No other dynamic duo compares to Batman and Robin. Since 1940, the Caped Crusader and has trained multiple young men and women - hoping to one day mold them into worthy successors of his mantle. But things don't always work out so great in a mentor/student, parent/child relationship.
Today, we're going to rank 10 of Batman's most brutal fights with bearers of the Robin mantle. Now there are going to be a few technicalities in this list since multiple people have also donned Robin's title as well as Batman's. The fights will primarily be ranked based on the context behind each battle as well as their overall impact on the DC Universe.
10 Bruce Wayne Vs. Damian Wayne (Batman vs. Robin)
Whenever Batman takes a Robin under his wing, he does so intending to raise them as a pupil. As time goes on, Batman begins to bond with his students and forms a surrogate Father/Son relationship with them. Damian Wayne is different from the other Robins because he's Bruce Wayne's biological son with Talia al Ghul!
Talia raised Damian from infancy into adolescence before Bruce could intervene. By the time Damian became a Robin, he had a mean streak and a thirst for blood. The 2015 animated film Batman Vs. Robin represents an instance where things came to a head. Damian's League of Assassins training made him a genuine threat to Bruce. Ultimately, Batman managed to knock some sense into his son - literally.
9 Batman Vs. Robin (Old Wounds)
This next fight comes from The New Batman Adventures animated series- specifically the episode "Old Wounds." Tim Drake, the current Robin at the time, encounters Nightwing for the first time. Tim Drake figures out that Nightwing is Dick Grayson, the original Robin. Drake asks Grayson why he left the role and learns of a falling out between Dick and Bruce.
We then flashback to the day that Dick vacates his title as Robin. There's a lot of drama that plays out through the episode so TLDR, Batman takes Dick's trust for granted, Dick punches out Batman in response, and everyone's sad for a time. "Old Wounds" ends with Tim Drake helping Dick and Bruce makes amends, so at least this Batman vs. Robin story has a happy ending.
8 Bruce Wayne Vs. Damian Wayne (Injustice)
The title Injustice: Gods Among Us refers to both a fighting game developed by Netherrealm Studios and a comic book series published by DC Comics. The comics set up the events of the game, taking place in an alternate reality in which Superman becomes a dictator after killing The Joker!
As you can imagine, things start falling apart pretty fast. Before you know it, family members and friends face off in a global, meta-human conflict. Bruce Wayne eventually comes to blows with a grown-up Damian Wayne after the latter inadvertently kills Dick Grayson. This Batman vs. Robin story is particularly brutal; not only does Batman beat the sanity out of Damian, but he also disowns him as a son.
7 Azrael vs. Tim Drake (Knightfall)
Do you remember that scene in The Dark Knight Rises when Bane broke Batman's back? The Knightfall storyline inspired that; just like in the film, Bane attacked Bruce Wayne, beat him in combat, and "broke the Bat." Bruce was out of commission for a while. In his stead, Jean-Paul Valley - the current Azrael - stepped up to fill in as Batman for a time.
Valley's methods were extreme and brutal, even by Batman standards. When Tim Drake called Valley out on the matter, the grown man attacked the teenage Robin. Bruce wasn't happy about this in slightest and immediately chastised Azrael once he recovered.
6 Bruce Wayne Vs. The New Joker (The Dark Knight Strikes Again)
Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is celebrated as a seminal Batman story, even decades after it first hit the shelves. Miller's follow up to Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, isn't so universally loved. DK2 features tons of controversial elements, from Superman assaulting Wonder Woman to comic's treatment of Dick Grayson - aka the New Joker.
In DK2, Dick is implied to be in love with Batman. Miller has Batman verbal take jabs at the former Robin for being a "sissy" before actually having the Caped Crusader beat his former pupil turned murderer into a pulp. Yeah, DK2 hasn't aged well.
5 Dick Grayson Vs. Jason Todd (Battle for the Cowl)
Around the late 2000s, Batman faced off against Darkseid in a duel to the death. Batman managed to wound the God of Apokolips mortally, but not before apparently meeting an untimely end. A vast array of heroes and even a few villains gathered together in observation of Bruce Wayne's passing. In the aftermath, a war broke out to decide who'd become the new Batman.
Dick Grayson and Jason Todd - the first and second Robin respectively - faced off during the Battle for the Cowl event. What makes this Batman vs. Robin fight interesting is that both Dick and Jason had legitimate claims to Bruce's previous title. The two fought tooth and nail until, in the end, Dick Grayson won and became Batman for a time.
4 "The Savior" Vs. Tim Drake (A Lonely Place of Living, Chapter 3)
The Savior is a mysterious figure in the DC Universe; he's a villain that knows a lot about Batman's personal life and claims to be his protege, yet kills with reckless abandon! Tim Drake encountered the Savior in Detective Comics #967. After chasing the Savior down, Drake learned that the Savior was a version of himself from an alternate future!
Robin 's battle with this fake Batman was hard fought - the Savior knew all of Tim's tricks and techniques after all. Tim Drake nearly lost his life in this encounter, but he managed to outsmart his future self in the end.
3 Batman Vs. The Arkham Knight (Batman: Arkham Knight)
The Batman: Arkham games are not only some of the Dark Knight's most popular stories, but they're also some of the most critically acclaimed superhero games of all time! As Batman, players have traded blows with some of the Caped Crusader's most dangerous rogues. In Batman: Arkham Knight, players come face to face with a foe from Bruce's past.
Near the end of the game, the titular Arkham Knight is revealed to be this universe's version of Jason Todd. Bruce and Jason clash multiple times throughout Arkham Knight, culminating in a deadly duel that features Batman vs. his former apprentice. The Arkham Knight's entire character arc takes inspiration from one of the oldest, most poignant Batman stories out there.
2 "Super-Bat" Vs. Nightwing (Superman/Batman #55)
The Superman/Batman line of comics features the Man of Steel and the Bat of Gotham teaming up. Rather than trade blows, the two seminal superheroes work together to solve problems using their combined might and intellect. Superman/Batman #55 flipped this basic premise on its head - afflicting Batman and Superman with a spell that swaps their powers!
Superman uses Batman's intellect to mellow out and continues helping people. Bruce, on the other hand, goes mad with Supes' powers! It falls to Nightwing to bring his former master to justice. The fight between Nightwing and the "Super-Bat" is wild - not only because Batman possesses the powers of a physical god but because Dick manages to keep pace with him!
1 Bruce Wayne Vs. Jason Todd (Under the Red Hood)
Batman: Under the Red Hood is the story that inspired the Arkham Knight. In this tale, Jason Todd miraculously returns to the world of the living. Years ago, he was brutally killed by the Joker in Batman: A Death in the Family. Filled with rage, Jason becomes the Red Hood and seeks to exact revenge against everyone who wronged him - including Batman.
Without a doubt, Under the Red Hood is the most brutal, emotional Batman vs. Robin story in DC Comics' history. Bruce not only has to confront a foe that knows all of his moves and secrets, but he also has to come to terms with one of his most significant failures in life.