Former boy wonder Tim Drake said it best back in 1989; “Batman needs a Robin”. With the recent tragic events that took place in Batman Inc. #8, Batman is once again left without a Robin to fight by his side. While many fans will forever mourn the loss of Damian Wayne, others are already looking towards what the future may hold, or to be more specific, who.
In the coming weeks, the ongoing Batman & Robin series will be seeing quite a few big changes. The upcoming Batman & Robin #18 will be an entirely silent issue, marking the series final appearance of the recently deceased Damian Wayne. After issue #18, the series will cycle through some of Batman’s former sidekicks while Batman figures out who his new regular crime-fighting partner will be, with each issue taking on a new name to represent the hero fighting alongside the Dark Knight. With issue #19, the series will be retitled Batman & Red Robin and star Tim Drake, the third Robin. This issue will be followed by Batman & Red Hood, then Batman & Batgirl, Batman & Catwoman and finally Batman & Nightwing in late summer. These are the only issues that DC has announced so far, so there’s no telling what name the series will come to take when September hits!
Batman has rarely gone without a Robin for long. Since the first Robin appeared back in 1940, Batman has pretty consistently always had a partner fighting alongside him. Aside from a few minor gaps in between sidekicks (or even the time a few years back with no Batman and only sidekicks during Battle for the Cowl), the existence of a Robin has grown to become a necessary piece of Batman’s crime-fighting puzzle. Now that Damian Wayne has departed off to the big Batcave in the sky, shouldn’t be too long before we see someone else filling out that iconic red, green and yellow uniform. But who will be taking on the role next? Will one of the former boy wonders step up to the challenge? Or will we be seeing a brand new face behind the domino mask? Let’s take a look at the possible candidates for the role of Batman’s next sidekick-
Robin 1: Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing-
When it comes to Robin, Grayson was the original. The very first to bear this heavy mantle, Dick Grayson is considered by many to be the most iconic version of Batman’s sidekick. Grayson eventually aged out of the role, citing that “you can’t be the boy wonder forever”, and took up a new name and costume as Nightwing. In his new role, he made a point of setting off on his own adventures without Batman, although he would return to help his former mentor regularly. Later, when Batman was ‘dead’, Grayson begrudgingly took up the mantle of the Dark Knight himself.
The odds of Dick Grayson becoming Batman’s next sidekick: 100,000,000,000:1
Grayson did his time in the sidekick role, and has since graduated to become his own full-fledged hero. Nightwing is his own man at this point and his proven time and time again that he can hold his own amongst the big leagues. It wouldn’t make any sense for Dick Grayson to be anyone’s sidekick after spending several years with a sidekick of his own when he served as Batman. It also doesn’t help his chances that DC recently announced Nightwing is relocating to Chicago in the near future.
Robin II: Jason Todd, aka The Red Hood–
Jason’s story is a tragic one, with his time as the boy wonder having been cut short by a madman with some explosives and a crowbar. Jason was the first Robin to die in the role, and while he has returned to the fray these many years later as the gun-toting vigilante The Red Hood, his death still left a long-lasting effect on the Dark Knight and the rest of the Bat-family. Since his return to the living, Jason has spent the last few years walking a very thin line between being a hero or a villain; with his most recent adventures with his team, The Outlaws, taking place a little further onto the ‘hero’ side of things.
The odds of Jason Todd becoming Batman’s next sidekick: 100,000,000:1
While Jason may be leaning more towards heroism lately, he’s hardly the clean cut hero that Batman would be willing to work with. Jason and Bruce have been at odds with each other ever since his return, even though they seem to have patched things up now for the most part. Even in a recent issue of Jason’s Red Hood and The Outlaws series, Batman noted to Todd that “I may not approve of your style, but you can’t argue with results”. So while Jason is finally comfortable being in the same room as Bruce again, and even worked with him as a member of Batman Inc. (while operating under the disguise alias Wingman), the two are hardly on the best terms with one another.
Batgirl I: Barbara Gordon
Barbara was another of Batman’s original sidekicks. She’s been working with Bruce since his early days as the Caped Crusader. Barbara was out of commission for some time after the events of The Killing Joke, and spent several years of her life wheelchair bound after a bullet pierced her spine. During that time she was the Bat-family’s go to resource for any information they could possibly need as she became the eyes and ears on the data-front as The Oracle. She has since regained her ability to walk, and gotten back into the swing of things as Batgirl.
The odds of Barbara Gordon becoming Batman’s next sidekick: 100, 000:1
Barbara only recently came back onto the scene as a costumed hero again, and after the traumatic events she went through during the recent Death of the Family arc, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Babs working on her own for a little while. Much like Dick Grayson, she’s “earned her stripes”, so to speak. She’s often been an independent hero, and has been doing this longer than most of Batman’s former partners, so seeing her become a regular sidekick again would be a little out of the norm.
Batgirl II: Cassandra Cain, aka Black Bat-
Cassandra’s tale is a bit of a complicated one. Raised to be the worlds greatest assassin (much like the recently deceased Damian Wayne), Cassandra used her stint as Batgirl to become something greater than that. As a masked hero she realized how much good she could do for the world. While her appearances in the post-Flashpoint New 52 universe have been limited, she is currently a Hong Kong based agent of Batman Inc.
The odds of Cassandra Cain becoming Batman’s next sidekick: 10,000:1
Cassandra would certainly be an interesting choice. She’s grown rather distant from most of the Bat-family and is fairly similar in style to the late Damian Wayne; albeit considerably more graceful. As her appearances have been fairly limited in recent years (and her being completely left out of the recent Death of the Family story arch), it seems pretty unlikely that we’ll be seeing Cassandra taking up a place by Batman’s side anytime soon.
Robin III: Tim Drake, aka Red Robin-
The third to fill the role of Robin, Tim Drake was the one that brought the mantle back to glory after Jason’s death. Tim became Robin not because he was recruited, but because he earned it by deducing Batman’s secret identity all on his own at the young age of thirteen (although this was pre-New 52 canon, and his backstory has been dramatically altered in his current iteration). Drake is the one that told Batman he needed to have a Robin, and made his point by taking up the role and showing him exactly why. Tim was forcefully ‘graduated’ out of the Robin role when Dick Grayson became Batman following Bruce Wayne’s death. Dick felt that he could never view Tim as a sidekick, and viewed him more as a partner that had earned his respect as his own hero. This lead to Tim taking up the mantle of Red Robin. In the New 52 universe, Tim never used the codename Robin and only ever operated as Red Robin.
The odds of Tim Drake becoming Batman’s next sidekick: 1,000:1
Tim loved the time he spent as Batman’s sidekick, but in the recent years since he split off from the Dark Knight, he has more than come into his own as an individual hero and the leader of the Teen Titans. That’s not to say Tim still doesn’t have some major part to play in the fallout after Damian’s death. While it’s unlikely Tim will just come running back to Bruce’s side to take up his old job, Tim will probably be making more regular appearances in the Bat related titles in the coming months (although I’ll delve a bit more into that later).
Robin IV: Stephanie Brown, aka Spoiler, Batgirl III
The daughter of D-grade villain ‘The Cluemaster’, Stephanie Brown initially became a hero to spite her father. Initially operating as The Spoiler alongside Tim Drake during his time as Robin, Stephanie came to have a clumsy yet natural feel for crime-fighting. When Tim resigned from his position as Robin, Stephanie leapt at the chance to take up the mantle, even if only for a brief period of time. She was only a Robin for a few short weeks before reverting back to her Spoiler alias and meeting her untimely demise at the hands of The Black Mask. Months later, Stephanie would resurface and reveal that she had faked her death and gone “off the grid” for a while. When Bruce Wayne died and Dick Grayson took over as Nightwing, Stephanie became the new Batgirl for a time. After the events of Flashpoint, Stephanie doesn’t seem to exist anywhere in the current DCU.
The odds of Stephanie Brown becoming Batman’s next sidekick: -52:1
Poor Stephanie. Someone high up at DC really must hate this character, which is kind of a shame considering the massive outcry from her very vocal fan base demanding that the character make a return soon. Alas, Stephanie has supposedly been labeled as a ‘toxic’ character, who is not to be used under any circumstances, so the odds are stacked against her on this one.
A New Robin:
There are infinite options ahead of us when it comes to a brand new Robin stepping up to the plate. While there are a few potential candidates already, such as the already heavily rumored orphan girl Harper Row, it really seems likely that it’ll be someone we’ve never seen before. While Harper Row would make sense, she almost seems too obvious.
The odds of an entirely new character becoming Batman’s next sidekick: 50:1
While it’s entirely impossible to predict who exactly will be the next Robin, it’s very likely that it’ll be a new character joining Batman’s fight for justice. My personal theory relies heavily on Tim Drake, but not in the way you would expect. Again, Tim was the one that said “Batman needs a Robin”, and while he himself has graduated and moved on, it doesn’t mean he still doesn’t believe in that. Tim has forever been the ‘brainy one’ of the former boy wonders. Dick had his acrobatics, Jason had his fighting skills, but Tim was the one that was a detective. I think Tim Drake is going to be on the lookout for a new Robin for Batman whether Bruce is ready for that or not. This is all wild speculation, but seems like an entirely possible turn of events.
Regardless of who becomes the next boy (or girl) wonder, it’s an exciting time to be a Batman fan! Who do you think will be fighting crime as the second half of Batman’s dynamic duo in the near future? Let us know in the comments below!