Friday, May 12, 2017

Robin the Boy Wonder


Leader of the Teen Titans and sidekick to the legendary Batman, Robin is the primary protagonist of "Custody". During his time with the Titans, Robin has had to face Slade, better known as Deathstroke the Terminator in the comics' continuity, who, despite Robin's repeated outrage over the fact,  has seen Robin as a kind of son, often lecturing him during battles and talking down to the Teen Wonder. This went so far that for a brief time, Slade blackmailed Robin into becoming his apprentice to save the lives of his friends. With the help of his friends, Robin broke free from Slade's control, but has ever since been haunted by the villain's ruthlessness and calculating ability to control him and others.


Unlike the "Teen Titans" cartoon, "Custody" establishes Robin's alter-ego as Richard "Dick" Grayson, the first Robin from the DC Comics' continuity, whose parents were killed by a mob boss during the family's high-wire trapeze act "The Flying Graysons". Bruce Wayne, who was in the audience at the time, felt a connection with Grayson, having also lost his parents to an act of criminality. Wayne undertakes the care of Dick Grayson, who becomes his ward, however, it doesn't take long for the young acrobat to discover Bruce's secret identity as Gotham's crime fighting vigilante. Bruce then agrees to train Dick Grayson to fight criminality, who becomes "Robin the Boy Wonder", the first ever sidekick to a superhero. 

Similar to the DC Comics' timeline, Dick Grayson eventually leaves Batman's tutelage to establish himself as a solo-hero after disagreements between the two cause him to want to leave Wayne Manor, before he meets other super powered teenagers who then become the Teen Titans. When "Custody" begins, the Teen Wonder has lead the Titans for the last few years, having little contact with Batman. However, when a string of robberies point to connections to a pyrotechnic set of serial killings occurring in Gotham City, Robin has no choice but to return to his former home and work with his mentor, despite their still unreconciled views.

Personality and Relationships:

Robin is a "one-man" SWAT team. Trained by Batman since a young age, Robin is not only an expert martial artist and master of various weaponry, but also an incredibly brilliant detective and strategist. He is a perfectionist, which is partially self inflicted, partially inflicted by a strict training regime given to him by Batman. This lends itself to a very serious side to his personality, particularly when dealing with especially dangerous criminals.

However, his upbringing as a circus acrobat innately instilled in him a joy in "living". He loves to feel  adrenaline rush through his body and is often highly aware of his physical being. Additionally, his ability to recognize the astounding and wonderful things in life has leant to the lighter more carefree side of his personality, which has allowed him to build strong relationships with his friends and others around him.

Robin has also had a crush on his teammate, Starfire, for some time. Upon her arrival on Earth, she learned English via kissing him. Her dedication to those around her and being true to herself have led to his love and adoration of her. However, being taught not to let relationships interfere with his duties as a superhero, Robin has often been conflicted over expressing or acting on his feelings for Starfire.

One of Robin's greatest fears is Slade, the Titans' (and arguably Robin's) arch enemy, who as multiple people have noticed, Robin is very similar to. While Slade is a formidable opponent in regards to intellect and fighting technique, Slade's perhaps darkness method of frightening the Teen Wonder comes through his manipulative and degrading way of arguing against Robin's moral compass, using Robin's own desires, relationships, and weaknesses against him.

Personal Thoughts:

Robin remains to this day my favorite character ever written. I can't thank Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson for creating him and the numerous other authors who added to and built up Robin's history, personality, and character. I found as a teenager that I could relate to Robin because as much as he wanted to please his 'parent', he also wanted to remain true to himself. His inner strength and ability to hold fast to his beliefs, his dedication to doing the right thing, and his compassion for those around him, are just a few of the many reasons I've admired his character for well over a decade. I really could go on and on, and I know this is probably much shorter than most of the 'personal thoughts' that I'll be writing, but the thing is, I think his character speaks for itself. He is just a joy to read and write and all I can do is hope that I was able to do justice while writing his character for this fan fiction. He is after all, the one and only Boy Wonder.

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