gardner Fox
Mike Sekowsky
(based upon the original character by Bob Kane and Bill Finger)
In-story information
Alter ego Richard "Dick" Grayson, Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Team affiliations Batman Family
Justice Society of America
All-Star Squadron
Notable aliases Batman
Abilities Genius-level intelligence, master detective, peak human physical condition, martial arts master, escapologist, expert ventriloquist, access to high tech equipment.

Robin of Earth-Two is an alternate version of the fictional DC Comics superhero Robin, who was introduced after DC Comics created Earth-Two, a parallel world that was retroactively established as the home of characters which had been published in the Golden Age of comic books. This allowed creators to publish comic books featuring Robin while being able to disregard Golden Age stories, solving an incongruity, as Robin had been published as a single ongoing incarnation since inception.

The character history of the Earth-Two Robin accordingly adopts all of the earliest stories featuring the character from the 1940s and 1950s, while the adventures of the mainstream Robin (who lived on "Earth-One") begin later in time and with certain elements of his origin retold. Both were depicted as separate, though parallel, individuals living in their respective universes, with the "older" Earth-Two character eventually reaching his retirement and death. After the events of Flashpoint, Earth-2's Dick Grayson appears to have either never existed, or if he does, has never adopted the role of Robin. Instead, Helena Wayne, daughter of Earth-2's Batman and Catwoman, occupied the role until she and Earth-2's Supergirl were swept into an interdimensional vortex and ended up on Prime Earth, where they adopted the new identities of the Huntress and Power Girl.

Silver Age beginning[edit]

At the dawn of the Silver Age of comics, DC Comics decided to reimagine several of their greatest superheroes. The Flash and Green Lantern were reimagined as Barry Allen[1] and Hal Jordan.[2] Superman and Batman were different and remained untouched. It was later revealed that the current heroes live on a parallel world to the Golden Age heroes. When Barry Allen met Jay Garrick,[3] it meant there were two Flashes, two Green Lanterns, two Supermen, and two Batmen. Since Batman and Superman were the same, the divergence between the characters was their age.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Childhood and early history[edit]

Main article: Robin (comics)

Robin's origin and history begins the same as the classic version except the timeframe occurs when the Detective Comics #38 was originally printed: 1940. Most of the events surrounding his formative years are the same, but earlier.

  • Richard Grayson's parents were killed by Anthony Zucco. He overhears the criminal and tells Batman.
  • After a period of training, a young Dick Grayson becomes Robin. His first printed story is "Robin the Boy Wonder."[4]
  • Robin participates in the war-time only All-Star Squadron. His distant cousin is Charles Grayson, the scientific assistant of Robotman.

Silver Age History[edit]

Eventually, Robin assumes Batman's position as Gotham City's premier crime fighter. Unlike his Earth-One counterpart, who distances himself from his mentor's shadow when he adopts his Nightwing persona, this version adopts a costume which mimics several elements of Batman's own uniform (including an insignia with an encircled "R" surrounded by two bat wings).[5] While his younger doppelganger attends and then leaves college prematurely, Grayson pursues further education to attain his law degree. Eventually, he becomes a practicing attorney in the law firm that eventually becomes Cranston, Grayson and Wayne.[6]

Robin was initiated into the Justice Society of America, assuming the membership vacated by Batman's retirement.[7][8] During his tenure, he developed friendships with several members, most notably Johnny Thunder, while developing some anomosity towards Hawkman who expressed reluctance towards his membership. Years later, Robin, along with his heroic colleagues, perished at the hands of the Justice League due to the involvement of Earth-Prime resident turned supervillain Cary Bates, however he was soon restored to life.[9] After this experience he reverted to a variation of his traditional uniform's style and colors.

During his post-Gotham City career, Grayson left Gotham to become the United States Ambassador to South Africa during the mid-1970s while continuing his crime fighting career for a brief period in that country.[10] His inclusion in the new Justice Society series, according to writer Gerry Conway, "was a nod to the present".[11] After his involvement with the Justice Society of America when the villains Brainwave and Per Degaton attempt to destroy the world at several key points including China, South Africa and Seattle in the United States, he returns to Gotham City.[12] He joined Batman for one final adventure side-by-side, assisting the Justice Society, Justice League, and Shazam's Squadron of Justice in defeating several criminals including the Joker, during King Kull's plan to destroy humanity on all three Earths.[13]

Shortly thereafter, then-Police Commissioner Bruce Wayne, while under the influence of the Psycho-Pirate, manipulates Robin and other formerly retired members of the Justice Society to attack the then-active members.[14] He next became active assisting the Justice Society and Bruce's daughter Huntress (Helena Wayne) in dealing with Bill Jensen, a white-colar criminal apprehended by Wayne having attained mystical abilities. Robin and Huntress watched as Jensen threatened Gotham's twin trade towers and finally consumed himself along with Batman, eventually tracking down Frederick Fast who provided Jensen with his abilities for unspecified reasons.[15]

Grayson left Gotham after this incident, returning years later when the Joker came out of retirement to attack several prominent Gothamites including Police Commissioner O'Hara. Assuming the garb and identity of Batman, his presence mesmerized the Joker long enough to be apprehended by the Huntress. He proceeded to track the criminal mastermind behind Gotham's organized crime. At this point, he developed unexpressed feelings towards the Huntress, though leaving Gotham once more before pursuing them further.[16]

Grayson would later be forced to prosecute a case against the Justice Society involving a diary written by Wayne, insinuating the premier superhero team as World War II Nazi collaborators. Grayson discovered that hidden within the passages was evidence pointing to Per Degaton's scheme, which was subsequently thwarted. He discovered from Helena that her father was influenced by his terminal cancer during his writing of the journal.[17]

In the limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the multiverse as we know it is destroyed. Among the lost worlds is Earth-Two. Following this crisis Earth Two "never existed" and retroactively removed Earth-Two Robin from history, blending elements of his past with Earth-One, effectively creating a new modern continuity. Robin, along with the Huntress died while protecting innocents at the hands of shadow demons from the Anti-Matter Universe.[18][19]

However, a version of this Robin and Huntress existed on some plane of existence as both were referred to by the original Star-Spangled Kid while the latter was working on a case with the Justice Society involving the time-traveling villain Extant.

Divergence with Earth-One[edit]

Throughout his documented history, this version of Dick Grayson has shown an unwavering allegiance towards Batman, even going so far as to replace his mentor's vacated membership in the Justice Society of America.[20] Adopting a costume similar to his mentor including using several retrofitted vehicles and devices derived from Batman's original versions rather than using unique equipment utilized by the Earth-One Grayson. Standing by his mentor during Wayne's influence under the Psycho-Pirate and later, his own cancer, illustrates his complete faith in his one-time guardian.

Robin developed resentment towards the Earth-One Batman during their first meeting after the original's death, turned to grudging respect and finally acceptance.[21] Previously, Robin showed a type of mentorship towards his younger counterpart, providing him a costume with elements he himself would eventually adopt.[22]

52[edit]

The New Earth-2 Robin from 52 Week 52.

In the final issue of 52, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-2." As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-Two, including Robin among other Justice Society of America characters.[23]

Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-2.[24] However, in the Justice Society of America Annual #1, published in the summer of 2008, Silver Scarab explains that the events of the Crisis are remembered by the people of this Earth-2, and from their perspective, Earth-2 seemed to be the only Earth to have survived the Crisis, raising theories as to whether or not Earth-2 was really destroyed, or was perhaps replaced by a new Earth-2. Certainly Robin, the Huntress, and their fellow Justice Society members are all alive.

However, it was confirmed in Justice Society Annual 1 (2008) that Post Crisis Earth-2 was completely separate from the Pre-Crisis Earth-Two, ranging from Alan Scott of this Earth being dead, Wonder Woman retired and Queen of the Amazons, Garrick is a young man (unconfirmed if the same man or his successive son) and most directly to this Grayson, Wayne was killed by the Joker as stated by both post-Crisis Earth-2 Helena and dying aged Joker who directly knew Earth-2 Batman, Huntress and Grayson secret identities. Also stated in Justice Society Annual 1 as directly opposite between the Post Crisis Earth-2 Grayson and the earlier version is the fact that Post Crisis Earth-2 Grayson is in love with Helena Wayne and she with him, though they have not openly stated such to each other. This is a complete reversal from the original Pre Crisis Earth-Two versions who considered themselves to be brother and sister as both were directly raised by pre Crisis Earth-Two Police Commissioner Bruce Wayne.

New 52[edit]

Following the events of Flashpoint, Earth-2 was transformed into a wholly different alternate universe. In this continuity, Dick Grayson seems to have never existed, and Batman (Earth-Two)'s Robin has only ever been his daughter, Helena. Helena Wayne is the daughter of Batman (Earth-Two) and Catwoman of Earth-2, and was trained by her parents as her father's partner. Following Batman's death at the end of an invasion from Apokolips-2, Earth-2's Supergirl and Robin were swept across alternate universes by an interdimensional vortex to DC's Prime Earth and have adopted new identities as the Huntress and Power Girl.

Robin of Earth-Two in other media[edit]

Grayson was featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold in the episode "The Color of Revenge". This version of Robin is depicted as the protector of Blüdhaven - the city he fights crime in the comics as Nightwing - but he is dressed in the yellow bodysuit, not the grey Batman based suit as shown in Justice League of America (Vol 1) #55, of the adult Robin of Pre Crisis Earth-Two. The rift between him and Batman has already taken place, and he is seen to still be angry at Batman for still treating him as a sidekick rather than a superhero in his own right. It is only after cooperating with Batman to defeat Crazy Quilt does Robin earn Batman's respect. After Crazy Quilt was defeated, Robin joined Batman when Killer Moth hijacks the Gotham Bank Money Train, but he rides in the side cart of Batman's motorcycle (something he stated he never wanted to do again). Robin was voiced by Crawford Wilson.

Grayson returns as Robin, still wearing the adult yellow bodysuit, in the episode "Sidekicks Assemble!" where Grayson is shown alognside main reality original Teen Titans member Speedy (Roy Harper) and Aqualad (Garth) all now young men proving their right to be considered as adult heroes against Ras Al Ghul, and no longer sidekicks to their mentors. At the end of the episode, Grayson changes to his Nightwing identity and hero name. Though in this reality, it is still Batman who gives Grayson the name and not Grayson selecting it himself, as in the printed page version and other animated versions such as Teen Titans animated series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Showcase #4, 1956
  2. ^ Showcase #22, 1959
  3. ^ The Flash #123: "The Flash of Two Worlds"
  4. ^ Detective Comics #38
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Wonder Woman #284
  7. ^ Justice League of America #55
  8. ^ "The Brave and The Bold: Robin, The Ex-Boy Wonder". Members.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  9. ^ Justice League of America #123-124
  10. ^ "The Unofficial Robin Biography". Dcuguide.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  11. ^ "TwoMorrows Publishing - Alter Ego #14 - Gerry Conway Interview". Twomorrows.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  12. ^ All-Star Comics #58
  13. ^ Justice League of America #135-137
  14. ^ 'All Star Comics #68
  15. ^ Adventure Comics #461-463
  16. ^ Wonder Woman #282-285
  17. ^ America vs. The Justice Society #1-4
  18. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #12
  19. ^ "COMICS 101". Movie Poop Shoot. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  20. ^ "h2g2 - The Justice Society of America - the First Super-hero Team". BBC. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  21. ^ Brave and the Bold #182
  22. ^ Justice League of America #91-92
  23. ^ 52 52: 13/3 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
  24. ^ Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "the 52 exit interviews: grant morrison". Newsarama. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 

See also[edit]