Return of Harper Row

It’s a well known and often lamented fact that Batman tends to acquire Sidekicks at an almost exponential rate. Dozens of characters have joined the Bat-Family over the years, and while fringe characters like Orpheus and Onyx have faded into obscurity a select few have managed to capture the audiences attention without having to serve as the Dark Knight’s signature protege: Robin.

Characters such as Luke Fox, Stephanie Brown and Duke Thomas have seen a resurgence as of late, appearing alongside the Batman’s stable of current and former sidekicks. Now, the stage is set for another round of comebacks; the brother-sister duo of Cullen & Harper Row.

The Row siblings were a fixture in Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s acclaimed run on Batman during the days of the New 52. Harper joined the Dark Knight’s crusade, serving alongside him as the costumed adventurer Bluebird. Despite her popularity, Harper has only been seen a handful of times in the Rebirth era and appears to have put her hero days behind her. This all may change with next week’s “Punchline” special issue.

“It wasn’t until we started talking about doing a solo Punchline story that I realized that Punchline is, in a lot of ways, the perfect reflection of Harper Row,” The current Batman scribe said in his newsletter, The Empire of the Tiny Onion. 

“She’s another ordinary kid of Gotham, but rather than her being drawn to the idea of Batman, she was drawn to the idea of Joker… And now she’s out there, trying to spread the Joker’s ideology, and we’re going to see Harper watch that happen up close, helpless to push back against it.”

This will not be Tynion’s first dealings with the character. Harper made a handful of appearances in his Detective Comics run and it appears that he intends to use this return as a springboard for more Bat-Family interaction throughout 2021.

The story that starts in the one-shot will start a story thread that will run through next year, setting the stage for big conflicts to come that will drag in all of Gotham’s heroes,” Tynion says.

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