The Dynamic Duo first formed when 9-year-old acrobat and circus performer Dick Grayson's family was murdered by Anthony Zucco. The young orphan was taken in by Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, who realized that he needed an anchor to keep himself from getting out of control. Grayson was trained rigorously in the skills needed by a vigilante. At around the age of 13 he joined his guardian as his sidekick, using the name Robin, marking the introduction of the Dynamic Duo. There have since been a series of Robins who fight alongside Batman in Gotham City.
The original Dynamic Duo was created in 1940 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. The second incarnation, with Jason Todd, was introduced by Doug Moench. The third incarnation, with Tim Drake, was introduced by Marv Wolfman. The fourth incarnation, with Stephanie Brown, was introduced by Bill Willingham. The fifth incarnation, with Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin, was introduced by Grant Morrison.
Originally the team consisted of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. This team remained together for several years, until Grayson left to become Nightwing. He was replaced by Jason Todd, a young delinquent whom Batman had met while the former was attempting to steal his tires. This incarnation of the team remained together until the Death in the Family arc, when Todd was killed by the Joker. For a time, the Dynamic Duo ceased to exist and Batman fought crime on his own. However, it became clear that he was spiraling dangerously out of control, and Tim Drake, a fan of Batman's, offered to step in and take the place of Robin. This incarnation of the team remained together until Drake resigned. He was briefly replace by Stephanie Brown, also known as the hero Spoiler. She was the first canonical female Robin, and was part of the Dynamic Duo until her apparent death at the end of the War Games arc. She was replaced by Drake, who resumed the mantle of Robin. After the death of Bruce Wayne and the Battle for the Cowl, the team consisted of Grayson, who had taken up the mantle of Batman, and Damian Wayne, who had the role ceded to him by Drake. After Flashpoint and the launch of the DCnU, Dick Grayson returned to his role as Nightwing and Bruce and Damian Wayne became the new Dynamic Duo.
Major Story Arcs
A Death in the Family
This arc opens with tensions between Batman and the second Robin, Jason Todd. Batman begins to regret his decision of allowing Todd to become Robin before he has fully come to grips with the deaths of his parents, and strips him of his position. Angered, Todd leaves, and after receiving documents that appear to indicate he isn't the son of the woman he called "mother," runs away from home to find his real mother. He is met in Lebanon by Batman, who is tracking the Joker's attempts to sell a nuclear weapon to terrorists. After foiling a nuclear plot, they locate Todd's real mother, Sheila Haywood, in Ethiopia. The pair reunite, but it is revealed that Haywood is being blackmailed by the Joker, and she turns her son over to him. He beats Todd nearly to death with a crowbar, and leaves him and his mother in a warehouse, which explodes. Though Batman rushed to save them, he was unable to, and both die from their injuries.
A Lonely Place of Dying
Following the death of Jason Todd, Batman has grown increasingly reckless and violent in his vigilante activities. A young boy, Tim Drake, has been following the activities of Batman and Robin for many years, ever since he witnessed the deaths of the Flying Graysons. While observing Robin, he notices the young man execute an acrobatic maneuver identical to one he saw Dick Grayson perform some time before. Drawing the connection between the two, Drake discovers Robin's secret identity. Soon after, having become troubled by Batman's increasing lack of control, Drake goes to Grayson in the hopes of convincing the former Robin to resume the mantle and aid Batman. Grayson agrees, but refuses to become Robin again, insisting he remain as Nightwing. Drake disapproves of this choice, and ultimately assumes the Robin identity himself, despite the objections of Batman. He is finally accepted by Batman after strenuous training, and after his mother is killed and his father is crippled in an attack.
Batman and Robin become the target of a plot by Bane, who frees many supervillains from Arkham Asylum in an attempt to weaken Batman and pave the way for Bane to take control of the city. During the initial wave of supervillains, a rift forms between Robin and Batman over the latter's refusal to accept any help. Finally, greatly weakened, Batman is drawn into a confrontation with Bane, who bests him and breaks Batman's back. Taking time to recuperate from the devastating physical and emotional injuries, he refuses to pass the responsibilities of being Batman over to Nightwing, instead giving the identity to Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Azrael. Drake accompanies Azrael, forming an interim Dynamic Duo, and observes that the new Batman is growing extremely unstable and paranoid after exposure to Scarecrow's fear gas, and disobeying Batman's orders. Azrael defeats Bane and entrenches himself as the new Batman while Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham along with Alfred Pennyworth to go on a quest to rescue Drake's father, Jack Drake, and Wayne's physiotherapist, Dr. Shondra Kinsolving.
In Gotham, Azrael becomes more ruthlessly violent, alienating Drake and Commissioner Gordon, who begins to believe Batman is no longer the man he had known. Batman's reputation in the public eye is also tarnished. Azrael becomes obsessed with his desire to be the better Batman, compulsively redesigning the costume to make it more powerful and deadly. His questionable activities reach a crux when he allows the villain Abattoir to plunge to his death, unintentionally ensuring that Abattoir's innocent victim would also die. Meanwhile, Wayne travels to the Caribbean, and then Great Britain. He ultimately locates Shondra Kinsolving, who is being held by her step-brother, Benedict Asp, who is using her psychic powers to nefarious ends. Caught in the psychic fight between the two, Wayne is healed by the resultant energy, and thus able to defeat Asp. Wayne leaves England to return to Gotham, but Pennyworth refuses to go along on the grounds that he doesn't want to see Wayne hurt himself any further.
Arriving in Gotham, Wayne encounters Drake. Learning of Azrael's various action in his absence, Wayne reacts with approval and decides to retire permanently as Batman, leaving Azrael in charge. However, Drake reveals Azrael's part in Abattoir's death, and Wayne demands that Azrael give up the Batman identity. Azrael refuses to step down, and threatens to kill Wayne. Wayne retreats and gets back into fighting shape with the help of Lady Shiva. Returning to the cave, he takes back the identity of Batman, and goes in search of Azrael, who has gone to the house of Penn Selkirk, a man who he mistakenly believes is responsible for the death of his father. Catwoman also turns up, and heavy fighting ensues that ranges across Gotham, culminating with a helicopter crash. Azrael escapes the crash, and has a final confrontation with Wayne in the caves below Wayne Manor. The fight ends with Azrael conceding defeat and abandoning the Batman identity. After this event, Wayne briefly passes the cowl to Grayson while he reassesses his position as Batman.
Stephanie Brown, the newest Robin, has recently been removed from her position as Robin. Hoping to regain Batman's trust, she sets in motion one of his most ambitious plans that, if properly executed, would result in all of the criminal underworld falling under the control of one Matches Malone. Little does she realize, however, that Matches Malone is, in fact, an alias of Batman's. Without Malone there, the plan falls apart spectacularly, resulting in a gang war that nearly consumes Gotham. Brown is kidnapped and tortured by Black Mask, who seeks to gain control of all of Gotham's gangs. He succeeds with the help of Brown's information. She apparently dies from injuries sustained during the torture.
Under the Hood
A new vigilante, called the Red Hood, appears in Gotham. He has some success against the Black Mask, enough that the criminal joins with other supervillains to fight him. In his fight against the forces of these villains, the Red Hood is joined by Batman, and together the pair defeat the combatants. However, the Red Hood's willingness to kill sours his relationship with Batman, and the pair part on bad terms. They encounter one another again, and following a brutal fight, Red Hood reveals himself to be Jason Todd, apparently returned from the dead. Later, Red Hood again becomes involved in a fight with Black Mask, which ends, just as Batman arrives, with a knife through Red Hood's heart. However, this Red Hood was not Todd, who instead engages Batman in battle on the rooftops. Batman is momentarily distracted by an explosion in Bludhaven, which causes him to fear for the life of Nightwing; however, Todd refuses to allow him to abandon the fight. Eventually, Todd reveals that he holds no grudge against Batman for failing to save him, but he does take issue with the Joker's continued existence. He reveals that he has kidnapped the Joker, and places a gun to Joker's head, insisting that Batman must kill Todd, or Todd will kill Joker himself. Batman takes a third option, stabbing Todd with a batarang. Todd sets off explosives in the building and escapes, leaving Batman and Joker in the wreckage.
One Year Later
Following a year-long absence from Gotham, Bruce Wayne and Tim Drake return, and begin investigating a new vigilante who has been using deadly force against various low-level villains. Harvey Dent, who has reformed and taken up crime fighting in Batman's absence, is initially suspected, and ultimately relapses into a life of crime because of the resentment and paranoia derived from his place as suspect. Ultimately, the true culprit, Great White Shark, is uncovered. After the crime is solved, Wayne offers to adopt the recently orphaned Drake, who accepts.
Battle for the Cowl
Following the death of Bruce Wayne, Gotham erupts in chaos. Nightwing is reluctant to take up the cowl, despite Drake's urging. Damian Wayne is attacked while driving through the streets, and rescued by Nightwing. However, the pair is cornered by members of the Black Mask's gang, who surround them and attempt to kill Nightwing. They are saved by a mysterious figure who claims to be Batman. He is revealed instead to be Jason Todd, who shoots Wayne and escapes. Drake later discovers a disused subway platform that Todd is using as his Batcave. He and Todd get into a fight, which ends with Todd stabbing Drake through the abdomen with a batarang. Nightwing tracks Drake down, on the way revealing that Batman had left him a message asking Nightwing not to assume the cowl. Damien meanwhile has recovered from surgery and is given a Robin outfit in which to carry out his part in the ensuing fight. Nightwing discovers the makeshift Batcave and confronts Todd, who asks that Nightwing join him as Robin, while Todd will assume the role of Batman. Nightwing refuses and instead plays a message for Todd that was left behind by Batman. This message, which is an apology for not getting the help that Todd needed, angers Todd, who detonates explosives in his Batcave. The explosions nearly kill Drake, who survived the earlier attack, but he is rescued by Wayne and Squire. Nightwing and Todd meanwhile continue their fight, which concludes when Nightwing kicks Todd off the side of the train they are fighting on. He offers to pull Todd off the side of the track, but Todd refuses and allows himself to fall into the water. Nightwing finally decides to take up the Batman identity, and is joined by Wayne as the new Robin.
The Dark Knight Returns
An older Bruce Wayne emerges from retirement and retakes the role of Batman, while a young girl named Carrie Kelly assumes the role of Robin.
Bruce Wayne, Jr.
Following Batman's retirement, Dick Grayson takes over the role of Batman, and Wayne's son, Bruce Wayne, Jr., takes the role of Robin. Another story using Bruce Wayne, Jr. had him act as Robin to Tim Drake's Batman.
Batman: Digital Justice
In this alternate universe, the duo is composed of James Gordon, the grandson of the original commissioner, who takes the role of Batman, and Robert Chang, who takes the role of Robin.
DC One Million
In the future, Batman fights crime alongside Robin the Toy Wonder, a programmable robot who keeps Batman from being consumed by angst and darkness.
A vampire Batman killed Dick Grayson's parents, and later turns Grayson into a vampire as well. They then become partners.
Batman: Reign of Terror
This Duo consists of Bruce Wayne and his sister, Rochelle Wayne.
Batman: Year 100
Batman fights crime alongside an adopted ward, whose real name is Robin, who also acts as the Batmobile's mechanic.
Legends of the Dead Earth
Batman fights despotic interstellar slavers with the help of Tris Plover, who goes by the name Robin.
Superman & Batman: Generations
The Dynamic Duo is formed by Bruce Jr., son of the original Bruce and an unnamed woman, and his adopted son Clark Wayne.
In Other Media
The team first appears together as the Grayson incarnation in Batman: the Animated Series, in the two-part episode "Robin's Reckoning". In The New Batman Adventures, Grayson became Nightwing, and the Duo became the Drake incarnation. In Batman Beyond: the Return of the Joker, the team was revealed to have fallen apart after Drake was kidnapped, tortured and brainwashed by the Joker. They also appear together in the Static Shock episodes "The Big Leagues" and "Future Shock," and in the animated film Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
The team first appears in the season four episode "A Matter of Family." This version is the Grayson incarnation.
Batman: the Brave and the Bold
The Grayson incarnation of the team appears in a number of episodes, though the relationship between Batman and Grayson is strained. A later episode, "The Knights of Tomorrow!" features the Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne incarnation of the team.
The Grayson incarnation of the team appears in several episodes.
The team appeared together in Justice League: The New Frontier and in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Batman and Batman and Robin (Serials)
The Grayson incarnation of the team appeared in both of these serials.
Batman Forever and Batman & Robin
The Grayson version of the team appears in these two films, with some minor tweaks to established comic history.
The Dark Knight Rises
At various points in the film, Bruce Wayne as Batman works with a young, orphaned detective named John Blake, who at the end of the film is revealed to be this film's version of Robin (though in name only it seems.)
The Grayson incarnation of the Dynamic Duo appeared in this series, and the subsequent movie.
The Duo appears in the adaptations of The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin.
Batman: Arkham City
The Drake incarnation of the team appears in this game.