The Dark Knight is known for many things. Master of 127 martial arts, genius intellect, peak human athlete, brilliant strategist, and his soft corner for orphaned kids. Over the decades, Batman has taken a few proteges under his wing. However, the most notable of them are his four most Robins; Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Damian Wayne, and Tim Drake. As the sidekick to the world’s best detective, the Robins have to be equally smart to keep up. Though all these four proteges have proved to be among the smartest crimefighters in DC Universe, there can only be one smartest Robin.
Batman’s first protege and the true heir to his legacy is Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson. After witnessing the tragic murder of his parents, Dick Grayson was taken under the tutelage of Batman to train as Robin. Naturally acrobatic, Dick Grayson also inherited most of the best traits of Batman that includes a brilliant deductive mind, strong moral code, and able leadership. Later, Dick Grayson retired as the Robin and took up the mantle of Nightwing and protected the neighboring city of Bludhaven.
After the departure of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd replaced him as the second Robin. After trying to steal the tires from the Batmobile, Jason was quickly taken under Batman’s wing after the death of his parents. Despite lacking Dick’s natural athleticism and level headed demeanor, Jason proved to be an efficient crimefighter through sheer will. However, his rebellious streak and disregard for Batman’s no-killing policy created friction between the Dynamic Duo. After his horrific death at the hands of the Joker in A Death In The Family, the character was resurrected by using the Lazarus Pit. Batman’s stance on not killing the Joker left Jason heartbroken, as a result, he retired as Robin and took the persona of Red Hood.
The third Robin, and the most controversial one is Bruce Wayne’s own son, Damian Wayne. Born to Talia Al Ghul, Damian was trained by Ra’s Al Ghul from the age of four. As a result, he was trained to become a deadly assassin, not an effective crimefighter. Despite his violent temper and arrogance, Damian Wayne is one of the best hand to hand combatants with a genius intellect to match.
Related: Every Robin Explained
The fourth and most underrated Robin is Tim Drake, also known as the Red Robin. As the son of a wealthy socialist, Tim Drake is quite similar to Bruce Wayne in many ways. Though his predecessors have proved themselves to be some of the best detectives and crimefighters in DC, Tim Drake stands out for multiple reasons.
Tim Drake and his family once visited the Flying Graysons when he was just five years old. On that fateful night, the Drakes witness the murders of Dick’s parents, alongside Bruce Wayne. Tim also noticed that Batman had arrived after a few minutes to comfort the grieving Dick. At the age of nine, Tim Drake was able to learn the secret identities of both Batman and Robin (Dick) using his eidetic memory.
In the circus, Tim Drake had noticed that Dick was able to perform a quadruple somersault. Years later, he saw Robin perform the same move leading the revelation of Dick Grayson. Since Dick was the ward of Bruce Wayne, Tim deduced that Bruce Wayne must be Batman. Additionally, Tim Drake has also been able to able to deduce the secret identities of Superman, the Flash, Shazam, and the Huntress.
Later, Tim Drake learned criminology, crimefighting, and martial arts under both Nightwing and Batman. As Robin, Tim Drake lacks the natural athleticism of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd’s aggressiveness, and Damian Wayne’s focus. However, he manages to cover-up those said lackings by his genius intellect. Termed as the most cunning and strategic Robin, Tim Drake picks his fights from the shadows, much like Batman himself.
As Robin, Tim was the first Robin to augment his skills of hacking, biology, forensics, engineering, and genetics. His feat of attempting to re-clone Superboy only proves his scientific temperament. In Red Robin, he single-handedly managed to find proof that Bruce Wayne was alive, thus gaining the recognition as ‘Detective’ from Ra’s Al Ghul himself, who uses the term only for Batman. Often considered to be a better Robin by Nightwing and having the potential to surpass Batman himself, it is unfair to see the smartest Robin not getting the recognition he truly deserves.