For all his talk of working alone, Batman has never had a shortage of allies in all the years he's been in comics, TV shows, and movies.
He's been in the Justice League. He founded The Outsiders. He even has the Bat Family, including Alfred, Catwoman, and Batgirl. Batman has been at the core of many team-ups in over 80 years of comic book history.
But none of his partners have been more closely linked to him and his mythos than Boy Wonder himself, Robin.
While Bruce Wayne has generally been the only one to take on the mantle of Batman, the role of Robin has been filled by plenty of characters over the years. Some fell flat. Others were intended as weird-for-the-sake-of-weird (like Robin the Toy Wonder from the 853rd century).
But there have been a handful of great Robin characters, and they've brought the sidekick hero to new heights. Here are our picks for the best Robin characters to wear the red tights.
5. Damian Wayne
On paper, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul sounds like he'd make the perfect sidekick to Batman.
Damian Wayne has all the physical abilities of the other characters on this list as well as plenty of snark and attitude, which you'd expect from the grandson of the Demon's Head.
Few characters have shaken up comic book continuity as much as Damian did with his arrival, but his potential as a character has always been held back by his penchant for extreme violence.
Damian Wayne has had moments where he's shown some growth, of course, but he's largely one-dimensional in his bloodthirsty take on the character of Robin. It's not very in-line with Batman's code of conduct as we'd expect from his true son.
4. Jason Todd
The second character to take on the title of Robin met one of the most famous ends in comic book history.
Jason Todd debuted as Robin in 1983 with a backstory that was initially nearly identical to Dick Grayson's, which was being the son of acrobats killed by Killer Croc. That was quickly revised and he became a street orphan adopted by Bruce Wayne to replace Grayson.
However, the similarities between the two in both appearance and personality led to readers turning on the character.
In one of the most famous stories in comic history, fans voted in 1988 to have The Joker brutally beat and murder young Todd. It was a huge event in comics at the time—giving creative control to comic book readers—and highlighted just how poorly the character had resonated with fans.
Still, Todd took part in several iconic comics during his short tenure as Robin, including Alan Moore's excellent "For the Man Who Has Everything" in 1985, in which he saved Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from Mongul's Black Mercy plant.
Don't worry, though. No one stays dead forever in comics! Todd would eventually be revived to take on the role of anti-hero, Red Hood.
3. Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown started life as the daughter of one of Gotham's masked supervillains, Cluemaster. When his claims of rehabilitation prove to be false, she takes on the role of Spoiler to undermine his various crimes.
However, when Tim Drake is forced to hang up his cape, she steps into the role of Robin with her own homemade suit. She demands that Batman train her—and somehow convinces him to do so—and she ends up with a short stint as his sidekick.
Stephanie's time as an independent superhero made her a more rebellious and difficult-to-control Robin, which made her relationship with Batman more tense, dramatic, and, ultimately, interesting to read.
However, Stephanie wasn't able to spend much time as Robin before she fell victim to comic book writers and their tendency to kill off female characters at the slightest provocation. Plus, her time as both Spoiler and Batgirl were better written than her time as Robin.
2. Dick Grayson
Is there a more iconic character in comic books than the original Robin? Dick Grayson became the standard against which all other superhero sidekicks were measured against.
Debuting just a year after Batman, the lasting legacy between Batman and Robin went on for more than 40 years before Grayson eventually took on the persona of Nightwing and became the leader of the Teen Titans.
Indeed, feeling stifled and smothered by his adoptive father's controlling ways, Dick Grayson broke away from Batman to find his own way as a hero beyond the shadow of Batman's wing.
Grayson's defining characteristic as Robin is his world-class acrobatics. Raised on the flying trapeze, no one else in the Bat Family can move quite like he can. And when Bruce Wayne eventually died during the "Batman R.I.P" storyline, he reluctantly took on the role of Batman.
Ultimately, it's the tension between Grayson and Wayne that makes him one of the best Robins of all time. No one is more worthy of succeeding Bruce as Batman, yet no one wants that title less than he does.
1. Tim Drake
Batman is known as the World's Greatest Detective, but there's one character who could eventually be even better: Tim Drake, the third one to ever take on the role of Robin.
Tim Drake wasn't brought into the Bat Family due to any personal tragedy; instead, he discovered Batman's secret identity all on his own, using his detective skills to figure out it was Bruce Wayne behind the cowl.
For years, Drake trained on his own. And when Jason Todd was killed and Batman spiraled into increasing violence, he convinced Grayson, Alfred, and even Bruce Wayne himself to take him in as Robin.
Tim Drake tops this list because his run as Robin has been the most vibrant and consistent. The other characters on this list outgrew the role of Robin, but Drake is Robin through and through. Grayson might have been the first Robin, but Drake is, without a doubt, the best Robin.