|First Published:||September 19, 2012|
|Next Issue:||Nightwing #1|
As a boy, Dick Grayson would often play with his friend Raymond, racing each other in improvised parkour courses across whatever city they happened to be in with Haly's Circus. Dick liked parkour because it made use of one of his particular skills; reading his surroundings and other people. On one such race, they had entered a rail yard, and were playing at dodging oncoming trains using their acrobatic skills. A guard spotted them, and Raymond, who was less good at reading people than Dick, decided to make sport of the man. Dick, however, realized that unbalancing the guard would put him in the path of an oncoming train. Though he couldn't stop Raymond, he managed to thrust the guard out of the way just in time to save both their lives.
After an awkward visit to the police station, Dick's parents grounded him. It was his mother Mary's birthday that day, and he had made her spend most of it in the police station. Frustrated, Dick wondered aloud why it was being made such a big deal when the guard had decided not to press charges and he had apologized. Angrily, his father explained that running around doing whatever he wants is only a way for Dick to ignore the things he doesn't want to deal with. He would have to take responsibility for his actions, and that meant not always moving forward without looking back. After his father had left, Dick sheepishly gave his mother the present he had got for her. She had always loved robins, and so he had got her a bracelet with two of them engraved onto it. She was touched, but Dick was still grounded.
That night, a series of bad things happened. Dick had spotted Tony Zucco threatening C.C. Haly. His parents fell to their deaths when the ropes on the trapeze snapped. Afterward, Dick took back the bloodied bracelet he gave his mother, and cried. Millionaire Bruce Wayne, who had witnessed the events from the audience, came to him, and gave his condolences. Dick could see that there was something haunting Bruce that kept him from being the stereotypical playboy. The man ground his teeth, and suffered from a tension headache that made his eyes twitch. With no family left to look after him as he was a material witness to Zucco's crime, Bruce offered to take him in at the Wayne Care Center.
Though Dick had convinced his caretakers that he was doing well in dealing with his loss, secretly searching for Zucco under the guise of playing video games, and searching the darkened streets of Gotham City while pretending to be in his room reading. He felt that it was his responsibility to find Zucco, because he blamed himself for failing to speak out about what he saw.
On his fourth night of running the streets, Dick spotted the Batman in the midst of a fight with several gunmen. One of them had grabbed a hostage, and instinctively, Dick knew he could help; knew he should help. He jumped from a nearby roof, and kicked the gunman aside. He made an acrobatic escape, but the Batman caught up with him. When he saw the vigilante's face, he recognized the same facial tics that he had seen in Bruce Wayne; a tension headache, gritting his teeth, twitching eyes. Eventually, Dick had done a search to see what might have made Bruce the way he is, and discovered the man's tragic past.
Dick continued to go out looking for Zucco, and every night, Batman had been there to help him fight. They never talked about what he was doing, and Batman never told him to stop - probably because he knew that regardless, Dick wouldn't be able to stop. Eventually, though, Batman decided to show Dick to the Batcave. He had blindfolded the boy, and brought him inside. Aware that Dick would stop at nothing to find Zucco, Batman asked only what the boy planned to do when he found him. Finally Dick admitted that he was aware that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same, and explained that he had no intention of killing Tony Zucco. He and Bruce were the same, and wanted the same thing: justice. If Batman would let him fight for it, he would.
Though Alfred Pennyworth adamantly disagreed with the decision to let Dick into the Batman's world, the boy was trained, and allowed to act as support, using the computers in the Batcave. Eventually, though, Dick began to realize that his efforts had stopped being about his parents. This worried him, and he asked Alfred whether the fact that he no longer treated his parents death as more memorable than the lives that they lived. Bruce seemed to dedicate every aspect of his life to the memory of his parents; to the memory of their deaths. Alfred responded that Dick's ability to move forward was not callous, it was a way of healing and accepting the things that change. He explained that moving on and forgetting are different things, and that it is better to celebrate someone's life than to be driven by the way they died. It would be months before Dick understood how right Alfred had been.
One night, Batman failed to reach a target before he was assassinated by Lady Shiva. When Batman got closer to the body, he came under brutal attack, and Dick realized by the readouts of his vitals that Shiva had poisoned him. Against Alfred's warnings, Dick put on a costume he had been making from spare Batsuit parts, and went to Batman's aid.
Shiva was eager to test Batman's protégé, and though Dick was skillful, she was unimpressed with this bat-boy. Dick responded that he was to be called Robin, before she knocked him to the ground. She let him live, promising that he would soon grow tired of living in the Batman's shadow, and invited him to come to her for some real training.
After recovering, Batman had sternly ordered Dick to get into the car, and they had gone home. Even at that moment - Robin's very beginning as a costumed vigilante - his destiny to leave and become his own man was clear. Things always change, after all.
- Robin (Dick Grayson)
- John Grayson
- Mary Grayson
- C.C. Haly
- Tony Zucco
- James Gordon
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Martha Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Thomas Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Councilman Wirth (as corpse only)
- Lady Shiva