Your source for all things related to the Dark Knight


Episode 159

Gerry and Chris are here for their tenth episode. They discuss and review War Games: Act 1 which includes Batman: The 12 Cent Adventure, Detective Comics #797, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182, Nightwing #96, Batman: Gotham Knights #56, Robin #129, Batgirl #55, Catwoman #34 and Batman #631. Be sure to leave your comments below. In honor of their tenth episode, Gerry and Chris announce a giveaway contest, so be sure to listen for details. Next episode: War Games: Act 2.


Liked it? Take a second to support The Batman Universe on Patreon!

  • Ian Miller

    Excellent discussion on the first act of War Games! This crossover has a bad reputation with Stephanie Brown fans, for obvious reasons. I personally really like this first act – it’s incredibly suspenseful, and Steph’s opening, tragedy, and guilt is part of what made me fall in love with her character, way back in 2004 when I read this story in trades at the bookstore. I think the problems with the story show up in the second and particularly the third acts, where the sense of momentum and logic of the plot break down. But here, where everything is still starting to roll downhill, it’s a taut crime drama with engaging characters.

    I do have a question for the two of you, though – do you think Batman was right to fire Steph from being Robin? I, obviously, think he was wrong, and it was an out of character action forced upon the book by the editors who wanted to setup Steph for her death. But there is a large group of fans who think Batman was totally right, and Steph deserved all the bad things that happened to her.

    • Thank you for writing, Ian. I was hoping you’d comment and share your thoughts and take on this.

      I am not one the latter large group of fans; and I agree it was an out of character action as you write. If the writer’s intention was to have Stephanie fired for being Robin, I think perhaps it should’ve been written it in a different way. I’m just not sure I bought how the Zsasz scene which led to her firing was depicted prior to this War Games arc. What would Batman have done if he was in Stephanie’s boots in the situation that led to her “firing”? What would anyone have done? Under the set of circumstances that were shown, he wasn’t right IMO. You can have heroic intentions; try to do the right thing, but still make mistakes … which lead to consequences – and I would hope if the creative team conveys a story like that, that it’s done in a plausible way. I think I’ve seen many editorialships come and go – and come to accept some rational moves, and come to question why I am hanging around when they make a move (like another character killing for the sake of hype and “shaking things up” and “aftermath”) I don’t like.

      I like to think there is an AU out there somewhere in my mind where Steph had more of a career as Robin (different costumes, rogues gallery and perhaps a foreign adventure or two) and had great run. Hey, anyone can dream, right?

      • Ian Miller

        Thanks, Chris! You know me – if Steph is there, so am I! 😉

        Interesting point about the Zsasz fight in Detective Comics 796. I generally read the book as being on Batman’s “side,” but it’s possible it’s another example of a slightly forced interaction to make the point the author’s wanted to make. Editorial in general is a mysterious beast – I wish we had more insight into what they actually do, other than copy-editing. There was a fascinating interview with Joseph P. Illidge the other day – former editor of Birds of Prey during Chuck Dixon’s run – on the Feathers and Foes podcast, which gave some insight into what they do – character negotiations with whichever office has control of that character.

        I like your idea of Steph’s Robin career a lot. I may or may not have written some fanfic about such things. 🙂 There was the nice Solo adventure by Damion Scott which teamed Steph as Robin with Cassandra as Batgirl, which was collected in the new War Games trade paperback and digital collection, as well as the amazing and wonderful Calling All Robins issue of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic tie-in to the cartoon (#13, published in 2011), where a time travelling Phantom Stranger gathers all six Robins to save Batman’s life.

  • Gerry Green

    Terrific comment Ian, thanks.

    I think that it was clear Stephanie wasn’t ready to be Robin, but her inability to follow orders was something that Batman should have been able to train her for. Training soldiers to follow orders is something armies throughout time have had to do so it seems strange to me that was an area Batman wasn’t willing to work on her with. So no, I don’t think he was right to fire her, he should have trained her.

    That being said, Stephanie also messes up big time and her impetuous actions causes havoc across Gotham. She doesn’t deserve what happens to her, but many totally innocent Gothamites suffer and die because of her mistake. I like her very much too, but she did deserve punishment.

    • A nuanced response, thanks Gerry. I don’t know if I would say Steph deserves punishment, but she definitely needed to make amends, which is a big part of her Batgirl run four years later. 🙂