One of the most persistent criticisms of DC Comics’ New 52 re-launch was the abrupt removal of some of the franchise’s most notable characters from their titles. Loyal readers were outraged when icons such as Wally West and Plastic Man were nowhere to found in the revamped titles. The internet’s vitriol was especially caustic when Stephanie Brown, an incredibly popular member of the Bat-Family who started her crime-fighting career as the Spoiler and went on to serve as a Robin and a Batgirl, was replaced with a fully-healed Barbara Gordon and all but erased from the DC Universe.
In response to demands for Stephanie Brown’s return, DC Comics’ lead Bat-scribe Scott Snyder announced the franchise’s decision to right this grievous wrong at a New York Comic Con panel on Friday. Answering questions about DC’s new weekly Batman series, Batman: Eternal, a Stephanie Brown enthusiast inquired about the character’s fate. Snyder had this to say:
“Your love for Stephanie Brown has been so inspiring to us, she’s a character we really love, and we’re proud to announce she’ll be coming back in this series! [James] Tynion found a way to bring Spoiler into the story and into the New 52, and it’s really perfect.”
Brown will make her New 52 entrance in Batman: Eternal #3, slated for release this spring.
After a seemingly endless string of PR-disasters, excessive editorial interference, bland event comics, and an overall disappointing series terrible story decisions, the return of Stephanie Brown is the best news out of DC Comics since the start of the New 52. Brown is an incredible character with a rich history and untold potential. Her return to comics is a credit to her supporters’ dedication and persistence.
In addition, this is the type of smart maneuver that can win back the support of jaded DC readers like me. I have dropped every New 52 series except for Batgirl (thanks entirely to Gail Simone’s writing) and I was not planning on coming back to DC until after a major shakeup in management. However, I will certainly give Batman: Eternal a chance because I want to see how Brown’s return is handled. I can only hope for a well-written and organically-planned re-emergence of a character who deserves a much better hand than she has been dealt. Given DC Comics’ infamously toxic working environment, I have concerns about Stephanie Brown’s future, but I choose to hope for the best.
How do you feel about Stephanie Brown’s return to Gotham City? Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Is DC going to the Lucy to my Charlie Brown, using Stephanie Brown as the football?! Let us know in the comments!