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DC Can Fix The Big Problem with Its Female Robin, But Needs to Act Now

For a number of years, Stephanie Brown's tenure as Robin was long forgotten by DC Comics, but with the publisher's Infinite Frontier initiative incorporating old stories into continuity, it seems she's slowly being recognized for her time in the tights. While she continues to operate as Spoiler, Stephanie's brief time as Robin was complicated and after a few mentions of it, it's obvious it's been overlooked.

Stephanie Brown first appeared in Detective Comics #647 in which she becomes Spoiler to help Batman stop her father, the villain Cluemaster. When Tim Drake, the third Robin and Stephanie's boyfriend, reluctantly retired, she convinced Batman to train her as the next Robin in 2004's Robin #126. Stephanie had a short time as Robin both in continuity and in real life, and her time was ended when she was fired two issues later by Batman after she disobeyed him in the field. Trying to make up for her insubordination, she accidentally initiates a Gotham-wide gang war.  This resulted in her death at the hands of Black Mask, which was eventually retconned. Stephanie then operated as Batgirl in the pre-New 52 era before returning to the Spoiler identity and having most of her continuity erased.

Related: Nightwing Finally Admits He Let Down The Future Robins

In Robins #1 by Tim Seely and Baldemar Rivas, Stephanie is recognized as a Robin, but only to a certain extent. While in this issue DC gives her the credit of being the only female Robin in main canon, she's still shown to have her own doubts in the Robin legacy saying she worries she's "placing her value in something she'll never be again". Over in the Damian Wayne's solo series Robin #5, she says she's always felt like an outsider amongst the Robins. Stephanie definitely held the title of Robin and fought alongside Batman, but she will always be disqualified due to the fact that Dick, Jason, Tim, and Damian all had long careers as the hero before moving on. These other Robins were also written and drawn by a multitude of talented writers and artists over the years. Stephanie didn’t have anything like the same exposure in the role, of which she deserves.

What Steph could use is another period operating as Robin. In Robins, she puts an exact day amount on her time with Batman: 71 days, though Tim points out she was suspended for three weeks of that. Stephanie says she feels like an athlete who peaked early. With Tim Drake using the name "Red Robin" again and Damian having left the Bat-Family behind, it's the perfect time for Stephanie to suit up as Robin. It's commonplace for the Robins to work alone now, which would allow for Stephanie to be Robin and not have to work alongside Batman, as he would most likely disapprove. It would also be possible to give her some flashback stories to make her history more concrete much like what was shown in the Robin 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular. Either way, Stephanie's impact on the legacy could be much grander, and after her time as one of the Batgirls, who wouldn't want that?

While it's good to see that DC is acknowledging Stephanie's backstory, she still isn't being given the credit she deserves. Before Damian officially calls it quits and the mantle is ultimately nullifiedDC Comics needs to make it a priority to tell some more memorable stories with Stephanie Brown suited up as Robin.

Next: Red Hood's Time As Robin Stopped Him From Becoming a Major Villain

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