Learning from the mistakes of Todd’s origin stories, Drake was much more distinctive from the beginning. Although the circus remained a focal point in their timelines.
As a small boy, Tims parents took him to the circus to see the world-renowned Flying Graysons. Worried it may scare him, they tried to make it a fun experience, including taking a picture with the Grayson family.
But fate was to play a cruel hand. It was the same night as the murder of Dicks parents. As we already know, Bruce was also in the audience that night, setting the three on their path. Touched by the kindness the Graysons had shown him, Tim became obsessed with them, and the circus.
Years later, a TV crew films Batman and Robin persuing The Penguin. During this, Robin performs a quadruple somersault. Tim knew this was a speciality move, only one person alive could perform it. Tim realises Dick Grayson must be Robin, and a new obsession is born. He starts collecting all the news clippings he can about Dick Grayson and Robin. He soon discovers Bruce Wayne took Grayson in, if Grayson is Robin then Bruce must surely be Batman.
Tim’s obsession continued, but he always kept his distance and didn’t try to interact with either of them. That is, until the death of Jason Todd. Then aged 13, Tim saw the effect loss was having on Batman. Batman was losing control, almost becoming psychotic, he no longer showed the restraint he used to.
Tim decided to confront Grayson, insisting Batman needs a Robin. Grayson, however, had left that life behind him and was embracing his Nightwing role. Tim was tenacious, following Nightwing, even helping him solve a mystery. Seeing the young boys natural detective ability he agreed to return to Wayne Manor.
Despite returning to help, Grayson had no interest in being Robin again. They were at loggerheads, Tim insisted Bruce needed a Robin to focus him. But Grayson had moved on from that life and was happier as Nightwing.
Following an argument with Tim, Nightwing left to help Batman chase Two-Face. After some time, Tim senses his heroes are in danger and convinces a reluctant Alfred to help him. Finding Nightwing and Batman trapped under rubble, Tim confronts Two-Face, and with the help of Alfred apprehends him.
A Cautious Path
Despite this brave act, and with both Alfred and Nightwing trying to convince him, Batman is reluctant to take anybody else in. It takes time and a lot of arguments, but Batman does see how skilful Drake is. Reluctantly, he takes Drake on for training.
Initially, he restricts Drake to the Batcave and has him train with Nightwing and Alfred. Only once he is satisfied, does Batman present Drake with his Robin outfit, a new, modern version to signify a new start.
Even though he was now officially Robin, Drake’s training isn’t over. Batman sends him abroad to train with martial arts masters, partly to learn more skills, but also to build confidence. Drake is still unsure if he can truly live up to his predecessors.
Despite his uncertainty, he quickly shows himself to be a skilled crimefighter. After the events of Knightfall, as Jean-Paul Valley becomes Batman, it was Drake who trained him in the ethos.
When Valley loses control, he banishes Drake from the Batcave. But rather than give up, he continues to fight crime solo, picking up the slack from an increasingly crazed Valley.
It was in this time he first met Spoiler, real name Stephanie Brown, with whom he would later have a relationship with.
Ultimately, Bruce returned and defeated Valley, allowing Grayson to be Batman. Working with Drake as Robin, they were a formidable team.
It was Graysons next outing as Batman, however, that would be the end of Drake as Robin.
Following Batman RIP, everyone believed Bruce to be dead. After some time, and a pretender (a somewhat manic Jason Todd in a Batsuit), Grayson took over as Batman. To Drakes dismay, he chose Damian Wayne to be Robin.
Angry and not believing Bruce was dead, Drake left Gotham to hunt for him. Honouring his former identity, but showing he was now his own master, he left as Red Robin.
But wait! I hear you shout, what about Stephanie Brown? Well, before he left for good, there was a short time when Drake stopped being Robin. Leaving a place for someone else to have a short article of their own.
Keep an eye out for the next part, and remember, if you want to hear more about Drake specifically, vote for him for the podcast.
Steve‘s Suggested Reading:
Robin: Flying Solo
A Lonely Place of Dying