Is Harper Row the Worst Character in the DC Universe?

You're telling me, Harper...

You’re telling me, Harper…

1st Appearance – Batman 1

Bruce Wayne is giving a speech to the social elite of Gotham. While talking about the future of the city, his dead parents, etc. we see close-up panels of some characters. The first one is Harper Row in a red dress sans nose ring. At this point it’s not explained who she is, so I’m thinking she’s just a spectator.

2nd Appearance – Batman 7

After issue 6, Batman was in rough shape. He escaped the clutches of the Court of Owls but just barely. This issue opens with Harper Row literally “jumping” Batman’s heart with cables and a battery. O-kay, not quite as good as a plausible explanation but I’ll roll with it. Batman, and I tend to agree with him, says, “…Leave me alone.” Harper quips to herself, “Nice one Harper. Epic bat-fail.” with a smirk on her face. This is where I begin to hate Harper Row.

3rd Appearance – Batman 12

Just to get us up to speed, Batman has pretty much vanquished the threat of the Court of Owls and we get something like closure in issue 11. Issue 12…where do I begin? Okay, if you were wondering how Harper came to wear a red dress in the first issue you’re in luck! While talking to Alfred she hints that she’s some sort of master electrician, I don’t know, just roll with it, I guess.

Soon after the party, Harper returns home to find her brother Cullen in tears after being beaten up by what is now revealed to be homophobic bullies.  The bullies butcher Cullen’s hair and write the word “fag” on the back of his head with the clippers.  Harper, in a show of solidarity decides to mimic the haircut before school the next day.

This is SO much better than Batman solving a mystery.

This is SO much better than Batman solving a mystery.

 

It’s around this point in the issue I realize this isn’t going to be the beginning of the next Bat-epic by Snyder and Capullo. The artist Greg Capullo actually didn’t show up to even draw this issue, he took a month off! Like he read the script and decided it was time to cash in a vacation until the Joker returned a month later.

The gay-bashing bullies return at night, saying generic gay-bashing things to Harper and Cullen. The fight does not go well, at least until Batman makes an entrance  And as much as I enjoy Batman jumping out of the shadows and kicking some ass, I’d rather he was doing it against the likes of Two-Face or the Penguin; not teenagers.

We shift gears back to Harper Row, NOOOOOOO, and she’s developed the habit of stalking Batman. She lends him an assist while facing lower-tier villain Tiger Shark. Batman catches up to her later and informs her she’s “finished.” Sadly, she is not.

So Let’s Recap:

We’ve established that Harper Row is some sort of electronics expert with a gay brother named Cullen who gets beaten up. Harper develops the habit of following Batman, despite repeated warnings not to. She has a nose ring, and a stupid haircut, for which to…fight crime?

Teenage Angst Doesn't Stand A Chance!!

Teenage Angst Doesn’t Stand A Chance!!

4th Appearence – Batman 18

Okay, some heavy shit has gone down since Harper’s last appearance. The Joker returned, killed a bunch of cops, kidnapped every crime fighter in Gotham, and generally wreaked havoc. On an additional note, Robin, has just died. Damien Wayne was Bruce’s only son, and he just died in the line of duty the month previous, so I’m dying to know what happens in Batman 18.

We begin with Harper and Cullen Row driving to Blackgate Penitentiary to visit their dad…who is an incredible, GAY-BASHING, JERKFACE DAD!! Holy fucking shit, in two pages this man refers to Cullen as a “daughter,” alludes to their mom being a whore, and makes light of their accomplishments and ongoing struggle in life due to his absence. Holy fuck, why would anyone EVER go to visit this guy?

Just look at the panels of their dad smiling maniacally as he does his best to ruin their lives and shatter all self-esteem within arm’s reach. It’s over the top. It’s TOO over the top. I’m beginning to think their father is a Gotham supervillain himself! We’ll call him The Deadbeat! Characteristics include: The Deadbeat pays NO Bills! The Deadbeat Raises NO Children! The Deadbeat is bad at crime, yet is better than YOU! The Deadbeat never votes, and parks in handicap spaces!

If you were looking for an issue detailing the loss of Damien Wayne, and Bruce, a man who doesn’t deal with loss well, coming to terms with that you are sadly mistaken. Harper Row has hijacked another issue of Batman after another major story-arc. Incidentally, series artist Greg Capullo has taken another month off…I don’t blame him, there’s nothing worth drawing here.

Harper continues her quest to help Batman and has begun training in a gym. She gives him another assist while fighting crime and this leads to one of the most embarrassing, melodramatic Batman scenes in recent memory. It’s SOOOO bad. Here, I’ll sum it up for you:

Harper Row – Look at me! I’m fighting crime!

Batman – NOOOOOO!! You don’t have the training!

Harper Row – (Crying) But I’m smart…and a master electrician…

Batman – LEAVE ME ALONE, THIS CONVERSATION IS OVERRRRRR. ARRRRGHHHHH!!!!

So, Final Thoughts…

You know what my problem with Harper is? Her Baggage. TWICE she has brought a red-hot Batman series to a screeching halt so we can deal with her problems. Her problems however, are not the reason I buy this comic, Batman’s problems are. What is the endgame here? That Harper become the new Oracle and provide Batman with information while he’s out in the field? Eh, I’d rather not.

Worst...Character...Ever.

Worst…Character…Ever.

 

The more terrifying conclusion is that she may “Tim Drake” her way to becoming the new Robin. Dear fucking God do not let that happen, I say this knowing there is a vacant Robin slot and Harper is so obviously one tragic brother’s death away from having the required survivor’s guilt to be a crusader in Gotham.

She’s annoying, everything in her life is awful, and Batman doesn’t need her.

THE END.

12 comments

  1. I find Harper so irritating I googled “Harper Row irritating” and got pointed towards your blog, words fail me. I think one of the main reasons (aside from what you’ve pointed out and her being the kind of lazy, nonsensical, cardboard cut out, committee designed, “edgy” youth insert that the episode of the Simpsons that featured “poochie going onto itch and scratchy so ably took the piss out of “We at the network want a dog with attitude. He’s edgy, he’s “in your face.” You’ve heard the expression, “let’s get busy”? Well, this is a dog who gets “biz-zay!” Consistently and thoroughly.”).

    …and breathe…

    But the MAIN reason I find her so utterly annoying is that, she’s so obviously being set up as a replacement Robin it dilutes and cheapens the loss of Damien who if Harper Row is the worst character in the DC universe, then he was one of the best/most likable. It’s like having your favourite TV show replaced in it’s weekly slot by a sport you don’t like, you might ordinarily have ambivalent feelings to say Rugby, but when you’re all settled down to find out what happens next in “the Shield” you go to turn it on and you find rugby has taken it’s place, that ambivalent mild dislike quickly mutate into an active hatred.

  2. Meh, this is more whiny than Harper herself. I’ll take her over ten Tim Drakes. I like that the approach with her in the comics is slow and that she’s not a joke like Steph Brown or carrie kelly (an effing slingshot???) Harper is a kid, a smart kid who is out of her league, but has a heart in the right spot, has a protective nature and isn’t some car-boosing waif like old Jason Todd. Tim Drake was shoehorned into Batman by way of a crappy miniseries and the way they are approaching it with Harper is much more organic. And she FAILS. maybe the reason you hate her so much is the reason I love her. She is a kid who tries but doesn’t always succeed and is She may have a skill that is a bit overpowered (electician), which is funny since you, like most Batman fans, probably believe he truly could be a master of everything, from electronics, linguistics, espionage, combat, butter churning and zookeeping OR that his 10-year old son could be ev3ery bit his equal. Meanwhile this girl gets beat up trying to emulate her newfound hero, gets knocked around even by batman himself and you still cry Cliche? Demand believability? That’s where you guys are planting your pflags? Ekk.

  3. I like Tim Drake just fine. Also, I wouldn’t mind if Carrie Kelly takes over as Robin for awhile. I think she’s fun and returns a lot of the humor to the Batman & Robin team. I’ll state my problem with Harper Row clearly:Melodrama. There’s far too much of it in her life, and I believe I subscribed to buy a book called Batman, not Harper Row’s Problems (See Issues 12 and 18). Let DC put out a Harper Row comic, it wouldn’t last 6 issues before being cancelled.

    1. Carrie Kelly is useless outside of the original story she was in. She was great in that story, don’t get me wrong, but if you want to bring in someone who has already been Robin? Stephanie Brown. It works.
      Also, the melodrama really isn’t that bad.
      This is barely even worth my time. Look. Snyder is writing Zero Year next. Batman #21. Harper Row will NOT be in it. You have a year without her in Batman. If you can stand someone taking a crack at Batman’s origins, go there. CHILLAX DUDE.

  4. I don’t mind her. Her first appearances were alright and quite fresh, with her background story and all. But her quick evolution into another Batman family member is quickly nose-diving into cliche territory. I hope they don’t make her another ‘daughter figure’ for Bats and at least give her some original and useful story lines. I’m a bit worried about the Bat mythos since it was supposed to “continue” on from new Earth. Where is Cass Cain or Stephanie Brown? There seems to be a new, rather than re imagined character every month. Oh well.

    1. Harper’s the worst character added to the Bat-Family since that retard who used to live in the batcave and fix Bruce Wayne’s cars in the early 90’s.

  5. yo leo batman y sigo a haper desde que comenzó y para mi no es tan mala como decís a mi me gusta le aporta algo de juventud a batman y eso esta bien, después de la muerte de Damian.

  6. And it’s being speculated (or confirmed?) that she might be the next Nightwing. FUCK NO. NOT IN A FUCKING MILLION YEARS. Dick Grayson is the best, and no one can don the Nightwing name better than him. X(

  7. Really now. You people and your jumping to conclusions. This is why it is hard for new characters to be born. All because of whiny, supposed know it alls who end up being entirely wrong. Well ha! She’s not Robin OR Nightwing at all – she’s Bluebird and the name has something to do with her mother! In fact, she wasn’t created to be a superhero, but rather as a POV character of Gotham in the worst part of it. She evolved over the course of time and can now go places even Snyder never had in mind. She doesn’t even want to know who Bats is because “people always let her down.” She wants to keep Batman as a legend, a god even, in her mind so he can never let her down. That is an interesting trait! She even uses special guns that fire shock pellets. Point is, she is not like any other character and thus is awesome! Harper rocks and you all don’t know a good character when one arises!

  8. I know this blog is over 3 years old but I am now reading batman and Robin eternals! This whole Harper Row story plot is pissing me off! They keep saying she has the potential to be the greatest Robin, and I am liek Based on What! because she is a girl WTF! Its like the author is saying Fck Dick Grayson, Fck Tim Drake, and fck Damien Wayne’s, Harper Row is going to be the Greatest Robin of all time.

    1. I just finished Batman and Robin Eternal last week, and I liked everything except Harper Row. She comes off as a wannabe trying too hard, and frankly she gets on my nerves. What’s worse, is after I finish B&R Eternal it seems every comic I’ve picked up since has her in it, and she always pops in at the worst possible times. You read one issue, you can’t wait for the next, and then you get saddled with more Harper Row. I didn’t like her from the moment I met her, which happened to be in B&R Eternal (my comic reading is very sporadic). When it says Batman and Robin in the title, you don’t expect a huge chunk of it to center around a character called Harper Row. I knew going in that it was going to center around the Robin’s, and I was cool with that, because their name was in the title. My argument is I don’t feel the Bat Family needs any new members. And I agree, no way in hell could Harper Row even come close to being the best Robin of all time. That roles already taken, and beyond that I’d go so far as to say I would take any of the previous Robin’s over her any day, even the ones I’m not that crazy about. Harper Row sucks!

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