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Bruce Wayne

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Relationship: Mentor

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Name: Bruce Wayne

Aliases: Batman, Matches Malone

Stephanie Brown liked Batman even as a young girl, solely because her criminal father The Cluemaster hated the caped crusader for constantly capturing him. And Stephanie hated her father.

Eventually, she decided to foil the Cluemaster herself in the guise of "The Spoiler". She worked with Batman to do this. Although he didn't want her to come along to bust her father's mall robbery, she did anyway. It was fortunate, since she saved Batman from getting shot by her father. Cluemaster threatened to throw acid in this mysterious vigilante's face, so Batman was forced to reveal Stephanie's identity to the man. Stephanie used her father's momentary shock to begin thoroughly beating up her father. She began to strangle him with chains yelling, "He destroyed my life!" but Batman told her if she killed her father, she would be the one who destroyed her life. Stephanie stopped and let Batman take her father at these words.

Stephanie continued operating as a superhero, something Batman didn't approve of ...that is, until Robin #84, in which he needed her help to find Tim. He gave away Tim's secret identity to her so she could find him, which made Tim very upset. In Tim's absence, Batman trained Spoiler a bit, but abandoned her during the "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" arc. In Gotham Knights #37, after his prolonged absence, he sprung a surprise test on her. She failed, and he fired her as his apprentice and told her to stop being Spoiler. She didn't stop, and when Tim quit as Robin, she offered to replace him in Robin #126. He accepted, and when Alfred asked him if this was to make Tim jealous so he'd come back, he refused to reply.

He trained her for six months, and then went out in the field with her. When Batman went up against the female assassin Scarab, he told Stephanie to stay in the Batplane. After hearing that Batman had gotten blinded, Stephanie disobeyed orders and went to save him. But the Scarab captured her, and Batman was forced to let the Scarab go in exchange for Stephanie's life.

He fired Stephanie for disobeying orders and told her she couldn't be Spoiler either.

Stephanie later seemingly died in an attempt to prove herself to Batman. On her supposed deathbed she asked, "Was I really Robin?" and he replied, "Yes, you were."

In Robin #174, Stephanie is revealed to have never been dead, and Batman admits he suspected this all along. He tells Tim this is why he never gave Stephanie a memorial, and welcomes Steph back to the Bat Family. He even appears to have revealed his identity to her.

Batman got apparently killed later on, but not before warning Stephanie to keep Tim away from his troubles and to "test" him in order to make him a better Robin and a better candidate to protect Gotham in Batman's absence. Stephanie followed these orders reluctantly, though her secrecy caused a lot of tension between her and Tim. She wondered if she should forget Batman's orders, afraid that making Tim a better Robin would make him a worse person. Tim found out about this deception, and Stephanie assured him that Batman did it because he loved Tim and didn't want him to get hurt. But Tim remained angry at Stephanie, and told her he didn't want to see her as Spoiler again, ending with "Congratulations. You did what Batman asked. You made a better Robin."

Stephanie continued being Spoiler, and eventually became the new Batgirl.

In Bruce Wayne- The Road Home: Batgirl Batman returns to Gotham under a high-tech, secret identity that Steph nicknames "Casper." The two run into each other at the Waynetech Research and Development facility as Steph watches Bruce (as "Casper") take down some employees. Steph jumps in almost instantly as Bruce shoots at her with heated laser beams. As they fight, Bruce notes that she is a lot like Dick Grayson in the sense that she does not cease moving. To “up the test” Bruce activates the Green Lantern function of his suit and blasts Steph, then goes invisible. Steph assumes she is fighting Amazo or something but Oracle assures her she is not. Steph figures out where exactly invisible Bruce is and shoots him, nicknaming him “Casper,” for the time being. Bruce uses the superspeed function on his suit and leaves. He watches Steph leave from the second floor landing and is thoroughly impressed by her.

Bruce continues to "test" Steph and watch her secretly until Steph finds “Casper” with the gun and confronts him and demands to know why everything was so easy to figure out, as nothing quite lines up. “Casper” reveals that he is Bruce Wayne and tells Steph that she had done an admirable job on his little ‘test.’ But before he can even finish his sentence Steph slaps him across the face, and in shock of what she did, freaks out and rushes out of there.

Later, Steph and Bruce are on a rooftop. Steph apologizes to Bruce about slapping him but says that she needs to get some things off her chest. She tells him that this time around, her new life, that it is the first time she’s ever done anything like this for herself (“Being Batgirl is the first time in my life I’m doing things because I want to. Because I think they’re the right thing to do.”) and she tells Bruce that she outright refuses to give up being Batgirl, no matter what he says. She defends Oracle and tells him not to blame her at all. Bruce gets close to Steph and asks her if being Batgirl is what she really, truly wants and Steph does.

Later that night, Bruce meets with Alfred in an alley. Alfred asks Bruce if he will let Steph continue to “do her thing,” to which Bruce says yes but he wants to keep a watchful eye on both her and Wendy, as they are daughters of criminals. Alfred defends Stephanie and tells Bruce blantantly that Steph never really needed to be tested, but Bruce defends his actions, saying that no, he didn’t need to test her, but she needed the test. Alfred also confronts Bruce about Cassandra Cain, the previous Batgirl, and why hasn’t he searched or even asked after her? Bruce states that he knows exactly where she is and that Tim Drake has been in contact with her. That if anything bad happened to Bruce, Cass knew what to do. Alfred wonders if part of that was giving Steph the cowl and Bruce says “It’s like I said, Alfred…because Stephanie needed the test….and everyone deserves a second chance.”

More about Bruce Wayne: [here]

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