B is for the kick ass Batgirl known as Stephanie Brown. Who would have thunk it? Stephanie Brown, one of the most shit upon characters in DC ending up wearing the cowl? The woman who writers had knocked-up, fired, yelled at, told she wasn’t good enough, scapegoated, killed and denied the basic right of every Robin? I’m sure when Dan DiDio announced the return of a Batgirl book in 2008 he wasn’t thinking about Stephanie Brown. He was planning on Barbara Gordon, “the character in it’s most iconic form”, to return to the tights. But when that plan fell apart and with a deadline looming, they went with Stephanie.
My expectations frankly were low. But Bryan Q. Miller made me love Steph. Steph who guiltily took her best friend’s cowl and snuck out on her mother to fight crime, finally, as a Bat. And who got nabbed and lectured by Oracle over waffles for hitting the streets using Babs’ former identity and then got Babs to train and mentor her. Steph, whose inner monologues are never inner — a superhero who hilariously and sardonically narrates her own adventures.
This a character who is growing in skill and confidence right before our eyes. She’s not perfect, or polished or even very coordinated at times. She really is the “everywoman” as hero.
And that’s the charm of the character. She’s constantly underestimated by others so it’s a delight to see her get off on herself for being competent and good. Her constant non-heroic banter (“crap!” is a favorite reaction) puts the reader on her side so we get a vicarious kick when she hits the mark.
Stephanie Brown. A Batgirl by happenstance but maybe the most endearing one of all.