Super Steph Series pt 11- "From now on, you can call me Robin."
So we enter the era of Robin!Steph! I have mixed feelings about this era. Steph was Robin because she was going to die. Therefore, she was set up to fail. And die. The story of her Robinness was ridiculously contrived and OOC because Willingham can't write any DC characters worth a damn, IMO. BUT, it was also fun. Steph as Robin was good fit, we got a good Detective Comics and "Batgirl and Robin" story out of it.
Then she died. And didn't get a memorial. And the fans protested. And we got her back.
If Stephanie hadn't become Robin, fans wouldn't have noticed how stupid and misogynist and cheapdrama!!!111 her death was, and how badly she was treated as much. And we probably wouldn't have gotten her back as soon as we did. And a lot of fans discovered her because of her becoming Robin, and her death, including me.
So all in all, I'm glad Steph was Robin. Let's look over the six stories where she got to be wonderfully Robin-y, shall we?
There will be some complaining, be warned.
So for background...Tim's dad has forbidden him from being Robin. After this happened, Tim randomly decided not to talk to Steph for three weeks. Yeah, it's Bill Willingham. Anyway, he finally looks her up jogging around the school track on a Saturday like a good little crimefighter. There's some making out and then...
DUNDUNDUN! Oh, and her leg was broken before. Now it's not. Because like I said, Tim hasn't talked to her in THREE months. WTF, Tim, WTF.
Anyway, Stephanie decides to stalk check in on Tim. She figures it's a good idea since he didn't call her for THREE MONTHS...okay, I'll stop that. Anyway, just as she arrives, she sees him liplocking with Darla Aquista, this random girl who's dad's in the mafia. Really, Darla just randomly decided to do that because of her raging carnal desire towards Tim, and he's all suprised. OMG Steph runs off in a huff, just as Tim pushes Darla away and is like "I HAS A GIRLFRIEND WHO I NEVER CALL" and Darla is all "YER LYING YOU JUST DON'T LIKE ME!" and oh, the TEEN DRAMA.
Anyway, in Stephanie's mind, the best way to get back at Tim for this is to SHUN him and TAKE HIS JOB, which he gave up willingly. Which doesn't make sense, because last time Steph thought Tim was cheating her, she actually let him know she's angry. Steph's not the type to suffer in silence. She lets you know she's mad. And then stalks you.
But, Willingham, right?
So, Steph decides to break into the Batcave.
There are a lot of things wrong with this. First, Batman mentions he has lethal weapons in the Batcave. Unless that was a joke? I don't know. Second, that Stephanie can break into the Batcave. Isn't that like supposed to be really, really hard? Nightwing once said he couldn't break in there...and Steph is not anywhere near Dick's skill level.
Also, Steph made this costume herself and it looks horrible. Which makes no sense, since Steph also made her Spoiler costume herself, and that thing in EXTREMELY practical and well made. While this has a belly shirt. But, y'know, teen gurl, lol, I guess?
Wow, that was abrupt. No way will this be a train wreck! Alfred takes Batman and asks him if he has lost what is left of his mind.
Wow, nice save there, Bruce. Very subtle. So get this straight. Bruce is using Steph to make Tim JEALOUS.This is a young woman, who already has a LOT of issues with father figures, who is already a bit screwed up in the head, who places her complete trust in him, and he is using her to lure Tim back into an extremely dangerous profession which he WILLINGLY quit, and which his REAL father is extremely against?
He doesn't really believe in her and he's practically SETTING HER UP TO FAIL.
That. Is. So. Amazing.
Yeah, I'm going to be happy place now.
Also an insane amount of time passes where Steph doesn't call Tim, and he doesn't think anything's wrong enough to go check it out. Tim Drake, supposedly loving boyfriend and completely paranoid. The Tim I subscribe to (Dixon's Tim) would panic after TWO weeks of Steph avoiding him, enough to go to her house and sit on the rooftop until she DOES come back, so he can make sure she's okay. He's just like that.
And Tim's Dad did let him out of the house, by the way, so he would be completely capable of doing that.
Batman's "you hit like a girl" is a transparent motivational tactic my dad has used on me when I practice martial arts with him. I saw through it when I was SIX, so I have no idea why it's supposed to work on Steph. Also, it's stupid and sexist as a motivational tactic. And you think Bruce would have learned from Jason not to compare his new recruits to their predecessors.And really, how is Steph expected to handstand like Tim with those giant boobs weighing her down? Those things are like watermelons!
On a happy note, Batman in the T shirt with a cowl is hilarious.
Whoo! Good times! Or not!
Wow, I did a lot of complaining. I do actually like Steph as Robin.There's just a lot of things about this issue that annoyed me. Next issue the review will be decidedly more positive, since that one was pretty awesome.
But, before we get to that, lets tell the stories that apparently happened between this issue of Robin and next. Starting with the totally awesome Batgirl and Robin story from Batgirl #53:
Cass is in trouble from thugs of the Penguin who have this special new gun...with giant explosive bullets even she has trouble dodging. Batman calls Robin in to aid Cass.
Steph to the rescue!
Basically, the Penguin is selling these new illegal guns, and Steph and Cass gotta catch 'em. One of the guys who works for him has a seven year old daughter. She will be important later.
I love how Cass is going all "d'awww" at Steph's happy, just like I am.
Anyway, the guy who works for Penguin asks his daughter to deliver something for him. Then Steph and Cass nab him.
Note Steph's issues with lousy fathers. And yeah, Roy just sent his little daughter to deliver the gun. The criminals react to a kid demanding payment for a gun about as well as you'd expect, but Steph and cass pop in in time to save her. But the little girl is scared...
Love the little girl with that huge gun. And how Steph comforts her.
But Penguin isn't going to get the same treatment from Steph...
Steph got ticked in this scene, but Cass was able to calm her down, which is why I don't get the comparisons between her and Jason. Yeah, she got angry, but she usually made good points when she did, and she was more readily calmed than Jason. Anyway, that's some Steph ownage for ya.
Awww. I really liked this story, I think it highlighted a major reason why Steph chose to be a superhero- she wants to protect other kids from getting hurt like she did, from having to live lives full of crime and bad parenting. She wants Gotham to be safe for kids like that little girl.
Also, Batgirl and Robin ftw.
Now, onto Detective Comics #796. Pete Woods draws Steph again and is still awesome! And Steph is cool and saves Batman!
Oh, Batman. Love Steph's unisex costume, and the little legbands calling back to her Spoiler costume.
Zsasz is on the loos. Steph asks to come along just to investigate where he is, and Bats agrees to let her down on the subway with him, but he will send her him immediately afterward. He also suits her up in a super reinforced costume.
Behold Steph's mad detective skillz! And how Batman is nice and puts a hand on her shoulder! That's Zsasz vision on the last panel there.
Zsasz grabs Steph when Bats is not looking.
But his knife cannot slice her super tough cape and Steph is no victim! Um, usually.
Zsasz throws Steph into a wall, then Batman comes in to save her,but gets beaten up a bit.
Steph rox. She will KRUNCH your nose if you screw with her mentor on her watch.
Batman takes Zsasz down from behind.
As many pointed out at the old SD, cartilage doesn't work that way. At all. But Batman is not that much of a dick here, surprisingly. Too bad he fires her later.
Now we go to Steph's breif appearance in Teen Titans:
You know, Conner, if you don't want someone to be rude to you, you probably shouldn't greet them "Who the hell are you?" and accuse them of playing "little miss dress up" and not act like a condescending asshole. I know you are totally in love with Tim and mad he's abandoned you, but it's not okay to take out those feelings on his girlfriend and then get pissy when she decides she doesn't want to take that crap. Just saying.
Big Daddy Bat doesn't like pretty clones screwing with his Robins.
Nice, Conner. Anyway, he goes after Tim and Tim is all "she's a strong young woman and a fine replacement" which is nice, if at odds with the actual story in Robin, where by the time Tim even finds out Steph is Robin, she's about to be fired. Also at odds is Tim calling Conner all happy when he's back to being Robin, when realistically he should be devastated, as he would either be a. embroiled in a gang war or b. In mourning, because his girlfriend and a ton of other people are dead. But, onto the rest of our tale.
First, a funny scene between Bats and Steph:
Yay snarky Steph! Yay, Batman with a sense of humor.
Anyway, the Dynamic Duo is faced with a villianess called Tiger Moth, who scrambles their senses. Steph innovates on the fly! Literally!
Anyway, Bats figures out the reason Tiger Moth was able to scramble him and Steph is because of tech supplied to her by the local mob boss, who's actually working for Johnny Warlock, a man with a grudge against Tim, who'd also hired an assassin called Scarab to kill Robin. She's been tracking down possible Robin candidates through facial recognition sofware where she found eleven boys in Gotham that share Tim's lower jaw structure, as well as height weight and skin tone.
Meanwhile, Darla is gushing over Tim in a way that makes him seem Mary Sue-ish, which saddens my Tim loving heart. Luckily, Benard is here to interrupt that dreck.
It's scary how close he is to the truth.
"I'm just glad to see a girl finally got the job."
"Don't get used to her, she's doomed."
Think Willingham put that in on purpose? Since he's stated publicly he didn't want Steph to die. Pretty sly.
And Tim's just angry because it's the truth.
Anyway, Tim calls Steph, wanting to talk about how she totally just replaced him and didn't even bother to tell him, and Steph is prepared to go off and see him (in costume, just so she can rub it in!) but...
Bats is asking Cass to watch out for Tim, BTW.
Scarab goes to kill another boy who looks like Tim, but finds Steph waiting instead.
Oh Steph. You and yer snark.
Scarab kicks Steph and Bats through a window, but Steph gets back up through a grappling hook trick. Bats tells Steph to watch out.
"You're all wrong. You're not Robin, you're a woman."
It's like Scarab is DC editorial and Steph is struggling valiantly against her! I do adore how she still threatens to kick the Scarab's ass even though the Scarab is choking her and just totally KO'd Batman. But she keeps trying! She IS Robin, dammit! Go, Steph!
Anyway, the Scarab lets Steph go, and Steph calls for Batman, who's hanging unconcious on a grappling line I guess he fired from his belt while going out the window.
Smart thinking, Steph!
Batman is all "good girl" like Steph is a dog or something and off to Scarab's place...
Anyway, Bats goes in to fight Scarab, telling Steph to stay in the van plane. It doesn't go well.
"Oh, boy, she's kicking my ass. Oh, god, the pain! I'm totally losing here. I'm bleeding. No, stay in the plane, Steph. Oh, god, cute bombs! How am I going to survive this? Who will help me? No, not you, Steph, stay in the plane. AGH! She's blinded me! I'm blind! So close to dying here! WAIT STEPH WHY ARE YOU LEAVING THE PLANE?"
Yeah, note to Bats, if you don't want someone to come help you, don't describe the injuries you're suffering in excruciating detail. In fact, why on earth are you talking to Steph while fighting at all? Isn't that distracting? THAT'S WHY YOU ARE LOSING BATS!
Though it amuses me he noted the bombs cuteness. "Those bombs are adorable!"
Anyway, just as Steph comes to save the day...or not , Bats explodes Scarabs armor!
So, apparently Scarab leaves Steph tied on the roof and steals the Batplane because "Robin failed to engage the active defenses before leaving her post" which seems weird, I mean, all she had to do was push a button, I'm pretty sure she would remember that, presuming Bats had trained her TO ALWAYS DO THAT. Which he probably didn't.
Anyway, rather than fire her right away, Bruce decides to prolong the agony and have her sit at home three weeks while he gets his sight back, worrying. That seems unnecessary, and therein lies the real Batdickery.
It really isn't your fault he got blinded, considering that happened before you came to the "rescue", Steph.
Aaaand there we have it. Then War Games happened. But let's pretend it didn't.
Except I find it amazing that Bruce REALLY THOUGHT Steph would give up. She didn't when he told her not to be Spoiler, like, a bajillion times. He could have put a tail on her like he did with Jason. Cass would have been all over it. In fact, why not just plain call Cass and be like "Hey, I just fired your friend, wanna comfort her and talk her out of doing anything stupid?"
But no. That would have required giving a crap about Steph.
(And according to Batgirl #54 he didn't even BOTHER to inform Cass, and I assume, anyone else, Steph had been fired.)
He's the adult here. He's the one who is responsible for how his little scheme to make Tim jealous affects her.
But, anyway. It was fun while Steph was Robin, despite the frusturating way it came about. She was truly a hero in training. It was fun to see her outthink her opponents and be enthusiastic about the job. If it hadn't been editorially mandated, Willingham has stated he would have gone longer with it, so I imagine it would have been less abrupt if he'd had as long as he wanted. Steph failing, regardless of whether it was in character, was a plot device so she could die. If they'd wanted her to stay as Robin, they would have had her succeed. It's really that simple.
Our last post for the super Steph Series will be Steph's return arc! Actually, I might also post some nice Steph Showcase stories I was sent recently after THAT post. So two more, tops. Hope you enjoyed!