Part one of Robin’s Reckoning was first broadcasted in primetime on February 7, 1993 while making its’ weekday debut on May 17, 1993 with a script by Randy Rogel and directed by Dick Sebast.
During a fight with some gangsters at a construction yard, Batman and Robin learn the name of their boss: Billy Marin. While Robin looks forward to going up against Marin, Batman becomes distant, and after a falling out at the Batcave, Batman doesn’t allow Robin to accompany him on the search for Marin. Robin investigates on the Batcomputer, and soon realizes that Billy Marin is not the boss’ real name. Rather, it is an alias of Tony Zucco, the man who killed his parents (which Batman already knew, but chose not to tell Robin).
So, now we finally get the overall backstory to Dick Grayson and how he ended up in the care of Bruce Wayne and became Batman’s sidekick.
The main crux of this first part is developing the backstory of Dick and how he got to this point and much of the episode takes place in flashbacks as a young Dick Grayson sees his whole life turned upside down when his parents are killed during the circus that he’s in. And the way the episode handles this storyline is done incredibly well. The actual moment when the death happens is so nicely handled, it’s another example of letting the story itself play out instead of flat out telling you what happened:
And yes, that is Tom Wilson a.k.a. Biff Tannen as Tony Zucco which just adds more of a ‘wow, I hate this guy even more’ mentality to him. But you see what I mean, the scene allows the animation and the music itself to tell you what is going on and not force what is happening by having it be explained to you.
Throughout the episode, we get flashes of Robin in present day visibly upset knowing that Batman is taking his revenge away from him but as we find out in the second part, there’s a legitimate reasoning why Batman is doing what he’s doing.
From an animation standpoint, this is one of the best animated episodes the show has ever done, Spectrum Animation Studio did the animation for this one and as you can see in this scene here, you can see how gorgeous the animation is, and there’s even some inspiration that would later be used for Cowboy Bebop, which a lot of the animation on Batman: TAS went to work on later:
And if you think that’s good, the scene after that is great. I love how they play it out where there’s no music playing and the sounds do all the work, it’s a unique action sequence to say the least:
By the way, possible influence later used in the opening scene of Mask Of The Phantasm:
Probably the signature moment of the entire episode is when Bruce finally goes to comfort Dick at the end of the episode, it’s such a genuine moment and the writing is so great to give these two a good connection early on, both have gone through similar tragedies and each of them have this feeling they could’ve done more to prevent it and thus, their bond early on becomes so strong, it’s such a great scene and one of the defining moments of the episode:
Robin’s Reckoning, Part 1 is a perfect handling of the backstory of Dick Grayson and how he came to be a part of Bruce Wayne’s life and how great these two get along early on because of their troubled backgrounds. It’s also a great way of showing the first glimpses of some dissention in the pairing of Batman and Robin that would later be fully realized not just here but in future episodes. Part 1 of Robin’s Reckoning is pitch perfect but what about Part 2? Check back tomorrow to find out.