17 February 2008

The Most Dangerous One of All

My last weekly Robin posting considered how over forty years of Teen Titans comic books show Robin the Boy Wonder as able to keep up with his heroic peers despite not having any of their powers. What's more, in recent years DC writers have had fun with the notion that Robin's more capable than his superpowered teammates.

This pattern applies to both Dick Grayson, the original Boy Wonder, and Tim Drake, the current title-holder, as well as the hybrid Robin shown above from Teen Titans Go!, the print spin-off of the animated spin-off of the New Teen Titans magazine of the early 1980s. (Script by J. Torres, art by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker.)

Robin's capabilities can chagrin his friends. In this flashback panel from Flash, #210 (script by Geoff Johns, art by Howard Porter and Livesay), Dick Grayson has snuck his best pal, Wally West/Kid Flash, into the Batcave--hence the dim light. He's just shown off the two messy shelves where he's assembling souvenirs of his solo conquests over supervillains.
There was indeed a Silver Mask, though he wasn't very villainous. Guys from Canada? Not so much.

As for Aqualad, Robin's other companion on his first adventure with other teens, I'll point to the Absorbascon's evidence that Aqualad and Robin are the Goofus and Gallant of the DC Universe.

The next panels come from the Geoff Johns/Mike McCone run on Teen Titans starting five years ago. They show Tim Drake catching up with the second Superboy as both arrive late for a group meeting.

  • Clayface = a recurring Batman villain
  • Arkham = the Gotham insane asylum, where the crazy supervillains are locked up
  • Bizarro = a recurring Superman antagonist
  • Daily Planet = a great Metropolitan newspaper
  • Superboy's real reason for being late = high-school detention
Even villains know whom to watch out for. This last panel comes from an early issue of Young Justice, DC's teen-supergroup magazine of the late 1990s (script by Peter David and drawing by Todd Nauck).
In the handy lexicon of TV Tropes, Robin's Badass Normal. And that fantasy provides readers with even more wish-fulfillment than the one about having special powers.

1 comment:

Scipio said...

Not only was Robin the Sensational Character Find of 1940, he remains so today.

No other character is more liked and respected by readers and writers (not even Batman and Superman).

Robin may not be the most powerful person in the DC universe, but most people would agree, he's probably the cooleset.