These days, team ups between heroes happen all the time. Before Marvel made a coherent comics universe a thing, however, they were few and far between. That's why Superman anjd Batman team-ups were so anticipated back then. DC then had an idea: Sure, Superman has met Batman and Robin before, but what if Robin, the Boy Wonder met Superboy, and had an adventure? The result was this little gem: When Superboy met Robin!
Our story opens in the Smallville of the past, where Superboy is greeted by Pete Groff, owner of Smallville's largest stadium. Smallville you see, is a midwestern small town that just happens to have multiple stadiums, because why not? Anyway, Groff has a proposal for the Boy of Steel, a science fair! Groff will invite three famous scientists to study Superboy and how he uses his power. Thinking it'll be great for publicity and therefore helping Smallville, Superboy agrees.
Now that the setup is out of the way, Superboy retires to his secret citidel which houses all of his super-trophies. Just before he leaves for the science fair, a curious thing happens...
"It's your kids Clark! Something's gotta be done about your kids!"
After that quick introduction, Robin immediately produces a baseball bat and attempts to destroy a cosmic clock Superboy has on display. Superboy is kind of freaked. I mean, if a kid just got beamed inside your secret headquarters and started smashing things, i'd be a bit taken aback too. Nevertheless, the Boy iof Steel is willing to listen to Robin's story, after he takes the bat away, of course!
"Because Earth hospitals in the 50's know how to treat Kryptonians!"
As it is, the hospital does all they can, but Superman is dying. It's only a matter of time. These words set a spark in the Boy Wonder's head and he goes to see Prof. Nichols who has sent he and Batman into the past before, as seen in The Three Super-Musketeers! Robin's recap finishes and we're brought back to the present, so to speak, where Superboy explains the cosmic clock was built by himself for the Science Fair. He hasn't received a clock trophy... yet. Superboy accepts Robin's offer to stay and help him avert his future death. Self-preservation is a super-power too!
Later, at the science fair, the newly formed duo meet the aforementioned scientists. They all have presentation that predict future events, which in Robin's time (1958) have already happened. As the scientists set up their apparatus for observing Superboy's powers in action, there is coincidentally a giant vacuum is swallowing a bank truck. Jumping into action, the Superboy-Robin team use a move that the X-Men will rip off in about 20 years, the Fastball Special!
"Wolverine, eat your heart out!"
Even after this valiant effort, Superboy gets sucked into the giant vacuum. With a great burst of super-strength he destroys it utterly. However, as he's rounding up thugs he notices Robin doing something strange...
Maybe because no one should know too much about their own future, Superboy!
Superboy shrugs his suspicsions off for the time being, and the two heroes return to the fair. On arrival, the scientists present the youths with a trophy, it turns out to be a bust and not the fated clock. Hey, we still have 5 pages of story to go, we can't be resolving things that quickly! We're then treated to a little vignette of Clark's home life, performing errands for his parents. It's totally unnessesary to the story, but it does contain some fun moments, such as when Dick says Clark is giving him an inferiority complex.
Back to the meat of the story. Later, the boys encounter an airplane with a battering ram attempting to break into the bank. Superboy fiigures he can take out the plane with a single blow, but Robin fowls things up with his all too human failings.
WTF!? Isn't Robin a highly trained acrobat?
Anyway, plot contrivances aside, Superboy does indeed take down the battering ram in one blow. Following the pattern of the story, Robin again picks up a fragment of debris and hides it from Superboy in lead lined pouches. Superboy can't let his suspicsions go unsaid anymore and he confronts the Boy Wonder...
I'm a time-traveller sent here to prevent your death! MUCH more believable!"
Robin knows the only way to get out of this sticky wicket is to stroke Clark's super-ego. So he regales the Boy of Steel with stories about his own future super feats, like melting an iceberg to help a farm overcome their drought, sewing a ripped blimp with a wire cable and steel girder, and using his x-ray vision when an actual x-ray machine is broken. Suitably impressed with himself, Superboy allows Robin to explain what the fingerprints are for: trophies, because if there is one thing Silver Age Superman loves, it's trophies!
Speaking of which, when the two return to the fair, they are presented with another trophy, but this time it's a statuette of Superboy, not the dreaded clock. Before the guys can catch their breath, yet another crime breaks out, this time a robot is robbing a jewelry store. This time Robin gets to shine as he catches the creator of the robot while Superboy stops the robot itself.
Because you're a little arrogant and totally full of yourself, Superboy, why else?
And of course the scientists, having monitored this, present the two young heroes with yet another trophy, this time it finally is the clock! Robin orders Superboy to get rid of it at once, and so Superboy does what he does best when confronted with a problem with no apprent solution: Throw it into space!
"I must have my Bat Robot Repellent in my utility belt somewhere!"
The fray is on! Robin's efforts are incredibly futile, as he is immediately knocked out by the giant metal arms of the robot. Superboy takes point, hoping to make short work of things, but his overconfidence gets the better of him as the robot has kryptonite on hand to take him down! With the last ounces of his strength, Superboy removes a mirror from Robin's utility belt and blinds Groff, who has inexplicably left the safety of his robot body. Superboy manages to blind the villain long enough for Robin to recover and remove the kryptonite. Now all that's left is to wrap things up!
"And I would have gotten away with it too, if not for you meddling superheroes!"
And so things wrap up pretty nicely, even though now Superboy will grow up knowing Robin's secret identity and how his parents died, and doesn't do a thing about it. So what's the moral of the story? Even as a boy, Superman is a dick.
This story originally appearaed in Adventure Comics #253, October 1958. It was reprinted in the Greatest Team Up Stories Ever Told, as well as Superboy: The Greatest Team-Up Stories Ever Told (see the pattern?)