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    Can Stephanie Brown Fill the Batgirl Boots?

    By | June 6th, 2010
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    Article originally written by Jasmine Hall
    We’re slowly approaching the year mark anniversary of the relaunched and rethought Batgirl title. As a market to add to the new atmosphere post Bruce Wayne, DC has given the Batgirl mantle to Stephanie Brown (a former crime fighter known as Spoiler and shortly Robin). Steph has been a C list character, leaving her mostly the love interest of Tim Drake in the late 90s and early 2000s. Now, we find her the face of Batgirl. Will she be a legend in her own right? Will she work out as Batgirl or prove to be a disappointment? I want to focus solely on the Batgirl mythos right now.

    In the time she has been Batgirl, can she even compare to the (main) previous holders — Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain? Each previous Batgirl held significance in the legacy. Barbara represented the will to do right, regardless of gender. This was a big issue for women in comics to be more then tied up and left as a distraction for a torn hero. Save the city or save the girl? Barbara as Batgirl (which can be amazingly told in Batgirl: Year One) was one of the first girls to break the mold and live up to her potential. Cassandra Cain, in my opinions represents determination to persevere over anything. Language, disability, or opponents — Cass had overcome them all in an attempt to live up to the legacy of Batgirl.

    It is 2010 and time has had its toll once more. A new fresh Batgirl has hit the scenes. Stephanie’s impact has left some critics a little worried about the future. Personally, I believe Stephanie as Batgirl has proven to be quite a fresh change. She’s a reluctant (and somewhat unfortunate) hero. She’s not perfect. She is not abnormal. She is your everyday girl who makes mistakes, but still tries. I relate with Steph as Batgirl. I’m sure many girls can relate to Steph as Batgirl. because she is average. The teacher/student mentorship with Barbara and Steph has proven to give some sort of stability and connection into the bat-family. The supporting cast is somewhat forgettable, but there has not been enough time to focus on them.

    The Batgirl title has been left as somewhat disposable in the past 5 or so years. Ever since Cain’s Batgirl series ended, DC has had no clue where to take the mantle next. Between becoming lackluster to becoming a drugged up assassin to once again fading into obscurity — just who is Batgirl and who deserves to wear the cowl?

    What needs to be done: A memorable cast of supporting characters is needed pronto! In addition, fleshed out and unique villains should be made for Stephanie. I understand being a part of the bat-family kind of puts a target on you, but I think a new villain is just what this book needs. Stephanie is already being treated like the youngest child with hand-me-downs, so why not go ahead and flesh out a new villain for the girl instead of recycling? Another thing that I’m worried about is Steph’s star power. Babs is a fan favorite and seems to have many scenes where the focus is strictly on her as opposed to Steph. It’s great to have Babs as a background character, but Steph should be the star in her own book.

    What needs to remain the same: The light hearted atmosphere of the book should remain. This isn’t a grim dark book, even if some of the content is. The art remains fresh and gorgeous and the storytelling is coming along quite nice. The relationship with Steph and company (Babs, Dick, Tim, Damian) is perfectly balanced where it is not overbearing or limited. Steph’s personality shines through better then any other female I’ve been reading. about in comics I’ve really gotten a sense of who she is as a character and the tone the book is intending to give.

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    In conclusion, will anyone be able to fill in the legacy of Batgirl? The mantle has been passed to Steph for the long run it seems, and DC has made a bold move. Will it pay off? I believe so. The book has been overall fun and completely different from the previous run. I’ve enjoyed the book thus far because I can relate to her. She is almost always “in over her head” but manages to make it work without seeming weak or incompetent. Bubbly, determined and witty, Stephanie Brown is the Batgirl of this generation and hopefully is here to stay.


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