Warning: SPOILERS for Titans Episode 6
Batman fans who took issue with TITANS for making its version of Bruce Wayne a murderer aren't going to be happy... because the DC show just made Robin a killer in his new origin story, too.
It will come as a surprise to those who felt that Brenton Thwaites' performance, and the show's treatment of Dick Grayson was particularly faithful to the spirit of the comic book character (Robin's brutal violence aside). That includes Dick's decision to leave Gotham City, determined to prevent himself from killing criminals like Batman had. But as the latest episode of Titans has revealed, Dick's origin story is only mostly the same as the version told in comics. When the TV version of Dick Grayson finally tracked down the man who killed his parents... he chose to kill him.
- This Page: The Non-Murderous Robin Origin Story
- Page 2: Titans Makes Robin a Killer in His New Origin
How Robin Got Revenge in The Comics
The specifics and larger motivations behind the murder of Dick Grayson parents has changed a little over the years, but the canonical version of the tragedy, and Dick's subsequent adoption by Bruce Wayne have remained the same. And so has the gangster responsible for their murders: the Gotham criminal Tony Zucco. Whether working as an underling of the Maroni crime family or in competition to it, Zucco's efforts to strong-arm the owners of Haly's Circus were met with resistance. So to demonstrate the cost of refusing him, Tony Zucco made sure the trapeze of The Flying Graysons would snap - killing more than one of the acrobats. The plan worked, taking multiple lives... and creating the orphan who would make Zucco pay for the crime.
Not directly, of course. When Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson finally discover that Tony Zucco is to blame for the tragedy, both are personally invested in seeing him brought to justice. In the very first and oldest version of Zucco's story, the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder capture the gangster, and see him tried and sentenced to death via electric chair. No matter how the story changed, Dick's decision to not give in to revenge was--or seemed to be the core narrative theme.
When Robin chased down his parents' killer in Batman: The Animated Series, he briefly considered letting Zucco fall to his death, before arresting him instead. In The Batman series of the early 2000s, the same scene played out with Robin stopping himself before crossing a line from which he could not return. In fact, the closest Zucco got to being killed by Robin was in Batman: Year Three, dying from a heart attack brought on by fleeing the Boy Wonder (hardly manslaughter).
Which makes the version of this origin story told in Titans a unique one, as flashback sequences show Robin tracked down Tony Zucco for revenge... and then got it in a barrage of bullets.