COMMENT: "Dark Victory" is a maxi-series. This means DC Comics has decided the events depicted 'really' happened. (wink) In other words, it is a marker in the Batman timeline around which other events must fit. As this story covers the death of Dick's parents, how he became Robin etc, it must be considered cannon. I have some issues with "Dark Victory" not the least of which is the author's portrayal of Dick. I have used "Dark Victory" as a framework for this period but have blended other origin stories which I feel actually portray Dick in character. For my detailed review of "Dark Victory" go here

Below is the list of Origin stories I have drawn from for this part.
# "Nightwing #101 to 106"       # "Batman Year3"       # "Batman #440 to #442" 1989       # "Robin Annual #4"       # "Robin Year One"       # "Legends of the Dark Knight #100"       # "Secret Origins #13 and #50       # "Dark Victory"       # "Nightwing: Secret Files and Origins #1"

Year 8: Event 1 - Dick stops a purse snatcher in Gotham

Not long after the circus arrives in Gotham, Dick stops a purse snatcher. He is chatty with the victim telling her that the next night he will be performing for Bruce Wayne - someone of whom he has clearly heard and an event he describes as 'cool'.




Comment
This event is recounted in the New 52 period. Interestingly, his costume is not unlike the one we see Dick wearing in Flashpoint: "Deadman and the Flying Graysons."

Reference
"Batman" #0 2012


Year 8: Event 2 - Dick sees the Batsignal for the first time.

This is a prophetic moment in Dick's life. He has read about Batman, but now he is in Gotham, staring up at the symbol in the sky that will shape this future.



Comment
Again, this comes from New 52.

Reference
"Batman" #0 2012


Year 8: Event 3 - Dick Overhears the Fight Between Pop and Zucco's Men

Shortly before his parents fall to their deaths, Dick overhears Pop being threatened by Tony Zucco. At the time, Dick is unsure what it all means, though does try to tell his parents who appear to dismiss it. Whether they knew what Dick was talking about or not is something that still haunts Dick.



Comment
While the story changes depending on writer and origin story, most agree Dick overheard Zucco or his men threatening Pop before the tragedy. There is at least one story ( Secret Origins #13 )that has Dick overhearing the threats after. Most stories have Zucco wanting protection money. Dark Victory has Zucco wanting Pop to smuggle things across state lines for him. The reason is less important than the fact that Zucco is responsible and Dick is aware of that.

Reference
# See list above.


Year 8: Event 4 - Dick meets Tim

Tim visits the circus with his parents and has his photo taken with the Flying Graysons. Tim is in awe of Dick in his red and green costume and Dick promises to do his act for Tim that night.

Comment
Dick is depicted as early teens in the story, but he needs to be eight to make this timeline work. Tim would need to be about three years old.

This is a huge event for it provides Dick and Tim with a unique connection. Tim knows Dick's tragedy intimately because he was there the night Dick's parents died. Tim claims later that this was the biggest event in his own life... presumably until the death of his own father. Notably, this meeting appears to have been erased in New 52... an absolute travesty.

Reference
# "Batman #441" 1989

Return to Year Index
Year 8: Event 5 - Dick's Parents Murdered & He Meets Batman

After meeting Tim, Dick performs with his parents. He completes his quadruple and then stands at the side, watching with pride as his parents perform. Then the unthinkable. The trapeze snaps and horrified, Dick watches his mother and father plunge to their deaths. He descends a rope, his mind frozen, but as he reaches the ground, Danny Poteet (roustabout) grabs him, pulling him back. Others rush to the Graysons and then 'he' appears. Batman descends from the top of the tent to investigate and Dick tells him what he had overheard - Zucco's thugs threatening Pop. Instantly, there is a connection between these two - a bond of understanding. Dick trusts Batman immediately and Bruce believes the boy's story and promises justice for the Graysons.


Comment
This section and the following ones leading up to Dick becoming Robin, are a fusion of various origin stories. I have taken pieces from each and blended them into one story that makes the most sense. Dates given for this event include 27th June, 15th July and Halloween. I'm selecting 27th June, simply because it gives more time for all the stories that follow.

Reference
# See list above
Year 8: Event 6 - Dick Sent to Gotham City Youth Centre

While Dick is able to stay with his extended circus family the night of the tragedy, the next day he is sent to Gotham City's Youth Centre where he is forced to fight for survival. Alone in the world for the first time in his life and without love of any kind, Dick escapes only to be confronted by Batman who renews his promise to bring Zucco to justice. Batman tells Dick he will not be at the Youth center long, finishing with the words,... 'trust me'.



Reference
# "Robin Annual #4"      
Year 8: Event 7 - Dick Taken in by Bruce Wayne and Bruce Shares his Secret

Two weeks later, Alfred arrives at the youth centre to collect Dick. Thus, Dick goes to live at Wayne Manor in a temporary foster family situation. He hardly lays eyes on Bruce but learns from Alfred that the billionaire's parents were murdered when he was 12. Feeling helpless, angry that he has been taken in because Bruce feels sorry for him and feeling as if everyone in his life now is either tolerating him or pretending to care, Dick focuses on his simmering rage and need for revenge. He takes off on his own to find his parents' murderer. He finds Zucco - a mob heavy weight - but is overpowered by Zucco's thugs. As Zucco's men are about to kill him, Batman appears. Dick passes out and wakes up in the Batcave. Below is a combination of dialogue taken from different origin stories and fused into one fundamental moment that changes the course of Dick's life forever.

Dick: "What is this place?"

Batman: "I've never thought of naming it. It is where I operate from."

Dick: "You're looking for Zucco too. So you meant what you said...about making Zucco pay for what he did?"

Batman: "Yes, and I need your help. I will get Zucco, but I need proof - enough to make sure he goes away for a long time. Do you understand?"

Dick: "I want to help."

Batman: "I know. I swear I will help you to avenge your parents deaths... and I won't let any harm come to you."

Dick: "Why do you care so much about what happens to me?"

Batman: "Because I know what you are going through."

There is a split second when these two traumatised souls touch.

Batman removes his cowl, choosing to share his secret with someone he realizes is a kindred spirit.

Dick: "You're him. You're Bruce Wayne."

Bruce: "Yes, I'm both Batman and Bruce Wayne, Dick. But never at the same time."



Dick repeats his desperation to help and to his surprise, Bruce agrees on the condition Dick completes training. This is something Dick understands and accepts without question. His father had put him through rigorous training before allowing him to perform the quadruple in front of an audience. So starts Dick's journey from circus performer to being part of the Dynamic Duo. Batman continues gathering evidence against Zucco, involving Dick and sharing his findings. Bruce knows being a part of gaining justice for his parents is essential for Dick's healing. He also begins the long process of officially becoming Dick's permanent guardian.

Comment
As stated above, this is pulled from various origin stories.

Reference
See list above.


Year 8: Event 8 - Bruce Wayne is Made Dick's Permanent Guardian
It takes some time, but Bruce works through the courts and finally secures Dick's guardianship. This is told beautifully as part of the "Batman: Year Three" story line -- see below. Dick makes it clear he doesn't want a new father and Bruce has said he won't adopt Dick or become his new father. He just wants to make things the best they can be for the boy.


Comment
This reveals so much about the state of mind of both Dick and Bruce at this time.

Reference
# "Batman #439" 1989


Year 8: Event 9 - Batman and Dick Capture Zucco
Batman finally has what he needs to pounce on Zucco. However, he knows how important it is for Dick to be the one to bring Zucco down. Thus, against Alfred's wishes, Batman takes Dick with him when he confronts Zucco. Dick has strict instructions to remain hidden until given the signal from Batman. With Batman on hand and primed to do want is necessary to protect the boy, Dick takes Zucco down. However, the ordeal is too much for Zucco and he has a heart attack. Zucco stops breathing and his heart stops. Batman announces Zucco is dead, providing Dick with closure.

However, the ambulance arrives within in seconds and Batman scoops Dick up and they leave the scene. Zucco is resuscitated and taken to hospital where he slips into a coma. When Bruce finds out, he conceals this informataion fearing Dick would want the gangster dead. Zucco is taken to a prison hospital where he remains in a coma for many years.


Comment
Basically this comes directly from "Dark Victory". However, I have blended in parts from various origin stories. Note: Eventually Zucco regains consciousness, but Bruce, fearing the pain this would bring Dick, doesn't tell the boy the killer survived and resides in prision.

Dark Victory does a great job of sharing why Bruce allowed Dick to personally be a part of bringing Zucco down by revealing his inner thoughts as it is taking place.

"About a year after my parents were murdered, I started to dream about catching their killer. How I would chase him. Relentlessly. (which is what Dick does.) Until he would run into a blind ally. He would try and fire his gun... but it would be empty. Impotent. I would move in closer. Closer. His face would be filled with fear. Like mine was when he pointed the gun at me after shooting my parents. But I always woke up before the dream ended... and to this day, I have yet to find my parent's killer."

Bruce allowed Dick to live out his fantasy... in his own way wanting to ensure Dick was able to heal in a way he has never been able to.

Reference
# See the list or origin stories above.


Year 8: Event 10 - Dick Starts School
With Zucco no longer a threat to Dick, Bruce enrols him in school. Until this time, keeping the boy hidden was a necessity. Thus, Alfred had been home schooling him until this point. (I can find no reference to this in any comic but it makes sense this would have happened and would have been an important event for Dick.

Comment
Starting school at Bruce's former school would have been incredibly daunting for a child who had never attended institutionalized education before. He would have been viewed as the 'poor little orphan charity case' by many of the wealthy boys attending the school.

Reference
Nil #


Year 8: Event 11 - Dick prevents the discovery of the Cave wearing his circus costume and a mask.
When Sophia Falcone opens the gas lines and sets Gotham city ablaze, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and The Joker escape to the sewer and end up entering a sealed subterranean caven. This cavern opens on to the Batcave. Dick, recognizing the threat, pulls on his circus outfit and a small mask (one he had fashioned in readiness of fighting at Batman's side) and defends the cave. Batman arrives in time to help and Dick announces to the crooks they are now against a 'Dynamic Duo'. Together Batman and his ward capture the villains and prevent Bruce's secret being revealed to the world. Dick has already selected his crimefighting name - "Robin". It is what his mother had called him. Bruce honors this knowing how important it is to the boy.


Comment
Bruce acknowledges that without Dick, his secret and his crusade would have ended that day. Dick shows incredible skill and as a result of the Joker underestimating him, Dick is the one who takes him down. Here we see our first glimpse of the Dynamic Duo in action. Manning, who wrote Batman's reflections on the night, really gives insight into Bruce's state of mind.

Reference
# "Dark Victory" #13


Year 8: Event 12 - Dick Swears the Oath
The incident above makes it very clear to Bruce just how serious Dick is about joining his crusade. In light of this Bruce realizes he needs to ensure Dick is doing this for all the right reasons. Hence, he has Dick take an oath, repeating the words Bruce himself had said so many years before – “To fight crime and corruption and never to swerve from the path of righteousness.” Dick agrees and takes the oath, in essence, dedicating his life to Bruce’s war. This oath becomes something around which Dick builds his life.

Comment
The oath is something that was introduced in Dick’s first appearance in “Detective Comics” #38. In “Batman: Gotham Knights” #11 the importance of this oath to Dick is confirmed.

Reference
# "Detective Comics" #38


Year 8: Event 13 - Dick Continues Training, Names 'Batcave' and Given Robin Costume

Dick continues an exhausting training regime that involves honing his mind and body, learning criminology, forensics, a dozen forms of martial arts, computers skills etc. All the while, Dick assists on cases from the safety of the Batcave. For example, when Bruce is working on the Hangman killings, Dick interprets a clue in a way Bruce hadn't thought of, showing true promise as a detective. At this time, we see that Dick is always moving... never standing still.

Bruce: Don't you ever stand still?

Dick: My mom used to call me Robin 'cause I was always 'bobbin' along

When Dick starts to become impatient, Bruce - at Alfred's suggestion - presents the boy with what will be his uniform when he is ready. It is fashioned on the one he wore in the circus, using the striking red, green and yellow. This eases the impatience and when Dick is assisting Bruce in what the boy christens "The Batcave", he wears his costume. (This makes true the statement that he has been wearing the costume since eight, but he does not officially become Robin until a year later.)

It is at this time, when reflecting upon Zucco, Dick states something that shows true strength of character and the inate goodness in his soul. "I didn't want him dead. I just wanted him to pay for what he did."

Bruce: That does you credit, Son.

But Bruce is certain Dick has only been able to reach this state of peace because he believes Zucco is dead and so Bruce guards the secret.

Comment
Based on various origin stories. The image of Robin above comes from the cover of "Robin Annual #4" Pencils: Mike Wieringo, Inks: Terry Austin. It is one of the best pictures I've seen of a very young Robin because it really captures his youth and his positive spirit.

Reference
# "Batman #439"