What I Remember:
I remember enjoying this book a lot. It's a re-telling of the origin of Dick Grayson, the first Robin. I liked this book because I enjoyed origin stories. I also liked this book a lot since it featured Dick Grayson as Robin. The Robin series was Tim Drake’s book at the time since the Annuals was Year One. I got a treat with an original Robin story.
Robin Annual #4
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciler: Jason Armstrong
Inker: Robert Campanellla
Lettering: Tim Harkins
Colorist: Phil Allen
Associate Editor: Jordan B. Gorfinkel
Editor: Dennis O’Neil
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: 1995
Cover Price: $2.95
Re-Collection Price: $6.59
This story is a first-person account of Dick Grayson’s journey from circus performer to masked vigilante. It starts with the infamous trapeze accident that kills his parents and Dick watching helplessly from the ground.
That night, after sneaking out of his bunk, Dick overhears the ringmaster, Stan Rutledge, shouting at “Pop” Haly. He blames the circus owner for the death of the Graysons.
Meanwhile, Batman is on the grounds, investigating the deaths.
Soon after, Dick is taken by Gotham child services since they could find no other family for him. Dick quickly realizes that the home for displaced kids is a rough place and he is forced to fight for his life.
He escapes, but runs into Batman, who tells him that he’ll need his help investigating his parent’s deaths and he’ll take care of him.
The next morning Dick’s adoption goes through and he’s now a ward of Bruce Wayne. Things get off to an icy start with Alfred in the car and Dick soon learns that it doesn’t seem that Bruce has much time for him in between his tennis lessons with supermodel Brittany St. James and his “prior engagements” that will keep him out late.
Dick sneaks out again, returning to the circus. This time he finds Haly being threatened by Boss Zucco and his goons, who are trying to force Haly to use union stagehands to run the show. Haly argues that he can’t afford union rates. Zucco reminds him of the Graysons, Haly snaps and is shot.
Dick lashes out and is beaten for his troubles but is rescued by Batman, who takes him back to his headquarters (not yet the batcave.) and the secret is revealed.
Bruce tells Dick that while, Zucco is responsible for his parent’s death, he believes that there is a man working inside the circus. Dick does some reconnaissance at Haly’s funeral, with no luck.
Dick begins his training and Robin takes Gotham City by storm.
One night, the Dynamic Duo are taking out a group of Zucco’s goons and Batman forces them to give up the name, Rutledge, the ringmaster. He had outstanding debts to Zucco and access to organic acids, used on the rope. Batman lets Robin handle it alone.
Afterwards, Dick realizes he’s found a new family and a new circus.
Continued After Ad:
Absolutely, this was a fun retelling of the classic origin story, expanded and updated for then-modern times. Dixon tells a story that’s more than an origin of a superhero, but a story of a boy, alone and without roots finding roots and a family, even if that family is a tad unconventional.
Dick grew up moving from town to town and throughout the story that attitude seems stick with Dick. He decides he has to leave the circus, take off out out of the group home and even when he’s helping Batman solve a case he thinks the relationship will be over once they catch the bad guys. Show’s over on to the next town. It’s only at the very end of the story that he realizes that he’s found prominence and a new family in Bruce and Alfred.
Jason Armstrong’s art was also on point. It was a little on the cartoony side, but that gave the book a timeless look. It was a modernization of the golden age style.
This is a “Year One” story and it shouldn’t look like a regular Robin book, it’s a throwback. Many of the characters looked like they could have been in the original story from the golden age. This book is definitely worth picking up for the price it sells at online.
It’s an alien invasion as we stick with the Batman Family Annuals and look at the Bloodlines Annual from 1993! It's Detective Comics Annual #6! See you in seven!