I Demand Stephanie Brown

On Thursday, February 7, 2013 0 comments

DC is stupid. That’s not news. From their convoluted crossover events to their asinine editorial decisions, they’ve stuck their foot in their mouth more than once. The most recent offender is the New 52. The New 52 isn’t all bad (only about 90% of it), but it’s been over a year and some much needed corrections still haven’t been made. My biggest pet peeve: the absence of Stephanie Brown. Here are five reasons Stephanie Brown should be brought back.

Pictured above: Stephanie surrounded by DC editors.  
Reason 1: Anchor for Tim
Tim’s been down a slippery slope these past few years. With the New 52 it’s a bit unclear exactly who he’s lost and when (thanks for clearing that up, DC). However, he is not a happy-camper. The cheerful chipmunk from days of yore (the 90s) is gone, replaced with a constantly scowling grump. Stephanie’s presence could fix this. Even if they weren’t officially a couple, she could be his emotional anchor. It would allow the writers to continue to develop this new, darker side of Tim (in the hope that it one day goes somewhere) while using Steph to occasionally pull him back to the good old days.

Reason 2: DC needs more girls in their line-up
I hate to play the gender card, but it needs to be said: female superheroes need help. Even existing female icons like Wonder Woman and Black Canary are played up for their sexuality. Fine, whatever, I won’t write a ten-page rant on how impractical Starfire’s costume is. I just think that the equation needs to be balanced. The comic world needs more characters like Stephanie Brown, younger women who aren’t played up for their sexuality. DCverse needs Steph precisely because she isn’t defined by her gender. She is a well-rounded character with a lot to offer. And she just so happens to be to be female in a genre that needs more strong female characters.

Are her nipples adhesive? How is that costume staying on?  
Reason 3: Foil for Damian
Damian is an obnoxious little fart with all the social graces of a roasted peanut. Stephanie is everything Damian is not. She was a great socializing force for him, putting him in situations outside of his comfort zone. It both humanized him and forced him to grow as a character. Their banter was hilarious, but more than that, they had a great dynamic. Steph was a great “rival” for Damian, providing someone on his level that he could treat as a peer, and vice-versa. Without her, Damian’s become the DC equivalent of a crazy cat person. Okay, his menagerie is freaking adorable, but Steph was giving him skills that could help him be a functioning human being.

Or he could turn Wayne Manor into one giant litter-box. 
Reason 4: An emotional counter-point for the whole Bat-clan
As far as pseudo-families go, the Bats are as morose as a pack of timber wolves. Even characters who used to be shining paragons of go-lucky have slipped deeper into the darkside (Tim, I’m looking at you). I’m not accusing them of being a one-note angst-fest (they are a symphony, thank you very much), but Stephanie provided an excellent contrast. Her wide-eyed optimism provided a much needed balance. It allowed the family to have its dark, somber moments while still being 3-dimensional.

Reason 5: Hope vs cynicism
Gotham is a rotten dumping-grounds where gross things go to die. You won’t find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy in all of comic books. In a city as corrupt and unlikable as Gotham, it’s occasionally hard to see why the heroes bother saving it. Why exactly is Batman dedicating his life to preserving an already rotten corpse? Stephanie Brown is a beacon of light. She is a naturally bright and hopeful (and even shown as a Blue Lantern in the last issue). Her outlook on life allows the audience to see the good in Gotham. It’s a perspective that more cynical, world-weary characters like Bruce and Jason can’t bring to the table. Allowing Stephanie to infuse the city with hope enriches all of the Batfamily books, because it gives the audience a reason to care.

This might be my favorite image in all of comics.
So there you have it. Bringing Stephanie Brown back wouldn’t just appease angry fans; it would make a wealth of other books better. The world needs more Steph. DC, feel free to redeem yourself at any time. Until then, I’ll just be over here. Complaining.

Leave some love in the comments if you want Stephanie Brown back, too!

And check out my article about Young Justice being cancelled. This blog is a cornucopia of nerdiness.


Post a Comment