Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns introduced the very first female Robin—Carrie Kelley. Prior to it, there hadn’t been a female Robin. Carrie Kelley had red hair, which contrasted heavily with the image most people have a Robin. Without Carrie Kelley, Stephanie Brown would not have gotten the chance to become Robin—however brief. Carrie Kelley, even, debuted in the New 52, as the acting coach of Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son. In the story where Carrie Kelley became Robin, she impressed the disgruntled, supposed-to-be-retired Bruce Wayne. As we all know, that is very hard to do and especially so, since this was a darker and grittier Batman. Carrie Kelley does not appear much but she is super important to the Batman mythos as the first female Robin!
6. Leaving Robin Behind
It’s strange that started with this one since it’s about the first female Robin. But I think that since Dick Grayson laced up his pixie boots, Robin is a stepping stone character to become who a character was meant to be. Dick became Nightwing, Jason became Red Hood, Tim became Red Robin, Stephanie Brown became Batgirl, and Damian will ultimately become Batman. Carrie leaves the name Robin behind after the Dark Knight Returns. In The Dark Knight Strikes Back, Carrie became Catgirl, but she was no less amazing than she was as Robin. Character development is a beautiful thing.
5. She Helps Track the Joker
So imagine that you are a thirteen year old girl or boy and you just became Robin and you have to track down the Joker. The Joker—the mother of all super villains. Could you do it? No probably not. In the Dark Knight Returns, Carrie is essential to tracking The Joker, who had kidnapped a bunch of kids, to an abandoned amusement park. Pretty impressive for a newbie Robin, who only had Girl Scout skills to back her up.
4. She Disarms a Bomb and Fights a Thug Twice Her Size
Do you know how to disarm a bomb? I sure don’t. While Batman went to go face down the Joker, Carrie was left to disarm the bomb that Joker strapped to a roller coaster. She gets rid of the bomb. But then Fat Abner attacked her. She struggled, but Abner made one wrong move and he got himself decapitated. Carrie watched someone die and she cried for about like three seconds, before collecting herself and running off to help Batman.
3. She Saves Batman’s Life – a Second Time
The second time she saved Batman’s life is just after her fight with Fat Abner. She dragged a heavily injured Batman to safety, while avoiding the police, and getting Batman to Alfred. She had saved him before, but this time was important because Batman was not seen as a hero, he was the ‘bad guy’ dubbed by the government. Carrie bravely faced a lot more than any 13-year-old girl had and she prevailed.
2. She Delays Superman
At this point in this article, I’m starting to wonder if Carrie Kelley didn’t have some sort of death wish. Facing corrupt police, Joker, the Mutants, bombs, thugs and the god-damn Batman and his inability to talk about his feelings were one thing and nothing but a lead up to the final confrontation between Superman and Batman. Carrie distracted Superman. She faced the most powerful superhero in the DC Universe…with Bat-tank, a slingshot and determination. She’s not just brave, she’s stupid brave. She went with Batman’s crazy scheme to fake his own death and join an underground rebellion.
1. She Saves Batman’s Life – the First Time
How did Carrie Kelley become Robin in the first place? She saved Batman’s life, as I already mentioned. The first night Batman came out of a retirement, he was rusty (he was an old man, he really should have known better and listen to his own advice—but you know, he had a death wish). He was getting his butt kicked by some sadistic members of the Mutants and who but a 13-year-old girl with her own Robin uniform jumped on the leader of the Mutant and tried to claw his eyes out. She dragged him to the Batmobile during their escape and made a sling for his arm out of her cape and a pipe.
Honestly, it took a lot to impress Batman, but Carrie did so. Even if he constantly threatened to fire her if she messed up just once or disobeyed his orders but she did disobey him, but he never did go through with firing her.
Carrie Kelley is pretty bad-ass. She risked life and limb to do what she believed was the right thing. She should totally get more recognition for her heroics and possible brave insanity.
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