Batman took in Dick Grayson after the young boy’s parents were murdered, but Batman Black and White #4 shows he met his future sidekick years earlier.
SPOILER WARNING for Batman Black and White #4!
Batman and Robin are one of the most iconic duos in comics, but DC just revealed that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson crossed paths much earlier than fans realize. In fact, Batman Black and White #4 shows that the Boy Wonder’s first encounter with the Dark Knight happened while he was still in diapers.
Originally, the Dynamic Duo met when Bruce adopted Dick after the tragic death of the young boy’s family. Dick and his parents, John and Mary, were all trained acrobats and they performed at the C.C. Haly and Norton Bros. Circus as the Flying Graysons. When a mobster named Tony Zucco showed up expecting extortion money though, the twelve-year-old’s life was forever changed. After the circus’s owner refused to pay for protection, Zucco’s men tampered with the trapeze ropes, causing John and Mary to fall to their deaths in front of their son and an entire audience. Shortly thereafter, Batman took in Dick Grayson and the two became crime-fighting partners.
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Now, it’s been revealed, Batman actually met the entire Grayson family nearly a decade before their incident while investigating a murder at Haly’s Circus. The encounter takes place in writer Becky Cloonan and artists Terry and Rachel Dodson’s “The Fool’s Journey,” one of five stories found within Batman Black and White #4. In the tale’s opening, Commissioner Gordon calls Batman in to look at the mysterious circumstances behind the death of the circus’s fortune teller, Madame Fortuna. Using tarot cards left behind by Fortuna as clues, the Dark Knight begins interviewing several of the other performers.
As the Caped Crusader searches for answers, he discovers that the circus’ acrobats may know something and he decides to talk with the Flying Graysons. Entering the tent where John and Mary are practicing, Batman immediately approaches them and begins asking about Fortuna. These questions catch John off guard, causing him to drop his wife from the trapeze swing. Luckily, Batman is there to catch her before she hits the ground, and as he saves her, the couple’s toddler, Dick, spits out his pacifier and watches in awe. At that, John angrily gives the masked vigilante the answers he’s looking for and the Dark Knight leaves his future sidekick and his family to continue on with their day.
Seeing Batman interact with the Graysons years before their fatal incident shows that he had at least some history with the first Robin’s family. Though it was only a brief interaction, which Dick likely was too young to even remember, Bruce may have had the conversation in mind years later when John and Mary were killed. After all, John does mention “someone named Zucco” while talking to Batman, suggesting that the hero might’ve been able to stop the mobster before he sabotaged the circus’s acrobatic lovebirds.
Nowadays, Dick Grayson doesn’t spend as much time fighting alongside his mentor, as he’s stepped away from the Robin mantle and become his own hero in Nightwing. Still, Dick’s years with Batman clearly had a lasting impact, both in his fighting abilities and his development as a person. Thanks to this story, though, fans now know that his relationship with Batman goes back way farther than it seems. Batman Black and White #4 from DC Comics is available now.
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