The adventures of Batman were irrevocably altered in 1940's Detective Comics #38 when he welcomed young Dick Grayson onto the team as Robin, the Boy Wonder. Since then Batman has worked solo, with a partner, or with an ever-growing team of partners, but it all comes back to Robin.
There have been a number of people behind the domino mask of Robin, and each character has put their own spin on the iconic Robin costume. With the former Teen Wonder Tim Drake adopting a new costume and identity in the pages of Young Justice, we felt it was time to look at some of the best and worst Robin costumes that Gotham City has ever seen.
10 BEST: PRE-FLASHPOINT STEPHANIE BROWN
Stephanie Brown was originally the vigilante known as Spoiler, who began working with Tim Drake/Robin III and eventually Batman. When Tim retired from the role after his father discovered his identity, Stephanie urged Batman to train her to take on the role of Robin.
Stephanie's costume was a modified version of Drake's iconic Robin costume, which lowered the red tunic slightly to form a skirt segment. Brown's served well alongside Batman but was ultimately fired, and she would later leave the Robin identity after her "death" to become the new Batgirl.
9 WORST: NEW 52 EARTH 2 HELENA WAYNE
Stephanie Brown isn't the only woman to wear the colors of Robin, though she is the only in-continuity character to do so. However, after Flashpoint created the New 52 universe, fans were introduced to a very different Robin from the new Earth 2 - Helena Wayne, daughter of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
While Helena would eventually take on the Huntress identity, she began her career as Robin. The costume seemed to merge Earth 1's various New 52 Robin costumes together while adding giant shoulder and knee pads, which also came stylized with the "R" logo. While it was cool seeing this alternate take on the Robin character, the costume failed to impress.
8 BEST: PRE-FLASHPOINT RED ROBIN
One of the biggest departures from the classic Robin costume was first introduced in the Elseworlds classic Kingdom Come worn by Dick Grayson. He was known as Red Robin, and the costume later would make its first in-continuity appearance in the pages of Countdown.
The in-canon continuity of Red Robin originates the cowled red and black costume as a new suit for an alternate reality Jason Todd, though Tim Drake of the mainstream DC universe eventually adopts the costume as his own after he was replaced by a new Robin.
7 WORST: PRE-CRISIS EARTH 2 DICK GRAYSON
The Pre-Crisis Earth 2 continuity featured a number of differences from the mainstream DC Earth, with the main difference being that the characters aged somewhat naturally from their first comic appearances. This meant that Dick Grayson grew to adulthood as Robin, and had a few interesting but awful costume choices on his Earth.
Earth 2 Dick has grown to replace his mentor as the new Batman, and his merged costume reflects that with some heavy-handed design choices. At one point the Earth-1 Dick meets his Earth2 counterpart who gives him one of his old costumes, which was an evolved version of the original Robin costume. While it was better than the Batman/Robin hybrid, it didn't really strike much fear into the hearts of evil-doers.
6 BEST: NEW 52 DICK GRAYSON
When the New 52 universe shortened the DC timeline, it left the Robins in a difficult situation. However, it also gave the New 52 versions of the character a second chance at costume designs, which definitely improved Dick Grayson's initial Robin costume.
While his pixie boots were iconic, the original New 52 Robin costume was a huge improvement and actually served as acceptable crimefighting gear for a teenager to wear. Each Robin got their own version of a New 52 makeover, but Dick Grayson's new original Robin costume proved that they got it right on the first try.
5 WORST: PRE-CRISIS DICK GRAYSON
Unfortunately, the first try for Dick Grayson's Robin costume was not the best, despite the fact the costume has achieved legendary status. Robin's arrival as Batman's partner was surprising due to the bright red, green, and yellows of his costume when contrasted to the dark black and grey of the Batman.
However, bright bullet-baiting colors aside, the real problem with the original Robin suit comes from the fact that this small child was fighting violent criminals while wearing pixie boots and underoos. Dick Grayson may have rocked the outfit, but once it was locked up in the Batcave's museum no Robin ever brought back its unusual design features.
4 BEST: DAMIAN WAYNE
That's not to say the original costume wouldn't see combat again, as Bruce's son Damian Wayne would later use parts of the costume to make his own makeshift Robin costume. Eventually, his costume would evolve and adapt into the classic Robin tunic with a stylized "R," complete with a hooded black and yellow cape and a black bodysuit.
Damian's costume has remained largely unchanged since he first officially became Robin after Final Crisis, though it has gained a few more embellishments along the way that further adjust the Robin outfit to more suit Damian's personality and his role as the Son of the Batman.
3 WORST: PRE-CRISIS JASON TODD
While most fans remember Jason Todd as a nearly identical copy of Dick Grayson when he took over as the second Robin, his initial Pre-Crisis appearance was actually much different. Jason Todd first appeared with red hair, though it was sometimes colored blond, and he had a completely different Robin costume.
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The original Jason Todd's costume extended the red tunic and gave the costume green pants, though decided to keep the little red booties. The iconic domino mask was replaced with a connected mask that exposed the top of his hair, and he was even thinking of using a different alias than Robin. However, Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and Jason Todd was returned to the original Robin costume.
2 BEST: PRE-FLASHPOINT TIM DRAKE
After the death of Jason Todd, Batman went without a partner for a while. Eventually, young Tim Drake would figure out his and Robin's secret identity and try to get the dynamic duo back together, though he would eventually become the new Robin, and get the first brand new Robin costume in Post-Crisis continuity.
Tim Drake's original Robin costume is the most iconic Robin costume and further influenced his later New 52 look. He would later adjust his Robin costume after the death of his best friend Conner Kent/Superboy, and his new Red and Black costume would continue to hold a high place among the rest of the Robin costumes we had seen prior to Flashpoint.
1 WORST: NEW 52 RED ROBIN
Unfortunately, Tim Drake also holds the spot for the worst Robin costume ever, thanks to his New 52 reboot as Red Robin. While he had used the identity before, the Kingdom Come version of the costume was erased from continuity, and a new altered version was created that attempted to visually merge his Robin and Red Robin personas together.
What resulted was a generic pouch-heavy red and black costume full of unneeded straps and wings that kind of resembled a cape occasionally. Any connection to his former life as Robin seemed to be wiped out of his new costume, but thankfully Tim eventually reverted back to a version of his iconic Pre-Flashpoint outfit before he recently adopted a new costume and identity in Brian Michael Bendis' Young Justice.