Well, this column is back after an unexpected week off. I haven’t taken a week off from the Misplaced Heroes since 2015 when I went on a vacation to Nova Scotia.
You know, Jimmy was supposed to spot me while I was away…
Oh well, let’s look at recent DC hero Bluebird who may not even be missing but I’m not sure so here’s a column on her anyway.
Who is Bluebird? Well, the important thing to note is she isn’t Robin.
Bluebird first appeared as a girl in maybe her late teens to early twenties by the name of Harper Row. She grew up more or less raising a younger brother named Cullen in bad Gotham City neighborhood The Narrows. Her dad was in jail, and there he was a no-good prison snitch. Her mom was…not in the picture. This was all during the New 52 period.
As it is, she ran into Batman a couple times, often while looking into things herself. Harper is something of a tech genius, using her skills to do things like keep her apartment lit up with free electricity and offering help to an at-first disapproving Batman.
Eventually she took on a costume and a codename. She wasn’t a Robin, but she could be a Bluebird. She became a full-time Batman associate during the Batman Eternal weekly series celebrating Batman’s 75th birthday, showing her computer skills were at least on par with Red Robin Tim Drake. Batman didn’t even mind that she used guns, mostly because said guns were nonlethal stun weapons, and she is a good shot.
So, wait, a new Batman ally created during the New 52? OK, so, DC likes to pretend a lot of the New 52 didn’t really happen, but Scott Snyder’s Batman run gave the world Bluebird. She even had a really nice role in the aforementioned Batman Eternal. Where’d she go?
Well, it seems she just hung up the costume for a while.
The sequel series to Batman Eternal, Batman and Robin Eternal, dug a bit deeper into Harper’s backstory. Apparently, Harper was the product of a child soldier ring Batman was investigating, and someone was trying to make Harper into a new Robin for the Batman. During all that, Cassandra Cain, here known as “Orphan,” ended up killing Harper’s mom. But Harper is made of sterner stuff, didn’t resent Batman for his role in the whole thing and even forgave Orphan when the whole thing was over. Then she hung up her costume to get a college degree.
So, really, I was under the impression Harper just went away when Scott Snyder moved out of Batman and on to his current Justice League work. Were successive writers uninterested or unwilling to do anything with one of Snyder’s creations?
And it turns out I was a bit wrong. She’s been a minor supporting character in James Tynion’s Detective Comics run. I’ve read a couple of those trades and just didn’t notice her.
You know, I rather like Harper as a character. The poor girl who gets out of the bad neighborhood with just her wits and skills and somehow makes a place for herself in Batman’s family of vigilantes? And she does so with pluck and enthusiasm and a refusal to say “no” when people like Tim Drake tell her to back off and let “professionals” handle things? Does Jenny know about this character? She’d probably love her.
Besides, Harper may not be completely gone. Whether she comes back as Bluebird or not, she did appear in animated form as a troubled high school student on the Young Justice animated series.
She’s caught some eyes. I think Bluebird may be flying back into things sooner or later.