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Harper Row: How the Hacker Became DC's Bluebird and Why She Stopped

Harper Row Bluebird header

Across his 80 year history, Batman has acquired many different, eclectic allies over the course of his exhaustive war on crime in Gotham City. While they're usually impressionable young adults like his long line of Robins, the Dark Knight enlisted teenage hacker Harper Row into his crime-fighting crusade at the start of the New 52 era in the DC Universe.

While Harper eventually took on the heroic alter ego Bluebird, she only operated as a superhero for a few years. Now, CBR is taking a look back at Harper, from her first meeting with the Caped Crusader, the dawn of her crimefighting career as Bluebird, and why she ultimately stepped away from the role.

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HOW HARPER ROW BECAME BATMAN'S NEWEST ALLY

First appearing unnamed in a cameo in 2011's Batman #1, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Harper Row and her brother Cullen emancipated themselves from their father due to his uncaring attitude and criminal activities. While living together in Gotham City's roughest neighborhood, the Narrows, Cullen is rescued by Batman when he is attacked in a hate crime. In a show of solidarity, Harper colors and cuts her hair to resemble Cullen and begins to learn everything she can about Batman.

Batman is incredibly resistant to having Harper join him and berates her for helping him, even though she revived him during his first battle with the Court of Owls and improved the surveillance devices he planted throughout the city. Even though he beoke her nose to discourage her, Harper approaches Bruce Wayne knowing his connection to Batman through Batman, Incorporated and offers to help with several technological upgrades. Ultimately, Batman relents and apologizes to Harper for his earlier harsh treatment of her.

HOW HARPER BECAME BLUEBIRD

BLUEBIRD

Harper progresses above mere tech support for Batman after earning Red Robin's trust during the events of Batman Eternal. Taking on the heroic persona of Bluebird and using her various tech-based gadgets and weapons to help her, Harper rescues Cullen in her new alter ego on her own after Red Robin, Batgirl, and Red Hood are incapacitated. Following the defeat of Hush and Lincoln March, Harper continued to assist Batman as Bluebird for a time.

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During the events of Batman & Robin Eternal, Harper discovers that her mother was killed by a brainwashed Cassandra Cain under orders from a villain named Mother to help create the perfect Robin for Batman. After realizing the true nature of Mother's offer, Batman had approached Harper's father to take better care of his daughter, the reason behind his firm, initial refusal to be associated with Harper revealed.

WHY HARPER STOPPED BEING BLUEBIRD

Upon confronting Batman after learning Mother's plans for her and her family, Harper did not hold Batman responsible for his indirect, unknowing role in her mother's death, but the revelations still shook her to her core. Ultimately, she decides to leave her superhero career behind and instead complete her college education in electrical engineering with Batman's blessing and the understanding that she would also be welcome to rejoin his war on crime.

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During the DC Rebirth era, Harper is seen still living in Gotham City and now rooming with Cassandra Cain. With her Bluebird persona still retired, Harper maintains her friendships with Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown while volunteering at Leslie Thompkins' clinic. Even in scenarios when her friends are attacked by villains and forced to leap into action, Harper remains on the sidelines both as a confidante and friend, living a life of peace with her superhero career now firmly behind her and the old Bluebird costume locked away seemingly for good.

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