I think, more and more, my refrain for DC is becoming “I don’t think this will work the way you want it.”
Let me say that I don’t mind Harper as a character. I actually think she’s sort of interesting, and I love her interactions with her brother. There are not enough “big sisters” in comics in general. That humanizes her when she’s clearly being built up to be someone in the batfam, and as such, she’s being sort of… de-flawed. (She’ll have flaws later, I’m sure, but the writers are clearly trying to show her in her best light so fans will fall in love with her.)
That being said, the way they’re working Harper in? No.
They’re essentially working Harper in much like they did with Tim Drake. The situation is different (Harper doesn’t care who Batman is; Tim knew for a long, long time. Tim is from an upper middle class family; Harper isn’t.), but the way it reads on paper feels very much the same. Harper and Tim both recognized that Batman was in a tailspin. They both wanted to help Batman.
Their solutions are quite different, but Tim and Harper are already dangerously similar in the grand scheme of ability that they are going to be constantly compared. They’re both hella smart, and they’re both not as physically capable as Dick, Damian, and Jason. It’s obvious that they aren’t the same character and that their areas of knowledge/intelligence are different. Tim is clearly the better detective, while Harper made blue prints good enough for Wayne Enterprise to use.
But they’re similar ENOUGH. It almost reads like “So, last time we killed Robin, we introduced this kid who wanted to help Batman out! You guys loved him, here’s another one for the new millennium!”
What makes this more frustrating is that I can’t help but think this backlash is going to be blamed on the fact that Harper is female, and I don’t think that’s the case at all.
I think it’s more that this is the same scenario as last time, but there’s less breathing room and Harper is going to be taking the name from a beloved Robin while Tim was inheriting it from a Robin no one liked very much.
It’s poor story-telling, and it would be poor storytelling if Cullen was the clear next choice.
While I think Harper can be interesting, it seems like it will only be a detriment to her character in the long run.
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