Who the Clix? Stephanie Brown

Posted July 15th, 2022 by Joe Pangrazio

Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.

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Appearances in Heroclix:  Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls, Wizkids DC, Batman, Legacy
First Appearance: Detective Comics #647 (June 1992)
Team Affiliations: Batman Family, Batman Inc., Young Justice
Powers/Abilities:  Expert tracker; Genius-level intellect;
Trained computer hacker; Highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist; Expert acrobat

Created by:  Chuck Dixon - Tom Lyle

Artwork and character is copyright/trademark DC; used under Fair Use

Stephanie Brown is the daughter of Cluemaster, one of Gotham City's third rate criminals. For most of her childhood, her father is in fail or on the run away from the family. When he turns home, he claims to be rehabilitated only for Stephanie to learn that he is lying and still commuting crimes. Furious, she decides something needs to be done and makes herself a costume.

She calls herself Spoiler, because she is determined to spoil her father's plans. She finds her father's hideout and learns of his plans, leaving clues behind so the police and Batman can find him and stop him. Robin tracks her down and together they capture Cluemaster. Stephanie is determined to kill her father but Batman convinces her to allow him to be taken into custody.

At first, she returns to a normal life and only breaks the costume out when her father returns to commit more crimes. Eventually, however, she realizes that she likes being a superhero and begins regular patrols as Spoiler. During this time she begins to run into and begin a friendship with Tim Drake, the Robin at the time. The pair become friends and eventually become romantically involved even though Tim cannot reveal his secret identity for risk of outing Batman.

Stephanie learns that she is pregnant and the father is an ex-boyfriend that runs from Gotham City after the earthquake. Robin uses an alias and helps Stephanie through her pregnancy. He also helps her with the hard decision to give her daughter up for adoption.

Tim is sent away to boarding school which places a strain on the young couple's relationship. Tim investigates a strange happening at his school and runs into Stephanie on patrol. The pair are then involved in a shoot out where Tim saves a fellow student, confirming to Stephanie that Tim is cheating on her (even though he isn't). When Tim goes to Tibet on a secret mission, Batman approaches Spoiler in hopes of learning his whereabouts. Batman offers to train Spoiler and reveals Tim's identity to her, which Tim resents Bruce for. Despite this, Spoiler begins to train with Batman, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.

Stephanie and Tim reconcile even as Batman decides to stop training her and instructs the Birds of Prey to also stop teaching her. She continues to patrol in secret. All is going well until she and her mother are informed that her father was killed while working for the Suicide Squad. Enraged, Stephanie cuts off ties with Tim and goes on a rampage, tracking down the Riddler to learn more about who her father had been in life. Eventually she makes peace with her loss and reconnects with Tim, once more. This is short lived when Johnny Warlock breaks Stephanie's leg in a fight, which sends Tim into a rage, beating the occult hitman to death. Tim is the one to cut off ties this time, blaming Stephanie for his loss of control.

Tim is forced to stop being Robin after his father learns of his alter ego. Stephanie decides to surprise Tim with a visit to cheer him up only to see him being seduced by a classmate. Jilted once more, Stephanie makes her own Robin costume and sneaks into the Batcave, demanding that Batman train her. He does, with some reluctance, and makes her a new costume after months of intensive training. He never truly believes she is skilled enough to survive and even fires her for disobeying him in the field.

Determined to prove herself, she steals one of Batman's long term plans and accidentally starts a gang war. She ends up captured by Black Mask and is tortured, giving up enough information for Black Mask to take control of the underworld. Though she escapes, her injuries are too severe and she dies in a hospital bed with Batman beside her.

After the resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, Robin is confronted by Spoiler. He believes this is someone impersonating Stephanie. He enlists Batman to help him find this woman and force her to stop impersonating Stephanie. When they find her, Spoiler unmasks and reveals that she really is Stephanie and that Leslie Thompkins helped her fake her death. Leslie did this so that the villains of Gotham could not use Stephanie against Batman as Black Mask had.

Stephanie reveals that she has spent the intervening time living with Leslie in Africa and volunteering. An unfortunate attack led to her returning to crime fighting and in turn, Gotham City. Stephanie reunites with her mother, the Bat-Family and enrolls in the same high school as Tim.

After Batman's disappearance, Tim becomes determined to find him and tries to balance this search with keeping Gotham's underworld in line. Unbeknownst to Tim, Batman had ordered Stephanie to hinder the investigation if it happened. This is intended to teach Tim how to handle things on his own. When Tim finds out, he feels betrayed and pulls away from Stephanie. Determined to continue helping Tim according to Batman's design, Stephanie hires an assassin to attack Tim with non-lethal methods. She also begins working with the General, again to push Tim to become stronger. This backfires, however, when the General tries to kill her.

The General begins calling himself Anarky and incites another gang war. Though Tim and Stephanie are able to put a stop to it, Tim feels completely betrayed and demands she stop using the Spoiler identity. Though she no longer works with Robin, she continues to use the Spoiler identity with other heroes such as Batgirl and the Teen Titans. Dick, as Batman, asks for her to talk sense to Tim after he is stripped of the Robin mantle. This fails, however, as he still does not trust her.

Cassandra Cain quits being Batgirl after the death of Batman and gives Stephanie her costume. Stephanie begins operating as Batgirl which draws the attention and criticism of Barbara Gordon. Together the pair end up facing the Scarecrow and second Black Mask, defeating the villains and stopping the spread of a new drug. Impressed with Stephanie's maturity, Barbara begins to take on a mentor role and makes the younger woman a new costume.

During her time as Batgirl, Stephanie battles Livewire and finds herself in conflict with Batman (Dick) and Robin (Damian). She also battles Roxy Rocket and Roulette. Tim eventually returns to Gotham with proof that Bruce is still alive and lost in the time stream. He and Stephanie reluctantly team up and have to stop a ploy by Ra's al Ghul to destroy the Wayne family legacy.

She also battles Calculator, the new Black Mask, and fights alongside other superheroines against Professor Ivo. Once Bruce returns, it is revealed that Cassandra Cain quit being Batgirl under Batman's orders, in the case of his disappearance or death. She is temporarily enthralled by the Black Mercy and sees a number of fantastical futures.

Some time later, Stephanie is recruited into Batman's emergency response team made up of Batwoman, Red Robin, Orphan and Clayface. When Tim is apparently killed, it sends Stephanie into a deep depression. She comes out of it by deciding that Batman's brand of vigilantism is dangerous. She continues to battle criminals but also actively opposes members of the Bat-Family. She rejoins the family briefly after learning that Tim is alive but is soon disillusioned again by the death of Clayface and Tim's lies about his future.

After a confrontation with Brother Eye and the OMAC virus, Stephanie investigates some timeline fractures with Tim. She also eventually comes to share the “Batgirl” persona with Cassandra Cain and Barbara Gordon, wearing a new costume with elements of her Spoiler and Batgirl costumes.

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