Batman: Times Past: Sketches of the Caped Crusader, Chapter 5: 1967: Robin, Man of Wonder

by Nadra Enzi

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“Guys, ever thought about the want ads?” joked the masked man once known as Robin, the Boy Wonder.

Clad in a gray costume patterned after his now-retired mentor Batman, he looked at the less-than-amused motorcycle gang with anticipation. Crooks rarely enjoyed his sense of humor, he absently noted, already predicting his opponent’s plan of attack.

The usual “What the #$%!?! are you doing here?” invectives peppered the air. “–in our run-down hangout,” is what he mentally inserted while surveying the dump these guys called home.

“I just wanted to see how tough you girl scouts are after a pow-wow with somebody who can fight back!” Robin taunted, goading them into action. For added effect, he slammed their clubhouse door shut so hard it made the room tremble.

When Gotham’s finest arrived minutes later, they found a crime-fighter who wasn’t even breathing hard after teaching a baker’s dozen of would-be urban terrorists some very painful hand-to-hand combat lessons.

After giving his report to the officers, Robin looped his bat-line-trailing batarang around a street light and swung upward toward waiting rooftops.

Thanks to Batman’s training, Robin was a mental and physical specimen the likes of which the world had rarely seen. He functioned at unheard-of levels of awareness and fitness thanks to what the caped crusader taught him a lifetime ago. It wasn’t hyperbole to consider him the most well-trained human being on the planet (preceded by his cowled teacher, of course).

The result of his unique upbringing was someone who could defeat any foe, up to and including superhuman opposition.

“Not having super-powers is no excuse. Most of these villains just have exaggerated versions of what you and I can do if we work hard enough,” Batman had told him over and over again during seemingly endless training sessions.

Despite his intense background, this man of wonder was not some engine of destruction. If anything, he was a wise-cracking paragon who took pains to put people at ease around him.

“Knowing more and being able to do more is only half the battle. You need to fit in with the society you’re serving instead of lording yourself over it,” counseled Mister Terriffic, himself a man of literally a thousand different talents and a valued role model for a young Robin seeking to fit in with those he protected.

“What, no encore?” the masked manhunter quipped to an unconscious duo who had tried and failed to rob a downtown movie theatre until Robin’s arrival.

Having grown into the role of an adult mystery-man was even more fun than his amazing juvenile adventures. He proved to some of his old sparring partners the hard way that he didn’t need the Batman by his side to fight so-called master criminals.

In a world of monsters and crazed super-villains, he was blessed to be one of the special men and women who kept them at bay. With a job like that, it was hard not to be upbeat.

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