Stephanie Brown: 1994 - 2010
Stephanie is the daughter of Arthur and Agnes Brown. When she was still very young, Stephanie's father was fired from his job as a resident trivia expert an a game show. He did not take it well. Driven to insanity, Arthur attempted to blow up the remaining cast of the program during a live episode, Arthur Brown was taken down by a young Batman (with the help of his first Batgirl and Robin) and sent to Blackgate Prison.
While her father served his sentence, Stephanie lived with her mother, a nurse who worked at Arkham Asylum as a nurse. By all accounts, Stephanie lived a simple, charmed life during this time, but that was not meant to last long. When Stephanie was eleven years old, he mother, Agnes, died during an assault on Arkham Asylum by the League of Assassins. The purpose of the raid was to break Edward Nygma out of custody. In light of the loss of her mother and his success with his rehabilitative programming, Arthur Brown was able to petition for an early release to care for Stephanie. Arthur Brown had his parental rights restored. Though she missed her mother dearly, Stephanie was happy to have her father back in her life
Though this new new state of life was not quite 'charmed', Stephanie was loved and cared for by her father. Arthur got a new job in a manufacturing plant and later remarried. giving Stephanie a stepmother named Crystal. Though, Stephanie was still deeply affected by the death of her mother, she remained cheerful and believed her father had actually been reformed while in prison; however, that all changed the night that the Riddler returned to Gotham, broadcasting an internet feed with the Joker in late October of 2006.
Stephanie did not know then, but Arthur Brown snapped when he saw the man who he blamed for the death of his first wife and began to plot his revenge. Stephanie did not notice it immediately as the first year her father hid his relapse and obsessive behavior well. But a year later, the Cataclysm struck and Arthur embraced his darker side. Stephanie justified this as her father protecting her and Crystal and again did no think much of it. It was only after the Cataclysm, during the Great Restructuring that Stephanie realized what had happened to her father. With Arthur constantly away from home, preparing his revenge for Riddler, and crystal working her night job, Steph was left at home in the care of a drunk named Murray that her father had befriended in prison. It was through Murray's habit of talking while passed out that Stephanie first learned of her father's intent to kill the Riddler. Deciding she was going to do something about this, Stephanie got in the habit of slipping her mother's sleeping pills into Murray's booze to get him unconscious quicker every night, taking notes and developing a plan to spoil her dad's revenge - hoping that she could stop him from doing something that would tear the family apart.
Spoiler: 2010 - 2013
When the slurred speech of slumbering scoundrel became outdated and useless, Stephanie began sneaking out at night in a purple hoodie, shadowing her father or eavesdropping on those Arthur had been recruiting to aid in his plan. Steph always intended to get just enough incriminating evidence to get her father locked up so he could get help he needed, but when her father's plan became too ridiculous, Stephanie began to fear the GCPD's Major Crimes Unit would not take her seriously and risk revealing her activities to her father. So, like many Gothamites before her, Steph donned a mask and cape, intent on "spoiling" her father's plans. Spoiler Alert: Stephanie did just that, with the help of a certain boy wonder. Enter: Tim Drake.
By then she had also developed a bit of a crush on Robin which only further propelled her into our gang's warped nightlife. After she was legally emancipated, Steph kept sneaking out at night to meet up with Robin for flirting and crimefighting. Eventually, under recommendation from Bruce, Tim told Steph they should avoid dating for a while to focus on her training. Stephanie didn't see the point in that, but agreed so long as she could still spend time with Robin. After a while, Tim not only revealed his true identity to her but also began bringing Cassandra Cain on their outings. Steph relocated to Brentwood Academy on a scholarship program in order to spend time with them unmasked but then the summer of 2011 hit.
Both Tim and Cass spent most of their time for three whole months away from Gotham, going on team exercises with the Titans, Steph tried to tag long with Batman a few times, but he wasn't really interested in taking on another sidekick. Early on during that summer, Stephanie threw her costume in her closet and stopped going out at night. Still she was excited to hang out with Tim and Cass whenever they returned to Gotham; but would Steph make up excuses to avoid going on patrols. Cassie Cain proved herself to be more intuitive than the surprisingly dense boy genius. Whenever Steph gave an excuse to avoid their patrols, Cassie would follow up with her. After Cass hounded Steph for a while, Steph revealed she was pregnant. Steph explained to Cass she was lonely and gave in to the temptation with an old boyfriend. When Tim found out, he didn't handle it well, and broke up with Steph. Still, Cassie stuck by Steph through her junior year of high school. Tim also came round in time to help support Steph, he tried to apologize for his previous behavior, but Steph made him earn it, insisting he be her Lamaze coach. Not thrilled by it, Tim agreed and Steph gave birth to a healthy girl and promptly gave her up for adoption.
After recovering from that, Steph eased back into crimefighting, mostly partnering with Cass.... and even Batman and Robin on occasion. When Tim suddenly left town after graduation, Bruce decided that it was about time Steph got a costume upgrade.
Robin: 2013 - 2014
Stephanie was asked by Batman to take over the now vacant position of Robin -- unknown to Stephanie at the time, Tim was undercover within the League of Assassins. Stephanie gladly accepted the offer, dive hugging Batman as she giggled like a loon in one of the strangest exchanges I've ever seen in the Batcave.
After making her debut as Robin, the Girl Wonder, Stephanie's relationship with Batman began to become dysfunctional (like so many of Bruce's relationships do) due to her lacking the gymnastic grace and cool-headedness of Dick, the savage passion and street savvy of Jason, or the sheer intellect and strategic mind of Tim. Though Stephanie did have pure, raw moxie in spades, Bruce didn't know how to work with that at first.
Not discouraged, Stephanie persevered and every night she improved, bit by bit. She took her lumps, as we all do, but no matter how badly she was bruised, battered, or bloodied, Stephanie never stopped. Eventually, she shaped herself into quite the capable crimefighter without the strict training regimen the rest of us had, but she forged herself step by step through sheer tenacity; and for it, she got Batman's blessing and even when Tim returned, she stayed on as the Girl Wonder.
Stephanie first started working with the Titans during this time as well, quickly making friendships at the Tower.
When Cassandra Cain discovered the identity of her mother and went to investigate and Tim became busy mending his burnt bridges, Stephanie began spending more time with the Birds of Prey. She made quick friends with Dinah, Helena, and myself; and was debating resurrecting her Spoiler identity to join our ranks full-time but that did not happen as one of Tim's souvenirs from his time in League decided it wanted to be a hero too. Stephanie offered her domino mask and black and yellow cape to the pesky twerp. When he accepted her gracious offer, Helena and I could think of no one better to replace Cassandra Cain than our sweet, stubborn Stephanie.
Batgirl: 2014 - 2016
After taking over the mantle of Batgirl, complete with a new costume that paid homage to her past work as Spoiler with her signature eggplant decals, Stephanie was truly accepted by the Bat Family (with the possible exception of Damian... so everyone who matters).
Stephanie continued to attend Gotham State University with Tim and Cass (who returned from her time abroad to become 'Black Bat') and she also continued taking day trips to San Francisco to attend Titans Academy to improve her skills and develop crucial relationships with other heroes of the future. Speaking of relationships, Tim and Steph finally got around to being hot and heavy in this time.
As far as Batgirls go, Steph may lack my technical savvy and groovy genius, she definitely doesn't have Helena's gritty rage or killer instinct, and we all know she doesn't come anyway near the deadly grace and dynamic warrior spirit of Cassandra; but Stephanie has a zealous passion and stubborn resolve like no other. If Steph lacks the skill or ability to avoid or overcome an obstacle, she'll just plow through it and shake herself off. You can't teach what Steph has. That makes her powerful.
To prove my point, not only has Stephanie been a valued part of "Team Third String" (as Damian calls her, Tim, and Cass) but she has worked a handful of cases by herself in which she broke up an illegal fight club ran by Larissa Diaz (aka: Copperhead), stopped Firefly on a spree of arson, and ended Roxy Rocket's two week long crime spree. Stephanie even once crashed a summit of high-profile criminals and held her own against Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Mr. Freeze until help could arrive.
After these impressive feats, I overhead my own dad telling Batman that he likes this "new Batgirl" and said she reminds him of his Barbara... If my dad only knew.
Nightwing: 2016 - 2017
Stephanie continued to play musical chairs with her costumes and heroic identities. In the fall of 2016, Dick Grayson decided he was going to go undercover and he asked Stephanie to keep a watch on his city. Stephanie was unsure she was up for the task, but Dick gave her a touching speech about how impressed he was with her from his own stint as Batman and could imagine no one better to serve justice as Nightwing in his absence.
This costumed switch happened around the same time as Tim first suiting up as Batman, so it marked the first time in actual history that Batman and Nightwing would flirt with each other on the job.
Ultimately, Steph's stay as Nightwing has reached an end as Dick has returned and requested he be allowed to return to his mantle, though with the discovery of my cancer, he has allowed Steph to remain on as Nightwing until she figures out where she'll go next. Rumor is, she's finally decided to return to her classic moniker of Spoiler, albeit with a new pair of threads.
Spoiler: 2017 - Present
- Acrobatics: While Stephanie strikes me as clumsy and awkward (in the most adorable way), she is actually quite acrobatic and is able to effectively traverse the rooftops and alleyways of Gotham using grapnel lines and parkour techniques like any good Bat-clan member should.
- Computer Science: I trained Stephanie myself and she is also dating Tim so she's picked up a few tricks that allow her to hack computers and computerized security systems in the field.
- Escapology: She was trained by Batman and Tim, but also had some prior skill thanks to her father's odd interests.
- Indomitable Will: On a hunch, I asked Kyle Rayner for a favor and had him use his ring to scan Stephanie covertly to determine if she had the will required to be a Lantern. Not only did she possess such a feature, but Kyle remarked that she might have been a better choice than Guy... I mean, yes it's a compliment, but not by much. You could say the same thing about the BLT I had for lunch.
- Investigation: While not well-versed in forensics, Stephanie is an exceptional judge of character and may be one of the best non-psychic people readers I've ever seen.
- Martial Arts: Stephanie was trained by Batman, Tim, and yours truly in hand-to-hand combat. Using her skills she has not only taken on Batman's villains but has proved herself capable of besting her boyfriend in sparring matches.
- Stealth: She was trained by Batman and Robin in stealthy maneuvers, but was already quite the amateur ninja as Spoiler.
- Strength: Okay this girl is strong. Freakishly strong. Not only have I seen her leg-press some serious weight to save a woman and her child, but I've personally seen her knock Jason Todd on his ass after he made a dumb comment about Tim and I know she's also strong enough to have once carried an unconscious Wally West and Tim Drake to safety after both were knocked out by Vandal Savage and left for dead in a burning building. These sorts of things can all be explained by adrenaline or just determination, but I believe that Steph might be the strongest Batgirl we've had yet.
- Tactical Analysis: Since dating Tim, Steph's skills at strategic assessment have improved significantly.
- Throwing: Like any good Bat-Clanner, Steph can hurl batarangs with remarkable precision.
- Innocence: Stephanie has seen some things to be sure, but she still retains a certain innocence and lightheartedness that causes her to hesitate when confronted with the truly depraved things we encounter.
- Stubborn: Stephanie doesn't know when to quit and often times she will stand her ground rather than employ a tactical retreat. When she gets likes this, I've only known Tim to be able to convince her that discretion is the better part of valor and failing that, you'll need to actually drag her out of danger.
Trivia and Notes
- Steph is a pun-slinger.
- Steph's favorite food is chili cheese dogs with jalapenos... though she often lies and says it's Cesar salad with chicken.
- Steph hates the sound of the word "moist".
- Steph cringes at the sound of Styrofoam rubbing against itself.
- Steph is allergic to something in Fear Gas. It doesn't close her airways or anything, she just sneezes so much when exposed to it that it sometimes takes three times as long to affect her as others. Also, of note, Steph has the loudest sneezes in the world.
- Steph is aware that Damian had a crush on her and would try to be nice to him, but since he's Damian he opened his mouth and pissed her off.
- Steph hates it when she is driven to hate people and constantly shakes in frustrated rage when she thinks about how much she wants to punch them.
- Steph wrinkles her nose whenever people talk about bathrooms. Not necessarily bodily functions that tend to happen in them, just the rooms themselves. When asked for why this is, Steph only says she doesn't want to talk about it and walks away.
- Though seemingly a sweet girl-next-door on the outside with a lot of her own awkward quirks, Stephanie loves to make uncomfortable, especially if they annoy her. In the case of Damian, who has qualms about hearing details of the romantic aspects of Tim and Steph's love life, Stephanie will be sure to boldly flirt with Tim whenever Damian is around.
- Stephanie eats marshmallows out of the bag when she is bored or lonely. Interestingly, she doesn't like marshmallows in her hot chocolate.
- Steph gets uncomfortable when people watch her eat and often covers her mouth while she is chewing.
- Steph secretly feeds Titus sweets in order to make sure the dog remains her friend despite Damian's training.
- Alfred doesn't get after Stephanie when she puts her feet on the furniture, because "Miss Brown has the decency to take her shoes off at the door". Truth is, it's not decency, Stephanie just likes to walk around houses in stocking feet.
- Steph prefers white chocolate over the others.
- Stephanie used to have a crush on Conner Kent... Interestingly, Cassandra Cain did as well and the two girls wondered if he would be the end of their friendship.
- Steph's best friend is Cassandra Cain. But, since she's Steph, she is quick to point out that she loves everyone just as much as Cass.
- Stephanie doesn't like onions.
- Stephanie's greeting of choice is the "glomp" and she can become predatory with its use, often liking to see if she can sneak up on friends she has not seen in a long time. She is at her happiest when she manage to catch Wally West in such an embrace.
- Due to some past experience, Stephanie is outright terrified of the dummy known as Scarface, but she will not talk about it.
- Stephanie is studying Communications at Gotham University.
- During one of her first meetings with Robin she smashed a brick in his face.
- Her address is a nod to her first appearance: Detective Comics #647 in 1992 and her creator Chuck Dixon.
- Stephanie Brown being Nightwing is a nod to Smallville.
- The drunk's full name is Jim Murray.
- Spoiler's new mask is a nod to the original costume.
- Stephanie's second name is a nod to Mae Whitman, her voice actress from Young Justice.
- In the comics Crystal Brown was Stephanie's mother but in her first appearances she was called Agnes Bellinger. Name change happened in Detective Comics #810.