"Animated Robin, Part 2 (of 2)" Author: Ricky Chruch (Follow RICHARDCHURCH16)
Date: July 3, 2015
Not only is Robin the oldest sidekick in the comic book industry, heís also the most recognizable to the mainstream audience. People who have only seen the various Batman films or television shows instantly know who he is and his importance to Batmanís world. While he hasnít appeared much in live action, Robin has appeared in nearly every animated version of Batman throughout their history. To help celebrate Robinís 75th anniversary, hereís a look at Robinís animated history and the voice actors who played him.
UNDER THE RED HOOD (2010)
In this direct-to-video film, the very idea and legacy of Robin is given the main focus as one of Batmanís darkest moments comes back to haunt him. A new vigilante calling himself the Red Hood has come to Gotham and he intends to stop Black Maskís reign as top mob boss by placing himself at the top. Batman fights Red Hood only to discover he is actually a resurrected Jason Todd, the Robin The Joker murdered in cold blood.
Jason is angry that Batman never avenged his death by allowing The Joker to live and cause more death. He believes that Batman will never be able to wipe out crime, but it can be reduced as long as he controls it. This conflict comes to a boiling point as The Joker is drawn into the mob war, putting many years of hatred and sorrow to the forefront in an emotional climax.
Jensen Ackles, star of Supernatural, played Jason Todd in this film with a great deal of emotion. Neil Patrick Harris also stars as Nightwing for a few scenes, showing the role of Robin isnít such a bad luck charm and can work out well.
YOUNG JUSTICE (2011 Ė 2013)
Robin once again had a starring role in this series focusing on the young sidekicks of the Justice Leagueís strongest heroes. Heís one of the founding members of this team, though he is actually is not team leader. Instead, he lets Aqualad lead the team throughout the first season, but offers his advice to the new hero. Heís a very competent fighter and has displayed great chemistry with Batman when they work together. In fact, they mesh so well together they do not feel the need to communicate each otherís tactics out loud in a fight. Heís also shown to be a proficient hacker and has a dry wit.
In the second season, Dick Grayson passed the Robin role onto Tim Drake and became Nightwing. He also took up full leadership of the Young Justice team as they continue to fight their enemies and save the world. Even Jason Todd is referenced at one point with a possible memorial statue dedicated to him. In a contrast to Dick, Tim is a much more cautious planner and fighter. Both Dick and Tim showed themselves to be quite intelligent and more than worthy of working alongside Batman and the Justice League. Jesse McCartney voiced Dick while Cameron Bowen voiced Tim.
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (2012)
Bruce Wayne has been retired for 10 years, but decides to don the cape and cowl once again when Gotham City becomes overrun with crime and a zealous new gang. Dick Grayson has been long gone. Neither of them have spoken ďsince JasonĒ, implying the second Robinís death was what caused the rift between them. Batman is always in need of a Robin, however, and that is when the audience is introduced to Carrie Kelly, a young girl who is inspired by Batman after he saves her life. She returns the favour after a vicious fight with the Mutant gang leader and Batman begins training her.
Carrie Kelly is a smart kid whose family life isnít exactly the greatest. Her parents are neglectful and itís implied that theyíre heroin addicts. When push comes to shove, Carrie doesnít even hesitate making her own Robin costume. Batmanís simple presence inspires her to do more to help him and the city.
Carrie also made a cameo appearance in The New Batman Adventures episode ďLegends of the KnightĒ in a story taken right out of Dark Knight Returns. She also recently made her debut in The New 52 comics as a friend of Damian Wayneís. In this adaptation, she was voiced by Modern Family star Ariel Winter.
TEEN TITANS GO! (2013 Ė Present)
In a more comedic take of the DC Universe team, Teen Titans Go! aims at a much younger demographic and focuses on the exploits of the Titans outside of their world-saving adventures. Scott Menville once again reprised his role as Robin in this series.
Robin is presented rather differently than most other interpretations. He takes crime fighting very seriously and is annoyed his other teammates do not do so as well. He also enjoys the role of leader a little too much as the power goes right to his head. One common characteristic of this Robin is his mad, over-complicated plans to save the day. As with Teen Titans, he is also quite obviously in love with Starfire, though she does not reciprocate his feelings.
SON OF BATMAN/BATMAN VS. ROBIN (2014 & 2015)
In DCís latest line of original animated movies, they are all sequels of, or at least connected to, each other. Batmanís latest animated adventures have introduced his son Damian into the mix. Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, thereby making him grandson to Raís al Ghul, one of Batmanís most dangerous enemies. Unlike any of the previous Robins, Damian has been trained in the League of Assassins his entire life and has no problem killing criminals.
When Damian was first introduced, he was a spoiled brat that many comic fans absolutely hated. Thatís much the same in the first film, Son of Batman, as heís shown to be incredibly arrogant and whiny, believing the role of Robin is his by right. It isnít long before heís brought into conflict with Nightwing, someone he views as beneath him. The two of them share a rivalry throughout the two films, but do earn a begrudging respect for one another (Interestingly, no mention is made at all of Jason or Tim, making it seem like Dick was the only Robin in this continuity).
In the end, Damian becomes a better person and more capable fighter, but still loses his cool when he thinks Batman isnít treating him with enough respect as a partner or a son. Stuart Allen played Damian while Firefly alum Sean Maher played Nightwing.