Even Robin understands what distinguishes Stephanie Brown from the rest of the Bat Family.
Stephanie has been a steadfast member of Batman’s army since its entrance, whether as the Spoiler, Robin, or Batgirl—but she has also stood apart from the rest. At the moment, Damian Wayne, a rookie to the Bat Family, becomes enamored with Stephanie Brown in 2009’s Batgirl #5 and learns what sets her apart from the rest.
Stephanie Brown debuted in Detective Comics #647 in 1992, and an issue later became the Spoiler—the first of several heroic aliases she would adopt during her career. She was initially Tim Drake’s love interest before becoming Robin in 2004’s Robin #126. Her reign was cut short, although she reappeared as Batgirl afterward.
When Stephanie originally took on the mantle, then-Batman Dick Grayson was opposed, believing Stephanie’s failed tenure as Robin disqualified her from future responsibilities. On the other hand, Stephanie would prove herself, and Batman consented to let her function as Batgirl—as long as she operated under the supervision of Barbara Gordon, who was still the information broker Oracle. Stephanie also piqued Damian Wayne’s interest.
Stephanie unintentionally makes Batman and Robin fail a mission in the issue written by Bryan Q. Miller and illustrated by Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott. Back in the Bat Cave, an enraged Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon debate over Stephanie’s future as a costumed hero while Damian Wayne is forced to sit in another room. Damian’s fiery tongue leads to several jabs at Stephanie.
Domain confronts Stephanie at school the following day. He informs her that he is attempting to figure out what makes her tick. He can’t help but put her down, telling her she’s useless at everything and has no desire for retribution. Stephanie responds that not everything has to be about fear and that sometimes hope is more effective.
Stephanie Brown Is Not Like Other Batman Sidekicks
While veiled by harsh comments, Robin’s diagnosis of Stephanie is on: she is not motivated by a desire for vengeance, as are so many members of the Bat Family. Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood, and many other characters are motivated by revenge or, at the very least, ensuring that others do not suffer the traumas they suffered. Furthermore, practically every member of the Bat Family was born in a traumatized environment: Batman witnessed his parents being killed in front of him, and Nightwing witnessed the same. The Joker shot Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, and Red Hood dead, literally. All these experiences formed these Bat-Family members into who they are; it appears that some sort of life-altering event is required for membership in the Bat Family.
On the other hand, Stephanie Brown does not appear to check any of these boxes. She has not witnessed a parent’s death or any such horror; her father, The Cluemaster, a mediocre adversary, was usually absent since he was imprisoned, but Stephanie does not let this deter her. Stephanie is inspired by a desire for justice rather than retribution; whereas Batman and others employ terror to maintain order, Stephanie believes in alternative tactics, such as hope. Robin noticed this and understood that is what distinguishes Stephanie Brown from the rest of the Bat Family.