Stephanie Brown had the distinction of being one of the few people in Gotham City who wore a cape who Batman disapproved of doing so. Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress; Jason Todd, Red Hood; and Stephanie Brown, former Spoiler, former Robin, former Batgirl, former superhero. Yup, that’s right, not only did she have that super special distinction, she also shared it with two heroes who Batman specifically didn’t like because of their preference for shooting people to death. That had never been Stephanie’s style, though. So why did she get stuck with all of the Bat-glares every time she put on the tights?
Well, possibly it had something to do with the fact that she used to date one of the many former-Robins. Possibly it had something to do with the fact that she also maybe might have contributed to the many reasons said former-Robin quit. The first time, at least. But it also might have had something to do with the fact that she was completely untrained when she first started and didn’t really know what she was doing. She’d been told by Batman and Robin — a lot — that she should hang up her tights and leave the superheroing to the professionals.
She even tried to, once or twice. But every time she realized that what she wanted to do with her life was help people. And also that life was kind of boring when all you had going on were term papers and studying for finals.
Even after all of the training she did with Barbara when she took over the mantle of Batgirl, though, it still wasn’t enough. When Bruce came back from the dead and found out that she’d gotten back out there in the streets; when Tim had come back from his self-imposed banishment from Gotham, they told her to just accept that she didn’t belong out there. That her skills were never going to be good enough, that she’d only get herself or someone else hurt.
Barbara had tried to have her back, and even Damian had grudgingly admitted that she’d done some real good. But the clincher had been Dick, who had been infuriatingly silent on the matter at first, but then had gone ahead and taken Bruce’s side. No one was really surprised, not when he was so ecstatic just to have Bruce back (not that anyone could really blame him), but Barbara still went off on him and Stephanie at least appreciated the baffled look of surprise on his face when she did it.
She told Barbara that it was okay, even though they both knew that it really wasn’t. And when Barbara’s physical therapy finally ended and she was cleared by Dr. Thompkins to get out into the field again after so many years, Stephanie even made the trip to Barbara’s apartment with her own variation on the Batgirl suit to sort of pass back to her. There’d actually been more tears than she’d expected (since she hadn’t expected there to be any at all), but she promised Barbara that she wasn’t doing this just to appease the boys. That they were just going to have to accept someday that they couldn’t decide who could or couldn’t wear a cape just because everyone in town knew them better.
After all, Barbara had made it.