DC's most tragic version of Robin has nothing to do with Bruce Wayne

"Robin," who has the most tragic origin story, has never even met Batman, something DC Comics explored in Batman Inc. #3.

Spoilers for Batman Incorporated #3!

Batman's Robin family and other allies have their own unique origin stories, most of which contain dark upbringings and backgrounds that drive them to become heroes. Circus acrobat Dick Grayson became his sidekick after his parents were killed by a crime boss, Jason Todd was killed by a clown and then became a murderous vigilante, and Stephanie Brown's violent father made her live Altruistic life, and so on. While Robbins have all been inspired to work with Batman because of their own misfortunes, it was recently revealed that a Robin who had never met Batman came from a similar but undoubtedly more damaging situation.

In Batman Incorporated #3, Batman's friendly antagonist Ghost-Maker is revealed to have had a "better Robin" as part of his ongoing efforts to prove himself superior to the Dark Knight. Years ago, he adopted an unnamed orphan and gave him the code name "Phantom-One". Rather than being a loving father figure like Batman, Ghost-Maker coldly and cruelly trained the boy from sunrise to sunset. The sad conclusion to Phantom-One's origin comes when Ghost-Maker sends him dead on a mission, claiming his sidekick was a failed experiment. So while Robbins got off to a bad start, Phantom-One's loss of parents, history of dehumanizing abuse, and eventual abandonment make his character the most tragic of all.

Batman: Every Bat-Family Member, Ranked by Intelligence

Ed Brisson and John Timms further explore the Robin-like character's anguish in Phantom-One's full backstory in Batman Incorporated #3. Similar to Stephanie Brown's own supervillain father, the Cluemaster, Phantom-One's parents are a pair of small-time supervillains who take pleasure in terrorizing the rich. "Sir. However, the "Mrs. Menas" duo was eventually killed by the ghost maker himself. After learning that the villain had a son, the ghost maker took the opportunity to lock the orphan in his mansion for two years in order to train his Martial arts and other useful vigilance skills. For the next three years, Phantom-One fought alongside Ghost-maker on the battlefield, until the night he recklessly hunted down the villain Palladium and was mortally wounded in an explosive trap.

Phantom-One Has It Worse Than All The Robins

Phantom-One is essentially punished for being too eager to prove himself to Ghost-maker, motivating him years later to take revenge on his former mentor and the many career criminals who taught him and Batman the skills he needs Become the deadliest vigilante in the world. Arguably, Phantom-One may not have been the most victimized sidekick, but it's worth noting that his origins share many tragic elements with the rest of the Bat-Family: his training in isolation is similar to the one Cassandra Cain spent under her father. As a child, he shared traits with Stephanie Brown's third-rate supervillain parents, and his superficial resurrection resembles Jason Todd's transformation from Robin to Red Hood.

Phantom-One may be another entry in Batman's long line of characters that act as his dark parallels or twisted reflections, but he's not completely without merit and story potential. Robin's attempt to prevent someone as skilled as Batman from being created is an interesting motive, and it's sure to test Ghost-Maker's and Batman's own dedication to the "no killing" rule. The Phantom One also serves as a commentary on the rampant criticism that often cites Batman's seemingly amoral indoctrination of orphans as a deplorable character trait. Writer Ed Brisson may have used the story to voice such criticism, as it overtly applies the allegations to new characters that reflect the dynamic duo. While this pseudo-Robin may not be His contribution to the Batman mythology has yet to be fully revealed, to everyone's liking, but readers won't have to wait long as the story of Batman, Inc. continues.

Next: Ghost Maker's True Role in the DC Universe Takes a Dark Turn

Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url