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Off My Mind: Did Batman Compromise Stephanie Brown's Secret Identity?

As one of his Batman, Incorporated operatives, shouldn't there have been more care when Stephanie went undercover?

Batman is capable of doing many things. He has a contingency plan for everything. He is a master at pretty much everything he does. Batman will also go to extreme means to protect those that are part of his inner circle.

For members of the Bat Family, the secret identity is a crucial element in their fight against evil. There is too much at stake to allow this secret to get out. Batman has the means to create new identities with minimal effort (he provided the paperwork for Supergirl and Christopher Kent without a problem).

With Batman, Incorporated, Batman has agents all around the world. When sending agents undercover, Batman will ensure they are fully protected. Before 'The New 52' caused some tweaks in the DC Universe, Batman sent Stephanie Brown, under the guise of Batgirl at the time), to go undercover at St. Hadrian's Finishing School for Girls. Was Batman careless with her secret identity when sending her off? (There will be some minor spoilers from BATMAN, INCORPORATED: LEVIATHAN STRIKES).

== TEASER ==

Recently in the pages of BATWOMAN, Flamebird was badly beaten. Left for dead, she managed to survive but was taken to the hospital and there was an attempt at discovering who she was under the shredded remains of her costume.

Because of her past association with Batman, there weren't any records of her existence. Fingerprints, DNA and the works have been wiped clean from all records. This is simply something Batman does in order to protect the heroes and to protect his own secret identity.

Yet when sending Stephanie Brown undercover, she didn't use an alias. She went using her own identity. This made sense as she was already in college in Gotham City. But knowing, or at least suspecting, there was something going on at the school (thus the reason for sending Stephanie in), it doesn't make sense that Batman would risk Stephanie's personal secret identity.

At the school, the other girls (in the secret organization they were investigating) immediately suspected there was something more to Stephanie. Somehow the word had gotten out that she was suspected of being the daughter of Batman. How and why this assumption came about wasn't explained. Stephanie had to prove her fighting skills in order to be considered to be brought in to the group, which was part of her mission.

When Stephanie was being prepped, her records were looked at. They knew her name was Stephanie Brown. They were able to pull up her history and found out her father was Arthur Brown, the Cluemaster. When Stephanie's infiltration plan didn't quite go according to plan, she had to act openly and upon escaping, put on her Batgirl outfit. In other words, everyone would soon know that Stephanie Brown was Batgirl.

Stephanie is no longer Batgirl. It was thought she would simply go back to her Spoiler identity. Even though the school's evil plan was uncovered and Batman arrived to clean things up, Stephanie's identity had already been compromised and who knows who else was privy to the information.

It doesn't seem likely for Batman to have her use her own identity. Being the daughter of a former supervillain gave her a needed edge to try to infiltrate the organization. It just doesn't seem necessary as Batman could have easily created a new identity to her and even tied her to some other deceased former villain if he really wanted.

Where is Stephanie now? That's one of the big questions since 'The New 52' began. She's not using the Batgirl identity. It might be hard for her to try to have a normal life when her life and her mother's has been needlessly put at risk. It's possible Batman erased any electronic evidence at the school but he can't erase the minds of those that were there.

47 Comments
Posted by redhood21

I really hope she goes back to her spoiler identity, though she had a cool suit as Batgirl.

Posted by Grim

@redhood21 said:

I really hope she goes back to her spoiler identity, though she had a cool suit as Batgirl.

i just hope they use her right. I havent read the article because i havent read this weeks comics yet, but im eager to see where shes at.

Posted by imsirius

I'm a big Stephanie fan, so I'd like to see her return as well. If she does, I hope she gets something better than the old Spoiler costume.

Posted by iLLituracy

Possibly. I don't think so, though. They were questioning who she was, a lot of the students thought she was Batman's daughter off the bat before she even donned the costume.

Posted by mbembet

Batman kicks superman's ass anytime

Posted by Eyz

I would love to see more of non-"New 52" books get released as well :P

(did ya notice, this didn't had that tagline on the cover....so is the same for Tiny titans, Batman: Odyssey,.. So we can still see our regular pre-New 52 DCU around from time to time)

Posted by DarthShap

He did compromise her secret identity but it is not like it is a first. Every time Bruce Wayne goes somewhere outside of Gotham, there are some Batman sightings there.

Now that is not suspicious at all.

Posted by ComicMan24

Well I did think about that when she changed into Batgirl in front of the other girl but I suppose they will take care of that and Stepahnie didn't seem that concerned about her identity.

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Posted by Pokeysteve

Loved the picture you used for the main page, especially right next to the title haha. Do any of Batman's "agents" from Batman Inc know he's Bruce Wayne?

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Posted by Hakudoushinumbernine

@mbembet:

i agree.

Posted by G-Man

@DarthShap: With Batman, Inc, now Bruce can use the excuse that Batman can sort of be his bodyguard if necessary.

Posted by DarthShap

@G-Man said:

@DarthShap: With Batman, Inc, now Bruce can use the excuse that Batman can sort of be his bodyguard if necessary.

True, and it was indeed a smart move by Morrison, although at the same time, it kinds of endangers him further, like you pointed out in a few articles.

The problem is, when you raise this kind of realistic question (and the same goes for Byrne's "Superman is always a blur") it does pose problems for past arcs which did not raise that question and we were OK with it thanks of suspension of disbelief AND for future arcs which will have abandoned this element.

I do not know what happened to Inc. yet but chances are, it is now gone and unfortunately, like many things invented by Morrison, is likely never to be brought up again.

Posted by Enderof295

@G-Man: So he is can use the Tony Stark method for keeping a secret ID?

Posted by Sekele

@mbembet:

and how does this relate to the article?

Posted by MakoaWolf

Excellent article, and another Flaw in the new "New 52 Almost-a-Relaunch". Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to like, but there is a lot more of this kind of thing; Dangling threads that need answers.

Posted by Rixec

@MakoaWolf: Batman Inc. will continue in 2012, so we'll get answers.

Posted by pspin

I wish Stephanie had her own book

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

@pspin said:

I wish Stephanie had her own book

I agree hopefully we get to see her in her own series again soon

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@DarthShap said:

@G-Man said:

@DarthShap: With Batman, Inc, now Bruce can use the excuse that Batman can sort of be his bodyguard if necessary.

True, and it was indeed a smart move by Morrison, although at the same time, it kinds of endangers him further, like you pointed out in a few articles.

The problem is, when you raise this kind of realistic question (and the same goes for Byrne's "Superman is always a blur") it does pose problems for past arcs which did not raise that question and we were OK with it thanks of suspension of disbelief AND for future arcs which will have abandoned this element.

I do not know what happened to Inc. yet but chances are, it is now gone and unfortunately, like many things invented by Morrison, is likely never to be brought up again.

Batman Inc is still around, thats the whole deal in Batman & Robin
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Posted by Silkcuts

Flash point reboot, it doesn't matter if her identity was associated with Batman, Flashpoint will erase it.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Seems to me that the issue is irrelevant following the events of Flashpoint. After all, Steph's been retconned out of the Batgirl alias, so really I think she should just be Spoiler again and leave it at that.

Posted by Mbecks14

I'd like to see her as Spoiler again. I was ok with her being Batgirl, but the idea of a blonde batgirl always brought bad memories of Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl in Batman and Robin. I'm glad Barbara is Batgirl again.

I really like the art on this Batman inc. issue! Who is it?

Posted by lorex

Personally I would prefer Steph or Cassandra as Batgirl but DC caved into years of fanboy whining and complaining. I think her going back to Batgirl is a step back not forward. As Oracle she had wide influence and was a behind the scenes movers and shakers in the DC universe. As Batgirl she is more like a lowly beat cop trying to get the occasional criminal to flip on someone higher up.

Posted by The Impersonator
St. Hadrian's Finishing School for Girls.

Ummmm.....What kind of a school name is that? :P

Posted by entropy_aegis

@mbembet said:

Batman kicks superman's ass anytime

Don't you have anything better to do you?

Posted by SigersonLTD

@RedheadedAtrocitus: I hate the word retcon. Seriously. The whole point of DCnU was to start over. We can assume that most of Stephanie's history is intact. We know that Babs was NOT Batgirl for three years. We still don't know what happened to Steph, however, I'm pretty sure she's alive, and is keeping active within the Batman Family, however, we haven't seen that story yet. Care to write it?

Posted by jsphsmth

@entropy_aegis: Shouldn't you be building rockets?

Posted by Icarusflies

Yeah, I thought that it was really surprising that she was left with so little ID protection.

Though admittedly it didn't help when she changed into her Batgirl costume in plain sight.

Moderator
Posted by SigersonLTD

Keeping with the theory behind the DCnU, I'd have to state that for the record, and based on everything you've stated above, it's quite possibly true that Stephanie has been given an entirely knew identity by Batman. One which hasn't appeared in a story yet.

If this is a somewhat duplicate comment, I apologize.

I'm attempting to follow-up on a line of reasoning brought forth by your other article, G-Man.

Posted by missmandygreen

i really hope she does come back in some way , i so enjoy all her stories , this may lead to her being some one else

Posted by D3adend

Some members of Leviathan know that Bruce Wayne is Batman.

Hell, I could imagine that Batman planted the rumor of Cassie being his daughter to the school to bring things to a head faster, force the confrontation and such.

Posted by kartron

@G-Man said:

@DarthShap: With Batman, Inc, now Bruce can use the excuse that Batman can sort of be his bodyguard if necessary.

That doesn't sound acceptable. I mean why would a vigilante of the likes of Batman back a careless playboy millionaire? Would should logical if Bruce was threatened by a deadly killer in which case it would be short lived event and not a long term protection from Batman..

Posted by kartron

As many folks pointed out here, DC would probably say Flashpoint erased the character Stephanie altogether... Or even her father Clueless never existed!!

Posted by LoganRogue24

i miss steph as batgirl idk if i would read a book were shes not batgirl though but i might try to catch up but idk yet. steph is my fav bg.

Posted by G-Man

@Mbecks14 said:

I'd like to see her as Spoiler again. I was ok with her being Batgirl, but the idea of a blonde batgirl always brought bad memories of Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl in Batman and Robin. I'm glad Barbara is Batgirl again.

I really like the art on this Batman inc. issue! Who is it?

Cameron Stewart kicked ass on his portion of the book. I'd love to see him do a Spoiler ongoing. Chris Burnham does the art for the second half (images not pictured here).

Posted by StarKiller809

I wasn't going to be up Batman INC: Leviathan Strikes mostly because I really don't like the concept of Batman Inc. I've read a few issues and they were great, but I just can't get over how weird is feels.

However, I really want to try this because I've heard some very good things about it. I really want to see Stephine Browns last appearance for a long while.

Posted by iaconpoint

I think the REAL question here is did DC compromise their integrity by taking Babs out of the wheelchair and causally tossing Steph and Cass in the garbage? I'm going with answer D which is all of the above. Answers A-C were all "yes", by the way.

Posted by TheSnowmanSaint

Bring back Cassandra. That is all.

Posted by Blues32

How sad...they're already resorting to "Pre-Flashpoint" stories. That doesn't even make sense. Didn't Flashpoint change everything, including the past? That means these things probably didn't happen at all. It might as well be an "Elseworld" story.

Posted by InnerVenom123

@G-Man said:

@DarthShap: With Batman, Inc, now Bruce can use the excuse that Batman can sort of be his bodyguard if necessary.

The Iron Man excuse? You really think that would fly? I mean, even the Iron Man movie called out how much BS that is.

Posted by redhood21

meh i mean with Bruce "funding the Batman" it is feasable that he would watch over him. Batman as a bodygaurd would be legen....wait for it...dary.

Posted by Casshern

Isn't Batman's Identity already known by several villains? Even in New 52 they are getting on with the idea that Batman has been around so much...that by now, certain people should know who he is and his team.

Batman can't be out thinking everyone for every. Secret Organizations, people like Hush, and even Luthor got his number. People know, you can't do this as long as he has and people Really not figure it out by now.

The Only ones left are Government agents, S.W.A.T, and the FBI. Groups that want him and others like him put down. BUT wait in NEW 52 Teen Titains, a group knows Tim Drake's secret...don't they know Batman's too? or shouldn't they.

The only true slow person is Gordan. I remember in the old DC universe, Batman took off his mask to try and tell Jim who he was, BUT Gordan looked away and refused to know his identity. To bad that didn't make it in the top 100 greatest moments in comics.

Posted by thatlad

Two possible theories in my mind: either this was part of Grant Morrisons design, putting her ID out there to use her as bait or as a plot point (maybe Bruce is blamed for not protecting her enough). Another more solution, possibly an result of the batman Inc story being rushed due to the new 52

Posted by Sammo21

I thought it was confirmed that she would be returning as Spoiler?

Posted by Queso6p4

Nice article. I was thinking the same things myself after reading but I did like the utter confidence Stephanie exuded in the issue discussed.

Edited by Oasis95

hm? after reading this... it doesn't really matter? does it../because inst this Batman inc all pre 52. it even said its when you read. that this is all pre-52 new launch. so what ever happens here wont care over to the new 52 lanuch. and they already show at the end of page. that it's all Talai's doing. beside Talai,RA know the whole identity of batman anyway so they know who everyone is that is near him.

and now that their is a new version of batman inc carrying over into the 52 new launch. that version of Talai,RA will still know who everyone really is as well. so again doesnt matter

now if we go into new 52..we dont even know if stephaine...spoiler.?.has she ever been robin? is she part of the bat family? that would be a whole new ball game..and up to the new writers .

but. as a fan i cant see her go back as before..I am sorry but she did a amazing job becoming a whole new batgirl..the writers did a amazing job of her defindng her own batgirl..it was really great. i feel in love with the writing/art for stephany brown as batgirl. so who ever write steph into new 52.I hope they .make her a new crimefighter something that keep that work they put into her.

Overall..who every is put in charage to write steph..i hope they

find what made her grown in batgirl 1-24 , in shape that into a whole new steph in the 52 that people well enjoy.. i will feel hurt if they just make her like before...

Posted by WhiteLightning

I hope Tim and Steph will get back together in the New 52, they were awesome together.