Stephanie Brown, former Robin and current Batgirl, has worked hard to earn her place among Gotham’s caped crusaders. Stephanie’s battle is honoured in Wayne Family Adventures by Starbite and CRC Payne in a moving two-part arc that shows how far she’s come. Most startling of all, Batman is revealed to be a complete hypocrite for the manner he fired her in the first place.
‘Belonging,’ which consists of episodes 36 and 37, is an intimate reflection of Stephanie’s journey to becoming a hero. As she struggles to finish a difficult training exercise, she reflects on how she’s always had to battle for her place, first as Spoiler in opposition to her criminal father, then as the first female Robin seeking to earn Bruce’s respect, and ultimately as Batgirl in her own right. It is only when she begins to believe in herself that she is able to overcome the obstacle. Bruce congratulates her at this point, expounding on how no one can live up to the expectations of a superhero and admitting that “your best is more than good enough.”
DC has a chance to fix the big problem with their female Robin, but it must act quickly.
This is a significant acknowledgment from Bruce, and a significant shift from his previous “zero-tolerance” approach for his allies. After Stephanie disobeys orders in the field during her time as Robin (in Bill Willingham and Damien Scott’s Robin Vol. 2, #128 from 2004), Batman fires her, declaring, “You’ve been dismissed… I gave you a chance. You didn’t live up to expectations, “She was even told she had to stop being a vigilante. Stephanie went on to establish herself and become a fan favourite Batgirl, but her initial rejection was a big vote of no confidence in her abilities and potential.
It’s heartwarming to observe how much Batman’s tone has changed in this fresh appraisal of Stephanie. Putting past failures aside is a significant emphasis of the issue. Bruce is openly retracting his former reasoning for removing Stephanie as Robin by reminding her that “humans aren’t [perfect]… no one can live up to those principles all of the time.” It’s an unspoken admission that his past demands for perfection were misguided, as well as an acknowledgement of Stephanie’s abilities, though he doesn’t say so.
Stephanie has come a long way since her first appearance as Spoiler, but one thing has remained constant throughout: she works hard and gives her all to every duty she is given. Her dedication to hard work keeps her going strong, whether it’s honing her investigative skills or reaching out to allies like Cassandra Cain to be a better friend. It’s because of this dedication that Batman has finally changed his mind about Stephanie Brown and acknowledged that, far from failing to measure up, the one-time Robin and present Batgirl is more than adequate.