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Stephanie Brown

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Batgirl
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General Information
Real name: Stephanie Brown
First Appearance: Detective Comics #647 (August, 1992)
Created by: Chuck Dixon
Tom Lyle
Affiliations: Batman Family
Formerly Birds of Prey
Abilities: Stealth abilities


History

Origin

Stephanie Brown was born the daughter of the Cluemaster, one of Gotham City's third-rate villains. Stephanie's father spent most of her childhood in prison or away from the family, and though he claimed to be "rehabilitated upon his return to Gotham", Stephanie was furious to discover that he was actually returning to crime without his need to leave clues behind. She decided something needed to be done. Stephanie tailored a costume for herself, and called herself the Spoiler. She knew where her father was hiding out, found out his plans, and left clues so that the police and Batman could stop him. Robin (Tim Drake) tracked her down, and she joined in on the capturing of Cluemaster. She also became attracted to Robin, and it annoyed her that he knew her identity but she did not know his.

Spoiler

Spoiler2

Stephanie as the Spoiler.

During the events of "Knightquest", Cluemaster broke out of prison, along with Czonk and The Electrocutioner. Stephanie learned of the breakout on the news. Her mother, suffering from depression, was struggling with an addiction to painkillers. Steph decided to don her Spoiler outfit and go after her dad. She ran into Robin, and he let her work with him, although they got separated. Spoiler helped Robin out and he gave her a kiss in thanks. Before she could find out if she would see him again, the police arrived and they had to part ways.

Stephanie was kidnapped shortly thereafter by the Gully Carson gang, working with Cluemaster, who was still behind bars. Cluemaster got the idea to use her as insurance, but when the Carson gang withheld his part of the cut, he contacted Batman and Robin and told them that he had been forced to orchestrate their schemes because they were holding his daughter. Batman located the Carson's lair and Robin freed Stephanie. She insisted on getting her costume and going with him to bring down the rest of the gang--against Batman's objection. They were successful, and Stephanie decided to pay her dad a little visit in prison. She also made her attraction to the Boy Wonder very clear.

Spoiler next bumped into Robin when he was teamed up with the Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) to take down a street gang selling guns. She told him that she didn't think it was fair that he got to have all the fun, so she was going to become the Spoiler more often. She insisted on coming with the two of them as they took down the gang, flirting with Robin as usual. There was no time for that, however, when they went after the real leaders of the gang the following night, as Robin was enraged over the death of a fellow student, Karl Ranck. Steph went to the funeral, unaware that Robin was there (with his girlfriend) in his civilian identity. That night, Spoiler met up with Robin, telling him that she was going to be Spoiler more often, and would help him go against the boy who shot Ranck. They were in over their heads however, but thankfully Batman turned up, saved their necks and ordered Stephanie to go home. {C


Relationship with Robin (Tim Drake)

Tumblr l24n21fEgv1qbladco1 500

Stephanie with her lover, Tim Drake.

During a point in which Tim and his then-girlfriend Ariana were unable to see each other, he and Stephanie grew even closer. He soon came to realize that his feelings for Stephanie had grown into something more, and after breaking up with Ariana, began dating Stephanie. Unfortunately, because he needed to maintain the Batman Family secrecy, Robin was unable to reveal his true identity to Spoiler. At first, she seemed more than happy with this arrangement.

Unfortunately for Stephanie, she found out she was pregnant by an ex-boyfriend who had left Gotham City during the Cataclysm. Tim, in his cover identity Alvin Draper, took Stephanie to Lamaze classes, and the two became even closer. Unfortunately Robin was moved temporarily to Keystone City during the last few months of her pregnancy. He however returned to her when she was giving birth. With Tim's help, she was able to deal with giving her child up for adoption. Although a painful experience, she felt it best to give her daughter a chance at a better life.

Soon afterwards, Tim was sent away to boarding school by his father, and the two were forced into a long distance relationship, made even more complicated by the fact she still didn't know his real name. During his time away, Robin became friends with a girl named Star. One night, after seeing her go into an alley with some suspicious-looking people, Robin decided to follow her in costume. He ran into Stephanie, also on patrol, and she followed him as he tracked down Star to a gang meeting that erupted in a violent shootout. He managed to save Star, but Stephanie became convinced that he was cheating on her, and refused to see him for a time.

Shortly after this, Robin disappeared from Gotham for several days (he was off in Tibet on a secret mission), and in his absence Spoiler realized that she still wanted to be with him. Batman approached Spoiler and offered to train her. He also told her Tim's real name, and this betrayal drove a wedge in between him and Robin for awhile, as well as causing trouble for Stephanie and Tim. Spoiler began to train with Batman, and also the Birds of Prey (although they were a bit more reluctant). Stephanie also began a friendship with Batgirl who helped train her in-exchange for reading lessons. {C


1363018-batgirl 024

Steph reunites with Tim

Stephanie and Tim, as she now knew him, reconciled. Even after Batman - having decided that she wasn't really hero material told her to hang up her costume and the Birds stopped mentoring her, she still patrolled with Robin, as well as went on regular dates. When the US Government came to Stephanie and her mother, and told her that the Cluemaster had died in service of his country in the Suicide Squad, Stephanie was shocked. She cut off ties with Tim and went on a crime-fighting rampage, hunting down the The Riddler, her father's former associate, to try to get a better idea of who he had been in life. Eventually, she made peace with his memory, and she and Tim rekindled their relationship.

Stephanie has also revealed that when she was a child, her babysitter had attempted to rape her. This man died of an apparent drug overdose eight days after she told her father what had happened. Whether or not he had killed him was one of the questions she had to resign herself to never being able to answer.

Career as Robin, War Games, and Death

Appearancestephasrobin

Stephanie as Robin.

When his father discovered his secret identity, Tim was told to hang up his cape, and he did. He was forced to live a normal life for a time. During one day after school, Stephanie attempted to surprise Tim with a visit. Unfortunately as she arrived, she caught a female classmate of Tim's attempting to put the moves on him. Assuming yet again that Tim was being unfaithful, Steph broke off ties with Tim and angrily decided to put her attention elsewhere. Creating a homemade Robin costume, Stephanie sneaked into the Batcave and demanded that Batman train her as the new Robin. Despite his past belief that Stephanie was an inept crime fighter, Batman accepted her, put her through several months of intensive training and made her a costume with the same modifications as Tim's. As Robin she patrolled with Batman, and for a time seemed like a capable replacement for Tim. Unfortunately, for disobeying his orders on two missions, Batman later stripped her of the costume and told her that she was done being a hero because he couldn't trust her in the field.

In an effort to prove her worth to Batman, Stephanie stole one of his long-range plans for dealing with the entirety of Gotham's criminal underworld. Since this plan was predicated on the involvement of "Matches Malone" (who she did not know was actually one of Batman's alter egos), it quickly spun out of control. The result was a citywide gang war (Batman: War Games), in which Stephanie was captured by the Black Mask, who tortured her to get information about Batman. Although she escaped and made her way to Leslie Thompkins's clinic, she had been severely injured by the villain, and died in a hospital bed as Batman sat beside her.

Batman later found evidence that vital medical treatment that could have saved Spoiler's life had been denied by his longtime trusted ally, Leslie Thompkins, who had fled to Africa in shame. When confronted by Batman, Thompkins, in tears, claimed that she willfully withheld treatment to Spoiler in the hopes that Batman would see the violence he caused and give up his mantle. Batman has personally exiled Leslie from the United States, informing her that if she ever returns he will make sure she is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. {C

Gotham Underground Return

A Spoiler has recently appeared within the pages of Gotham Underground. Although her identity has yet to be concretely revealed, it has been shown that she has blonde hair, and knows Tim Drake's secret identity. This has led to a lot of confusion on his part.

As recently revealed (Robin-Spoiler Special) Stephanie Brown did not die in the above mentioned adventure, but was severely wounded to the point of death. Stephanie survived and accompanied Dr. Tompkins to Africa where she worked as a missionary during her recovery. After recovering, Stephanie returned to the United States and took up her former identity as Spoiler and has resumed her friendship with Drake after announcing her return to her mother. Stephanie has also enrolled in the same school with Drake under an assumed name to prevent those criminals who think her already dead to prevent them from resuming their attacks on her in her real name.

The New Batgirl

Batgirl Stephanie Brown

Stephanie as the 5th Batgirl.

Stephanie has graduated from high school, is a student at Gotham University, and is living with her mother still. Cassandra Cain has become disillusioned following Bruce Wayne's apparent death and gives Stephanie the Batgirl costume. After operating as the new Batgirl in Cain's costume, Stephanie is confronted by Barbara Gordon, who was notified of her activities by Dick Grayson. Barbara tried to reason with Stephanie to get her out of her vigilante activities, as she still sees Stephanie as an impetuous youth along with still remembering her role in causing a city-wide gang war and her near-death experience at Black Mask's hands.

However, a new type of recreational drug is hitting the streets of Gotham known as "Thrill," which they discover was manufactured by the Scarecrow and Black Mask. Both women find themselves needing each other to stop this drug trade. Stephanie eventually confront and defeated Scarecrow, which impresses Barbara and shows that she now has the maturity for the responsibility with actions and remarks of capable of facing her fear and failures,and allows her to continue on as Batgirl. Barbara later takes a job as an assistant professor at Stephanie's school in order to continue to keep in contact with her. Barbara also handed Stephanie an unused costume which was designed for her to replace Cassandra's tattered costume.

DCnU

Stephanie appears in the Batman Inc. double issue Leviathan Strikes. When the issue came out however, the decision to have it take place prior to Flashpoint resulted in the issue being Stephanie's final appearance as Batgirl.

Stephanie reappears in Batman #28 once again under the identity of the Spoiler. She is a major player Batman Eternal, which highlights her origins as Spoiler in response to discovering her father's supervillain identity and plans for the city. As Spoiler, she posts her father's plans in the internet, defeats her father, and assists Batman from the shadows as a group of villains attempt to destroy Gotham City.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Like the rest of the Batman family, Spoiler has no superhuman powers. However during Gotham Underground the Penguin gave her an unknown device which allowed her to become completely invisible. According to Tim Drake, this "ability" was achieved through stolen technology. According to Batgirl writer Bryan Q. Miller, the ability to become invisible has not been incorporated into Stephanie's new identity as Batgirl.

Abilities

  • Excellent stealth abilities, moderate acrobatic and hand to hand combat abilities which were later honed by training with Batman.

Strength

  • Average strength for a teenage girl in good physical condition.

Weakness

  • Stephanie suffers the same weakness of any normal human without super-powers such as illness, injury and the ability to die.

Equipment

As Spoiler, Stephanie carried a belt similar to that used by other Gotham vigilantes containing a grappling hook, tracking devices, and various other crime-fighting paraphernalia. During Gotham Underground the Penguin gave her an unknown device which allowed her to become completely invisible. According to Tim Drake, this "ability" was achieved through stolen technology.

After Stephanie took on the Batgirl identity, Barbara Gordon designed a new costume for Stephanie more in line with the rest of the Bat-family's. It is equipped with armor and insulation against ballistic, flame, and electrical attacks. Stephanie's Batsuit also carries a wireless relay within the cowl, permitting her to remain in contact with Barbara. The suit also allows Barbara to monitors Stephanie's vital signs. Stephanie now also uses a collapsible bo staff, similar to the one that Tim Drake uses and implied that she has been trained by Drake and Cassandra Cain in using it before assuming the Batgirl mantle.

Weapons

Spoiler: Batarangs, grappling hook, gas bombs, laser torch, invisibility device.

Batgirl: Batarangs, grappling hook, gas bombs, laser torch, collapsible bo-staff

Notes

  • In Batman #673, in a scene shown as a possible hallucination of Batman's, there appears to be a monument case in the Batcave containing the Robin costume worn by Stephanie Brown.
  • In Robin #174, upon Stephanie's apparent return from the dead, Batman reveals to Tim that he had lingering doubts about her death, which is why he never dedicated a Batcave memorial to her.
  • She was only Robin for a very short time, during Robin #126-128 (not counting appearances as Robin in other DC titles). In narrative time, according to "Robin's War Journal" from the Batman: War Games crossover story arc, she was Robin for 71 days.
  • When Alfred asks if Batman's acceptance of Stephanie as Robin was conceived by him as only a temporary measure from the outset and constituted part of a deceptive and manipulative effort to lure Tim back to the cape, Batman evades the question. However, when a dying Stephanie asks, "Was I ever really Robin?", Batman answers, "Yes."

Trivia

  • In the DC Nation column for the week of December 25, 2007, DiDio showed the Christmas wish lists of various DC characters. Robin wished for "a trophy case for Stephanie". It was crossed out with "No can do!" written in red marker
  • There is some controversy in the DC fan community about the fact that even though Stephanie Brown served as Robin for a time, she receives no monument or memorial in the Batcave, unlike other past Robins. During a Q&A at a convention in March 2007, DC executive editor Dan DiDio responded to questions about the absence of a Stephanie tribute from the Batcave, saying that the official position of DC Comics is that "She was never really a Robin," despite on-panel claims to the contrary.
  • Supporters of Stephanie Brown cite her death as a case of "Women in Refrigerators" syndrome. They state that the torture and murder of Stephanie Brown was a misogynist plot device used to cement the hatred between hero (Batman) and villain (Black Mask). Furthermore, Tim Drake, despite having dated Brown for several years, does little if any on-panel grieving for her, whereas he is so devastated by the death of Conner Kent (whom he knew for less time than he dated Stephanie) he grieves for months, and attempts to clone his fallen friend dozens of times and even alters his costume colors in Conner's memory.

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